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Updated: March 15, 2014 12:41 IST

Philately losing its charm?

Sumit Bhattacharjee
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When a youngster approached the Chief Post Master General of Andhra Pradesh B.V. Sudhakar and asked about the status of philately, he quoted the famous cartoon character Homer Simpson who once said in a TV show, “Son, stamp collecting is like life. It stopped being fun a long time ago."

Well that epitomises the hobby of stamp collecting -- ebbing with each passing year.

And that was quite evident at the Krishna Pex, a philately exhibition organised by the Postal Department here on Friday at the Institute of Engineers building, where most of the philatelists who exhibited their prized collections were beyond the age of 60.

Rare collection

Veerabhadra Sarma, a retired chief engineer of the Department of Panchayat Raj, who showcased a rare collection of stamps depicting birds and flora and fauna from across the world, said, “Stamp collection is unique as it gives a pictorial depiction of life and culture of people and places across the globe. There is a lot of information, and students can learn a lot just by collecting stamps.”

Prized collection

A particular collection of his showcased the birds that have become extinct such as the Dodo, the Giant Moa and the Broad Billed Parrot.

On why the hobby was losing its charm, the Post Master General of Vijayawada blamed it on the social media sites and the cell phone.

A better hobby

“Today, children while away their precious time chatting mostly on the social sites. We organise these exhibitions to encourage them to take up the hobby,” he said.

True to its metaphor, any philately exhibition is a journey.

The thematic display such as India’s freedom struggle, 100 years of cinema and life of Gandhi were enchanting.

Mahatma’s life

The Gandhi collection by Bharani Aumar showcased the Mahatma’s life -- from his struggle in South Africa to the Dandi March. Similarly, B.S. Prakash’s collection of stamps portraying freedom struggle and unity in diversity was an enlightening journey.

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NOT the social media sites and Cell phones causing fall in interest in
philately but the Postal Department itself,which turned this hobby of
stamp collecting into business.Flood of Stamps Exhibitions in each
corner of India,only during end of the financial year,each
year,indirectly helps in utilizing the funds which now a days DOP is
liberally allotting in the name of promotion of stamp collecting and a
major part is benefitting the organizers filling their pockets heavy.
This promotion of hobby is in true sense to attract more and more
customers for the purchase of Postal products who have nothing to do
with their actual use they meant for.There are set trends, include
cultural programme (some times proved vulgar in stat level
exhibition), painting competitions, visits of school children , magic
shows, dance competitions etc which has nothing to do with the
philately. All these activities are highlighted too. DOP also opens
its shop selling stamps and personalized stamps along with dealers who
are year the round searching for such exhibitions where they could
earn from their junk. Useless and poorly franked postmarks ,highly
priced FDCs,bunch of booklets (not as per definition)and sometimes
special mail covers which are looted by dealers.

from:  Dr.Satyendra Kumar Agrawal
Posted on: Mar 16, 2014 at 03:49 IST
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