What is the connection between postal stamps and the historic year 1911? In the year, which marks Delhi’s 100th year as the Capital of modern India, the city will also host INDIPEX 2011, the World Philatelic Exhibition.
Philately is the study of stamps, postal history and other related items. The exhibit is being organised by India Post, Government of India in association with the Philatelic Congress of India. “It’s a happy coincidence,” says Harpreet Singh, director of INDIPEX 2011. Another happy coincidence is that in 1911, for the first time in India, mails were flown by airplane, on February 18 from Allahabad to — five miles away — Naini in Uttar Pradesh. “This is one of the events that we are commemorating,” says Singh.
In this week-long exhibition, starting February 12, you will see stamps with a twist. These first-of-their-kind stamps will be made of khadi cloth, will carry Mahatma Gandhi’s image and will be released during the exhibition. So far, India always had stamps made of paper.
“Stamps are more than just postal denominations,” says Singh. “They are of immense value for people who have been collecting them for years. This time, since this exhibition is happening after 14 years, we planned to do something different. Since other countries have silk stamps, we settled on khadi stamps. And if it is khadi, Gandhi has to be on it.” The stamps will be available during the exhibition as a presentation pack, for Rs.250.
“Abroad, there have been metal and cloth stamps. But here, a cloth stamp is a new and exciting concept. Mahatma Gandhi as a theme is very thoughtful. This will become very popular once released,” says AS Banga, secretary of the West Delhi Philatelic Club.
At the exhibition, you can also get personalised stamps with your face on them. The concept called ‘My Stamp’ will just require you to carry a photograph you wish to put on the stamp. And when you have bought yours, don’t forget India Post’s 1911 connection.
The World Philatelic Exhibition will be held between February 12-18 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.