When Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win an individual Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games, Australia honoured him with a postage stamp. However, India’s own postal department did not deem it fit to acknowledge that stupendous achievement.
Having ignored Bindra’s achievement at the world biggest sporting arena (Olympics), the postal department has made an exception.
To mark the 200th Test of Sachin Tendulkar, which will also be his farewell match, a stamp will be released on November 14 — the first day of the Mumbai Test against West Indies.
Australia’s stamp on Bindra was released after the Beijing Games. It is of one-dollar denomination and depicts the medal ceremony with Bindra flanked by the other two medallists. It was the second time that Australia was honouring Bindra. A two-dollar stamp was released at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, acknowledging the youngest participant in the shooting competition aged 17.
In Bindra’s case, the argument was that as a policy the Indian Postal Department does not release the stamp of a living person. In fact, the postal authorities have also not acknowledged the achievements of Viswanathan Anand, the five-time world champion.
Only living person
But the stance will be relaxed for the cricketing icon.
Tendulkar will be only the second living person, after Mother Teresa, in whose honour a stamp will be issued.
Mother Teresa’s stamp, of 30 paise denomination, was issued on August 27, 1980.
“I am going to release the stamp of Sachin Tendulkar to mark his 200th Test in Mumbai on November 14,” said union law minister, Kapil Sibal, who was in Chandigarh on the occasion of the sports day of his alma mater, St John’s School.
“He is the second living person whose stamp is being released in the country. The first exception was Mother Teresa,” he said. The special issue will be one of the many events planned to honour the batsman on his retirement.
The United Kingdom has a practice of issuing postal stamps in honour of their Olympic gold medallists.