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Lucknow?s stamp on history

What is common about Munshi Naval Kishore, KM Munshi, Sarojini Naidu, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Maharaja Bijli Pasi. Before it all gets jumbled up?. Let?s clear the air! These stalwarts from history of leaders have also found a place on Indian postal stamps and special first-day covers released by the Indian Postal Department.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2006 00:55 IST

What is common about Munshi Naval Kishore, KM Munshi, Sarojini Naidu, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Maharaja Bijli Pasi. Before it all gets jumbled up…. Let’s clear the air! These stalwarts from history of leaders have also found a place on Indian postal stamps and special first-day covers released by the Indian Postal Department.

The city of Lucknow holds the unique distinction of having nearly 50 stamps, special covers and envelopes released by the Postal Department on the city’s rich history, culture, monuments and leading luminaries .

Situated on the banks of Gomti, Lucknow has a rich culture and history, which has been demonstrated through various stamps released by the Indian Postal Department after Independence. The first stamp to be released on any Lucknowite was a stamp worth 20 paisa showing a turbanned Munshi Naval Kishore who set up the first printing press in the city. A road is also named after him. This stamp, released in 1971, was displayed at Luphilex -2006 an exhibition of philately organised at GPO on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The section of Lucknow in Philately demonstrated special covers and stamps related with the glorious history of Lucknow.

Balesh Bhargava a senior philatelist and member of Lucknow Philately Society says, “Lucknow is the only city which has a number of stamps and special covers on its buildings and monuments like Imambara, Hussainabad, La Martineire College, Loreto, Residency, Charbagh Station, State Museum and Dilkusha. In fact these stamps and special covers are enough to showcase about the rich culture and history of the city in a nutshell.”

He added, “Only few cities in the country can boast of having been showcased so well in Indian postal stationery.”

Besides these historical places, important personalities of Lucknow like Munshi Naval Kishore, Begum Hazrat Mahal, former governor Sarojini Naidu, KM Munshi, famous BJP leader Vijaya Raje Scindia (alumni of IT College), Maharaja Bijli Pasi, famous scientist-professor Birbal Sawhney, former Chief Minister Govind Ballabh Pant, former Chief Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, former Lucknow University Vice Chancellor Acharya Narendra Dev, former Cabinet Minister Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, famous poet Surykant Tripathi Nirala and former Chief Minister Dr Sampurnananda have also found place on the special first-day covers and stamps.

Collection of stamps is a passion for both the young and the old. “It brings pleasure and pride to the stamp collectors and if the collection is associated with history of Lucknow, the charm doubles,” says Bhargava.

GPO Philately in-charge, Rajesh Singh says, “Although philately is a popular hobby in Lucknow, hi tech distractions like online gaming, blogging, podcasting and even the more common MMS is pushing this quiet, amateur hobby low on the list of past-times. Events like Luphilex-2006 are organised to maintain the interests of youngsters in philately which is not merely the collection of stamps but also collection of bookmarks of history and culture. It’s an educative experience. We have decided to promote such city-centric stamp shows in the future too.”

Veteran philatelist and secretary of Lucknow Philately Society, Aman Sharma, who has participated in a number of national and state-level exhibitions, says, “ Stamps can be a great learning experience for students interested in the history of Lucknow. The stamps and special covers have their own language and appeal.”

Sharma feels hurt when people rubbish the idea of learning through philately in the modern hi tech world. ‘‘While a plethora of new hobbies are there, the intelligent, old hobby of philately has failed to grab attention. No one is ready to learn through an innovative way,’’ says Sharma, adding that, “Experts should interact with the students’ community to popularise the hobby.”

First Published: Feb 24, 2006 00:55 IST