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Meet the Pune man who has Lord Ganesha icons from across the globe

Vinayak Awate, philatelist and numismatist has hundreds of stamps, stamp papers from countries like Niger in Africa, Ceylon, Nepal, Czech Republic, Thailand and Indonesia.

pune Updated: Aug 27, 2017 18:40 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Lord Ganesha,globe
Vinayak Awate, philatelist and numismatist who has hundreds of stamps, stamp papers from countries having faith in Lord Ganesha.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Ganesha is present across boundaries and is worshipped across the world,” said Vinayak Awate, philatelist and numismatist who has hundreds of stamps, stamp papers from countries having faith in Lord Ganesha. “I have stamps of Ganesha in various forms from Niger in Africa, Ceylon, Nepal, Czech Republic, Thailand, Indonesia and several other countries. It was interesting to find coins from these countries with Lord Ganesha as the currency,” he added.

This also means that the world is aware of what Lord Ganesha denotes – that he is the God of knowledge and prosperity. I was searching for Ganesha in forms of stamps, currencies and miniatures, so when I found Ganesha in other countries, I was surprised and it felt great to find these unique stamps and other paraphernalia. Awate started collecting stamps specifically on Ganesha from the age of 15. “I was born on Chaturthi and I was named after Ganesha, besides I was fascinated with the ‘God of knowledge’ that led me to search more about him,” he said.

Besides stamps, he also collects coins and has coins from South India. These are from Hindu and Muslim kings, mainly known as Madurai Nayaka, interestingly these coins all have Ganesha. These belong to the 6th and 7th century. The coins are of metal, mostly copper with die-cast.

Indian postcards with pictures of the elephant god. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

“While collecting, I came across an Indonesian note with Ganesha prominently displayed, and a Thai coin with Ganesha. Both countries have temples and worship Ganesha,” he said. Besides these, Awate also has stamps and stamp papers of the Indian princely states – Sangli, Miraj, Kurundwad, Wadi, Jamkhandi and Pipoloda from Madhya Pradesh, all of them have Ganesha printed on it. “All the above states except Piploda, had Ganesha as their Kuldaivat and hence, it was widely used in their court fee stamp papers, revenue stamps,” he said.

Czech Republic stamp bearing Ganesha picture. (HT PHOTO)

Pratisad Neurgaonkar, another philatelist from the city, also has Ganesha special postal covers issued by the India Post. India does not have stamps as far as Ganpati stamps are concerned, but they bring out special covers and customised greeting cards, like in 2002 Shrimant Dadgusheth Halwai Ganpati, while Lalbaugcha Raja special cover came out in 2016. “It is assumed that we are secular and we cannot issue any religious stamps. We also have stamps released in the US customised to show Ganesha,” he said.

“Basically, Ganesha is very popular from all ages, and he is the most worshipped everywhere. Traditionally, everyone has a Ganesha. When I found out that other countries are issuing stamps, it’s a different feeling and it is so unique that every philatelist will like to own one and display it,” he said.

His daughter Urja is following his footsteps, and is keen on becoming a philatelist with repute, with her recently winning a silver in an international philately exhibition.

Ancient coins of south India bearing pictures of Ganesha. (HT PHOTO)

First Published: Aug 27, 2017 18:07 IST