The Maharashtra State Philately exhibition,that has returned to the city after a gap of 25 years,presents eight special covers on the culture and history of Maharashtra and Goa
A tuntuna played in the background as the curtain was raised to unveil the Lavani Special Cover by the Department of Posts,Maharashtra and Goa Circle. It was the second day of Mahaplex,the state level philately exhibition,which is being conducted in the city after a gap of 25 years. Clad in a green saree,the Lavani dancer on the cover represents the state’s effort to resurrect the dance form through popular medium. This is just one of the eight special covers,dedicated to the art,culture and history of Maharashtra and Goa,being launched at the exhibition.
Inside the venue – Balewadi Sports Complex – panels display stamps by more than 100 philatelists from across the country. Several counters lined next to the exhibits sell miniature stamps. But the busiest counter is the one with the special cover on Lavani. Other covers that will be released include those on the work of eminent cartoonist R K Laxman; flowers at Kaas Plateau; Vasudeo; sculpture of Meera bai at Bigfoot Loutolim,Goa; Baba Amte,Ganjifa Arts and Bharat Ratna Maharashi Karve’s Zopadi.
These covers by the postal department occupy a special place in philately. They are not very high on value,but they help the thematic collector immensely, shares Vispi Dastur,member of the International Federation of Philately (IFP). Last year,in Mumbai,we released a cover based on the theme of ‘Save the Girl Child’. The launch was attended by activists and an interesting discussion followed. The Indian Postal Department has a very good reputation of bringing out relevant stamps and encouraging a discussion on it, he adds. Last year,the department had released over 15 special covers on themes like ‘150 years of the Jewish synagogue’,’Golden Jubilee of Hutatma Smarak’ and the ‘Bharat Ithihaas Sanshodan Mandal’.
The main exhibit hall has several silent observers. One spots an old man peering at a collection of postage stamps of the princely states of India. An eight-year-old excitedly points at the Harry Potter special covers. Spread across more than 400 frames,collections that have been carefully cultivated for years emerge. Dastur,who is also judging the competitive category at the exhibition,says,We judge an entry by its presentation,importance of subject,rarity of exhibits,personal study and research,treatment of the subject,and condition of the collection.
At the traditional philately section,the oldest stamp of Goa dating back to 1878 arrests one’s attention. The stamp leads one to the collection of A E Barreto from Vasco Da Gama,who has displayed postal material from Portuguese India spread over four frames. Interesting postal stationery on display retells the history of the Portuguese rule in India. Barreto’s collection consists of the first postcard of Goa (1850),a stamp on Malaria eradication and a native stamp featuring Daman and Diu. Another interesting display is Mumbai-based collector Prakash Sanghvi’s commentary on the life of Mahatma Gandhi through stamps. More than 1000 stamps narrate the Mahatma’s story.