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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Stamp duty: City’s philatelic club finds unique way to remember martyrs

To commemorate the Martyrs’ Day,a formal wreath-laying ceremony and a candle-lighting ceremony will be organised at the Chandigarh War Memorial in Sector 3 on Friday.

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy | Chandigarh | Published: January 30, 2009 4:01:47 am

The dusty pages of history are often flipped through once again on occasions such as the Martyr’s Day,observed on January 30.

Marking the day we lost Bapu,the city goes into remembrance mode either by organising memorial talks and lectures or cultural activities.

But history has not been a favourite subject with many,particularly those in school. Precisely why the city-based Chandigarh Philatelic Club has decided to make the day an interactive and informative one,especially for school students.

Starting January 30,the club will roll out a stamp exhibition titled ‘Salute to Martyrs & Freedom Fighters through Postage Stamps’ at the Philatelic Bureau situated in the General Post Office in Sector 17. The organisers will exhibit 24 frames based on a timeline that dates from 1857 to 1948.

“The exhibition is our endeavour to showcase long-forgotten martyrs who laid down their lives for the country. We want their stories to be stellar examples for the children of today,” informs Rakesh Walia,exhibition secretary and also a long time member of the Philatelic Club,who has contributed to those 24 frames along with 11 other members of the club.

“In our own humble way,we have tried to bring out through philately the faces and images of martyrs and freedom fighters to freshen memories,” adds Walia who along with the members has painstakingly culled information on the long-lost heroes of our times.

Visitors at this one-of-a-kind exhibition,also a first for the city,will get to look at a priceless collection that showcases legendary stamps on Mahatma Gandhi,Tantya Tope,Rani Laxmi Bai,Mangal Pandey,Bhagat Singh and many more.

Like the postage stamp depicting Jhalkari Bai. “Not much is known about this brave fighter’s background except for the fact that she bore a striking resemblance to Rani Laxmi Bai,” says Walia who is the contributor of the stamp on Jhalkari Bai. It is said that when the Jhansi fort fell to the enemy due to betrayal,Jhalkari Bai and some other generals convinced the queen to escape to safety with a handful of soldiers. To ensure a safe passage for Laxmi Bai,Jhalkari Bai dressed up in Laxmi Bai’s attire. Though forced to surrender,the British officers later freed her.

Among the other prized and equally rare stamps is a Rupee 10 stamp issued just after Gandhiji’s death. “It is 60 years old,” says its contributor,a member of the club and city-based philatelist Abinash Singh Luthra. Having an exhaustive collection himself,Luthra will have two frames boasting of 32 ‘chiefs’,up for exhibit. “Philately is a dying art and apart from paying homage to the martyrs,we also want to create awareness for the hobby among the youth of today,” sums up Luthra.

Come,light a candle today

To commemorate the Martyrs’ Day,a formal wreath-laying ceremony and a candle-lighting ceremony will be organised at the Chandigarh War Memorial in Sector 3 on Friday. UT Administrator General SF Rodrigues (Retd) will lead the ceremony being organised by the Indian Army at 11 am to coincide with the sounding of bugle on the Martyrs Day. Entry to the Memorial will be closed at 10.45 am to facilitate solemnity of the occasion.

In the evening,a candle-lighting ceremony will be held at the War Memorial from 6 pm to 7 pm. Citizens have been invited to light a candle each in the memory of the martyrs. The Chandigarh Administration has arranged for the candles.

The commencement and termination of the two minutes’

silence will be indicated by the ‘All Clear’ sirens at 10:59 am

and 11:02 am,respectively. The sirens will blow for one minute in each case from 10:59 am to 11:00 am and 11:02 am to 11:03 am. Factories and workshops have been asked to stop work for two minutes,where practicable and traffic on the roads should also come to a standstill.

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