Saturday, September 22, 2018

Serbia-India: Joint Stamp Issue (2018)

Updated on 22 Sep 2018: A joint stamp issue between India and Serbia was announced by Serbia Post Office as early as January this year, but India Post officials did not confirm the existence of this stamp set, despite repeated requests, until it's very issuance on 15th September. The stamp were originally planned for release on 9th October, but were later scheduled for release on 3rd September during an official trip of the Vice President of India to Serbia. Due to the national mourning period in late-August for the former Prime Minister of India Vajpayee, the dates of this trip were adjusted and changed to 15th September. So, even though these were issued a few weeks earlier than originally known, there was a minor last minute delay.

The stamp subject for the joint stamp issue is quite interesting. The Serbian side chose well known inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla and the Indian government chose the well known philosopher and spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda. On the surface this appears to be a complete mismatch; with a scientist and a religious philosopher, but Tesla and Vivekananda have something in common and shared a friendship. Serbia and India are celebrating 70 years of their diplomatic relations and 2018 is also 125th year of Swami Vivekananda's landmark speech on Hinduism during the World Religion Parliament in Chicago (1893). So, kudos to the postal administrations for this well thought commemoration.
India-Serbia: Joint Issue (2018) - Swami Vivekananda & Nikola Tesla
The stamp on Tesla was designed by Boban Savic 'Geto' of Serbia and the one on Vivekananda was done by Gulistaan, an artist working with the Indian Post Office. Stamps from the Serbia Post Office were printed in sheetlets of 4 se-tenant pairs (65,000 stamps each). In addition to the two individual stamp sheets (45 stamps each), India Post also issued a souvenir sheet comprised of the two stamps. I'm still awaiting details on the print quantity for the Indian stamps, but will add it here once available.
Serbian version of the Joint Stamp Issue with India
I've noticed several collectors wonder about the links between Tesla and Vivekananda, so it was worth looking for some information about their connection and friendship. Apparently it all began in February 1896 in New York City, when Tesla and Vivekananda met after a play by actress Sarah Bernhardt. After discussions and exchanges about Akasha, Prana and Kalpa, Swami ji and Tesla's friendship seems to have begun. Vivekananda believed that if Tesla can prove matter can be reduced to energy, the concept of Vedanta would be backed by Western science as well. Tesla continued his research to prove this, and was influenced by Vivekananda in later years, even using Sanskrit words Akasha and Prana for matter and energy, respectively. Neither Tesla was fully successful in proving this theory, nor Vivekananda was alive much longer to observe this. But, there was clear connect between the East and West and is nicely represented in these stamps.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Armenia-India Joint Stamp Issue (2018)

Update (14 Sep 2018): After so many delays and rescheduled dates, the joint stamps between Armenia and India were dedicated at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia on 29th August 2018. Thanks to HayPost officials, the late-August date timing that I'd shared here and on Twitter was accurate. Even though the stamp subject of dances remained, Armenia appears to have changed their dance form at the last minute. India Post first day covers that were initially printed showed Berd dance, but the final stamps show Hov Arek dance form, so the FDCs were likely reprinted. The new envelopes from India Post show some architectural elements from unknown monuments.

Armenia Post issued the stamps in a sheetlet of 5 se-tenant pairs. HayPost's website is selling singles and sheetlets, albeit higher than face value price, which is quite surprising. FDCs have been printed, in an unknown quantity and are not available on their website. Armenian FDCs show Etchmiadzin Cathedral and Taj Mahal. India Post on the other hand printed both the stamps in individual sheets of 45 stamps each, along with a miniature sheet with both the stamps. Suresh Kumar Achari and Vahagn Mkrtchyan designed the stamps for their respective postal administrations.
The joint stamp show Manipuri dance from India and Hov Arek dance from Armenia. India Post had issued a stamp on Manipuri dance previously in 1975 as well. I don't like the font used on the Indian stamps and it'd not even mentioned about Hov Arek being an Armenian dance. Armenian stamps have better overall design, but they messed up the Indian Manipuri dance stamp by adding the background details even on the white portion of the stamp. Anyways, I truly hope no more dances are used for Indian joint stamps; this was the fifth one since 2006.

Hay Post issued 40,000 stamps of each design (280 Armenian Dram each), printed at Cartor Security Printing in France. Indian stamps were printed in SPP, Hyderabad (5 Rupees and 25 Rupees denomination), but print quantity details are still awaited - I will add it here once I get my hands on a brochure.
Indian miniature sheet showing two stamps from the Armenia-India joint stamp issue
Manipuri dance: This classical Indian group dance, also known as Jagoi originated in the North-Eastern state of Manipur and is based on Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism themes of Hindu religion. This traditional dance includes slow, lyrical and graceful movements to the tune of Pung (drum), kartal, harmonium, sembong, pena and flute. Lyrics are typically devotional songs using Jayadeva's, Vidyapati's or other medieval poets writings in Sanskrit, Braj or Maithili languages. The dance is also inspired heavily by Radha-Krishna Raas. Female dances dress like brides in Poltoi and  Kumil, which is a barrel-like skirt whereas male dancers wear dhotis.
Armenian stamps from the Armenia-India: Joint Issue (2018)
Hov Arek dance: Armenia's Hov Arek or Areq is performed using a lyrical folk song by the same name written by composer and priest Komitas. It is considered among the 100 most important songs in Armenian cultural heritage. I'm surprised at the choice of this dance, because it appears to be more of a song than a well known dance itself. In my opinion, Berd would have been a clear pick from the national dances of Armenia. Use the links below if you want to look at a couple of videos showing these dances.

Links to Youtube videos: Hov Arek and Manipuri

Update (07 Jul 2018): First day covers for the Indian version of this stamp have been printed and appear to depict Jagoi Manipuri dance from India and Berd from Armenia (like I had predicted in January this year). This issue has been delayed several times and the from the last update, HayPost Armenia indicated they are trying to get it done in August 2018. Let's see where this ends up. Looking forward to a good stamp design.

Update (21 Jan 2018): Just to be clear, the currently proposed date for issuance is 21st March 2018.

Original Post (17 Jan 2018): I've been trying to get details for the joint stamp issue between India and Armenia over the last year and a half. This stamp issue was discussed in bilateral meetings since 2016 and will likely materialize this year. I've been able to confirm from Haypost and India Post that the theme for this joint issue will be Dances. In the recent past, India has used dance as a subject for joint issues with Cyprus (2006), Mexico (2010), Portugal (2017) and Russia (2017). It would have been nice to see some more creativity from the India Post officials to find similarities between the two cultures and then select a subject. All these Indian dance forms can easily be commemorated on a separate set of stamps dedicated to Dances of India.

Diplomatic contact between Armenia and India were established in 1992 and the stamp issue will likely celebrate 25 years of this relationship. The joint stamp is currently scheduled for issuance in third week of March 2018, but I will confirm this as soon as additional information is available.

Possible Armenian Dance forms: Kochari, Berd or Trahag

Any guesses for Indian Dance forms?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

South Africa-India Joint Stamp Issues (1995 & 2018)

Update (07 Jul 2018): I will post details for all the joint stamps issued between India and South Africa here. I've previously shared - on another post and on Twitter - with fellow collectors that the two countries have been working on commemorating several personalities in 2018 and turns out there will be two joint issues in 2018 itself - one each in June and July.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

India Post Stamp Updates 2018 (Jan 2018 onward)

Update (01 July 2018): This was a long break of almost two months, but I will try make up for it by sharing a ton of new information that has come through during this time. This update will be in three parts, new issues in May and June, forthcoming stamp issues and lastly some trivia.

Over the last two months, a total of seven stamps were issued, some personalities and some special commemorative stamps. In May,  two personalities from Southern India - businessman M. V. Arunachalam and socio-political leader C. Kesavan were honored with India Post stamps. Stamp on Arunchalam was issued  by the Governor of Tamil Nadu and the one on Kesavan by the Governor of Kerala. The stamp on Lions Clubs Centenary was dedicated at a simple ceremony by the Vice President of India in New Delhi. All these three stamps were decently designed, not much to talk about. Early in June, Prime Minister of India released a set of stamps in 4 designs on World Environment Day. The stamp designed by Suresh Kumar Achari depict the theme, Beat Plastic Pollution. I did not really like the stamps, but some collectors seem to appreciate the artwork. My personal preference would have been to have one stamp and the miniature sheet to extend the theme beyond the stamp. The next stamp was a joint stamp issue between India and South Africa. India's Foreign Minister visited South Africa in early June and dedicated the stamps at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station, where Mahatma Gandhi was removed from a train compartment in 1893 due to racial discrimination. Two other stamps, one on Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha and Scott Christian College were issued at events in Chennai and Nagercoil, respectively. Many more stamps are planned for issuance in the remainder of this year. Details for new stamp subjects are below.

Like I had shared information for several new stamp subjects in January this year, I'm able to report that about 15 new additional have been made to India Post's stamp program for 2018. Since you're first hearing from me, don't forget to mention BetterPhilately when you use this information on other social media platforms. I've observed that many collectors have used my lists on their profiles and websites without proper mention of BetterPhilately. No meeting of the Philatelic Advisory Committee, a body that considers and recommends stamp issuance, has been held since late 2016. Thus, giving a free reign to the Minister of Communications to approve proposals that are routinely received by the Department of Posts. I don't know specific issue dates for the new stamps, but see the list below for all the additions. The stamp on Eastern Naval Command will be of Rs 15 denomination, while the one on Kakaji-Pappaji Maharaj will cost 5 Rupees. At the bottom of this post, I've been maintaining a comprehensive list of thematic and other stamps that have been approved since 2016. The newest additions are highlighted in blue, but I will incorporate these in the regular font during the next update.
Share with fellow collectors and tell them you found it on BetterPhilately
In addition to getting these stamp subjects figured out, I've been gathering other information to share as well. The main focus was to get clarity for print quantity of commemorative stamps and Mystamps and availability of stamps in post offices. There was some confusion about the print quantity of the CISF stamps from March this year. The stamp was issued as a se-tenant, but the proponent got one of the two stamps printed in sheets with only one design. I shared the details on a tweet earlier. I also found that severe delays in printing and delivery of Indian Cuisine, ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and Solar System stamp sheetlets from the Hyderabad printing press may have been because the printer was inundated with last minute requests and was unable to complete past orders. It took 3-4 months for these delays to go away, but if India Post wants to keep stamp collectors interested, this should not recur.

I've been trying to complete an accurate list of customized and personalized MyStamp issues as well as the print quantities. I will add the updated list under the MyStamp post soon. During this time, it was discovered that a set of 12 personalized MyStamp sheetlets on Zodiac Signs were printed and will be soon put for sale in post offices. Another few personalized MyStamp sheetlets on Shimla Ridge, Vaishno Devi temple and Pushkar Fair are not easily available and it would be ideal if ePostOffice starts selling these as well. 

India Post Commemorative Postage Stamps in May & June 2018:
15 May - M. V. Arunachalam
23 May - C. Kesavan
25 May - Lions Clubs International Association (Since 1917)
05 Jun - World Environment Day (4 designs)
07 Jun - India-South Africa: Joint Stamp Issue (Deendayal Upadhyaya & Oliver R. Tambo)
17 Jun - Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras (100 Years)
28 Jun - Scott Christian College, Nagercoil

India Post Customized MyStamps in May & June 2018:
13 May - Shri C. U. Shah Medical College & Hospital (Gujarat)
22 May - BSF Wives' Welfare Association (Silver Jubilee)
26 May - Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysuru (Vishwam Museum)

Update (05 May 2018): Here's a rundown of news on Indian postage stamps from the last few weeks. India Post has not been sharing details for new stamp issue dates, but dedicating previously unannounced stamps. I will try to gather updates for fellow collectors soon and share on Twitter or over here. In the meanwhile, if you get dates or subjects for new stamps, do leave a comment below.

The stamp on DRDO Diamond Jubilee, which was originally scheduled for issuance in early January was finally dedicated on 11th April by the Defense Minister of India at a defense exposition at Mahabalipuram, near Chennai. The stamp was well designed by Kamleshwar Singh, showing various military equipment and DRDO Bhawan on a colorful background. This and other designs by Kamleshwar Singh just goes on to show the need for India Post to use talented artists like Singh.

The next stamp issue on Goan Tiatr was planned for issuance in 2017. The stamps and a miniature sheet were printed and several images were available on the internet. The stamps were likely withdrawn as result of the misspelled word 'Tiatr' as 'Tiater'. One would have assumed the stamp design to have been updated with the correct spelling and reprinted, but India Post for unknown reasons changed the designs completely and issued the new stamps along with a miniature sheet on 17th April in Panaji. The stamp information bulletin mentions Gulistaan as the stamp designer, but I'm not sure who designed the old 2017 version. The stamp printed in 2017 captured the essence of Goan theater and key personalities of Tiatr well, but the new stamps are quite simple and unappealing. Another point to note: Unlike the ICAR-CPCRI stamps from 2017/18, the Goan Tiatr stamps printed in 2017 haven't appeared online for sale.

The Prime Minister of India dedicated a commemorative stamp on Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, a political leader from Uttar Pradesh on 25th April in New Delhi to commence the birth centenary year. This stamp was among the several stamps on personalities approved for issuance in 2018. I had shared this news early in mid-January. The stamp and FDC nicely capture important facets of Bahuguna's life including his origins in the hill state of Uttarakhand.

The last two stamps in April were previously unannounced and a damp squib from a design perspective. A se-tenant of 2 stamps was dedicated on 75 years of Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi and a souvenir sheet of 4 stamps on Prithviraj Chauhan were released by MoS Communications in Ghazipur. The two stamps on Safdarjung Hospital were designed by Anuj and Ashoo Sharma, likely associated with the hospital. The stamps show several images of the past when the hospital was started as American Hospital along with an image of the main building spread on both the stamps. I wish there was come more detailed text, and better images used for developing this stamp design. I am also not entirely sure on the need for a se-tenant stamp on a hospital in New Delhi just completing 75 years of its existence. The stamp set on Prithviraj Chauhan is even more shocking. A stamp on this warrior king from Rajasthan could be developed with great detail, but the designer Alka Sharma chose to take a bust of the ruler and place it on four stamps with different background color and denomination. Little to no effort was put in covering some other facets of the king's life or rule. That said, the souvenir sheet was much better with coins and paintings shown with a picture of Taragarh Fort taken from the internet. Hoping the next stamp issues are more intricately designed and printed.

Surprisingly no news for customized or personalized MyStamp was seen throughout April, and that was a much needed breather. I've been gathering information on several blank first day covers that are reaching various philatelic bureaus for stamp issuance this year. There are no major surprises than the subjects that are already covered at end of this post as well as what I share on Twitter. It seems possible that the joint issue with South Africa could now include Nelson Mandela as well. I had previously shared that Deendayal Upadhyaya and Oliver Tambo were two of the personalities selected for the stamp issue. Including Mahatma Gandhi cannot entirely be ruled out either, given his 150th birth anniversary celebrations will begin later this year.

I've also seen that the much awaited stamp sheetlets for the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and the Solar System stamp issues are available for purchase in several post offices and on ePostOffice. The ASEAN-India sheetlet set contains 11 sheets with 20 stamps each (total Rs 1100) and the Solar System sheetlet set contains 8 sheets with 25-30 stamps each (total Rs 1150). All these sheets are being sold at face value, even on ePostOffice.

India Post Commemorative Postage Stamps (April 2018)
11 Apr - Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO 60 Years)
17 Apr - Goan Tiatr 125th Anniversary (Since 1892)
25 Apr - Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna
27 Apr - Safdarjung Hospital
28 Apr - Prithviraj Chauhan

Update (14 April 2018): I've been struggling to find time for adding new information, but it will get better in the next two weeks. In the meanwhile, India Post is back to thee same tardy ways of the old. Stamp issues are being scheduled with no notice, then delayed and postponed, yet again with no clear justification. Information on several forthcoming stamps was circulated on social media and I've added that information in the approved/possible list of stamp issues at the bottom of this post.

The month of March saw one large commemorative stamp, on the eight known planets of our solar system. The stamps designed by Suresh Kumar Achari were depicted in a pattern similar to the orbits and distance from the sun. It was a decently designed stamp issue, but I wish India Post had worked with ISRO to depict images of at least earth and Mars taken by Indian space missions. The United States Postal Service has issued stamps on space exploration with actual images of planets in 1991 and 2016 in coordination with NASA. Pluto had not been explored in 1991, so the stamp on Pluto was inscribed with 'not yet explored'. By the time the next stamp on Pluto was released in 2016, NASA had reached the now dwarf planet and used an actual image with an inscription - Pluto, Explored. I digressed, but thought this was an interesting anecdote. The Indian solar system stamps were apparently printed in the form of sheetlets and miniature sheets, but the sheetlets have not been made available for purchase after almost of month of issuance. Why such delay from the printer, SPP Hyderabad? Sheetlets for ASEAN India Commemorative Summit from January 2018 haven't been put for sale either. My personal recommendation is to use CSP Kanpur and EPP Madras, the two private security printers along with the SPMCIL printing presses to print postal stamps. The private printers, especially CSP Kanpur has done some amazing work with India Post in 2001-2004 period.

Several MyStamp sheetlets was also issued or made available for sale last month. Two of these issues, on Andhra Pradesh Tourism and Kumbh Prayagraj had been known to exist since late January, but were neither dedicated at a ceremony nor sold anywhere, so I'm going to consider these issued in March 2018, since they were put on ePostOffice last month. On the note of MyStamps, editors from Linns (Amos Media) that prints Scott Catalog has recently issued a note that Scott will only assign catalog numbers to personalized MyStamp issues and not for the pre-printed customized MyStamp issues that corporate, individual or organizations can obtain from India Post (minimum 5000 sheetlets). This was an important clarification, because the cost of collecting customized MyStamps is exorbitant and philatelists may not be interested in adding these to their Republic of India collection.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in March 2018
05 Mar - Biju Patnaik (1916-2016)
08 Mar - Central Industrial Security Force (2 designs)
20 Mar - The Solar System (8 designs)

India Post Customized MyStamps in March 2018
10 Mar - Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (2 designs)
23 Mar - Hyderabad International Airport
Top 12 Tourist Destinations of Andhra Pradesh (12 designs): Tirumala Temple, Kanakdurga Temple, Vijayawada; Srisailam Temple; Gandikota-Grand Canyon; R. K. Beach, Visakhapatnam; Tribal Museum, Araku; Chrandragiri Fort; Pulicat Lake; Pavithra Sangamam; Borra Caves; Amaravati; Papikondalu
Kumbh Prayagaj

Update (18 Mar 2018): It's been quite a while since the last update. I'd been busy with work and traveling as well. A few stamps were issued in the second half of February, but no surprises as such. I'd shared information on some of these stamp subjects earlier and most of those hold true.

India and Iran jointly released a pair of stamps during the visit of the President of Iran to New Delhi on 17th February. The theme for these stamps was maritime linkage showing Deendayal Kandla and Chabahar Shahid Beheshti ports, one from each country. The stamp subject was a welcome change from the oft used dance theme. The stamp on film producer B. Nagi Reddi was the second one released in February. The Vice President of India dedicated this stamp in Chennai on the 23rd February. The third and final commemorative stamp of the month was dedicated by the Prime Minister of India to celebrate the golden jubilee of Auroville, an international township near Pondicherry (Puducherry). Though the stamp design was well received, the word Jubilee was incorrectly spelled as 'Jubliee' on the actual stamps. I've been highlighting typos in Indian stamps for almost a decade now, but to no avail. India Post should implement a proof reading team within the philately department and hold the stamp designer and other staff accountable for such silly errors.

Early in March, a stamp on Biju Patnaik (5th March) and the CISF golden jubilee were also issued in Bhubaneswar and New Delhi respectively. The Biju Patnaik stamp design was pretty similar to the one issued in 1999. Brahm Prakash designed this stamp and I'm curious why the inscription 1916-2016 was necessary on the stamp released in 2018. It may be understood by some ardent followers of Biju Patnaik that his birth centenary was celebrated in 2016, but makes no sense from a design perspective. There may have been delay in realizing the political value in issuing this stamp, but the art work could have been updated to '1916-1997', showing the late leader's lifespan. Kamleshwar Singh came to India Post's rescue though. He designed a beautiful se-tenant of stamps on the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that was issued on 8th March during the 49th raising day celebration in New Delhi. It's among some of the best stamp designs issued in the recent past.

A couple of MyStamp sheetlets were also issued in the last few weeks. The first one on Kalinga Institute of Technology was issued in Bhubaneswar and another one the famous Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai was also put on sale sometime in February. I'm surprised with the Mumbai temple MyStamp issuance because when I tried to purchase this sheetlet in Mumbai in the last week of February, the staff at Mumbai GPO was unaware of its sale. Hopefully it will be made available for purchase soon.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in February 2018
17 Feb - India-Iran Joint Issue (Deendayal Kandla & Chabahar Ports)
23 Feb - B. Nagi Reddi
25 Feb - Auroville International Township (Golden Jubilee)

India Post MyStamps in February 2018
16 Feb - Kalinga Institute of Technology (KIIT)
Shree Siddhivinayak Ganesh Temple, Prabhadevi, Mumbai

Update (11 Feb 2018): The first month of the new year was fairly decent. India Post issued five stamps in January, several thematic/commemorative stamps and one personality. Most of these stamps were dedicated in the last week of January. The first one was a joint issue between India and Vietnam, which was dedicated in New Delhi on 25th January by India Post and Vietnam Post officials. I've already posted a separate post (click here to read) for this joint issue, which showed Buddhist monuments from both countries. That same day, India's Prime Minister along with Heads of State/Government from 10 ASEAN countries dedicated a set of stamps with 11 designs during the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 2018 in New Delhi. I am planning to write a separate blog post for this stamp issue, which was prepared by one of my favorite stamp designers, Sankha Samanta. The next stamp issue on Potter's Wheel was put on sale on ePostOffice on 26th January. This stamp issue, as has been the trend for last several years was crowdsourced. These stamps were issued in two designs with a miniature sheet. 

Even though some of the stamps were properly designed, majority of the stamp stocks haven't yet made it to the post offices. India Post's ePostOffice has been selling some of the stamps, but first day covers and brochures have seen excessive delays. Delivery of online stamp orders from ePostOffice is also slowing down, with most packets taking 4-5 weeks to reach collectors. India Post boasts of a huge network of transport and postal carriers, and if ePostOffice has to show improved growth, both the website and the actual delivery time needs to be significantly improved.

The final stamp in January on Dr. Talimeren Ao was simultaneously dedicated in Guwahati (Assam) and Kohima (Nagaland) on 28th January by the Governors of both the state. Dr. Talimeren Ao, born in 1918 was India's soccer team captain in 1948 London Olympics and a civil surgeon.

I've been able to confirm one of the MyStamp sheetlets on Akshar Deri, Gondal of Swaminarayan organization, but not the others. If any of you come across other MyStamp sheetlets listed below, let me know. I will wait for release events or special covers etc. to finalize the issue dates for these MyStamp sheetlets.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in January 2018:
08 Jan - ICAR-CPCRI (2 designs)
25 Jan - India-Vietnam Joint Issue (Sanchi Stupa & Pho Minh Pagoda)
25 Jan - ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 2018 (11 designs)
26 Jan - Potter's Wheel (Republic Day 2018; 2 designs)
28 Jan - Dr. Talimeren Ao

India Post MyStamps in January 2018:
22 Jan - MyStamp - Akshar Deri, Gondal
MyStamp - Andhra Pradesh Tourism
MyStamp - Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai
MyStamp - Kumbh Prayagraj

Update (20 Jan 2018): Like I'd said in the last update, I can share details for personalities that will be honored with India Post stamps in 2018. Some of these are carry over from 2016-17 and I'm hoping these get issued finally. Some other details, especially for joint issue stamps are evolving fast. It's likely that joint issue stamps with Armenia, Vietnam and Serbia will be issued this year along with South Africa. I may end up writing a new blog post to track all joint issues with India. For now, I've updated the lists below. There are three ways I'm tracking stamp subjects - approved stamp issues, possible stamps and BetterPhilately wish list. 

The next stamp issues will likely be around the Republic Day on 26th January, which is when the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit is also being held. Heads of State/Government from all 10 ASEAN countries are visiting India as chief guests for the Republic Day parade, an honor reserved for close friends of the Indian State. A set of 10-11 stamps, showing cultural connect with each country will be issued. I made a list of some things that link India with the ASEAN countries (click here to see on Twitter). It's possible that these could be depicted on the stamps, let's see.

I've also been reading on social media that the joint issue with Vietnam will be dedicated sometime next week as well. Like you may have seen, I've already confirmed the proposed date for the Armenia-India joint issue as 21st March 2018 with a theme of dances in another blog post. Serbia also announced that a joint issue with India will be issued on 09th October.

Update (16 Jan 2018): I've been sharing details for stamp subjects on the blog and on Twitter, which can be used from 2017-2022 to develop a good issue program. Some of the subjects are nearing their anniversary events and will likely be commemorated with postal stamps. Take a look at the list below. I will soon share additional details for some personalities that are likely to be on India Post stamps this year as well. Like always, do mention BetterPhilately in conversations on social media using #BetterPhila.
Possible India Post stamp issues (2018).
Update (15 Jan 2018): We are still waiting on details for stamps to be issued in 2018, but the year began with the first release on 08th January. Last year, two stamps viz. ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute and Goa Tiatr (125th anniversary) were printed, but never put for sale. It appeared that India Post took cognizance of the typos on both the stamps. Like I had pointed out on the Twitter feed, ICAR-CPCRI stamp had an error in the Hindi acronym of ICAR, and the Goan Tiatr stamp spelled 'Tiatr' incorrectly as 'Tiater'. The ICAR-CPCRI stamp was re-printed with minor design changes and issued in Kasargod earlier this month. The Union Cabinet Minister for Statistics and Program Implementation was present along with postal officials and institute staff. The interesting piece is that copies of the old stamp (with 2017 year printed) are being sold for $40 or Rupees 7500 on eBay. I wonder how many of these old stamps slipped out illegally. I've posted images of both the 2017 and 2018 stamps below.

In other news, it appears that a stamp (possibly, on Ramayana) will be issued on 25th January, during the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in New Delhi. India and South East Asian countries have a lot of common cultural aspect, Ramayana being one of them.

Possible Stamp Issues
Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) - 60 Years
India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit (Ramayana)
ICAR-CPCRI (Central Plantation Crops Research Institute) - New stamp from 2018 (above) and the old print from 2017 (below). There are minor design differences in the two sheets.
Original Post (27 Dec 2017): I will start posting details for possible stamp issues and other updates for 2018 in a few weeks, but I'm carrying over several stamp subjects that were either or approved or considered for issuance and could be released in 2018. Let me know if you have other details to share with fellow stamp collectors. Happy New Year!

BetterPhilately Wish List
Amritlal Nagar
B. D. Jatti
Balasaheb Thackarey
Balasheb Deoras
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Chinmayananda Saraswati
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy
Eknath Ranade
Gopal Swarup Pathak
Guru Nanak Dev - 550th Parkash Utsav
I. K. Gujral
J. Jayalalithaa
K. R. Narayanan
Khushabhau Thakre
Laxmanrao Inamdar
Mohammad Hidayatullah
N. Sanjeeva Reddy
Nelson Mandela
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Shivmangal Singh Suman
Siyaram Sharan Gupt
Srimant Sankardev
Swami Abhedananda
Swami Karpatri
V. P. Singh

19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche
Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh
Amrita Pritam
B. K. S. Iyengar
Chandrakant Patel
Dhanraj Bhagat
L. L. Narayan
Maharani Gayatri Devi
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi
Maniram Dewan
Queen Heo Hwang-ok (Korean queen from Ayodhya)
Ramamand Sagar
Sikander Bakht
Sudhir Phadke
Vinda Karandikar

100 Years of Kheda Movement
100 Years of Sabarmati Ashram
150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
50 Years of Commercial Nuclear Power - Tarapur
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bose Institute
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
High Court of Punjab & Haryana Centenary
International Film Festival of India (Golden Jubilee)
Joint Issue Stamps with India: Bulgaria, Serbia, South Korea & UN
Jyotirlinga Temples
ISRO - Golden Jubilee (Magalyaan and Chandrayan)
Osmania University, Hyderabard (100 Years) - MyStamp
Rajkumar School, Rajkot
Ravenshaw University, Cuttack (150 Years) - MyStamp
Sherwood College, Nainital
The Maihar Band (100 Years)
The Yoga Institute, Mumbai (100 Years)

Stamps Approved for Issuance
Thematic Issues
Birds: Endangered & Critically Endangered
Boats of India
Bridal Costumes of India
Four Dhamas (Char Dham)
Fragrant Stamps (Chocolate, Strawberry)
Historical Gates of Indian Forts
India’s Participation in World War I
Indian Fashion Industry
Indian Perfume
Jataka Tales
Mehandi (Lawsona inermis)
Minerals of India
Musical Instruments (Chimta, Dotara, Ektara, Khartal, Tumbi)
Palace on Wheels
Shaktipeeth Temples (Kalighat, Kamkhya, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi)
Terracotta Temples of India
Traditional Embroideries of India
Tribes of India
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Wildlife – Flora & Fauna

Other Issues
Aga Khan  Foundation
Children's Day - Communal Harmony
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (60 Years)
Eastern Naval Command (50 Years)
HMS Minden & HMS Trincomalee (1810-1811)
Induction of Pilatus PC-7 Mk II
Paika Rebellion (200 Years)
University of Mysore

Acharya Bodhihdharma & Efflorescence of Zen Culture
Acharya Konda Laxman Bapuji
Dr. B. P. Radhakrishna
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
Girdharilal Bhargava
Kakaji & Pappaji Maharaj
Lala Thunthee Mull
Maharaja Suheldev
M. Balamuralikrishna
Rajkumar Shukla
Raja Todarmal
Sabri Khan Sahib
Sant Pipaji Maharaj
Vedanta Desikan

Stamps from Approved List or BetterPhilately List issued in 2018
Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (ICAR)
India-Vietnam: Joint Issue
ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 2018
Dr. Talimeren Ao
Republic Day (Potter's Wheel)
Auroville (Golden Jubilee)
B. Nagi Reddi
CISF - Central Industrial Security Force
Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO)
Solar System
Goan Tiatr
Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna
M. V. Arunachalam
C. Kesavan
Lions Clubs International Centenary
India-South Africa: Joint Issue (Deendayal Upadhyaya & Oliver R. Tambo)
Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha
M. L. Vasanthakumari
Chapekar Brothers (Damodar Hari Chapakar)
MyStamp - Shilma Ridge
MyStamp - Zodiac Signs (12 designs)
Indian Handloom Production (Geographical Indicators registered)
Mahadevappa Mailara
Patna University (1917-2017)
India-Armenia: Joint Issue
Independence Day - Holiday Destinations in India
Hislop College, Nagpur
Sant Ganinath

Saturday, May 12, 2018

India-Iran Joint Stamp Issue

India and Iran jointly dedicated the second joint stamp issue between the two countries on 17th February 2018. The stamps in two designed were dedicated by the Prime Minister of India and the President of Iran at a bilateral event in New Delhi, during the latter's State visit to India. This joint issuance celebrates the maritime trade links between India and Iran, showing ports. The Indian port of Deendayal Kandla and Iranian Beheshti Chabahar port are depicted on the two stamps in identical designs.

I don't have details for the Iranian version other than pictures of the souvenir sheet, first day cover and a postcard. Information sheet for the Indian version lists Kamleshwar Singh as the stamp/FDC designer and Alka Sharma made the cancellation design. India Post issued two stamps and a miniature sheet along with first day covers. The Indian stamps were printed in 0.501 million quantity for each design and 0.1 million miniature sheets. The stamps were printed at Security Printing Press, Hyderabad.
Joint Stamp Issue between Iran and India (2018): Kandla & Chabahar Ports
The stamps show a graphical representation of the two ports with ships and port equipment on both sides. Deendayal Kandla is a major port located in the Indian state of Gujarat in operation since the 1930s. India and Iran have been working on developing several births in Chabahar port in Iran and the first  shipment of wheat was sent to Afghanistan from Kandla to Chabahar in late 2017. The Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar, located in the Sistan & Baluchestan province is geographically close to India and at a geo-strategic location in the Gulf of Oman. The two countries are working to further develop this as an important trade route to reach the Central Asian markets.

The souvenir sheets have numerous port cranes in the background, line drawings of maps of both the ports on top and two historical monuments in the bottom. The two columns shown are the Ashokan Pillar from Vaishali, India and a Griffin column from Persepolis, Iran.

India and Iran had issued their first joint stamp issue, fourteen year ago, back in August 2004. This first set of stamps jointly commemorated famous poets from both nations - Hafiz from Iran and Kabir from India. I imagine that the details for this joint issue was worked out after the state visit of then Iranian President in January 2003.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Can Philatelists help India Post plan for 2018-2022?

Updates on 20 Sep 2018
Updates on 09 June 2018
Updates on 23 March 2018

Update (21 Jan 2018): This is a new post, but with majority of the old dates and such removed. I'm starting to track old approved issues and ideas for new stamp subjects here. I've added a new sub-section for issues that are unlikely in the near future, but may be revived at a later date. You can see the previous version by clicking here.

Text from the old blog post: There are numerous stamp issues that were put out by India Post for release in a particular year, but have not yet been released. Since the subjects were shared with the public, I am assuming these issues were approved for release. Many of these morphed into different stamp subjects. There could be various views about the list below, but one can be objective about it to help increase accountability and transparency in the process of selecting and issuing stamps.

I will try provide perspective to some of the stamp subjects hoping that these stamp releases languishing in Dak Bhawan (India Post HQ) will see the light of day. The stamp for Mumbai Stock Exchange was to commemorate 125 years of the stock exchange. Was this pulled out because it could be seen as an anti-poor move? Other issues for 2001 should be brought back, redesigned and released. Especially, the Jataka Tales and Hitopadesha stamps. The Panchatantra Stories stamps released in 2001 were quite popular and I remember hearing from our philatelic bureau those stamps being the highest seller for 2001. The Jataka Tales and Hitopadesha stamps can be released in two sets and complete a Folktales of India series (comprising of all these three folktales).

Joint issues were planned with Oman (2005) and Peru (2013), but were never released. I believe the issue with the Peru joint issue was that Peru released their stamp in March and India Post was not ready with its version. Although planned to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations, the joint issue with Oman was also not released as planned.

SAARC could have had two stamp issues - one for 20 years celebration in 2005 and the other one for South Asian Postal Union. SAARC has had a troubled history with little progress made on the ground. It would not be surprising if the Charter Day issue was abandoned due to political reasons. The SAPU stamp was overcast with the Wild Flowers of India issue during the APPU Congress in New Delhi (2013). In the past some SAARC stamps had good themes and designs - Year of Youth (1995), Year of Shelter (1991), 10 year celebrations (1996). Planning to release the pending issues will add to the new vigor with neighborly relations.

Pramathesh Barua was part of the Legendary Filmmakers series planned for release in 2006. Neither was this series started, not was a stamp released on Barua. Instead, stamps on  most other filmmakers were released individually (A. V. Meiyappan, Bimal Roy, Mehboob Khan, Ritwik Ghatak, L. V. Prasad).

On the other hand, the Himalayan Lakes, Landmark Bridges and Horses of India series were put in place, but some of the originally included subjects were not released. It would be ideal if these series can be continued with newer additions along with the ones that were intended for release but not included in the first issuance. A similar issue existed with stamps issues under the Festivals of India and Textiles of India stamp series. Honest opinion for Textiles stamps - Tat and Chanderi textiles were dropped to include Kalamkari (Andhra; Panbaka Lakshmi was MoS Textiles in 2009) and Apa Tani textiles (Arunachal; attempt to include North-East India).

A large set of stamp subjects (Calendar Stamps) were publicized in 2009 in the short lived Phila Post magazine. None, make note, none of these stamps have been released so far. Like the India Post-PCI collaboration on the magazine, PAC's idea of Calendar Stamps did not take off. The stamp subjects were terrific and would have done yeomen service to spread Indian culture across the world, but sadly nothing was achieved.

This post is getting quite long. I will rest my case here. This list should be used for furthering discussions with India Post and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad (MoCIT) about stamp issues and recommendations for future releases. These stamp subjects alone should provide enough material for the next few years, leading up to the 75th Year of India's Independence (Amrut Mahotsav in 2022).

Update (10 Sep 2016): A sub-section has been added toward the end of this post to list all the stamps that eventually get released from the proposals listed below. A few minor updates to some stamp subjects have been added as well. Appreciate the feedback and comments from all the readers. Keep'em coming.

Update (06 Aug 2016): Just re-organized this post while keeping all the information unchanged. Dates and colors indicated below will allow easy navigation.  Black font was the original post and additions or updates are in different colors and each color represents a specific date. Post a comment if there's a question. Enjoy.

Stamp Issues Approved, but Not Released
Set of 4 stamps on Greetings
Set of 4 stamps on Dances of India
Set of 4 stamps on Hitopadesha and Jataka Tales (Approved)

India-Oman Joint Issue
SAARC Charter Day

Himalayan Lakes – Loktak, Suraj Tal, Naini Tal
Landmark Bridges – Coronation Bridge, Kandrour Bridge, Laxman Jhula, Godavari Bridge
Pramathesh Barua

Battaqh Ali Ansari

Festivals of India – Kulu Dussehra
Infantry Soldier – Year of Infantry
Jammu & Kashmir Light Regiment
Maulana Atikur Rehman Alvi
Mahanamrata Brahmachari
Textiles of India – Tat, Chanderi, Ikat, Paithani, Maheshwari, Jamdani, Kota, Sambalpuri, Angami Weaves

Architectural Splendor – Ujjayanta Palace, Patwon ki Haveli, Mattancherry Palace
Buddha Jayanti
Caves (Tracing Civilizations) – Bhimbetka, Barabar, Udaigiri, Nagarjuna
Children’s Fables – Vikram & Betal, Mogli, Tenali Rama, Birbal
Hill Stations (Colonial Heritage) – Gulmarg, Darjeeling, Ooty, Shimla
Endangered Species – Ganges River Dolphin, Nilgiri Tahr, Lion Tailed Macaque, Himalayan Musk Deer
Greetings – Christmas, New Year
Horses of India – Spiti and Kati
House Boats – Kerala, Kashmir
National Gallery of Modern Art
Seasons of India
Shakti Temples – Kalighat, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi, Kamakhya (Approved)
Unique Villages of India – Toda, Kutch
UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities

Asiatic Black Bear and other wild animals (Set of 4 stamps)
Boats of India (Set of 4 stamps)
Flowers of India (Set of 2 stamps)
Government College, Ajmer
Railway Bridges of India (Set of 4 stamps)
Traditional Embroideries of India - Chikankari, Kutchi, Kashmiri, Phulkari, Kantha
Tribal Dwellings (Set of 4 stamps)

Dr. Nilratan Sircar
India-Peru Joint Issue
South Asian Postal Union

Machali, The Tigress

The following subjects should be/are being considered for release in the next few years as well:
BetterPhilately Wish List
Banda Singh Bahadur
Bishop Cotton School, Bengaluru
Delhi High Court - Golden Jubilee
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu' (Approved)

100 Years of Kheda Movement
100 Years of Sabarmati Ashram
200 Years of Paika Rebellion (Approved)
Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh
Amritlal Nagar
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
Hindu School, Kolkata
India-UN Joint Issue: International Day of Yoga
Laxmanrao Inamdar
Presidency University, Kolkata
Queen Heo Hwang-ok (Korean queen from Ayodhya)
Swami Abhedananda

50 Years of Commercial Nuclear Power - Tarapur
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (Approved)
Bose Institute
Chandrakant Patel
ISRO - Golden Jubilee
Jyotirlinga Temples
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi
Maniram Dewan
Osmania University, Hyderabard (100 Years) - MyStamp
Rajkumar School, Rajkot
Ramamand Sagar
Ravenshaw University, Cuttack (150 Years) - MyStamp
Sikander Bakht
Srimant Sankardev
The Maihar Band (100 Years)
The Yoga Institute, Mumbai (100 Years)
Vinda Karandikar

150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (Approved)
High Court of Punjab & Haryana Centenary
Sherwood College, Nainital
St. Aloysius Senior Secondary School, Jabalpur
Amrita Pritam
Maharani Gayatri Devi
Guru Nanak Dev - 550th Parkash Utsav
International Film Festival of India (Golden Jubilee)

36th International Geological Congress
Modern School, New Delhi
Pandurang Shastri Athavle
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

75 Years of India's Independence
India-Bangladesh: Joint Issue (50 & 75 Years of Independence)

BetterPhilately Wish List (Personalities)
B. D. Jatti
Balasaheb Thackarey
Balasheb Deoras
Chinmayananda Saraswati
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy
Eknath Ranade
Gopal Swarup Pathak
I. K. Gujral
J. Jayalalithaa
K. R. Narayanan
Khushabhau Thakre
Mohammad Hidayatullah
N. Sanjeeva Reddy
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Shivmangal Singh Suman
Siyaram Sharan Gupt
V. P. Singh

Dead Issues
Bhupesh Gupta
D. Devaraj Urs
Jyoti Basu
International Year of Pulses
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017
St. Mary's School, Pune
St. Mary’s Convent Inter College, Allahabad

Stamps, Eventually Issued
Auroville (Golden Jubilee) - Released on 25 Feb 2018
CISF - Central Industrial Security Force - Released on 08 Mar 2018
B. Nagi Reddi - Released on 23 Feb 2018
Oliver Reginald Tambo - Released on 07 Jun 2018
Lions International Centenary - Released on 25 May 2018
Patna University - Released on 25 Aug 2018
Nelson Mandela - Released on 26 Jul 2018
Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha - Released on 17 Jun 2018
India-Armenia: Joint Issue - Released on 29 Aug 2018