Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Check the Spellings #1

It is important to have the correct spellings on stamps and related philatelic material (brochure, FDC etc). In the last decade there have been numerous occasions of typographical errors on Indian postage stamps. These are mostly related to the vernacular (Hindi) spellings. 

First one being a postage stamp issued on 30 June 2008 to commemorate 50 years of Madhav Institute of Science & Technology, Gwalior during the valedictory function of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The postage stamp has a spelling error in the Hindi alphabets. The Hindi word for 'Technology' is 'Praudyogiki'. It uses a letter, 'dya' in its spelling.  The stamp on the contrary mentions it as 'Praudhogiki', making no meaning out of it. It has replaced 'dya' with 'dha'. The Ministry under which the Department of Posts functions is Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, having 'Technology' in its name itself! Such blunders are an insult to the department, which cannot even take care of spelling mistakes in postage stamps, referred to as being a nation's reprecentatives to the world. The fascimile on the borchure shows the name spelt out correctly. The error could have cropped up during the printing process.

Another mistake can be found in the Brahmos missile postage stamps released on 22 December 2008. The FDC carries the spelling of the Moskva river, in English as MOSKAVA whereas it is correctly mentioned at MOSKVA on the miniature sheet. The version in the vernacular language, on the FDC reads as MASKOVA and on the miniature sheet as MOSKOVA. So, these are four different ways to the original MOSKVA river, after which the BrahMOS cruise missile is partly named. I request the artists to be more careful, since postage stamp is a miniature art form that conveys a message and thus needs attention to perfection. A proof-check of the philatelic materials should be done before being sent out for printing. These postage stamps are the message-carriers of a nation and this postage stamp in particular, will have significance in Russia as well.

A variation in spelling Satyajit Ray's name can be found in a definitive stamp release on the legendary filmmaker, a builder of modern India in March 2009. The vernacular spelling of Ray's name is different on the other stamp released to honor him in January 1994. The stamp in the definitive series translates his last name 'Ray' name to ' रे ' where as the commemorative version has is as ' राय '. One is curious to know what goes in the making of India postage stamps and why little to no attention is paid to the details and accuracy. It may not always be wise to question the spellings for proper nouns (individual's names) but, there is ample scope to improving uniformity in this regard.

This topic is one that deserves attention. The last word on this has not been written yet. As I finish writing this, there is a new postage stamp on Indian Ocean and Rajendra Chola 1 and there are a few minor errors on that postage stamp as well. Rest for later.

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