Sunday, December 3, 2017

India Post Stamp Subjects for 2017 (Jul-Dec 2017)

Update on 03 Dec 2017: I've waited a few days for India Post to share information for forthcoming stamp issues in December, but given their slowness, here's the update from November, including possible stamps that could be released in the last month of this year. 

The first stamp was issued on 01st November in Bengaluru to commemorate a Kannada poet, a Telugu poet and a temple in Andhra Pradesh. Even though, I was unable to establish any connection between the three stamps, the designs by Kamleshwar Singh were well planned (as always). Each stamp showed important facets of the subject. Members of Parliament from Karnataka dedicated the stamps, which were originally planned for issuance by a Federal Cabinet Minister (Ananth Kumar).

Then came a mega stamp issue, the largest set of stamps this year celebrating Indian food. The Prime Minister of India dedicated a miniature sheet containing 24 stamps showing popular Indian dishes on 03rd November at World Food India Conference in New Delhi. Foods shown on the stamps were randomly picked from all over the country and categorized in four groups. This mega stamp issue also consisted of four more miniature sheets (6 stamps each) and four sheetlets (24 stamps each). I've listed the dishes on the stamps below.
Two other stamps that were known before, Children's Day and Mahabharat were issued in November as well. Two stamps and two miniature sheets (each Rs 15) were issued on Nest theme to celebrate Children's Day. Honestly, these crowdsourced stamps have become excessive each year, and I wish this would be limited to one design and smaller denominations. The second mega stamp issue this past month was the one to commemorate another Indian epic, Mahabharat. Bharati Mirchandani designed three miniature sheets in collaboration with Santok Ba, Lakshmikanta Dash and Meena Mani. The stamps were dedicated at a conference on Bhagvad Gita in Kurukshetra by MoS Communications and Governor of Haryana on 27th November. If I can get clear images of the stamps, a blog dedicated to the Mahabharat and Ramayana stamps designs can be easily written for the readers.

As has been the trend over the last few months, several MyStamp sheetlets, consisting of two personalized sheetlets on Vaishno Devi Temple and Wedding wishes as well as two customized sheetlets on NBCC (India) Limited and Maluti Terracotta temples were released. The Vaishno Devi stamp was released by the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir in Jammu, the NBCC stamp by MoS Communications in New Delhi and the Maluti temples sheet by the President of India in Ranchi. Even though the customized sheetlets have been put on sale, the two personalized MyStamps have not been made available on ePostOffice at the time of writing this update. There has been some news about potential MyStamp sheetlets on Ananada Nilayam Vimana (Tirumala) and Sabarimala Temple, but these have not been confirmed.

Recent Stamp Issues
01 Nov - Adikavi Nannaya, Draksharamam Temple and Kavi Muddana
03 Nov - Indian Cuisine (24 designs)
08 Nov - MyStamp - Vaishno Devi Temple
14 Nov - Children's Day: Nest (2 designs)
15 Nov - MyStamp - Terracotta Temples of Heritage Village Maluti (Jharkhand Tourism)
15 Nov - MyStamp - NBCC (India) Limited
17 Nov - MyStamp - Wedding Wishes
27 Nov - Mahabharat (18 designs)

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
18 Dec - Babu Banarsi Dass Gupta
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Dadabhai Naoroji
Dr. Shambhunath Singh
Goan Tiatr: 125th Anniversary (2 designs)
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue (2 designs)
Indian Hand Fans (more than 16 designs)
Step Wells of India

Uncertain Stamp Issues
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Pilatus Induction
Raja Todarmal

Update on 29 Oct 2017: First off, some updates for the next several weeks. India Post has yet to issue several stamps like Mahabahrat, Hand Fans, Step Wells, India-Papua New Guinea joint issue and other personalities and there are only two months left in the calendar year. The next two months could turn out to be quite expensive, so be prepared to shell out a few thousand bucks to keep the collections updated. In early November, India Post will issue stamps on Indian Cuisine, which appears to be a set of 24 designs. Let's see what foods make the cut and what designs are in store for the collectors. 

I've also gathered that another joint issue, this one with Armenia, could be released in December and possibly again on the theme of dances. If this comes true, it would be the sixth joint issue this year and the third on dances.

No jumbo stamp issues were released by India Post this month, and that could provide a breather to collectors before the last two months of the calendar year begin. Several of the best designed stamps of the year were released in October; all by Kamleshwar Singh. A stamp on the Silver Jubilee of the Rapid Action Force of the CRPF was issued in Meerut by the Home Minister of India on 07th October. A stamp was also issued to commemorate the centenary of the 3rd battalion of the Kumaon Regiment on the 23rd October. General Bipin Rawat of the Indian Army dedicated this stamp in Pithoragarh, the battalion's home base. 

One of the stamp that I had been requesting for issuance was on Nanaji Deshmukh. This stamp was finally issued by India Post on 11th October. The Prime Minister of India dedicated the stamp at a function held in New Delhi.

A beautiful set of two stamps was quietly put for sale to commemorate 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and Russia on 26th October. The stamps depict Bhavai and Beryozka folk dances; one from each country. Russia issued stamps in two designs on the same date, albeit in a different design. Kamleshwar Singh designed these stamps, as well as the ones on Rapid Action Force and 3 Kumaon (Rifles). All these three stamp issues are among the most intricately planned and created. Kudos to the designer for using this medium to truly miniaturize art work and showcase the theme to its full potential.

Two stamps were also dedicated in Mumbai to celebrate 75 years of operations at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Officials from India Post and the Mumbai Airport took part in the event held on 15th October. This was the same date when JRD Tata flew the first international flight in India from Karachi to Mumbai in 1932. This is when Air India or Tata Airlines was born. The stamps were unimpressive. I was expecting the stamps to show some history and the transition from a military base to the current world-class airport terminal, but instead the stamp designer chose to ignore the history and used glossy images supplied by the current operator to advertise the new terminal. Truly, a wasted opportunity.

Several MyStamp issues were also released over the last few weeks. The Governor of Jharkhand dedicated the MyStamp on Central Institute of Psychiatry in Ranchi. The MoS Communications did the same for the sheetlet on Indian Buildings Congress and the Home Minister of the state of Telangana released the MyStamp on Telangana Police. Given that India Post has settled on Rs 500 for each of these customized MyStamp sheetlets, the cost for collecting all MyStamps is quite exorbitant.

Recent Stamp Issues
07 Oct - Rapid Action Force (25 Years)
10 Oct - MyStamp - Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi
11 Oct - Nanaji Deshmukh
15 Oct - Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
17 Oct - MyStamp - Indian Buildings Congress (Silver Jubilee)
21 Oct - MyStamp - Telangana Police (Police Commemoration Day)
23 Oct - 3 Kumaon (Rifles)
26 Oct - India-Russia: Joint Issue (Bhavai and Beryozka dances)

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
01 Nov - Adikavi Nannaya Bhatta, Draksharamam Temple and Kavi Muddana
03 Nov - Indian Cuisine
09 Nov - Dr. Shambhunath Singh
14 Nov - Children's Day (Theme: Nest)
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Dadabhai Naoroji
Goan Tiatr (125th Anniversary)
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue (2 designs)
Indian Hand Fans (more than 16 designs)
Mahabharat (18 designs)
Step Wells of India

Uncertain Stamp Issues
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Pilatus Induction
Raja Todarmal

Update on 07 Oct 2017: Just a quick update on new India Post stamp issues in October. Several new stamps will be released in the next few weeks. Three of these were previously unannounced. A stamp will be issued on 07th October to commemorate 25 years of the Rapid Action Force, which is a specialized police force of the Central Reserve Police Force in India's Home Ministry. A stamp will also be issued on 23rd October on 100 years of 3 Kumaon (Rifles) regiment of the Indian Army.

A postal stamp will be issued on Nanaji Deshmukh on 11th October to celebrate completion of Nanaji's birth centenary. I've been asking for a stamp issue on this personality on Twitter for over a year now. Glad, it's finally approved.

A set of two stamps will also be issued 15th October to commemorate 75 Years of the International Airport in Mumbai. I've posted the stamp designs on BetterPhilately Twitter feed (see it here). The stamp designs are quite ordinary. Neither of the stamps depict the airport buildings in its entirety, and it's hard for me to believe that despite Kamleshwar Singh and Sankha Samanta being available as designers, but India Post keeps churning out some random stamp art. Let's see if the miniature sheet looks any better.

There will likely be other stamp issues in October, albeit unannounced.

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
07 Oct - Rapid Action Force (25 Years)
11 Oct - Nanaji Deshmukh
15 Oct - Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
23 Oct - 3 Kumaon (Rifles)
08 Nov - Raja Todarmal
14 Nov - Children's Day
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Dadabhai Naoroji
Goan Tiatr (125th Anniversary)
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue (2 designs)
India-Russia: Joint Issue
Indian Hand Fans (>16 designs)
Mahabharat (18 designs)
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Pilatus Induction
Step Wells of India

Update on 01 Oct 2017: September turned out to be quite good with several new issues being dedicated and put for sale. The eagerly awaited stamp set on Ramayana (11 designs) was finally issued on 22nd September by the Prime Minister of India in Varanasi. India Post also sent the stamp set to more than 40 embassies around the world to sell the stamps to the Indian diaspora. Images of the stamps had been in circulation since June this year with several speculated release dates, but what came as a surprise was the issuance of the stamp set in two miniature sheets. The stamp set was printed in a sheet with green selvage and another one with a maroon background. India Post refers to the maroon one as a sheetlet, but that's an incorrect nomenclature. Anyways, the stamps were well  designed by Sankha Samanta and printed in ample quantity to reach all collectors.

Two joint issues were dedicated in the last month. I had wondered about this first during the last update. A joint stamp was dedicated on 12th September by the Prime Minister of India and the President of Belarus in New Delhi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Both countries issued one stamp with the same design showing the respective national symbols. The stamp design was quite ordinary, similar to what Belarus has been issuing all of 2017, showing national symbols. Given the similarity of other Belarus joint issues, it's safe to assume the stamp was designed in Belarus. India also issued a miniature sheet, designed by Kamleshwar Singh. It depicts the Lotus Temple (New Delhi) and the National Library of Belarus (Minsk). The stamp designer's creativity was clearly visible, and I wish he had designed the stamp as well. This could have easily been among the better designs this year.

The other joint issue was the much awaited one between Canada and India, which was issued on 21st September in New Delhi and Toronto. The two countries had decided in February 2017 to prepare a joint issue on Diwali and keeping the plan unchaged, two stamps, one design each from India and Canada were issued to celebrate the festival of lights. Alka Sharma designed the Indian version and Gerald Querubin of Entro Communications designed the stamp from Canada. What made this joint issue special was the issuance of the Siamese twin miniature sheet - Canada Post printed a souvenir sheet that contains one Indian stamp and a Canadian stamp. India Post had done a Siamese twin issue for the first time in 2015 with Singapore Post. Kudos to the philately team that planned this issue. The only gripe with this stamp set was the Indian design on Diwali. This is the third stamp on Diwali (2008, 2012 and 2017) and could have easily depicted something more stylized or another feature of the festival. Alka Sharma had designed one of the other Diwali stamps (joint issue with Israel in 2012) and there are striking similarities in the Canada joint issue as well. I truly wish Kamleshwar Singh or Sankha Samanta had got this project.

Several days after two MyStamps were quietly released in Tamil Nadu in early-September, I found out that these were part of a series of customized MyStamp sheetlets to celebrate Dr. MGR Birth Centenary. So far, four such sheetlets have been issued (Kancheepuarm, Tiruvallur, Vellore and Nagapattinam districts). I'm curious if the state administration ordered the pre-requisite 5000 for each event or if all the sheetlets were in one order. India Post also put two other MyStamp sheetlets (Mathura Refinery and Sringeri Math) on sale on ePostOffice, but no dedication ceremonies have been held so far.

In other news, the joint issue with Russia is now certain to be issued, either in 2017 or next year, with folk dances being the theme. It would be a nice change if India Post considers a larger variety of topics for these joint issues. Fellow collectors have suggested ideas like monuments, prominent political or sports leaders, famous cuisines etc. and we hope to see a change next time around. 

Recent Stamp Issues
03 Sep - MyStamp - Pazhaverkadu, Tiruvallur District (Dr. MGR Birth Centenary)
09 Sep - Vellore Fort (Dr. MGR Birth Centenary)
12 Sep - India-Belarus: Joint Issue - National Symbols
18 Sep - Vulnerable Birds
20 Sep - MyStamp - Nagapattinam District (Dr. MGR Birth Centenary)
21 Sep - India-Canada Joint Issue - Diwali
22 Sep - Ramayana (11 designs)
Sep - MyStamp - Mathura Refinery
Sep - MyStamp - Dakshinamanya Sri Sarada Peetham

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
08 Oct - Pilatus Induction
08 Nov - Raja Todarmal
14 Nov - Children's Day
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
Dadabhai Naoroji
Goan Tiatr (125th Anniversary)
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
India-Russia: Joint Issue
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Step Wells of India
Traditional Indian Hand Fans

Update on 10 Sep 2017: Even though India Post hasn't announced dates for any new stamp issues, I've added a few more possible stamp issues in 2017. The President of Belarus will be visiting India on a state visit on 11-12 Sep 2017. Could the India-Belarus joint issue be dedicated during his visit? Belarus Post has announced issuance of one stamp, but there is no update from India Post.

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
21 Sep - India-Canada: Joint Issue - Diwali
08 Oct - Pilatus Induction
08 Nov - Raja Todarmal
14 Nov - Children's Day
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Birds: Vulnerable (Series 2)
Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
Dadabhai Naoroji
Goan Tiatr (125th Anniversary)
India-Belarus: Joint Issue
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
India-Russia: Joint Issue
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Ramayana (11 designs)
Step Wells of India
Traditional Indian Hand Fans

Update on 02 Sep 2017: There were no new stamps issued by India Post in July, but there were three commemorative and two MyStamp sheetlets issued in August. The first set of stamps was issued by the President of India to commemorate 75 Years of Quit India Movement. This set of stamps comprised of 8 designs by Sankha Samanta. Personally, eight designs for this event appeared excessive and several images on the stamps were did not appear iconic or necessary. A small set of two stamps could have been enough. After a long hiatus, these stamps were printed at the security press in Nashik, but seemed to have grey tones where black ink should have been used.

India Post had organized a photography competition in July 2017 using the theme 'Beautiful India'. Three images were selected based on the entries received and issued as stamps in 2 designs along with a miniature sheet on 15th August, India's Independence Day. The stamps were quite ordinary with no specific mention of the locations or the photographers details. Other than the Taj Mahal on the miniature sheet, the two stamp designs can be easily mistaken for any other country.

The same day, on 15th August, India Post sprung a surprise with the issuance of stamps in 4 designs on Caves of Meghalaya. Suresh Kumar Achari designed these four stamps, which were issued as individual sheets of 45 stamps and as a miniature sheet as well. The stamps depict four caves of Meghalaya, but the stamp designs are quite hard to comprehend. It could be because photographs of the caves were used instead of paintings and printing quality of the Hyderabad security printing press is poor as well. The theme of these stamps was interesting, but better art direction and printing would have made these high quality products.

Other than these commemorative stamps, two MyStamp sheetlets were also issued. The first one was to celebrate 111 years of Indian Bank and the other one was to celebrate Kancheepuram District, Mahabalipuram Shore Temple and birth centenary of Dr. M. G. Ramachandran. The stamp on Indian Bank was dedicated at a ceremony in Chennai and the one on Kancheepuram was dedicated in Kilambakkam, near Chennai.

Towards the end of August, India Post just gave a vague update on several forthcoming stamp issues and these are listed below. Other than the date for India-Canada Joint Issue stamp on Diwali, no other stamp issue dates are known.

Update on 31 Aug 2017: It's been a couple months since this post was updated, but India Post appeared to be in a hiatus for several weeks in July-August as well. There was not much new information to share. Several new stamp issues are planned for issuance later this year. Here's a quick summary for stamps issued since July 2017. I will provide more details for each issue over the next few days in another update.

Recent Stamp Issues
09 August - 75 Years of 1942 Freedom Movement (Quit India Movement)
15 August - Beautiful India
15 August - Caves of Meghalaya
20 August - MyStamp - Indian Bank
30 August - MyStamp - Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Kancheepuram District (Land of Lakes)

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
21 September - India-Canada: Joint Issue - Diwali
Birds: Vulnerable (Series 2)
Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
India-Belarus: Joint Issue
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
Indian Hand Fans
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Ramayana (11 designs)
Step Wells of India

Update on 01 Jul 2017: This post will provide updates for India Post stamp issues from July to December 2017. News and information for the first six months can be found here.

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
Ramayana (11 designs)
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya

Stamps Approved for Issuance
Aquaculture
Birds: Endangered & Critically Endangered
Boats of India
Bridal Costumes of India
Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (ICAR)
Four Dhamas (Are these Char Dhams?)
Fragrant Stamps (Chocolate, Strawberry)
Goan Tiatr
Historical Gates of Indian Forts
Holiday Destinations
India’s Participation in World War I
India-Armenia: Joint Issue
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
Indian Fashion Industry
Indian Perfume
Jataka Tales
Mangalyan
Mehandi (Lawsona inermis)
Minerals of India (Innovative)
Musical Instruments (Chimta, Dotara, Ektara, Khartal, Tumbi)
Palace of Wheels
Pilatus Induction
Puppets
Shaktipeeth Temples (Kalighat, Kamkhya, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi)
Solar System
Step Wells of India (Rani ki Vav, Agrasen Baoli, Chand Baoli, Adalaj ni Vav, etc.)
Terracotta Temples of India
Traditional Embroideries of India (Innovative)
Traditional Hand Fans
Tribes of India
UNESCO Heritage Sites
University of Mysore
Wildlife – Flora & Fauna

Acharya Bodhihdharma & Efflorescence of Zen Culture
Acharya Konda Laxman Bapuji
Bhupesh Gupta
D. Devaraj Urs
Dr. Mehr Chand Mahajan
Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi
Jyoti Basu
Lala Thunthee Mull
M. Balamuralikrishna
O. P. Jindal
Raja Todarmal
Sant Pipaji Maharaj

BetterPhilately Wish List
Amritlal Nagar
B. D. Jatti
Balasaheb Thackarey
Balasheb Deoras
Chinmayananda Saraswati (1916-1993)
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy
Eknath Ranade
Gopal Swarup Pathak
I. K. Gujral
J. Jayalalithaa
K. R. Narayanan
Khushabhau Thakre (1922-2003)
Mohammad Hidayatullah
N. Sanjeeva Reddy
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Shivmangal Singh Suman
Siyaram Sharan Gupt
Swami Abhedananda
V. P. Singh

100 Years of Kheda Movement
Auroville (Golden Jubilee)
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bishop Cotton School, Bengaluru
Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai
Dayalbagh
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
Human Organ Donation Awareness Programme
Lions International Centenary
Presidency University, Kolkata
Submarine Arm of Indian Navy (Golden Jubilee)

Stamps Issued from the Approved List
350th Anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh
India-Portugal: Joint Issue
Samrat Vikarmaditya
Headgears of India
Beetles of India
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India
The Poona Horse
Means of Transport through Ages
Republic Day (Nature India)
Deekshabhoomi of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Eminent Writers: Krishan Chander, Balwant Gargi, Kummari Molla, K V Puttappa, Bhisham Sahni, Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Srilal Sukla, Tarigonda Vengamamba
Srimad Ramanujacharya
Jhala Manna
Srimad Rajchandra
Fragrant Stamp (Coffee)
Banaras Hindu University
1942 Freedom Movement
Caves of Meghalaya
Independence Day - Beautiful India (Photography Contest)
India-Belarus: Joint Issue
Vulnerable Birds
India-Canada: Joint Issue
Ramayana
India-Russia: Joint Issue
Kavi Muddana
Nannaya Bhatta & Draksharamam Temple
Indian Cuisine
Children’s Day
Mahabharat

Stamps Issued from BetterPhilately Wish List
M. G. Ramachandran (Birth Centenary)
Montfort Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School, Yercaud
100 Years of Champaran Movement
Nanaji Deshmukh

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Canada-United States Joint Issue: History of Hockey (2017)

I've finally got to writing about the surprise joint stamp issue between United States and Canada to celebrate 100 years of National Hockey League. Coincidentally, it was exactly a century ago on this day, 26th November, when NHL was launched in Montreal, Canada.

The joint issue was launched at a ceremony on 20th October 2017 in Detroit, Michigan, where officials from both USPS and Canada Post were present for the dedication. An announcement for this stamp was first made by USPS on 28th September in a press release. No prior information was available from either postal organizations. The stamp was issued in two designs, both countries using the same design. It is understood that the stamp set was designed by Subplot design, Inc (Roy White and team) with images supplied by K. C. Armstrong. Both countries deployed their art directors to guide preparation of the stamps viz. William J. Gicker (United States) and Susan Gilson (Canada). Canadian stamps were printed by Lowe Martin and the American stamps were produced at Ashton Potter. First day cancellations were provided in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.

The two stamps were designed in a tete-beche format, where both the stamps are vertically connected. Each stamp shows a hockey player in action, one in modern hockey gear and its reflection on the other stamp in historical clothing that players must have worn in older days. This design concept was shown in full on the souvenir sheets issued by both countries. In addition to the players on a frozen ice pond, a man and young girl are also shown playing hockey. Hockey has been a favorite sport for a vast majority of North Americans and this stamp design seeks to convey that message.

Canada Post issued the two stamps in a booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps (5 of each design) and the souvenir sheet containing both the stamps in water-activated format. On the other hand, USPS issued the stamps in a pane of 20 stamps (10 of each design) and a souvenir sheet with both the designs. United States Postal Service only prints self-adhesive stamps. All Canadian stamps were sold as 'Permanent' rate stamps (currently C$ 0.85) and all States stamps as 'Forever' stamps (current rate $ 0.49). Quantities for stamps and other products are listed below. Stamps can be purchased from USPS and Canada Post.
Canada-United States Joint Stamp Issue: History of Hockey (2017)
Background on Hockey (or 'ice' hockey): Hockey was likely developed as a sport in the 1800s in Canada as an alternate to field hockey. Two teams (six players each) attempt to score goals in their opposing ends using curved flat wooden hockey sticks and a flat rubber puck. Professional hockey leagues were organized in early 20th century, culminating in formation of the National Hockey League in 1917. Hockey is now played all across North America with local pick up leagues as well as NHL teams spread all over the continent. NHL currently has 31 teams on its rosters, divided in Eastern and Western Conferences, each with two divisions.

While writing about this stamp issue its worth mentioning that Canada and United States have issued several other joint issues, beginning in 1959. Sometimes there are different interpretations of the joint character of stamps between two countries, so leave a message below if there is some other information to share.
Original post (29 Oct 2017): Canada and United States recently issued joint stamps on the History of Hockey. Stay tuned for an update on the stamps and other products. I will add details as soon as I receive the stamps.

Can Philatelists help India Post plan for 2015-2022?

Update on 26 Nov 2017
Update on 29 Oct 2017
Update on 10 Sep 2017
Updates on 01 Jul 2017
Updates on 28 May 2017
Updates on 01 April 2017
Updates on 23 Dec 2016
Updates on 03 Dec 2016
Updates on 26 Nov 2016
Updates on 17 Nov 2016
Updates on 10 Sep 2016
Updates on 20 Aug 2016 (Pink font)
Updates on 06 Aug 2016 (Red font)
Updates on 16 Jul 2016 (Purple font)
Updates on 15 May 2016 (Green font)
Updates on 16 Mar 2016 (Orange font)
Updates on 14 Feb 2016 (Blue font) 

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.

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).

Stamp Issues Approved, but Not Released
2001
Set of 4 stamps on Greetings
Set of 4 stamps on Dances of India
Set of 4 stamps on Hitopadesha and Jataka Tales (Approved for release in 2017)

2005
India-Oman Joint Issue
SAARC Charter Day

2006
Himalayan Lakes – Loktak, Suraj Tal, Naini Tal
Landmark Bridges – Coronation Bridge, Kandrour Bridge, Laxman Jhula, Godavari Bridge
Pramathesh Barua

2007
Battaqh Ali Ansari

2008
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

2009
Architectural Splendor – Ujjayanta Palace, Patwon ki Haveli, Mattancherry Palace, Rani ki Vav
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 for release in 2017)
Unique Villages of India – Toda, Kutch
UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities

2012
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)
Step Wells of India – Maharaja Agrasen Baoli and others (Approved for release in 2017)
Traditional Embroideries of India - Chikankari, Kutchi, Kashmiri, Phulkari, Kantha (Approved for release in 2017)
Tribal Dwellings (Set of 4 stamps)

2013
Dr. Nilratan Sircar
India-Peru Joint Issue
South Asian Postal Union
Traditional Indian Handfans (Approved for release in 2017)

2014
Jyoti Basu (Uncertain for issuance)
Machali, The Tigress

2015
Bhupesh Gupta (Likely to be released in 2016) (Uncertain for issuance)
D. Devaraj Urs (Likely to be released in 2016) (Uncertain for issuance)

The following subjects should be/are being considered for release in the next few years as well:
2016
Balasaheb Deoras
Banda Singh Bahadur
Bishop Cotton School, Bengaluru
Delhi High Court - Golden Jubilee
Eknath Ranade
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu' (Approved for release in 2017)
International Year of Pulses
St. Mary's School, Pune
St. Mary’s Convent Inter College, Allahabad

2017
70 Years of Independence
100 Years of Kheda Movement
100 Years of Sabarmati Ashram
200 Years of Paika Rebellion
Amritlal Nagar
Auroville (Golden Jubilee)
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017
Hindu School, Kolkata
India-Armenia: Joint Issue (Approved for release in 2017)
India-UN Joint Issue: International Day of Yoga
Laxmanrao Inamdar
Lions International Centenary
Presidency University, Kolkata
Queen Heo Hwang-ok (Korean queen from Ayodhya)
Swami Abhedananda
Patna University
Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
Dayalbagh

2018
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Rajkumar School, Rajkot
Ravenshaw University, Cuttack (150 Years) - MyStamp
Osmania University, Hyderabard (100 Years) - MyStamp
Sikander Bakht
Nelson Mandela
Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha
Srimant Sankardev
Vinda Karandikar
50 Years of Commercial Nuclear Power - Tarapur
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi
Bose Institute
Shirdi Sai Baba - Samadhi Centenary
Ramamand Sagar
Chandrakant Patel
T. Nagi Reddy
Oliver Reginald Tambo
Maniram Dewan
The Yoga Institute, Mumbai (100 Years)
Jyotirlinga Temples
The Maihar Band (100 Years)
Bhagvadgita

2019
150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
CISF - Central Industrial Security Force
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)

2020
Modern School, New Delhi
ASSOCHAM
36th International Geological Congress
Pandurang Shastri Athavle
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

2021
India-Bangladesh: Joint Issue (50 & 75 Years of Independence)
75 Years of India's Independence


BetterPhilately Wish List
B. D. Jatti
Balasaheb Thackarey
Balasheb Deoras
Chinmayananda Saraswati (1916-1993)
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy
Eknath Ranade
Gopal Swarup Pathak
I. K. Gujral
J. Jayalalithaa
K. R. Narayanan
Khushabhau Thakre (1922-2003)
Mohammad Hidayatullah
N. Sanjeeva Reddy
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Shivmangal Singh Suman
Siyaram Sharan Gupt
V. P. Singh

Stamps Released, Eventually
2001 - Mumbai Stock Exchange (To be released in July 2016; released on 09 Jul 2016)
2012 - Indian Metal Crafts (Set of 2 stamps) (To be released in Aug 2016 as a set of 6 stamps, released on 26 Aug 2016)
2015 - Fire Services in India (Released on 14 Apr 2016)
2016 - Singers of India (To be release in 2016 as Legendary Singers of India) -  Issued 31 Dec 2016
2016 - Acharya Vimal Sagar (Approved for release in 2016) - Issued on 14 Dec 2016
2016 - Samrat Vikramaditya - Issued on 22 Dec 2016
2013 - Headgears of India - Issued on 10 Feb 2017
2013 - Means of Transport through the Ages - Issued on 25 Mar 2017
2017 - Montfort Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School, Yercaud - MyStamp issued on 11 Feb 2017
2017 - 100 Years of Champaran Movement - Issued on 13 May 2017
2017 - Srimad Ramanujacharya (Approved for release in 2017) - Issued on 01 May 2017
2017 - Banaras Hindu University (Approved for release in 2017) Issued on 28 Jun 2017
2017 - Srimad Rajchandra (Approved for release in 2017) Issued on 29 Jun 2017
2017 - Survey of India (250 Years) Issued on 22 Jun 2017
2017 - Bhisham Sahni (Approved for release in 2017) Issued on 31 May 2017
2015 - Ramayana - Issued on 22 Sep 2017
2017 - Mathura Refinery - MyStamp on sale in Sep 2017
2017 - India-Russia: Joint Issue (Approved for release in 2017) - Issued on 26 Oct 2017
2016 - Nanaji Deshmukh - Issued on 11 Oct 2017
2008 - Maulana Mehmood Hassan (Released as Silk Letter Movement) - Issued in Jan 2013
2015 - Mahabharata (Approved for release in 2017) - Issued on 27 Nov 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

India Post Stamps on Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport 2017

Update on 05 Nov 2017: Here's what I thought about the stamp issue on the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. The key issue was with the stamp design. These stamps were intended to celebrate 75 years of operation of the airport and not to showcase the new airport terminal. The stamp designer, obviously under pressure from the airport operator used images from Terminal 2, which was only completed in 2014. Even if only Terminal 2 images were planned to be used, and given that it's an operational airport teeming with passengers and airport staff, the stamps could have depicted the terminal and gates with people using the facilities. The souvenir sheet also shows the terminal schematic on the bottom right. I understand that it was only a graphical representation, but the south pier of the airport looks different than what's shown here. The logo used on the miniature sheet was also modified to remove the Hindi text from original. Lastly, why was the English title above the Hindi text? This is among the rare stamp issues where the English title is so prominent, when compared with the vernacular description. See the images below that show these oddities.

My first recommendation for the stamp design would have been to expand this set to have at least 4 of the oldest operational airports shown on stamps. I'd have incorporated a transition from the oldest to the new terminal in a graphical manner (Civil aviation set from 2012 was a good design). In case of Mumbai airport, a glimpse of the Jaya He Museum could have been used more emphatically. Anyways, I was expecting more from the stamp designer, Brahm Prakash. Some of his designs (Metal Crafts stamps in 2016) were acceptable, but majority of them have been hit or miss. This was a missed opportunity, which could have led to creation of a simple set of 4 stamps with four different airports.
CSIA images likely supplied by the airport operator to India Post. Note the stamp denomination and bold text in Hindi title
Update on 29 Oct 2017: India Post had issued stamps in two designs on the Mumbai International Airport on 15th October. I will provide some details on the stamp designs and other information in the next few days.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Russia-India Joint Issue: Folk Dance

Update on 29 Oct 2017: The India-Russia joint issue was issued as planned on 26th October on the Russian dance Bererzka (or Beroyzka) and the Indian dance form Bhavai. The Russian 'Marka' released two stamps as a sheetlet with 4 stamps of each design and a label in the center of the sheet. Russia also prepared a presentation pack with stamps from both countries included. India Post issued the two stamps in a slightly different design in two sheets of 45 stamps each and a souvenir sheet of 2 designs. Both sides also put cacheted first day covers for sale.

The Indian souvenir sheet shows historical monuments from both the countries in addition to the two dance forms. India's Hawa Mahal in Jaipur and Moscow's Saint Basil's Cathedral are depicted as the background for the dancers. Hawa Mahal is located in the city of Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan, which is the state of origin of Bhavai dance as well. The Indian stamp and souvenir sheet were designed by Kamleshwar Singh and the Russian stamps were designed by V. Beltyukov. The souvenir sheet from India was particularly well designed. Kamleshwar Singh has designed some of the best stamps for India Post over the last two decades. The art work was well planned and the souvenir sheet had continuity of design beyond the stamps.

Unlike the Canada-India joint issue, no big celebrations were organized for stamp dedication. Officials from the Indian Embassy visited the headquarters of the 'Marka' and were presented with a framed version of the Russian stamps. No other ceremonies have been reported so far. A total of 25 sheetlets have been printed by Russia whereas the 0.5 million stamps of each design and 0.1 million souvenir sheets have been printed for the Indian products.

Below is some detail for the two dance forms:
Copied from Utsavpedia: Bhavai is a folk dance with swaying and twirling movements that is performed by women from certain tribes from the state of Rajasthan. This folk dance is one of the state’s most exciting dance performances as it involves tricky balancing acts, right from balancing seven to nine brass pots on the head to balancing oneself (along with the pots) on narrow and unstable objects like a glass bottle, brass plate or the edge of a sword. The brass pots can, and are often, substituted by an even greater number of earthen pots. Bhavai is also one of the most colorful performances of the state as the women wear bright colored ghaghra cholis and dupattas. The men from these communities offer the music to this dance, using string and percussion instruments. Bhavai dance is often misinterpreted from ‘Bhavai’ which is a folk theatre form of Gujarat.

From Indian stamp brochure: Beryozka round dance is one of the famous Russian folk dances. This is an ancient round social Slavonic ritual folk dance. Dancers hold hands and the disctinctive element of the dance are simple steps in a circle simultaneous squatting of all dancers on a certain beat of the music. A stage version is based on the folk dance. In this case, women perform it wearing psuedo-Russian stage outfits, styles on the Nizhny Novogorod girls (a jacket, a sarafan, a kokoshnik or a headscarf) their hair is braided. The dancers move in a circle, after each other, in single file, in two lines, rotating around each other or in pairs around common centers in the groups. The steps are short and frequent, creating the impression of slipping (like a swan swimming). The dancers hold handkerchiefs or branches of birch in their hands which symbolizes farewell to the spring. The general mood of the dance is melancholic.

India-Russia: Joint Issue (2017)
Russia-India: Joint Issue (2017)
Update on 10 Oct 2017: A new joint stamp between Russia and India will be issued in 2017. The stamps will depict folk dances from both the countries. I will add more details once images for the stamp issues are available. Russia Post has announced 26th October as the date of issuance.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Canada-India Joint Issue: Diwali

India Post and Canada Post had been planning on issuing their first ever joint stamps at least since November 2016. India Post's stamp program for 2017 actually listed joint issue with Canada in two themes, but I'm not sure what was the plan for the second theme. Top officials from India Post and Canada Post met in Toronto in February 2017 to put an agreement in place to design and release stamps in September 2017 to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali. These stamps were subsequently designed and issued on 21st September. Canada Post had remained silent on the issuance date and designs for these stamps until the day of issue, but the Indian Government had announced the release in the last week of August. The federal government's Cabinet was informed of the joint issue with Canada on 30th August 2017.

Two stamp designs were used by both postal administrations to depict the Diwali festival. Gerald Querubin of Entro Communications designed the Canadian version and Alka Sharma created the art work for the Indian side. Both countries used the same stamp designs and the issuance date for the joint issue. Canada post issued the two stamps as 'Permanent' rate in a booklet of 10 stamps whereas India Post issued one stamps in Rupees 5 and the other one in Rupees 25 denomination. India Post also issued a souvenir sheet that has both the Rupees 5 and 25 stamps. Canada Post issued a Siamese twin souvenir sheet, which contains the Canadian stamp in C$2.50 and the Indian stamp in Rupees 25 denomination. Lowe Martin printed the Canadian stamp booklet and the joint souvenir sheet whereas Security Printing Press, Hyderabad printed the Indian stamps and souvenir sheet.

The stamps were issued on 21st September, in two ceremonies at the home of the High Commissioner of Canada to India in New Delhi and at the City Hall in Toronto.

Diwali festival is celebrated in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. The festival celebrates the triumph of goodness over evil. Goodness is symbolized by light and evil by darkness. Many Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists take part in these annual festivities. A few weeks before Diwali all places of worship, work or living are cleaned and decorated. Many communities follow cultural traditions by lighting small oil lamps (called diya), cooking sweets and festival feast and by creating art patters (called rangoli) using paint or flowers. Families and friends also take part in fireworks displays and visit elders to get their blessings. Many businesses prepare new account books and pray for god fortune. Diwali is celebrated based on many historical/mythological events, which vary in different communities. One of the beliefs is that Lord Ram returned home on the day of Diwali, after fourteen years of exile.

One can buy the Indian stamps from ePostOffice and the Candian ones from Canada Post.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Postage Stamps on Indian Hand Fans (2017)

India Post will likely issue a set of stamps on traditional Indian Hand Fans in the last quarter of 2017. The stamp issue was first proposed for issuance in 2012-13. These stamps have been designed in conjunction with the well renowned artist, Jatin Das' collection of Indian Hand Fans, known as Pankha (the word for fan in Hindi). This will be the second set of stamps in 2017, after the Transport stamp issue that uses a private collection as the source of stamp objects.

Indian Hand Fans on Postage Stamps (2017).
So far, its become clear that this set of stamps will contain of a miniature sheet with 16 designs and possibly 16 other miniature sheets with individual stamps. Each of the stamps will be of Rupees 15 denomination.

A list of hand fans that are depicted on the stamps is below. These 16 stamp designs are on one large miniature sheet and then each of these same type of hand fans are also depicted on miniature sheets with single stamps. This issue is like an amalgamation of the Splendor of India and Transport stamps issues of 2017.  I say that because the individual and one large miniature sheet format was used for the Splendor of India issue and the similar to the Transport stamp issue, there will likely be 4 sheetlets with a set of 4 hand fan designs per sheetlet. The striking feature about this stamp issue so far is that the individual miniature sheets may or may not have the same stamp design/formats are the large miniature sheet and this could create way more than 16 stamp designs in the stamp series. I've posted a few images for reference below as well. 

The stamp designs are quite simplistic and could evoke different opinions among the collectors. I personally liked the individual miniature sheets more than the large miniature sheet, which is quite plain with just the fans placed on a white background. The stamp set will likely be printed at India Security Press, Nashik.
Indian Hand Fans Postage Stamps Miniature Sheet (2017).
 
Indian Hand Fans Postage Stamps - Individual Miniature Sheets (2017).

Sunday, June 25, 2017

United States 2017 Stamp Program

Click on the images to and right click to save. Print quantities of 20 million or less are highlighted in yellow.

Update (10 Jun 2017): Here's an update for the second quarter of 2017. No new postal stationary was issued during the past three months.


Update (04 Mar 2017): Details for stamp issues in March 2017 are also available now. Two postal stationary items have been issued this year and design and print quantity for these two are also being shared below.
Update (18 Jan 2017): Here are details for stamps to be issued in Jan-Feb 2017. New information will be posted as it becomes available, likely in late February. Do check the other blog post for more regular updates and news on this year's stamp issues.
Note: Print quantities of stamp issues highlighted (yellow) are less than 20 Million.
Update (02 Oct 2016): So far, we've seen the release date for Ted Hesburgh stamp. It's supposedly going to be released on 01 Sep 2017. Let's wait and watch. Dates for no other stamps are yet known. We will be posting stamp subjects and relevant discussion in another blog post, but will share the stamp program at least once in a quarter starting Jan-Feb 2017.

Original post: USPS has announced quite a few stamp issues for 2017. More details coming soon!

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