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.

2 comments:

  1. How can we obtain the Serbia India FDC and sheetlet? The country's philately site (http://www.posta.rs/) does not list the FDC and Sheetlet issues for sale

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've mainly seen these stamps being sold on delcampe.net, ebay.com or can be found with some stamp dealers in India. If it's OK, wait for a couple of months and it should be more widely available for collectors. Write back if you can't find anything online. BP

      Delete