Sunday, October 29, 2017

Russia-India Joint Issue (2017): 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.


  1. How can I order the Russian stamps/packs for the issue?

    1. BetterPhilately: My recommendation would be to wait a few weeks and look for the stamps on eBay or other online selling websites. Alternatively, dealers in India will start getting some stocks too. Given that the stamps are somewhat expensive, its best to wait and buy at the right price. Hope this helps.

  2. The dance is acted in a circle by the specialists. The going with has varieties in the sound and pitch of the music which by and large goes up and the dance arrives at its peak.

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