Sunday, November 25, 2018

India Post Stamp Updates (Oct 2018 onward)

Click here to the first half of 2018

Update (25 Nov 2018): It's been a quiet period last two months for new postage stamps from India Post. Barely any new stamps were issued in most of October and November. It must be a good reprieve for stamp collectors that were inundated with new stamps over the last two years. There are scored of pending stamp issues, which have been delayed or postponed. Maybe some of these will be issued in December 2018, let's see. I'm hoping a properly vetted stamp issue program is put out for 2019 and shared with collectors. In the meanwhile, here's a list of the few stamps that were released recently.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in Nov 2018:
03 Nov - 3rd Battalion The Rajputana Rifles (1818-2018)
14 Nov - Children's Day - Communal Harmony (2 designs)

India Post Customized MyStamps in Oct-Nov 2018:
29 Oct - MyStamp - World Stroke Day
11 Nov - MyStamp - Union Bank of India
Oct - MyStamp - Hyundai
Oct - MyStamp - ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad 

Update (20 Oct 2018): Apart from the circular stamps to start Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary celebrations, not much has happened in October. India's Prime Minister dedicated stamps in 7 designs showing different facets of Mahatma Gandhi's life during a sanitation event on 2nd October. These were the first ever circular stamps issued by India Post. A miniature sheet comprised of all 7 stamps (denominations of stamps symbolically total to Rupees 150) and individual sheets of 20 stamps each were issued. Similar to the Ramayana stamp issue last year, these stamps were showcased at all of India's embassies abroad. 

Many new stamp proposals and subjects have been approved for issuance, but not much has been done about fixing release dates. In response to an RTI application earlier this year, India Post had indicated a tentative release plan for several stamps, but most of that has not been followed through. Instead of issuing well designed commemorative/special stamps, a steady stream of corporate MyStamps are being issued. These customized MyStamps are quite expensive, and are less likely to be listed in stamp catalogs.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in Oct 2018:
02 Oct - 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

India Post Customized MyStamps in Sep-Oct 2018:
30 Sep - MyStamp - Dr. MGR & Selvi Jayalalithaa Memorial
04 Oct - MyStamp - Rayat Shikshan Sansthan
05 Oct - MyStamp - Narayan Seva Sansthan
12 Oct - MyStamp - National Human Rights Commission
Oct - MyStamp - Taj Connemara
Oct - MyStamp - Hyundai
Oct - MyStamp - ICMR - National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad

Update (14 Oct 2018): I'm back to add details for commemorative stamps issued in September and possibly cover MyStamps as well. The first stamp in September was issued in Bengalurur on freedon fighter Mahadevappa Mailar (1911-1943). Mailar was the only representative from Karnataka on Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March in 1930. He was shot by the British along with two others while they were attempting to loot a temple in Haveri, Karnataka. The stamp was requested to be issued by Jagadish Shettar, former CM of Karnataka and MoS Communications obliged by being present at the dedication ceremony. Even though a sheetlet of 9 stamps has been issued, it doesn't seem to be available for sale on ePostOffice or many post offices. I wonder if SPP Hyderabad is still backlogged with this product like the Solar System miniature sheet, which has been unavailable for the last 7 months.

Yet another joint stamp issue was released in September - that's fourth straight month of joint stamps this year. Joint stamps between India and Serbia were planned to be released on 9th October, but then rescheduled for issuance in early September when India's Vice President was to travel to Serbia for an official visit. The trip was postponed due to the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and as a result the stamp was dedicated a bit later on 15th September when the trip finally happened. I've written a detailed post on these stamps showing Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla, which was definitely a good choice by both the postal administrations. I don't really like the miniature sheet and first day covers prepared by India Post - there's not creativity in either. Gulistaan was the credited designer.

Two other stamps - Hislop College, Nagpur and Sant Ganinath were issued later in September. Minister of Shipping and Roads was present at the ceremony in Nagpur and MoS Communications dedicated the stamp on Ganinath in his parliamentary constituency, Ghazipur. The stamp on Ganinath was decently designed, showing the sage as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, but the one on Hislop College was among the worst stamp designs in recent times. I don't really understand why such low quality work is being approved for printing. Colleges typically have buildings that can be shown on stamps, worst just the logo may suffice. Vinita Sinha, who also did the stamp on Damodar Hari Chapekar designed this dull and lackluster stamp. It's quite disappointing that even though Kamleshwar Singh and Sankha Samanta work with India Post, but are not being engaged often enough to lead the design process.

On to MyStamps now. Let me make it clear that the customized corporate MyStamp sheetlets are probably not as important to collect, but the ones that can be personalized may be good to buy. India Post has been continually put both types of MyStamps for sale over the last few months. A series of 12 sheetlets, one each for zodiac signs was made available for purchase since early July. So was a sheetlet on the Ridge in Shimla. This is the second set of MyStamp sheetlets on Zodiac signs, after the first one in 2011 issued during Indepex 2011. August saw two personalized sheetlets being issued -  one on Kurinji flower and another one on Victoria Memorial, Kolkata. Kurinji flower blooms once in 12 years, and a commemorative stamp was released on its last mass flowering in 2006. This is also the second MyStamp on Victoria Memorial after the one in 2015, albeit a new design and a larger MyStamp this time around. For some unknown reason, ePostOffice has stopped selling personalized MyStamp sheetlets and is only selling the corporate ones with pre-printed tabs.

Lastly, the least interesting, customized MyStamp sheetlets. These are the expensive stamps issued at the behest of organizations or companies by making a payment to India Post. There is very little interest in stamp collectors to buy these and Scott catalog is not listing these either. I cover them, just in case some collectors plan to complete their MyStamp collection, given this is still valid postage. July saw a new size of MyStamp being issued. It was on Christ University Bangalore's golden jubilee. The sheet still contains 12 stamps, but the stamps are much longer than the standard size. Indian Paper Traders Association got a MyStamp printed and released on Paper Day, so did Ashok Leyland, the truck manufacturer. Lilavati Hospital got two types of MyStamp sheetlets printed and issued whereas Jharkhand Government paid to get a stamp on Karma Parab, a festival in Jharkhand.

This catches up to end of September for India Post stamps. Leave me a message below if there are any questions or comments. Apart from the circular stamps on Mahatma Gandhi, there hasn't been much activity to report in October.

Update (01 Oct 2018): Here you go. I'll start describing the stamp issues chronologically as they were issued from July onward. The stamp on ICAI - the organization dealing with certified accountants was nicely designed by one of my favorite stamp artists, Kamleshwar Singh. The stamp design clearly elucidates the role of ICAI and that occasion for issuance. It was issued in New Delhi by the President of India to celebrate 70 years of the institute. Will a stamp be issued on the Company Secretary Institute's golden jubilee as well?

Next was a stamp on the 90th birth anniversary of classical singer M. L. Vasanthakumari of the Carnatic music tradition. She was one among the trinity of modern Carnatic singers - other two being M. S. Subbulakshmi and D. K. Pattammal, both were earlier seen on stamps from 2005 and 2014, respectively. Sankha Samanta designed the stamp that was issued in Chennai Music Academy by India's defense minster and MoS Communications. Carnatic musician Sudha Raghunathan led the efforts to get the stamp proposal approved and issued. I remember Ms. Raghunathan also being present at the event for M. S. Subbulakshmi stamp release event at United Nations as well. Well done, madam.

The stamp on Damodar Hari Chapekar, freedom fighter from Pune was issued by the Speaker of Lok Sabha. This stamp along with one on Rajkumar Shukla were prematurely available in some post offices and I've seen several examples of these stamps being used on cover before official issue date. Surprisingly, the stamp on Rajkumar Shukla is yet to be issued and is being freely sold on eBay. I wish the stamp on Chapekar was issued as one that included all three Chapekar brothers and not just the elder one. Their heroic fight against the British rule was a combined effort and it would've been best to recognize them together, as previously done for Murmu brothers (2002) and Pandiar brothers (2004).

The second joint with South Africa within this year was issued in Johannesburg when the Prime Minister of India was traveling for the 10th BRICS Summit. The stamp sheet celebrates the birth centenary of Nelson Mandela and 125th year of Mahatma Gandhi's Pietermarizburg Station Incident. I've posted additional details for this and other joint issues with South Africa here, but here's another point to note. India Post's souvenir sheet for this issue is the size of regular printer paper, which is almost four times the size of South African sheet. I've also noted comments on Twitter about poor paper quality used by SPP Hyderabad. I really hope miniature sheet size is reduced in the future to make them aesthetically pleasing and friendly for stamp collection albums and stock sheets.

Hepatitis B and C are the major types of hepatitis and these two infections may not show for a long period. Timely testing and treatment are required to overcome potential threats from the disease. On World Hepatitis Day (28th July), India Post launched a stamp to create awareness about a new federal government program on Viral Hepatitis Control. The stamp deigned by Suresh Kumar shows a pair of hands acting as a protection for the liver and graphics depicting treatment and hygiene in the bottom half of the stamp.

August began with a set of stamps being issued on National Handloom Day (7th August). A well designed issue, again by Kamleshwar Singh, showed five textiles/products that have Geographical Indication registrations. Textiles/products included were Baluchari saree, Kashmir Pashmina, Ikat, Pochampally and Bhagalpur silk. The dedication ceremony was held in Jaipur, where the main event for Handloom Day was held. Initially the Textile minister, MoS Communications and Rajasthan Chief Minister were to attend, but none of them showed up and instead MoS Textiles came late for a brief stopover. So much, for weavers and artists.

India Post had solicited entries for a photography competition in June and July to showcase some holiday destinations in the country. Several thousand pictures were received and a two stamps along with a miniature sheet were issued on Independence Day (15th August). Crowdsourcing for ideas including the ones on stamps has been a consistent feature of this federal government and is a welcome change. The only gripe with these stamps was the denominations being high for no apparent reason and no mention of the actual placed shown on the stamps and philatelic products.

The stamp on Patna University, which was originally planned for issuance in January/February was finally released by HRD Minister in the centenary closing event in Patna on 25th August. Brahm Prakash designed the stamp exactly the same way as the one on Banaras Hindu University stamp last year - by creating a collage of university buildings. I don't mind this style, but once was enough. Anyways, this is an important school, and the stamp was worth the wait.

Finally, the much delayed joint stamp issue with Armenia was dedicated at an event in Yerevan on 29th August. After the delay in March and June, I was informed by the HayPost staff about a late-August release, and that turned out to be true. I was surprised to see that the Armenian dance form was changed last minute and that resulted in India Post having to redo its first day cover as well. The original plan was to include Manipuri and Berd dances, but eventually Aremnia decided to go with Hov Arek instead of Berd. I've posted details for the joint stamps here, go check it out.

That covers July and August commemorative stamps. I'll post more details for September issues as well as all the MyStamps shortly.

Update (30 Sep 2018): I know its been three months since this post was last updated, but I've been busy at work; also thinking of a couple of better ways to organize future stamp subjects and the BetterPhilately wish list. So here's the path I have in mind: I will continue to share information about the current and announced issues in individual posts, but maintain a separate post for wish list and another one for stamp proposals that have been submitted to India Post and may be considered pending. I have a list of over 500 stamp proposals that were given to India Post over the last decade. These can eventually all be categorized as dead proposals or the ones that still have potential. I will start doing this within 2018. Here's a quick list of stamps that were issued from July to September. I'll come back later and add some interesting details or anecdotes for each of the issues.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in Jul-Sep 2018:
01 Jul - The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (70th Year)
03 Jul - M. L. Vasanthakumari
08 Jul - Damodar Hari Chapekar
26 Jul - India-South Africa: Joint Issue (Mahatma Gandhi & Nelson Mandela)
28 Jul - National Viral Hepatitis Control Program

07 Aug - Handlooms of India - Geographical Indication registered (5 designs)
15 Aug - Holiday Destinations in India (2 designs)
25 Aug - Patna University (1917-2017)
29 Aug - India-Armenia: Joint Issue (Manipuri and Hov Arek dances)

03 Sep - Martyr Mahadevappa Maliar
15 Sep - India-Serbia: Joint Issue (Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla)
15 Sep - Hislop College, Nagpur
23 Sep - Sant Ganinath

India Post Personalized MyStamps in Jul-Sep 2018:
07 Jul - MyStamp - Zodiac Signs (12 sheetlets)
09 Jul - MyStamp - 'The Ridge' Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
15 Aug - MyStamp - Kurinji
Aug - MyStamp - Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

India Post Customized MyStamps in Jul-Sep 2018:
11 Jul - MyStamp - Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India
01 Aug - MyStamp - Paper Day (1st August)
24 Aug - MyStamp - Lilavati Hospital (Purple background)
24 Aug - MyStamp - Lilavati Hospital (Blue background)
07 Sep - MyStamp - Ashok Leyland - Ennore Plant (70 Years)
18 Sep - MyStamp - Karma Parab

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
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
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (60 Years)
Eastern Naval Command (50 Years)
HMS Minden & HMS Trincomalee (1810-1811)
India’s Participation in World War I
Induction of Pilatus PC-7 Mk II
Paika Rebellion (200 Years)
University of Mysore

Acharya Bodhihdharma & Efflorescence of Zen Culture
Acharya Konda Laxman Bapuji
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Dr. B. P. Radhakrishna
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
Girdharilal Bhargava
Kakaji & Pappaji Maharaj
Lala Thunthee Mull
Maharaja Suheldev
M. Balamuralikrishna
Pandit Savai Gandharva
Professor Ram Chand Paul
Rajkumar Shukla
Raja Todarmal
Sant Gulabrao Maharaj
Sant Pipaji Maharaj
Swami Karpatri Ji
Ustad Sabri Khan
Vedanta Desikan

Stamps Issued from the approved proposals
150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (02 October)
3rd Battalion Rajputana Rifles (03 November)
Children's Day - Communal Harmony (14 November)
Utkal University - 75 Years (27 November)
Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 (27 November)

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