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A dull June for philatelists 

Sushma Chadha  
Nothing much happens in the summer months. Philately is no exception. There was only one stamp release in June. On June 26, the Department of Posts commemorated Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, an intellectual, writer, social reformer and revolutionary all rolled into one. Born during the political turmoil of the pre-independence era, the Swami renounced his home to become an ascetic. For nine years, he pursued Sanskrit and philosophy at Varanasi.

The teachings of Gandhi had a great influence on him and he took active aprt in organising the Mahatma's non-cooperative movement, making fiery speeches at public meetings to awaken masses, and propagating khadi and prohibition.

The Swami strongly advocated the abolition of the feudal oppressive system and fought for the rights of farmers. Pulak Gupta, secretary of the Philatelic Society, says, ``The stamp can be collected in the personalities series.''

Gupta says, ``Though the trend of advertising on aerograms, inlands and postcards started way back in 1975, the process slowed down and became almost extinct for many years in between. But now, the trend has been revived and we find advertisements of products and government departments on all kinds of postal stationery. Philatelists say this is a good concept and I think this has opened a new area of interest for stamp collectors. They can collect stationery with varied advertisements. This will provide a new theme to collectors. And the Department of Posts will earn revenue from the ads and extra sale of stationery for philatelic purposes.'' ``The only problem is,'' says Gupta, ``that even the philatelists are not informed about the release of new stationery items. No circulars are floated about their availability.''

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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