THE STORIES THAT STAMPS TELL
Three special covers – on Olive Ridley turtles, Forts of Goa and the Goan musical instrument Ghumot – were released at the three-day Goa philatelic exhibition ‘GOAPEX 2019’, which was held at the Institute Menezes Braganza, Panjim
Three special covers – on Olive Ridley turtles, Forts of Goa and the Goan musical instrument Ghumot- were released at the three-day district level philatelic exhibition ‘GOAPEX 2019’, which was held at the Institute Menezes Braganza, Panjim. “We have aimed at reviving Goan heritage. We launched three special covers on each day; on Olive Ridley turtles, on forts of Goa and the state percussion instrument – Ghumot. These special covers will have a pictorial cancellation on them,” said Postmaster Director General, Goa Region, N Vinod Kumar. It may be recalled that last year in November, Goa’s first permanent postcard cancellation, which was launched in the month of November at Loutolim post office with a picture of Sant Meerabai, had been released as well. Kumar further explained that this year, they had upgraded the exhibition from a district level to a zonal level so as to allow them to display over 200 frames and have bigger participation. A souvenir with clippings and information about the exhibition and the event was also released on the occasion. Kumar also expressed happiness to see the hall packed with students and senior citizens for the event: “It was good to see a lot of participation, both, from students and veterans. There were around 55 philatelists, both senior and junior and participation from 11 schools.” A philatelic quiz and elocution competition were also organised for the school children. Kumar also called upon people to debate about the symbols of Goan culture and said that in the coming years, the department of postal stamps will make an effort to bring such symbols to the fore. The function also felicitated environmentalist Benhail Antao, whose photograph was used for the Olive Ridley turtle special cover. Speaking about this, Benhail said, “I received a call from a birder friend, Prasana Parab, who also works at the Post Office. They were looking to spread awareness of an aquatic animal. Knowing my work in this domain, I submitted my photo on the Oliver Ridley turtle.” The turtle was rescued during one of his rescue operations in Galgibag and the special cover is in aim of saving the Olive Ridley turtle. While addressing the gathering, Assistant Professor, Department of Botany, Nandkumar Kamat praised the efforts of the Forest Department in this regard. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, Goa, Santosh Kumar, and Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Goa Division, Archana Gopinath, were also present. Talking about post stamps, Kamat pointed out that they provide the public with a tremendous amount of knowledge, giving insight regarding our election commission, the judicial system, railways, Indian civilisation and army and defence forces, which are the monuments of the Indian democracy. “Philately is considered as a king of hobby. In the next 20 years, the communication revolution will take this planet by storm, be it in the form of artificial intelligence, robotics or high-speed transportation. No country will create stamps in another two decades. Every stamp that you see today, printed by the countries of postal union, will become just mere objects of heritage,” added Kamat. On the occasion, the Art and Culture Minister announced that the ghumot would soon be declared as the heritage instrument of Goa during the release of the special cover of the Ghumot. He said that most of the work has been processed to declare ghumot with a relevant membrane as the state instrument.
He further said that stamps and ghumot have been an integral part of his life, and helped him achieve success in his career. “Back then where there were no telephones or any mode of communication, it was letters which we used to convey messages and that is when stamps would come to our rescue,” said Gaude. Folk artiste, Kanta Gaude, who has gained fame for playing the ghumot with his troop at various places, also spoke on the occasion, saying: “The folk instrument of my land was given to us by our elders. I am happy to see that it will gain the attention of the world as the stamps will travel to different parts of the world. This instrument on the stamp has been with me for the past 45 years.” Heritage promoter Sanjeev Sardesai narrated how the ghumot is an asset to Goa’s heritage. “The instrument is made from the membrane of the monitor lizard which is a protected species. However there are attempts made in order to revive it with a relevant membrane. The instrument has been there in Goa since the very beginning and it has its own history. It is used for all occasions and functions,” said Sardesai. He put forth certain historical facts about stamps and said that he was amazed to see the first ever stamp made, at the exhibition of GOAPEX 2019. To the students present at the function he said: “Be like the stamps and travel around the world.” The stamps also showcased many facets of Portuguese Goa. Speaking about bringing Portuguese Goa Postal history back home was Daniel D’souza, a landscaper from Assagao, who got a gold medal for his priceless collection of 20 cancellations and first stamps of Goa dating back to October 1, 1871. “I started collecting Portuguese India stamps about a decade ago. During my research, I realised the first best collection lay with collectors in Europe, and the second, with a few in India. Thus began my journey in collecting native Goan native stamps belonging to the 1871 period. This hasn’t been secured by any Goan collector. This is my bit of securing Goa’s postal history,” says the award winning stamp collector. Among the other stamp collectors present was Abdul Shafiq Khan who has a collection of 10 lakh stamps and even had in his possession the lithograph stamp of colonial India dating to 1855. There was also Aftab Belari who was grateful to the department of posts for giving them a platform and allowing youngsters to interact and get interested in this hobby. Taleigao-based Avinash Anaokar, aged 55, who has been collecting stamps for the last 20 years, recalled how colourful stamps were magical to him and helped him discover the diversity of the world.
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