Monthly e-Stamp Bulletin edited and published by Jeevan Jyoti from Dehradun.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Rainbow June 2017

Durrell & Darwin
25 Years of the Darwin Initiative

This Souvenir Sheet will be issued by Jersey Post on 14 June 2017, celebrating the legacies of famous naturalists Gerald Durrell and Charles Darwin. The Miniature Sheet, which has been printed on FSC certified sycamore, features a portrait of Charles Darwin and is the first Jersey stamp to be printed on wood.

Dehradun  June  2017    Vol. X  No. 114

Readers are requested to send reports of philatelic activities in their area for publication. Short write ups by the readers about their journals, societies, publications and philatelic requirements can be sent for inclusion in this bulletin to the editor :  

Note- This bulletin is only for circulation among a limited group of philatelists without any commercial purpose. The bulletin will be sent to the readers only on request. Those who wish to receive it regularly please reply giving the name of your city / country with the subject SUBSCRIBE RAINBOW

Dear Reader

Here is June 2017 issue of Rainbow Stamp News for you. Last month we lost our regular contributor and renowned philatelist  Dr Satyendra Agrawal. His articles will always be missed in Rainbow. As a tribute to great philatelic writer some of his best articles will be re-published in the year 2017. Let the fragrance of his great work be spread in the world.

 For a Thematic stamp collector, the stamp design and the quality of the stamp is very important. For a novice collector a specific theme is the prime attraction. They hunt for a particular stamp. These days aromatic stamps as well as stamps having a genuine touch of fabric, wood, metal and other specific textures are very popular among philatelists of all age groups. Some postal administrations have made their own identity in the world of stamps for issuing finest quality of stamps with wonderful designs. Postal Administrations of Finland, Poland, USA, Australia, Austria New Zealand, Israel, France and many more postal administrations have issued some of the finest stamps in the world using advance printing technology. To produce unique stamps there are different processes and technology which are to be followed in order to give the particular texture to the stamps. India Post has issued some special stamps claiming to have the unique features. But these stamps lack the quality .The recent Coffee stamp with Rs 100 denomination does not have the aroma of Coffee however it is said to be a scented stamp. There is need to improve the quality of stamps and reduce the quantity. Not only the quality, India Post still needs to make improvement in stamp designs too.  To make this possible it is very important that only a limited number of stamps are issued in a year. If a large number of stamps are issued per year, the quality can never be maintained.

This is all for this month.....More in next issue.


§  From the Desk of Naresh Agrawal
§  Recent Indian Issues
§  In The News
§  Doon Philatelic Diary
§  Beginners’ Section
§  Specialized Section 
§  New Issues from Other Countries
§  Lighter Side
§  Philatelic Clubs and Society
§  Blogs & Websites on Philately
§  Current Philatelic Magazines – Newsletter

Philately and Numismatics move together

Philately, Numismatics, Miscellaneous collectibles like artifacts, etc. are all hobbies. Philately, the king of hobbies is now under the shadow of Numismatics and other such hobbies. Pure philatelic exhibitions are not pure as these have numismatics collections on display and numismatic material on sale. This trend started about 8-10 years back. The effect is so high that separate numismatic shows are now being organized regularly. Even, this class of hobby has started dominating philately. There are several reasons for the same such as commercialization of philately or if I say, turning of philately in to trade.

Further to , the point which I want to discuss here is that  to add to this, another new hobby  has started spreading its wings in to the fold of philately . Collection of antiques like medals, tokens, small sculptures and other artifacts. Even Paintings are also on display and sale. By this philately is being pushed back. It is loosing is luster, charm, attraction, real essence, its grace and its honor. The king is no more a king now. This intervention or clubbing of hobbies is be treated as serving many dishes on one table. But by this taste of individual dish is lost.                          

To add to this high prices, medal buying, unhealthy competitiveness has defamed the name of philately. Recently I visited New Delhi attended a show which was told to me as a combined philatelic and numismatic show. But to my surprise, I could find only 6 philatelic stalls, about 8 stalls of antiques and artifacts,  a few stalls of paintings and about 30 stall of numismatics. All around paintings were displayed on wall. The other displays related to Numismatic and paintings. Hardly one display related to philately. I mean philately was just lost. Recently concluded hobby fair at Ahmedabad also served people in the same fashion.

 Here India Post apparently doing all efforts to promote philately but with an intention to earn more from it. The prices of the products being issued / released  are high .This is one reason that new hobbyists, even philatelists are turning towards other hobbies. I won’t say that philately has lost its charm. No it is still same colorful and beautiful hobby but is passing through a lean phase of its liking, its development.

I have seen that Philatelic and Numismatic clubs are coming on the surface. This way, philately alone will lose its kingdom. What will happen ,if this process keeps on going. Slowly philately will remain with pocketful of philatelists. As we see already the new generation is inclined towards other electronic /internet based hobbies.

Under present scenario, I see now philately and numismatics/ notaphily are going together.  I for see philatelic clubs becoming philatelic and numismatic clubs. Role of  India Post is vital  now. It should see that philately regain its crown of hobbies. Good quality, reasonable quantity and reasonably priced philatelic products will help in this cause. More activities in schools will help promotion at grass root level.

-Naresh Agrawal Ph. 09425530514

Recent Indian Issue

14 April 2017: Deekshabhoomi – Se-tenant pair 2 x Rs 5
22 April 2017 : Bharat Ratna Bhim Rao Ambedkar Institute of Telecom Training, Jabalpur – Rs 15
23 April 2017 : Coffee (Scented stamp) – Rs 100 MS
26 April 2017 : Telugu Writers – 3 x Rs 5
1 May 2017 : Ramanujacharya – Rs 25
13 May 2017 : Champaran Satyagraha Centenary –Rs 5, Rs10, Rs 25 + MS
5 May 2017 : Telecom Regulatoy Authority of India – Rs 5
31 May 2017 : Eminent Writers – 5 x Rs 10 + MS

Recent Special Covers

23 April 2017 : Centenary Celebration of  State Central Library, Bangalore
23 April 2017 : World Book and Copyright Day - Bangalore
12 May 2017  - Biddatanda Hockey Namme – 2017 – Madikeri

 In The News

Unique, First-of-a-Kind Stamps Mimic Sports Ball Textures

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service will soon release first-of-a-kind stamps with the look — and feel — of actual balls used in eight popular sports. Available nationwide June 14, the Have a Ball! Forever stamps depict balls used in baseball, basketball, football, golf, kickball, soccer, tennis and volleyball.  

A special coating applied to selected areas of the stamps during the printing process gives them a texture that mimics the feel of a:

·         baseball’s stitching;
·         golf ball’s dimples;
·         tennis ball’s seams;
·         soccer ball or volleyball’s textured panels; and,
·         the different raised patterns of a football, basketball and kickball.

Face of Finland

Unique stamps in a Booklet form issued by Finnish Post on 9th May 2017 featuring Public Faces to mark Finland's centenary of independence. The thousands of photos come together like a mosaic to form different stamps, which are positioned on the sheet in the form of the map of Finland.
Finish Post, Posti ran a campaign in fall 2016 to collect photos of faces from the public for a special stamp publication to mark Finland's centenary of independence. The thousands of photos come together like a mosaic to form different stamps, which are positioned on the sheet in the form of the map of Finland. Each stamp and booklet is unique.

"These stamps are worth a close look, as receivers and senders might spot their own face or the faces of acquaintances on them," .
Recent Stamp Exhibitions

Brasilia-2017 is a Specialized World Stamp Exhibition. The Exhibition will open on 24 October 2017 and close on 29 October 2017. Mr Ajay Kumar Mittal is the National Commissioner. Interested philatelists may contact him at email :


BANDUNG 2017 Specialised WORLD STAMP EXHIBITION, 3-7 Aug 2017 Exhibition under FIP PatronageShri Sahdeva Sahoo is National Commissioner for this exhibition.  emails :   &  Phones +91 9337103542
 +91 674 2432251 (LL)

News from Philatelic Societies

Ananthapuri Philatelic Association


The APEX-2017 the Second Philatelic Exhibition of Ananthapuri Philatelic Association was inaugurated by Shri.Sukumaran Nair, Asst. Postal Director (Philately) Kerala circle on 26.05.2017 at YMCA Hall, Thiruvananthapuram.  In connection with the exhibition a special cover on 80th Anniversary of Gandhiji's last visit to Travancore was released. 

Karnataka Philatelic Society

KARPHILEX-2017 State Level Stamp Exhibition
Organised by  Karnataka Philatelic Society

Dates : 14,15,16 July, 2017
Venue : Rajarajeshwari Kalyana Mantapa  2nd Block, Dr Rajkumar Road, 80 Feet Road, Rajajinagar, Bangalore – 560010
Enquiries/Details: Contact
 K.Chaitanya Dev- +919900196728
Mr Mani  Muthu Krishnan - +918904003936
Mr Nikhilesh Melkote - +917760995362

e-mail :

Stamp Exhibition at Lucknow

5 June 2017, World Environment Day - District Level Stamp Exhibition and Quiz at GPO Lucknow organized by Chief Postmaster, GPO Lucknow. A special Cover will be released during the exhibition.

Doon Philatelic Diary


- Abhai Mishra

After the Anglo-Gurkha war of 1814, and subsequently signing of the Treaty of Sigauli, Dehra Dun became part of the British Garhwal. Municipality of Dehra Dun was established in 1867. Soon Mussoorie became a favourite place for the British. People coming to Mussoorie used to come up to Sharanpur by Railway and from there till Dehra Dun by Dak Gharris. The requirement of railway line up to Dehra Dun was urgently felt.


The first railway opened was the North-Western Railway in 1869, which entered the district at the middle of the southern boundary and passed north-west through Saharanpur city. In 1886 the Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway main line was extended through Roorkee to Saharanpur, its terminus, and a branch line was opened from Laksar to Haridwar, the great pilgrim centre. The railway line between Dehra Dun and Haridwar was sanctioned on 18th November 1896. Haridwar-Dehra railway company was formed and the contract with the government was signed on 26th March 1997 for constructing the railway line. Land for the railway line was made available by the government to the company. The railway line was completed in 1900 and was formally opened on 01st March 1900. The cost incurred in the entire project was of the tune of 26 lakhs. This line immediately boosted the tourism and trade in the region. Dehradun and Mussoorie became part of the All India Postal Network in the year 1900 when the District Postal System was abolished. 

Special cancellation (6.5.2000) : 100 Years of Railways in Doon Valley
( Cover posted at Temporary P.O. Rly Stn Dehra Dun)

The line was operated by the Oudh & Rohilkhand Railways and very soon it started generating profits. By 1920 the profit was 12% of the total capital outlay of the project. The total length of the railway line from Haridwar to Dehra Dun is 51.26 kms. and passes through the picturesque landscape of Rajaji National Park. There are two tunnels with a total length of approximately 478 metre and 236 bridges along the route. The line has 15 curves, the sharpest being 4.5 degrees and ruling gradient of 1 in 75.

WP-7015 steam engine being prepared for the Doon Railway centenary celebration

Initially Howrah-Dehradun (Doon Express) and Delhi-Dehradun (Mussoorie Express) was operated. The first "Annapoorna" dining car was opened in 1953, by Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, then Minister for Railways and Transport between Delhi and Dehra Dun. At present Dehra Dun railway station is well connected by other part of the country through number of trains. In 2000 during the centenary celebration of the Doon Railways, WP-7015, powerful broad gauge steam engine ran between Dehra Dun and Harrawala staion. This is the same engine which was also used during the shooting of the Gadar film.
Initially there was a post office and RMS at the Dehra Dun railway station.  After Independence this RMS was closed. Recently the RMS has again been started and operates from the vicinity of Dehra Dun GPO.

Abhai Mishra - email :

Beginners’ Section

Total solar Eclipse Stamp from USA

A new United States forever stamp will commemorate the total eclipse of the sun that will be visible on Aug. 21 in a path that traverses the United States.

Total Solar Eclipse foreverstamp(49c) is printed with a thermochromic material that will normally appear as a black disk on the stamp, representing the moon blocking the sun, as viewed from Earth.Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the Moon. The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools.

The stamp is pictured at left as it will appear normally; when warmed, an image of the moon will appear, as shown in the illustration at right.

Printed on the back of the Total Solar Eclipse stamp pane is a map of the United States showing the path of totality: those locations where the sun will be completely blocked as the moon passes between it and earth.

Heat-sensitive thermochromic inks have been used earlier also on stamps that turn colour when heated by slight rubbing with a finger. Some examples are:

Before and after heating- the lower cloud colour change

Before and after heating- check out the pan Before and after heating- black turns grey revealing the inner molecule and Chemistry inscription.

Before heating- pink lei turns white when warm

Courtesy – Dr Satish Sondhi, San Diego, USA

Specialized Section

In Memory of Dr Satyendra Kumar Agrawal….

In great philatelic  memory of Dr Satyendra Kumar Agrawal, I am re-publishing some of his best articles every month this year.- Editor

Unique Philatelic Elements: “Proof of Delivery Card” and “Intimation Card” (pt. I)

- © Dr.Satyendra Kumar Agrawal
On 1st August 1986, the Department of Posts, India came out with a new time-bound, fast, guaranteed, economical and reliable service termed as ‘Speed Post ‘which is available for inland and international mail.

First Day postmark showing three Arrow Heads heading towards right is indicative of speed and was designed for the first day of introduction of this “Speed Post” service

It is an express mail service for letters and documents offered in league with the international EMS service.

International format of POD

Later on Speed Post service has been developed more and more to cope with the fast pace of globalization and the commercial and industrial expansion taking place in India which generated a new class of customers   with their specific type of demands to deliver the mails, samples, articles, documents and specimens from one pace to another, in time.

Beginning with 7 inland (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad & Mumbai) and 5 international centers (from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai to UK, Federal Republic of Germany, Hong Kong & Japan and to USA from 6 Oct 1986 on 1.8,1986, now it links more than 1200 towns in India, with 315 centers in the national network, around 1000 centers in the state network and 97 international centers. For regular users, Speed Post provides delivery ‘anywhere in India’ under contractual service.

For corporate customers, Speed Post provides ‘Home collection’, credit facilities, on-line tracking, account management and personalized services. Presently 89 sorting hubs are functioning for fast mail transmission. The mails are transmitted through air, train and roads, and for internal transmission MMS (Mail Motor Service) vehicles are used. The articles addressed to Metro cities may be delivered in next day means booking day + 1(one) day.
Every article and bag is documented, tracked and traced through Speed net at all stages of handling and transmission point to ensure prompt sorting, transmission and delivery are confirm to the prescribed norms.

To monitor efficiency and accountability of Speed Post Service, India Post launched Speed Net Service on 3rd Jan 2002 which is web based on-line track and trace service to keep track of all stages of handling and transmission point to ensure prompt sorting, transmission and delivery are confirm to the prescribed norms for every article booked. Tracking can be done by entering barcode number of article booked made available to the customer on booking receipt.

During early days of Speed Post services, if desired the Acknowledgement card used for registered mail  were provided as Proof of Delivery card to the sender with additional postal charge of Rs.0.50 but the Acknowledgement slip was not treated as a Speed Post article and after signature of the recipient this card was delivered to sender by ordinary post. Soon it was replaced by printed   “Speed Post Proof of Delivery” slip which was soon replaced by a larger size POD acknowledgement slip.  

Speed Post PODs
To make available this trace and track facility, Speed Post Business Office at Mangalore, commenced on 18.01.1988 given birth to two unique philatelic elements introducing Illustrated “Proof of Delivery Card” and “Intimation Card”.

Though not issued nationwide, these cards are not only important for Postal History exhibits but for Thematic too as one side of each card are illustrated and depicting cultural and architectural heritage of Karnataka on them.


Proof of Delivery cards were attached to the Speed Post booked article and when it reaches the destination and received by the addressee, the postman makes him sign this card as Proof of Delivery (POD), and is sent back to the sender if desired.

The first POD I found depicts   Picture of Postal Inspector with Speed Post banner atop "Kalapathar" with Mount Everest in the background.

Postal Inspector with Speed Post banner atop "Kalapathar" with Mount Everest in the background

Everest base camp trek is the most popular adventure activities in Himalaya ever since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa climbed the Mount Everest in 1953. Trekking to the Everest base camp in Nepal is an ultimate goal for trekkers and a beginning of the expedition bid for the climbers. The journey to base camp and Kalapathar is once in a lifetime adventure of great challenge and achievement with thrill of being so close to stand next to the tallest mountain on planet.

This theme is representative of the high ambition of newly introduced Speed Post service and its commitments towards safe and timely delivery-whatever the area is.
PODs illustrating rich cultural heritage of Karnataka were also issued by Speed Post Business Office at Mangalore.


YAKSHAGANA is an enchanting rich traditional operatic theatre of coastal Karnataka. In YAKSHAGANA the music, dance, spoken word, movement, costume and stage craft are woven into a unique type of dramatic production. The rich aspects of Yakshagana have their own distinct style. The stories called as ‘prasangas’ (episodes) are chosen from classical and mythological sources like Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Bhagavatha. The verses provide the script. They are sung with an orchestra of drums and gongs. The characters dance to the music and then present the dialogue, which is extempore and highly improvised. This art has a history of seven centuries. It has received international recognition and appreciation during the last few decades.

Rakshasa (the demon) as depicted in Yakshagana performances

It is a monolithic statue of Bhagavan Bahubali,a 57 feet (17 m) monolith in height and with a width of 13 feet across the hips, situated above a hill in Shravanabelagola, in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, India. It was built in the 10th century AD by the Ganga dynasty minister and commander Chamundaraya.  Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, devotees and tourists from all over the world flock to the statue once in 12 years for an event known as Mahamastakabhisheka.
On August 5, 2007, the statue was voted by Indians as the first of Seven Wonders of India. 49% votes went in favour of this marvel.
A   POD also illustrates beautifully this statue of Bhagavan Bahubali showing to the world the way of knowledge and austerity for thousands of years.


Local Festival, Karnataka
(Images courtesy SUDHIR JAIN, Satna, MP)

United States 1902-1903 Definitive Issues

Col J Dutta & Dr Anjali Dutta

These definitives are known as the “Gingerbread Definitives” because of their ornate borders, the regular issues of stamps released between 1902 and 1908 in several series marked a departure for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). These stamps are also known as the Second Bureau Issue. The previous BEP definitive stamps had used the old American Banknote dies, these stamp were entirely fresh designs. The 14 different denominations featured some faces not seen on U.S. stamps before, including Martha Washington (the first famous American woman to appear on a stamp), Benjamin Harrison the 23rd President, and Civil War hero Admiral David Farragut. 

They were the first U.S. stamps to give the birth and death years of each person being honoured. Two denominations appeared in November and December 1902 and the other twelve were released between January and June of 1903. 

Also considered part of the series is a fifteenth stamp which appeared in November 1903, a second version of the 2¢ value.

George Washington. Issue of 1903, 2c

This series, particularly noted for its exceptional ornateness and opulence of design, remained in circulation until late 1908, when it was superseded by the Washington-Franklin Issues.

The 1 cent, 4 cent, and 5 cent denominations were issued imperforate, between 1906 and 1908. All known examples of the imperforate 4 cent denomination were perforated with large oblong perforations (Shermack Type III) at the sides.

1906-1908 1 cent, 4 cent, and 5 cent imperforate

The imperforate 1 cent denomination stamp is common, the 5 cent denomination stamp is scarce, and the 4 cent denomination stamp is exceedingly rare, with only a few examples being known. Many people complained about the originally issued 2 Cent George Washington denomination, because of the red shading on his nose and cheek.
As a result, the US Post Office Department
 re-issued the 2 cent denomination in late 1903, featuring a touched-up vignette and a new frame.  The new 2 cent stamps were issued perforated 12 in 1903 and imperforate in 1906

2 cent stamps were issued perforated 12 in 1903 and imperforate in 1906 

These 2-cent denomination US stamps, during their production period, approximately 1903-1911, were printed in a number of different colours. The listed colours, noted are carmine, bright carmine, carmine lake, lake, carmine rose, and scarlet. These stamps also come in two types, with the most obvious feature on Type I being the outer leaf to the left of the left hand numeral "2" breaks the outer frame line.  On Type II, the leaf does not break the frame line.  The new 2-cent stamps were also issued as booklets containing panes of six stamps.  The booklet panes of this issue also come in most of the colours noted above.  By this time, the sale of stamps in booklets was becoming more commonplace, thus they are reasonably affordable for most US stamp collectors.
Beginning in early 1908, the US Post Office Department began experimenting with the production of postage stamps printed in coil rolls for use in vending machines.
The 1 cent and 5 cent denominations were printed in vertical coils, perforated 12 horizontally.  The 1 cent and 2 cent denominations were also printed in horizontal coils perforated 12 vertically. 
It may be safely assumed that any unauthenticated examples of these coil stamps are probably forgeries.  Jumbo margin sheet stamps, imperforate stamps, and even stamps from the booklet panes have been altered and passed-off as the coils.  The government-issued coil stamps are all exceedingly rare.  They rarely appear on the market, and then only occasionally are offered by the major auction houses.  Examples of these coil stamps must be authenticated to ensure they are genuine.

The coil stamps

-       - Col Jayanta Dutta & Dr Anjali Dutta - email :

New issues from other Countries
16 May 2017 : Street Art

In recent decades there has been an explosion of art practice in the urban environments. Street art describes public artistic expression that appears outside traditional art venues, such as galleries. Beginning as unsanctioned graffiti in the 1980s, street art has now evolved into a sophisticated range of practices, including stencil art, poster art, spray painting, yarn bombing and installation art. Australia has a particularly vibrant street art culture and this issue features four portraits by internationally respected artists painted in the streets of Melbourne and Adelaide.


7 June 2017 : 100th Anniversary of Lions Clubs International

13 June 2017 Israeli Music  Love songs

The people of Israel love to sing songs of love: love for God, love for their homeland, love for the world, love between a man and a woman. Some of the most beautiful poetic verses about love are found in the biblical Song of Songs. The Levites sang songs of love for God in the Temple. Through good and bad, throughout the world, during the Holocaust and the subsequent revival of the Jews, in war and in peace, the Jewish people have never stopped singing love songs.

The Israel Philatelic Service has selected 12 romantic love songs from a wide range of genres and times, songs that remind everyone of wonderful moments.

14 June 2017

Six stamps and a Miniature Sheet, will be issued by Jersey Post on 14 June 2017, celebrating the legacies of famous naturalists Gerald Durrell and Charles Darwin.
The animals and birds that feature on the stamps are subjects of conservation projects undertaken by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust with support from the Darwin Initiative, a United Kingdom Government grants scheme that helps to protect biodiversity and the natural environment, and which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. The Miniature Sheet, which has been printed on FSC certified sycamore, features a portrait of Charles Darwin and is the first Jersey stamp to be printed on wood.
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was established as an international charity by naturalist and author, Gerald Durrell OBE in 1959. It has partnered with the Darwin Initiative on many occasions during the course of its conservation programme as Lee Durrell, Honorary Director of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust explains:
“The Darwin Initiative has provided significant support to the Durrell mission for a quarter of a century, and I am delighted to see the relationship commemorated in this set of stamps produced by Jersey Post. The images depict the creatures we are helping to recover from the brink of extinction, all of which are ‘typical’ Durrell species, from a very large frog to a tiny pig – the small and less showy animals which Gerald Durrell said, have just as much right to exist as the big, cuddly ones. Thanks once again to Jersey Post for bringing attention to our work in this unique way!”
Featured on the stamps are: the mangrove finch, Livingstone’s fruit bat, Telfair’s skink, the mountain chicken, Hispaniolan solenodon and the pygmy hog. The accompanying Miniature Sheet, printed on FSC certified sycamore wood, features a portrait of Charles Darwin, a source of inspiration for naturalists and conservationists all over the world: “This is the first time a Jersey stamp has been printed on wood,” comments Melanie Gouzinis, Head of Philatelic at Jersey Post. “We felt the technique was a perfect fit for this issue and the fact that the wood grain can be seen through the image means that each of the Miniature Sheets is unique.”
16 May 2017 : My Family

The new stamp design contest My Family – Superteam held by Latvijas Pasts and the parents’ organisation,  the winner  is Ervīns Elliņš. The winning stamp of the contest was released on the 15th of May, the International Day of Families, in whose honour Latvijas Pasts  implemented the concept of a parents-friendly post office in the second of its post offices.

Ananthapuri Stamp Bulletin May 2017 from Ananthapuri Philatelic Association
Vadophil Issue No. 150 from Baroda Philatelic Society
Lighter Side

The Grammarian’s Post Office

- Anil Dhir

No matter what town or village you go to in India, however remote it may be; there’s bound to be a post office nearby. Every old post office has some history attached to it, trivial or important. Both, in pre and post independent India, post offices were set up to meet the changes to the mail delivery system and the people it served. They are our history. In the last two centuries, our nation expanded in every direction, so did the postal network and the post offices. While a large percentage of the population flocked to locations that became large urban cities, sizeable percentages remained in rural India, and still remain there today.

I have visited and written about unique post offices which were the smallest, largest, and most remote and in weird spots, at high altitudes etc.  Some post offices were grand, decorated with granite columns and marble floors, while others were no bigger than a cubby hole in the wall.

I have also found out intriguing and interesting stories about their origins, i.e., why the post offices were set up in these places.  Most of them were set up for the business they would generate, or as intermediate pit stops for long postal routes. Some of them were for logistical reasons, for administrative and military purposes. However one small post office in rural Odisha had been set up only for a Grammarian, a school teacher who had written a set of grammar books. 

The small post office at Bari Cuttack had been first opened sometime in the early 1900’s. It lay on the important Jajpur-Kendrapada Route, and was an important post office. It had its own building and a small attached house for the postmaster. There were a few Branch Post Offices under it, one of them being in the village of Kalamatia, just two kilometres away. Because of its proximity to the main Post office, the Branch Office became defunct and was closed after independence.  

Why the Kalamatia Branch Office was reopened and became one of the busiest post offices of the division is a story which many postal lovers and philatelists will find interesting. 
Kedar Chandra Mohanty was the son of a poor farmer who had studied at the small Urdu School in Bari. He has migrated to Baripada, and being educated, was employed by the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj. He was in the Maharaja’s service when a son was born to him. Krupa Sindhu Mohanty, the son, was put up at the school in Baripada and completed his Matriculation in 1947. Post- Independence, with the merger of the princely states, his father lost his job and moved back to the village. Young Krupa Sindhu could not study further, there were no colleges in the vicinity and his father could not afford to send him to the Ravenshaw College at Cuttack.

He got a job as a teacher at the village school. He was asked to teach English to the students and he took up the effort will all devotion and sincerity. Even though it was a low paid job, he was soon held in great esteem by the villagers. The simple village folk, who were generally illiterate, would gather around him for the news of the day. He read out the newspapers to the villagers, they believed that he was the only person who could give them up-to-date information about what was going on in other parts of the world. He wrote letters and other documents for them. The villagers carried their small disputes and troubles to him. He acted as the judge, whose decisions were generally accepted.

The villagers had implicit faith in him. He was a courteous and polite man, the villagers provided him with most of his needs. He was simple in dress and habits and took pains with the students, taking special classes for them after school hours.

In those olden days, village school masters were very harsh and strict towards their students. They used the rod freely and frequently, believing in the maxim, 'Spare the rod and spoil the child.' The school children were terribly afraid of the teachers as most of them struck terror in their hearts. But not Krupa Sir, he was just loved by his students. He was gentle and patient, and all that he wanted from them was that they would learn English. 
He taught English, but for his students it seemed like a nightmare. Grammar was tough, even the students who enjoyed reading and writing had a difficult time getting all the rules right. Don’t split infinitives.  Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.  Be careful to use “who” as a subject pronoun and “whom” as an object pronoun. A bunch of words sounded the same but were spelled differently, or a bunch of words that were spelled the same but had different meanings, or a bunch of different words had similar meanings but different connotations. 

The complexity of the English Grammar made it difficult to remember. His students were a confused lot, and Krupa Sindhu was futile in all his attempts. Most of his students failed in the class exams, and once when the District Inspector of Schools paid a visit, the young teacher had to cut a sorry figure as his students could not answer even the basic questions that were put to them.

It was then that Krupa Sindhu decided to write a set of books that would help his wards. Till then he followed the Nesfield's English Grammar, a book originally written for students in colonial India. Nesfield’s Junior Course in English Composition and Senior Course in English Composition had proved really successful in the British colonies. In 1934, Wren & Martin published their High School English Grammar and Composition, written for the children of British officers residing in India.

However, these books were widely adopted by Indian schools in the post-colonial era too. Krupa Sir too followed these books, but most of it went over the heads of his students.
He went to Cuttack to meet publishers, but none of them showed any interest in the diminutive schoolmaster and his books. Printing of books was not an easy affair in those times. The printing presses at Cuttack wanted cash up front and the poorly paid Krupa Sindhu did not have the money. He sold five acres of his agricultural land to print his first set of books. The first book that he wrote was “The Common Knowledge in English” which he published in 1960. While writing this Grammar book, he kept steadily in view the class of students for whom it was written. It was written in a simple and lucid style. The experienced teacher knew the best way to stimulate his students and used a unique approach. I will not elaborate on the methods he adopted to drive home the correct grammar of the English language, but his book and the later books he wrote proved to be an immense success.

His books contained hundreds of sentences for his students to work through, and the randomness of these sentences amused me greatly. Krupa Sindhu knew what would stimulate his students, something which Nesfield and Wren and Martin did not know. Students and teachers from all over the State just could not have enough of his books. He priced them at Rs 2/- each, which was affordable even to the poor students. Krupa Sindhu was a happy man.

Word of the village schoolmaster’s book spread, and many students came to him, asking him copies of the books. Someone in the village suggested to him that he should advertise in the newspapers, a suggestion that he took up.

In 1964, the first advertisement for his books appeared in the daily Samaj, the premier Odia newspaper published from Cuttack.  He offered to sell the books by V.P.P; such was the deluge of response that the Post office at Bari had to deliver sacks full of letters to his small home. Just packing the small parcels and posting them took up most of the school masters time. 

He soon gave up his job and opened a small bookshop in the Bari market. The advertisement for his Grammar books would appear once every month. The sheer deluge that followed, made the Post Master at Bari Cuttack to write to the authorities for additional staff as they could not manage the huge amount of mail that passed thru them, all for the village schoolmaster. More than 2500 VPP book packets were sent all over the State from the small post office every month, and the return money orders of these packets were an additional burden.

Very soon, the old Branch Office at Bari Kalamatia was revived, and two assistants posted there. The new Post office was set up in a small hut right next to the Krupa Sindhu’s house. The Grammarian would post all his parcels there; sometimes the load was such that it has to be carried to the main post office in a bullock cart. 

The Kalamatia Branch Post office was kept busy for the next thirty years. Krupa Sindhu’s Grammar books kept the post office going. In 1995, the last advertisement appeared in the “Samaj”. There had been major reforms in the education system, grammar was no longer taught as it had been. The Government had started to print text books, and Krupa Sir’s books were no more wanted.

When I saw the old Grammar books,   they were brittle and frayed, as they had been were printed on thin paper and loosely bound. Age was a factor in their condition: the first of the grammar books dated to 1960, the later spanned the period from the 60’s to the 70’s.

Half a dozen generation of students of Odisha, who found it difficult to travel English Grammar's road of nouns and pronouns, adjectives and prepositions, conjunctions and  interjections, verbs and adverbs, followed Krupa Sindhu’s books. They did not know of the role of the small post office in the village which made it possible for them to learn the rules of punctuation.

Krupa Sindhu Mohanty died in 2007 at the ripe age of 80 years. His family was left holding a huge stock of his books. Most of them were given away, his son Kedar Chandra Mohanty reminiscences of the days when he would help his father make the book packets which went all over the State and country.  Money Orders and VPP have become things of the past, but the small post office at Kalamatia still exists.

I had come to know of the background of this little post office from Shashank Das, an intrepid collector who has the largest collection of different newspapers in the country. Shashank is from the same village. We had to make three trips to the village; the books were collected from his son and a few other villagers, the newspaper advertisements from the State Archives. We even met many persons in their sixties who remembered and cherished the grammar books; some of them had even preserved them for years. As for the little village post office, it still exists in a small room in the village school where the grammarian once taught. 

-Anil Dhir : email :
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