My Stamp was the perfect medium to create awareness on Paper Day

In a bid to popularise paper in the masses, FPTA, India’s apex paper body has declared 1 August as Paper Day. On the occasion this year, India Post launched a commemorative stamp. B Deepak of Sivasakthi Paper Distributors, Coimbatore, explains how it all came about, and about his love affair with philately.

19 Sep 2018 | By PrintWeek India

B Deepak

How did the idea of My Stamp emerge?

I have been a philatelist, right from my school days. So, when we planned activities for Paper Day, the first thing came to my mind was to release a Special Cover & My Stamp at Federation Level. As many school and college students are involved in philately, I thought this is the perfect medium to create awareness on Paper Day.

Who were the suppliers and tech support team for My Stamp?

The postal department has a separate division for My Stamp, in which the customised stamp is been designed and approved by the deputy director general, Philately, New Delhi.

Who designed My Stamp?

B Deepak and Ashik of the postal department designed the first customised My Stamp for Paper Day. We felt that the imposing papier-mâché sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi spinning the Charakha, which is in the National Museum, Delhi, would be an ideal image.

What were your first impressions of dealing with the Postal Department?

Though I have been associated with the postal department for the past many years, this is the first time I was involved in My Stamp release. They were very helpful and kind enough to complete the entire process of releasing the stamp in 45 days’ time. We will always be grateful to the postal department, as without their support the Paper Day celebrations wouldn’t have been so successful.

You are a stamp collector. How did your journey begin?

The collection and study of postage stamps is called ‘Philately'. The India Post site provides various services to philatelists to buy new stamps and have philatelic accounts on philatelic bureau to avail different collection of stamps. My father was a philatelist. Seeing him collect rare collections pulled me towards it. Gradually, I became a full-fledged stamp collector from Class VIII and that’s how my journey as a philatelist began.

The philatelic bureau offers collectable materials such as mint stamps; commemorative stamps; First Day Covers; brochures, year-wise collectors' packs and miniature/ souvenir sheets.

How are stamps printed?

Stamps are printed in different processes. Various techniques employed are intaglio, engraving, letterpress, rotogravure and offset lithography. The stamps are printed at the Security Press in Nasik & Hyderabad. 

A rare stamp you are proud to possess?

A memorial to Mahatma Gandhi was issued 15 August 1948 on the first anniversary of Independence. Exactly one year later, a series appeared, depicting India's broad cultural heritage. The Rs 10 postage stamp depicting Mahatma Gandhi, issued in 1948, is one of India's most famous stamps. Gandhi was the first Indian to be depicted on stamps. A set of 100 of these stamps was overprinted with the word ‘Service’ and provided only to the Governor General of India for his official use. The Rs 10 ‘Service’ overprinted stamp is one of India's rarest and most highly valued stamps.

A fun stamp collector's story you know?

Stamp collecting can be a fun and rewarding hobby. There are thousands and thousands of colorful stamps from different countries and different points of history to collect. This makes stamp collecting both interesting and educational. You can learn about different parts of the world through collecting stamps from other countries. Each country will usually have stamps that represent things that make that country special. This includes leaders, famous entertainers, animals that can be found in that country, historical events, historical figures and more.

A stamp museum you have visited?

I have visited the Indian National Philatelic Museum, Dak Bhavan, New Delhi, which showcases the Indian collections and the first stamp issued by the Sindh Dak (1854) and the stamps issued before independence by the rulers of the Princely States.

What do you love about paper?

Paper is a noble product. It has contributed more for the development of civilization than any other mediums. Its contribution for eradication of illiteracy has been immense. Paper is recyclable in nature without affecting our ecology.