Keekli Reporter, 28th June, 2019, Shimla

Anything done with passion, fervour and discipline will always bare fruits, something that Major (Dr) Ritu Kalra, Founder-President, Himachal Philately Club, taught the students of Loreto Convent Tara Hall, Shimla, during a seminar on Philately, held in the premises today. Organized by the Shimla GPO, she was accompanied by Ram Tirath Sharma, Aprajita, D D Sharma and Lalit Sharma, from the department. Addressing an eager audience, she told them about the basic difference between a Philatelist and a Collector of stamps. She said that anyone could be a collector, but one who studies about stamps and further does research to understand the idea and the concept behind it was a real philatelists.

It is quite noteworthy to know that it was a lady who was first depicted on a stamp – Queen Victoria; and it was again a lady who became the first collector, thus giving birth to the genesis of stamp collection. Major Ritu shared a brief note on the history of postal services and the birth of first stamp in 1852 by the Britishers, and within two years, in 1854, India too got its own stamps. Initially red color was used to print the stamp but as the colour got exhausted, hence blue and green colour was used. It was in India that the first bi-coloured stamp was used.

She further went on to explain certain technical terms associated wih the printing of stamps such as imperfs, lithographs, perforation, bi-colour stamps, watermarks as well as commemorative and definitive stamps.

Through a rich visual stamps presentation, she took the kids on a historical journey, which was educative as well as entertaining. The first stamps of India pre- and post-independences, rare and error stamps, theme based as well as miniature sheets were elaborated upon. She informed the kids that the first set of stamps on Gandhi were released in 1948, which were printed in Switzerland, and that only nine stamps have been ever been issued that were based on living dignatories in India, tough one being an exception.

Showcasing keen interest, the students were prompt in answering her questions as well as posing a couple of their own to lean more about the world of stamps.

Philately Bureau In-charge, D D Sharma apprised the kids about the concept of MyStamp, wherein the kids could see themselves on legit postal stamps as well as various competitions held by the postal department. One such competition held for the kids is a drawing contest before Children’s Day. The best drawing selected is then made into a stamp and he informed that a student of Dayanand School won one such competition. He further inspired the kids to write letters and participate in the Deen Dayal Sparsh Yojana as well, under which scholarships are given to kids.

The day ended on a positive note as School Principal Sister A Nirmala thanked the postal delegates and Major Ritu for such an insightful session for the kids.

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