Thematic Philately: Children's Day Stamps of India
14th November is celebrated as Children's Day in India. The day is celebrated in all the schools, related departments of Central and State Governments and also in families having children.
Every year, India Post issues one or more special postage stamps on this day.Here is a brief history of Children's Day Stamps of India.
Jawaharlal Nehru and Children's Day
Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India was born on 14th November 1889. His Birthday is celebrated as Children's Day in India, as he was very popular amongst the children in India and was popularly known as Chaha Nehru i.e. Uncle Nehru amongst them. This day is known as Baal Divas in Hindi.
First Children's Day Stamp
In 1957, India Post issued a series of three postage stamps on occasion of Children's Day. First of the stamp was depicting a boy eating a Banana. This was a single color stamp, printed in pink shade. The price of the stamp was 8 Paisa. The stamp was created from a candid photograph of a 8 year boy Shekhar Borker. The photograph was selected from 10000 entries. The number of the stamps issued was 32 Millions. Along with this stamp, two more stamps were issued.
In 2007, on the occasion of 50th anniversary of the first Children's Day stamp, Shekhar Borker was honored by Post Master General of India Raghav Lal by handing over Children's Day Stamps issued in 2007. An interesting thing is that Raghav Lal was in the same school where Shekhar Borker studied, and was junior to Shekhar.
Shekhar became famous as 'Banana Boy' after the stamp was issued.
First Multicolor Stamp
Until 1966, the Children's Day stamps were created using a photograph. in 1971, instead of using a photograph, India Post started to use drawings and paintings by children, selected from all over India.
Until 1971 the stamps were printed in single color. From 1973, India Post started to issue multicolor stamps. The painting used for 1973 Children's Day stamp was by a school girl Bela Rawal.
Design a Stamp Competition
India Post Organizes 'Design a Stamp Competition' for School children. The competition is organized on national level and hundreds of thousands of school children from every corner of India take part in it. A theme is given and the competitors and they have to design it in ink, watercolor or oil paint. Winning design is selected to depict on Children's Day stamp. The competition is open for the student of Standard IV to Standard XII, and is divided in 3 groups.
Many stamp collectors like to specialize themselves in a specific theme. Gandhi stamps is one of the most popular theme in the collectors of stamps. Now Children's day stamps also have become a popular theme amongst the collectors. It is notable thing that India post has issued a large number of stamps on both the themes.
Stamps on this theme are displayed in most of the philatelic exhibitions in India.
I myself had a collection of Children's day stamps in my school days.
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© 2013 Mahaveer Sanglikar
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