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Forgotten Biography

Shri G. S. Farid

G. S. FaridLate Mr. Gholam Sharfuddin Farid (G. S. Farid) was born on 31st January, 1927 in Calcutta. He was a philatelist, postal historian a research scholar and philatelic journalist.

Mr. Farid was specialized in 1954 four anna cut to shape. He collected Calcutta Postcards for many years. His picture-postcard collection was exhibited in Calcutta in the first-ever Picture Postcard Exhibition to be held in India. His interest in numismatics led him to contribute more than 30 research papers on the coins of the Sultans of Bengal, the articles being published in the Journal of the Numismatics Society of India, The Asiatic Society Journal and the Numismatic Digest. These papers have become standard reference works for historians and researchers on the subject.

He wrote more than 60 articles on different subjects in philatelic journals in India and abroad. Apart from his research work, his writings such as "Watermark Varieties", "Date of Issue of 1854 stamps", "Who are the engravers of the 1854 stamps" and "Coloured Cancellation" had earned him a wide reputation and marked him out as a specialist in the field of Indian Philately.

Mr. G.S. Farid had mentioned in one of his article regarding ‘Pearl’ variety Gandhi on 1½ as. Stamp. He noticed a dot below the Hindi word ‘Bapu’ on the left corner of the stamp visible to the naked eyes. It is a coloured dot with a white shadow at the top, imparting a sparkling pearl-like appearance.

He acted as a judge at the International Gandhi Stamp Exhibition and Inpex-70, the Indian National Philatelic Exhibition. He was a member of the Asiatic Society; of which he had also been a library secretary.

Some of his well-known books are Encylopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps, Philately India: A Collection of Research Articles on Philately.

He was also interested in Muslim calligraphy on which he published articles in various journals, including the Philatelic Journal of India. His book "A Collector's Guide to the Study of the Coins of the Sultans of Bengal" has come to be treated as a handbook for beginners on how to read Muslim coins. A compilation in Urdu, "Maqalat Farid", covers a wide variety of subjects.

His epic work ‘Picture Postcards from Calcutta (1895-1980)’ was launched by the then Governor of West Bengal, Mr. Viren Shah. A copy of this book was received and acknowledged personally by the Queen of England. The former Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee was also gifted a copy of this book.

Mr. Farid passed away to meet his Creator on 14th February 2006. His legacy continues through his numerous works.

Contributed by : Mr. Mansoor Danish, Kolkata

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