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Forgotten Biography

Shri Harshvardhan C. Mehta (H. C. Mehta)

Shri Harshvardhan C. MehtaShri Harshvardhan C. Mehta (b. October 13, 1933 - d. July 11, 2014) was born at Nadiad. His father Shri Chandulal Mehta was an army officer and played an active role in Mesopotamia (Iraq) during the WWI. He was, to us who knew him closely was known as ‘Sadhubhai’, name given to him by the Mahant of Santram Mandir, Nadiad.

Shri Mehta was graduated with honours (B. A. Hons) from Gujarat University. Thereafter, he underwent extensive training in Dairy Development area in Mysore State (now Karnataka). He worked as manager in this field at Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Junagadh, Jamnagar and Porbandar. Finally he became a youngest General Manager of ABAD Municipal Dairy, Ahmedabad.

Shri Mehta had a profound knowledge of the social and political history of Indian subcontinent. In 1965 his younger brother Dr. Anil Mehta left for the higher study to join Leeds University, England and left his modest philatelic collection to Shri Mehta. Shri Mehta took off his philatelic flight from here and since then never looked back. His philatelic interests were, Pre and Post Independence Postal History of India, Routes and rates of India, Mails to England, Europe, USA and Canada, Middle East, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He also assembled a superb collection on 1948 Mahatma Gandhi stamps on covers to destinations within India and abroad. He had assembled an exceptional fine collection on Indian Speed Post. His collections on 1947-1957 Indian Postal History, Indian FDC upto 1957 and venue cancelled FDCs of Post Independence India, Indian Postal Stationery 1947-1958 are excellent examples of Modern Indian Philately.

His general knowledge of Philately was exceptional. He had been often invited by Department of Posts as a Jury member for district, regional, state level and national philatelic exhibitions including Stampmania 2009, One Frame National Philatelic Exhibition held at Baroda. He was a founder member of Philatelic Congress of India (PCI). He was an honorary life member of Gujarat Philatelists’ Association. He served as President of GPA and an editor of GPA News. He was also a member of India Study Circle for Philately (UK). Shri Mehta was honoured as an Honorary Life member of Baroda Philatelic Society.

He had published several articles authored singleton or jointly. His last article was published in Vadophil, April 2014 issue. He was always available if approached towards the preparation for philatelic exhibitions, preparing articles for publications. His philatelic knowledge could not be fathomed and his peers were exceedingly few.

His interest was in music of Hindi films, which was restricted to 1965. His favourite singers were Khursheed, Zohrabai, Amirbai Karnataki, Suraiya, Kanan Devi, Geeta Dutt, Kundan Lal Saigal, Pankaj Mullick, Hemant Kumar, Talat Mahmood and Mohammed Rafi. He was from old school; therefore he was conservative in his choice of likes and dislikes. Once he wrote a letter to famous British Stage and film actress Ms. Elizabeth Taylor, admiring her acting in many of her films, even her beauty and requested her photograph with a signature. Mr. Mehta got a quick response from Ms. Taylor, thanking his appreciation along with a signed photograph. Well, you are young at heart at some age, so was Mr. Mehta!

After the loss of his second half Mrs. Sadhnaben Mehta he was keeping indifferent health. He became an emotional person with continued deterioration in health. Shri Mehta passed away on 11th July 2014 after being ill for last few months. He survives by his two sons.

Contributed by : Shri Punit S. Dixit, Nadiad
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