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Forgotten Biography

Col. Lakshman Giri Shenoy (L. G. Shenoy)

Col. L. G. ShenoyCol. Lakshman Giri Shenoy (b. August 11, 1915, - d. June 19, 1997) was born as the second son of Giri Shenoy and Saraswathi Bai. The poor family lived at Cherthala, a small village (at that time) in the erstwhile Travancore state (now part of Kerala). He had 2 sisters and 2 brothers. The family had no belongings or wealth and was living in a small hut-like house on a land belonging to somebody else.

Personally, Col. Shenoy was a very bright, ambitious, hard working, honest, truthful, sincere, learned, and generous man. He loved his family very much and helped all family members with whatever means he had to remove their poverty.

His father died when he was about 15 years old and his mother had a tough time to bring up the five children. He passed B.A (English) from the Maharajah's College, Ernakulam. Though he completed M.A. (English) at Madras Christian College, Madras (now Chennai), he did not write the examinations, fearing that he will not pass!

His early career was as editor of English newspapers 'Hyderabad Herald' and 'Modern Times'. The powerful editorials which he wrote those days on the Freedom struggle and many other subjects prove his journalistic abilities. He had written some Malayalam articles also in private magazines. It must have been for higher pay that he opted for a position as commissioned officer in the British Indian Army during the Second World War. He joined as a second lieutenant in 1943. At that time, he asked his elder brother Ramachandra who had already joined the British Indian Army and was working as a Quarter Master for about 4 years to go home and look after the other members of the family, which included his widowed mother. He married Prabha, daughter of Govinda Pai, advocate, Ernakulam in 1958. The couple, however, had no children.

As a second lieutenant, he was sent to Burma. But when he reached Burma, the war was over and he was asked to return to India. As a military officer, he travelled all over India. He served the army, which later became the Indian Army, for 24 years, retiring in 1968 as Colonel. He mostly worked for the army Ordnance Corps. After retirement, he worked in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., Bangalore in higher management cadre. He selected Bangalore as his retirement abode in 1968 when he was about to retire and obtained a plot of land from the Defence Housing Society and constructed a house there in 1976. He settled there and spent his remaining life for the cause of philately.

Col. Shenoy was founder member of Karnataka Philatelic Society which was founded in 1976 and remained President of the society for four years. He was also a President of Philatelic Congress of India during 1993-95 and member of jury at State, National and International Philatelic Exhibitions.

Col. L. G. Shenoy specialized in the history of Travancore, Cochin, Puddukottai and Mysore Princely States of India. His knowledge of District Dak, Travelling Post Offices, (TPO) of India, Early India Cancellations and Sea Post Offices were outstanding. He also collected stamps and postal stationery on the subject ‘Coconut Tree’. Being a Postal Historian, he maintained a superb library which housed Postal History of C.E.F., I.E.F., WWI, WWII, Censorship Postmarks etc.

Realising the need of Indian Philatelic Magazine with an emphasis on the Postal History, he embarked upon publishing ‘IND DAK’ on 1st January 1977. ‘IND DAK’ monthly was published without a break for 21 years till his death in June 1997. He promoted youth philately movement in India and published ‘MAYUR’ once in three months. He conducted awareness classes in Bangalore schools. From July 1997, ‘IND DAK’ was managed by Shri K. P. Achar and Dr. P. S. Dixit and Dr. Punit S. Dixit was also an editor-in-chief of ‘MAYUR’ from July 1997. ‘IND DAK’ received a Silver Medal at Millepex 2000, held at Bhubaneshwar and LORCA 98, a World Philatelic Exhibition for Literature and Mophila held in Granada, Spain. ‘MAYUR’ received a Silver Medal at Indonesia 96, held at Bandung, Indonesia. He attended the Espozione Mondiale Filatella in Rome in October-November 1985. He and his wife visited the Pope during this trip. He visited Thailand, Indonesia and many other countries as a philatelist. His scholarly articles on Postal History of India and the Promotion of Youth Philately are the testimony of his great stature in the world of Philately.

He was admitted in the Command Hospital for a brief illness and left us to his heavenly abode on 19th June 1997. He was cremated with full military honours by the Army.

Mrs. Prabha Shenoy, wife of Late Col. Shenoy passed away on 5th November 2014 at the age of 91.

Contributed by : Mr. Punit Dixit, Nadiad | Mr. Suresh Shenoy, Dubai
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