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Save Philately !

By: Ashok Kumar Bayanwala, Ahmedabad

Ashok Kumar BayanwalaIt appears that India Post is taking every pain to promote Philately in India. India Post is issuing roughly 60 to 70 commemorative postage stamps every year. They also issue different philatelic items including Presentation Folders, Special Covers, Presentation Packs, Commemorative albums etc. to grow more interest in Philately among youths and new entrants.

But what is the use of such hard work of India Post because the counter clerks in Post Offices misbehave with customers if they present articles with postage stamps for booking. The Counter Clerks insist that articles for booking should be presented without stamp and postage should be paid in Cash against computer receipts. In the above circumstances, India Post has to think why they are issuing new stamps every year, if a customer cannot use them on their accountable mail.

If by any chance, accountable mail is accepted by the Counter Clerk, the postage stamps on the mail will be damaged mercilessly by the help of a Ball-pen. An ugly example is shown here, which shows each postage stamp was cancelled by Ball-pen three times, though they were all cancelled by a canceller hand stamp. It appears the Counter Clerk has done this to take revenge against customers who forces them to accept articles with stamps for posting. Pen cancellations are also found in good quantity on ordinary mail. If a postage stamp is escaped from cancellation it will be killed by a ball pen.

Save Philately - Pen Cancels
Speed Post Articles heavily cancelled by ball pen marks

But in past (Fifty-Sixty years back) these escaped stamps were never cancelled by a ball pen. Instead, they were cancelled by a name stamp of the post office handling the post. Say, if a letter is posted from Delhi to Rajkot and the same escaped cancellation at Delhi the Rajkot Post office will cancel the stamp by Post office name stamp. See the examples. Even foreign mail without cancellation receives same treatment. Even escaped stamps are found cancelled with a straight line hand stamp.

Rajkot Delivery Office Name Stamp
Veraval Delivery Office Name Stamp
Uncancelled Postcard cancelled by delivery office with name stamp (RAJKOT)
Letter mailed from Kodinar, uncancelled stamps cancelled by delivery office with name stamp (VERAVAL)
Aundh Delivery Office Name Stamp
Straight bar cancellation
Uncancelled stamps cancelled by delivery office with name stamp (AUNDH CAMP, POONA)
Uncancelled postcard is cancelled with straight bar
Uncancelled Cover from Karachi
Uncancelled Cover from Karachi
Envelope mailed from Karachi, Pakistan. On front side envelope is cancelled by Karachi P. O. But uncancelled stamp on
backside is cancelled by delivery office with name stamp (VERAVAL).

India Post should know that used postage stamps have a value of its own. If a stamp is cancelled by Ball pen, it looses its value. And if a stamp is cancelled by Name stamp or a straight line, it does not loose its value. Instead it becomes collectable and creates a new side line in Philately.

Straight bar cancellation
Uncancelled envelope is cancelled with straight bar

It is not known to the writer what pleasure a Counter Clerk gets in spoiling postage stamps on mail, Labels are being put on stamps, when ample space is available on mail. Examples are shown here how cruelly stamps had been damaged.

Stamps damaged by affixing Barcode Sticker on Stamps
Stamps damaged by affixing Barcode Sticker on Stamps
Registered Airmail Letters with Bar Code Sticker affixed over the stamps though enough space available on the envelope.

One true naked fact should be remembered by India Post that Postal History is the backbone of Philately and the cancellation which is provided on mail is the backbone of the Postal History. This fact is remembered by India Post in past, when they have issued instructions, how to cancel a postage stamp with clean and perfect Canceller hand stamp vide Postal Notices, Postal Guides and DGPO Circular No. 73 dated 9th December 1948.

DGPO Circular No. 73
DGPO Circular No. 73
DGPO Circular No. 73
DGPO Circular No. 73, dated 9th December 1948.

Today INDIA POST has forgotten the basic needs of Philately and has indulged themselves in promoting the Postal Department.

India Post has to realize that they are actually killing philately in India instead of promoting it. They should ask their counter clerks and other officers to stop encountering postage stamps. The use of Ball pen should be banned with immediate effect. Before concluding one mere request that India Post should provide legible and clean and clear cancellations on mails and I know India Post can do it because their Postal Service to the nation is incomparable and praiseworthy. And the senior officers of India Post are dedicated to promote Philately.


Note from Prashant Pandya: This article opens new avenue for Modern Indian Philately collectors. A good collection of delivery office cancellations with only name can be developed by collectors. Keep hunting for such covers and enjoy philately !

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