BJP-led NDA government has decided to give a place of pride to other political icons including Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jaiprakash Narayan, B R Ambedkar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad through postage stamps. Till now the Congress has ensured that only the Gandhi family is honoured through postage stamps. The government is also considering a commemorative stamp on the legendary Communist leader Bhupesh Gupta on the occasion of his birth centenary year.
The new list of names for stamps was decided at a meeting chaired by communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, where the government has decided on including poet Rabindranath Tagore, social reformer Swami Vivekananda, poet Subramaniya Bharathi, freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh and three legendary musicians -Ravi Shankar, Bhimsen Joshi and M S Subhalakshmi.
Some of the icons to feature in the commemorative stamps will also include singers Geeta Dutt, Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Talat Mehmood, Manna Dey, Mukesh and some of them from the southern states, painters Nandalal Bose and Raja Ravi Varma, dancer Rukmani Devi Arundale and writers Prem Chand, Maithili Sharan Gupta and Dinkar.
Socialist leaders like Jaiprakash Narain and Ram Manohar Lohia will now be joining the philatelic hall of fame along with the Sangh Parivar ideologues Shyama Prasad Mookerji and Deendayal Upadhyay.
The panel has also decided that the ceremonial stamps issued so far has to be made available in all post offices and stamps with picture postcards may be released on important tourist destinations, including Taj Mahal, Ajanta and Ellora caves, Belur Math and Khajuraho. The Minister has also suggested in inviting designs of philatelic stamps through crowd sourcing, said a statement.
Commemorative postage stamp on ‘Swach Bharat’, the theme of clean India, was released by the Department of Posts on January 30th this year. The design of the stamp was decided through an open competition. Commemorative postage stamp on Women’s Empowerment will be released on August 15. Its design has also been decided by crowd sourcing.
"There is generally a five-seven year gap in bringing definitive stamps. The main rationale is whenever there is a rate change. Which personality to have which denomination is a policy decision," says philatelist and stamp dealer Rohit Prasad."There is no growth in the philately business. Our association is planning to write to MPs and MLAs. The truckloads sold from government godowns includes philatelic stuff," he said.