12, Issue # 69 - June 13, 2002
this issue we take up the matters raised by Shakil Ahmed and present some of the
incidents that have taken place in the recent past during various exhibitions.
However in the current philatelic scenario it could have been just about
anybody, anywhere in India. For the record Shakil Ahmed is a philatelist from
Cuttack, Orissa who participated in ORPEX state level exhibition organized by
India Post in April 26-28, 2002 at Bhubaneswar. He was unhappy with the Large
Silver medal awarded by the Jury as he had participated with the same
exhibit at the International at Nepal and at the National exhibition held at
Nashik in 2001 and received a Silver-Bronze and Silver respectively.
As he was not satisfied and wanted a
reappraisal he immediately
wrote on April 28, 2002 to the Chief Postmaster General of Orissa Circle who was
also the Chairman of the Jury. Same day he raised this issue at the
Regional Meeting of the Philatelic Congress of India (PCI) being held in
Bhubaneswar and the President PCI who was also a Jury, and the Secretary of the
exhibition was given a copy of his complaint.
The exhibitors and Jury in India
equate the medals in relation to the level of the exhibition. A Silver medal at
the National is equivalent to Large Silver at State and to Silver Bronze at
International level. According to this recipe he was given the right award and
should not have been complaining.
He compares the case of other, more
privileged, exhibitors who were awarded Silver medals in the national exhibition
and were now adjudged worthy of Vermeil Medals with special prizes. He also
appealed that care should be taken in selection of Jurors as well as outsiders
interfering and influencing their working.
On April 30, 2002 he wrote another
letter to the Chief Postmaster
General of Orissa Circle in which Ahmed says that Dhananjay Desai one of the
jury, went through the exhibit with him, after the results were announced and
couldn?t explain satisfactorily the justification of the judgment. While in
other cases, exhibits that were given higher markings, even with undesirable
material were shown to Desai. The views of several other senior philatelists
such as G Madan Mohan Das and Anil Suri who compared his exhibit with others
were also favorable.
Ahmed also brings up the curious case
of Omprakash Jagati who won Vermeil Medal with Chief
Postmaster General Trophy in ORPEX-2002. Jagati is known for irregular
and unpunished participation in the state level exhibitions at Orissa,
Karnataka, and Gujarat. His exhibit was awarded Silver Bronze at 65 points at
the last National in December 2001 where he participated from Karnataka.
He also sites cases of exhibitors A.
K. Dash, J. Jyoti who along with him all got Silver Medals at the National
whereas in ORPEX Dash and Jyoti got Vermeil medals with special prizes but he
was left out.
Ahmed mentions the name of B K Sinha,
PCI Secretary and Ajit Kumar Dash two local philatelists who freely intermixed
with jury members and were instrumental in influencing the awards. Should we say
contrary to norm or as is the norm the juries were not present when awards were
declared on April 27, 2002 and mark sheets were not available with the
exhibition office. He says ?had the Juries been present at the venue I could
have got my doubts cleared by way of conversation at the spot which I could not
avail due to their absence.?
Not finding any answers to his
queries he wrote on May 2, 2002 to PCI members with copies, amongst others, to
S. C. Dutta the Director General of India Post asking for necessary action.
He then received a response from none
other than PCI President who wrote to him on May 29, 2002. Ahmed must be
somebody personally very important to the PCI President, Sahadeva Sahoo, as
there are scores of complaints, several of them of serious nature, pending with
him for years that have not had the good fortune of any response whatsoever, not
even an acknowledgement.
Ahmed in his point-to-point response
to Sahoo on June 3, 2002 brings up the case of Moomin Sinha, the daughter of B K
Sinha, PCI Secretary, whose participation in the last national brought a Silver
Bronze. The same exhibit won a Vermeil with Special Prize at ORPEX.
He also mentions that he had
absolutely revised his exhibit and changed five better items in the exhibit
shown in ORPEX-2002. ?This is a sheer partiality, if not manipulation. ...From
the first reading of your letter I find as President of the PCI you are bent
upon to find out faults with me over my letters, so as to say that you are all
right and I am all wrong. ...I pointed out large scale partiality has taken
place in judging the exhibits and awarding the prizes in as much as some
exhibits were down graded and some exhibits were surprisingly given
extraordinary scoring without sufficient cause which needs rectification.
But my request was not acceded to. The
members present could give no reply to me in the meeting there or by you even
though you heard it. The jury was
surreptously left the meeting hall and remained outside until PCI Governing
Council meeting was called upon...?
Ahmed clarifies that ?...My
complaints are many fold as you can see from my letters and all those are aiming
at correcting the incorrect ones and you cannot therefore throw the blame on me
that had I received a higher medal I would not have gone into the inappropriate
judging of exhibits...?
He feels so strongly about his stand
that he is willing to take it to any forum and he goes on to ask the PCI
President ?In case you are not satisfied kindly give me the address of F. I.
A. P. and F. I. P. so that I will place the matter before them for a fair
decision which will also be a guiding line for the PCI for judging the
Ahmed has since received response
from many philatelists who have felt strongly enough to join their support to
However response times and the
attitudes of the concerned senior philatelists have caused many budding
philatelists to either take up arms against them or disgusted them so much as to
give up philately. This
unfortunately is what the newcomers in philately in India can expect with
certainty instead of encouragement and guidance.
The Complete text of the
Correspondence is posted on the website
13, Issue # 70 - June 20, 2002
K Sinha sent following response, almost immediately, on receiving the previous
issue of this newsletter.
I was on the Organising Committee of the ORPEX 2002 - and since the Philatelic
Congress of India's Governing Council and Regional meeting coincided with the
dates of the exhibition, I never had the time to even visit the exhibition after
the frames were mounted - let alone 'interact and influence' the jury in any
matter whatsoever. Needless to say sore losers always complain and every
exhibition has a share of its dissatisfied exhibitors. What is now disturbing is
the fact that these people have now a readymade forum to publish unsubstantiated
facts and hearsay.
straighten the facts which you have published: ?Ahmed in his point-to-point
response to Sahoo on June 3, 2002 brings up the case of Moomin Sinha, the
daughter of B K Sinha, PCI Secretary, whose participation in the last national
brought a Silver Bronze. The same exhibit won a Vermeil with Special Prize at
the facts mentioned above are true - it has been twisted to meet the ends
intended by Shakil Ahmed. The facts are:
Moomin's exhibit is of 4 frames and has won Large Silver at HONG KONG 2000
continental exhibition in the Youth Class.
She had applied for 4 frames at EMPIREPEX but was allotted only 2 frames -
therefore she was awarded a Silver Bronze - rather than withdrawing her exhibit
and complaining, she graciously accepted whatever what was awarded to her.
At ORPEX 2002 she had displayed 4 frames and in the age group of 12-15 years.
She was awarded a Vermeil + Special prize at this State Level exhibition. Do you
consider it as 'manipulation'?
also mentions several points which are inconsistent with facts and reality - I
do not wish to enter into a duel of words, either with him or in any forum, and
therefore am not offering my comments. I only wish you could publish my point of
view in your next letter.?
then sent following further comments, half an hour later:
wish that you contact the individuals concerned whenever you publish a complaint
on a particular individual - and get his/her side of the facts ? this would
add to the perspective of the story when published along side the main item.
has mentioned in his footnote 'copy to all PCI Members'. The two protagonists in
the complaint ? A K Dash and myself have never received any letters ? I
obtained them from Mr. Sahoo. He very conveniently avoids sending the letters to
writes about scrapping the INPEX 2002. You have not dealt with that section of
complaint. To be honest ? I too feel that the exhibition should be scrapped.
It is too much of a hassle.
are part of the Organising Committee - would it be proper that we issue a letter
that Shakil and Mr. Kanungo be taken off the organising committee since they say
"the signatures are forged in the minutes book when the resolution was
passed" (both at Nashik and the EIPA meetings?). Your comments on this.?
thank Sinha for his prompt reactions and stand by our story on the basis of the
documents provided to us. We did write that ?in
the current philatelic scenario it could have been just about anybody, anywhere
in India? and the story was not about Shakil Ahmed, the person, but through
him, about how exhibitions are conducted and exhibitors treated.
an individual, and as father Sinha has provided his side of the story that we
have carried in full above. Now we would like him as an office bearer of the
Philatelic Congress of India (PCI), to reveal the identity of person/s who
overrule International Philatelic Federations (FIP) Regulations while holding
national exhibitions in India. In this case who wrote the rules on number of
frames to allot and on the age limits for the most important of all classes,
what about other, more serious, cases Ahmed mentioned in his letters?
would like to highlight the golden lines Ahmed could write even after all this ?had
the Juries been present at the venue I could have got my doubts cleared by way
of conversation at the spot which I could not avail due to their absence.?
And when he questioned them during
PCI meeting the jury ?...left the meeting hall and remained outside until PCI
Governing Council meeting was called upon...?
will reiterate that this is high time that the PCI wakes up to reality, this
however will require tough decisions to be taken transparently and with honesty.
The change starts in the mind. The first step towards openness is change in the
mindset of PCI officers. With the change in the mindset accountability of each
individual would follow. Today most PCI officers behave as if they are
accountable to no one, neither to governing council members nor to general body
also feel that PCI most urgently needs the services of a relationship management
expert not only to mend its fences with India Post, FIP, and FIAP but with its
own membership as well.
AVINASH B. JAGTAP FROM BINNINGEN (SWITZERLAND)
I am always surprised to read the remarks of the exhibitors, who participate at
different level philatelic Exhibitions and feel many times insulted if their
exhibits are not awarded the prizes or medals which they think they deserve. So
for me it was very surprising to read the remarks of Mr. Shakil Ahmed, who got
Large Silver at ORPEX, although he was awarded Silver bronze at International
Exhibition in Nepal and Silver at National at Nashik.
have no idea about the exhibiting practices in India. In India there are certain
malpractices even in the field of philately. Personal likes and dislikes, mainly
on the grounds of regional nature, if not on religious nature. This is
unfortunately at all levels, in all states. It is a national tragedy.
exhibit can be down graded because this is decided by a Jury and not by a
machine. I do not know if the Jury in India know the previous achievements and
medals awarded to a particular exhibitor and if an Exhibitor?s Pass at all
exists in India. If the Jury know this, the conflicts between the exhibitor and
Jury could be avoided in majority of cases. Perhaps the Jury can refer to the
application form of the exhibitor where (I take for granted that) such
indications like medals achieved for that particular exhibit are shown.
it is easy to judge a traditional or postal history exhibit than a thematic one.
The personal knowledge of the Jury will surely play a big role. So nowadays the
applicant has to provide information about the scare or rare items in his
exhibit, literature used, publications by the exhibitor, if any. Since the Jury
is not omniscient and may not know any thing about the subject being exhibited.
am surprised that the regional or district level or national level exhibitions
are held without giving appropriate earlier previous notice to the Indian
philatelists. A National Level Exhibition here or anywhere in Europe requires at
least four years for preparations. So I was taken with great surprise that after
India had EMPIREPEX-INPEX at Nasik only last year, we will have National at
Bhubaneshwar this year! I think that the frequency of such exhibition should be
well taken into consideration and should not depend upon the whim of some
have also suggested the guidelines for conducting exhibitions and judging and
Dr. Jagtap has made a very valid point. It is therefore important at any
exhibition for the exhibitor to be able to interact with the Jury to get a
better understanding on the decision making process and if a mark sheet can be
provided, then we are sure it would reduce the number of unsatisfied exhibitors.
Jagtap has also written a very useful note on the system of philatelic
exhibiting in Switzerland. It is available at