15, Issue # 72 - July 4, 2002
Rajan Jayakar's exhibit on British India Fiscals has won Gold medals at Asian Continental philatelic exhibitions. He has served as the National Commissioner, Jury, and held various offices in several philatelic and social organizations. Commenting on the current philatelic scenario he writes:
"The recent philatelic exhibitions appear to have thrown more controversies than promotion of Philately. I am in receipt of copies of correspondence from Mr. Shakil Ahmed with his letter dated 3.6.2002. I do not know the merit of his grievance. However one glaring point, which requires serious considerations by PCI, is that the judging has to be transparent and juries must be available for meeting the Exhibitors after evaluation. In most of the exhibitions held in India the Juries find the easiest way out by avoiding the exhibitors after the results. PCI should make it compulsory for all the juries to be present in the exhibition hall at a previously announced time, so that the exhibitor can avail of valuable advice of the juries for future improvement and also satisfy himself as to why he got what he got.
There has to be settled policy that the exhibitor having received a particular medal at a national exhibition should not be downgraded in future national exhibitions on the same exhibit. Firstly because juries must have consistency and the exhibitor should not be downgraded because the juries have different opinion than the earlier juries. Secondly downgrading shakes the confidence and enthusiasm of the exhibitor and doubts of unfairness creeps into the mind and at times the exhibitor becomes so disgusted that he decides to take the extreme step of refusing to participate at the national exhibitions, which is harmful to the cause of philately.
Juries are also human beings and are likely to make mistakes individually or as a group. Hence there has to be an Appellate or Supervisory body of Senior-most Philatelists in the country, who should attend to the grievances of those exhibitors, and particularly those who have been downgraded or inspite of participating in say 3 consecutive national exhibitions and having put better material, have not been upgraded. It is immaterial that there is no such Appeal provision in F.I.P. Rules. But a time will come when even FIP will have to make such provisions after it receives substantial number of complaints. The aim of PCI should be to keep the domestic exhibitors informed, encouraged and satisfied and my suggestion is a step in that direction. In legal matters also there are atleast two appeals provided reaching upto Supreme Court. Why should philately not have atleast one appellate forum?
. . . Mr. Shakil Ahmed has a point that the venue for the national exhibition should be rotated and should not be repeated in such quick succession like at Bhubaneshwar. PCI must frame a national policy in consultation with Department of Posts as to when and how frequently District, State and National exhibitions should be held. I suggest that there should be district level exhibition every year, state level every two years and national level every three years, so that organizers get sufficient time to organize and do not end up in a fiasco like Inpex-Empirepex 2001, where everything was wrong including choice of city, choice of venue, arrangement of frames, quality of frames, co-ordination between Dept. of Post and organizers etc. which are all major factors for successfully holding an exhibition."
We feel that Jayakar has made a very valid suggestion and India should take the lead in the International forum by starting a Supervisory Body.
We quote from another letter that he wrote to in February 2002 to PCI Secretary General, Dilip Shah on the INPEX-EMPIREPEX 2001
"I am the life member of Philatelic Congress of India (PCI) and was participant at the above Exhibition having participated in Championship Class, Postal History and Open Class in the said Exhibition. I was also specifically authorized by the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, to carry, mount, dismount and return High Court Exhibits in the Invitee Class. I was personally present in Nasik between 21st and 27th December 2001.
I am giving my personal assessment of the Exhibition, since I find that there is no forum where the merits or demerits of the Exhibition could be discussed. People have short memory and before people forget about this Exhibition, it is desirable that the authorities who are involved with the organization of National Exhibitions should not ignore the said merits and demerits and make an effort to improve upon the merits and eliminate the demerits. I am dealing with some of the aspects of the Exhibition as follows:
The beginning was made with lot of enthusiasm and various committees were formed which included almost every name in Philately in India. Department of Post was also involved right from Mr. Som to local level. The first joint meeting of all the committees was held at G P O where more than 50 persons attended and various questions and suggestion were invited and the organizers promised to look into them and implement them. Periodically the progress of the Exhibition was intimated in the bi-weekly meetings of Philatelic Society of India and Empire of India Philatelic Society. However no meetings of any Exhibition Sub-Committee was held and decision pertaining to Exhibition were taken in ad-hoc manner without reference to the particular Sub-Committee.
The choice of Nasik appears to have been made on the following factors, although Empire of India Philatelic society (EIPS) which was celebrating its 60th anniversary is based in Mumbai with majority of its members also residing in Mumbai. It was cheaper to hold exhibition at Nasik rather than Mumbai. Nasik Philatelic Society would be able to give all the help and they had organized State Level Exhibition a few years ago.
Both the above factors proved wrong. Although the expenses of the Exhibition were less, the facilities and infrastructure in Nasik City were certainly lacking. Although the cost of holding exhibition in Bombay is high, the type of money a well organized exhibition can generate, cannot be compared with any other city in India. Nasik does not have corporate sponsors or big business houses and hence the finance required for holding a grand exhibition is lacking. Nasik Philatelic Society did strive hard to make the exhibition a success but due to lack of proper co-ordination between Philatelists and Postal Staff, the human resources were not used adequately and the responsibility fell on the shoulders of few philatelists which was too much and postal staff was not used in optimum manner.
Indraprastha Hall was adequate in size with precincts and ancillary areas around it being available for philately related activities. However the venue was outside the City center and also off the main road and hence no passer by was aware of the same and casual visitor preferred to visitor preferred to visit Ayurved Exhibition in the opposite open space rather than go off the road to visit stamp exhibition.
The planning of space at the venue, was not proper. Although there was sufficient place in the basement, almost 1/3rd of the space was empty and the main hall and mezzanine gallery were overcrowded with insufficient moving space. There was no proper signage or floor plan for visitor showing arrangement of exhibit and there was no inquiry booth for any kind of inquiry about the exhibition. The distance between vendor booths and edge of the frame was so short that while passing and repassing either you brushed the dealer's table or the frame. The toilet facilities were wholly inadequate and toilets were dirty and stinking and were very close to the Bin room. There did not appear to be any person in charge of the mounting frames. I had informed Mr. Dastur in advance in Bombay that for mounting High Court Exhibit, I will need help of carpenter, as the High Court Charters were required to be screwed by drilling hole on the soft board of the frame. Mr. Dastur promised me in Mumbai to make carpenter available at the venue on 21st. I came to the venue on 21st December and deposited my three personal exhibits and requested Mr. Bhargave to make carpenter available since I was going to mount the High Court Exhibit myself. Mr. Bhargave told me that he was very tired and he could not find any carpenter and that I should take the exhibits back and get them on the morning of 22nd before inauguration time. I took the exhibits back and got them at 9.00 a.m. on 22nd and contacted Mr.Bhargave, who looked on the verge of collapse due to exhaustion and lack of sleep. Mr. Bhargave told me that he was busy in arranging the inauguration function and that I should contact him after the inauguration function. At about 12.00 noon I again contacted Mr. Bhargave, who said that has was so tired that he was unable to give any help and I should try and do it on my own. I talked to Mr. Dastur on 22nd after the inauguration who was also too busy and asked me to help myself. Eventually I caught hold of a wireman, who was working on repairing of the philatelic frames in the basement and got him to drill holes only for one frame, since he could not spare much time as had to buy some hardware. There was no carpenter or any person, who could help me to mount the frames. Ultimately out of five frames, one frame was mounted with normal sheets and one more frame was mounted with one huge Charter which occupied the entire frame, since holes were drilled by the wireman. Other three Charters could not be mounted for lack of co-operation from the organizers although requirements were conveyed much in advance. I strongly protest that the callous treatment meted out to the Invitee of the caliber of Bombay High Court and the risk I had to run by keeping the unmounted exhibits in my car during my entire stay in Nasik. The value of each exhibit was more than the total value of all the exhibits in the exhibition and same are unique and irreplaceable. The High Court exhibits were charter of King George IV of 1823, two charters of Queen Victoria of 1862 and 1867establishing Bombay High Court and Warrant of appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court of Bombay of 1849. The Chief Justice Mr. Justice G D Patil, who granted permission to take the charters, was scheduled to come to Nasik particularly to see the High Court Exhibit. Luckily he could not come to Nasik, which saved embarrassment for me and the organizers.
In the preparatory stage lot of seminars were proposed to be organized on different aspects of philately. However two poorly attended seminars on Fiscals and thematics actually took place. Seminars is part of publicity of philately and either there was no such committee or atleast none was functioning. Except for drawing competition, there was no concrete program for converting any young stamp collectors into a hardcore philatelists. There was no publicity or periodic announcements at the venue about the seminars. I had even offered to conduct tour of the exhibition on every day at specified time but there was no organizer, who was interested or helpful. Either the organizers were part of jury or were overworked and could not organize genuine philatelic promotional activity.
The publicity was the poorest I have ever seen. The Philatelist who came to the venue for the first time wasted lot of time in searching the same. There were practically no banners, placards or bill boards put up in any part of the city except the venue itself and there was no effort to publicise such a big event with the result the attendance was extremely poor and except for dealers, members of PCI, participants and their family members and postal staff there were hardly any visitors to the exhibition and whoever visited the exhibition out of curiosity were completely baffled without any signage or guidance and just walked through the main hall. PCI should seriously consider the purpose and achievements of the national exhibition, with publicity taking a back seat.
The awards namely the medals and certificates are attractive and befitting to National Exhibition standard. The judging was by and large satisfactory although there are some instances of dissatisfaction and PCI must device some method of review in genuine cases. Similarly PCI will have to look into the aspect of appointment of Jury, which was raised by Mr. Pradeep Jain and explain as to how the officers of Postal Department, who are neither eminent philatelists nor have any experience or qualification for being appointed even as apprentice jury for State level exhibition were appointed as July for National Exhibition.
The Philatelic frames provided by Department of Posts are outdated and in extremely poor condition. Knowing the quality and condition of the frames, asking for only 10% more than the required frames was a miscalculation. The result was that the damaged frames could not be repaired in time and it was disgusting sight, particularly for the participants, whose exhibits were not mounted to see that plenty of frames lying empty due to disrepair and juries judging their exhibits either in the Bin room or by placing it on the ground. I think it is unfair to the participant, whose exhibit is not mounted. The participant expects his exhibit to be judged and also displayed. I had to make a lot effort between Bin room in-charge and mounting staff to ensure that my open class exhibit was put up atleast on the second day of the exhibition.
By and large I feel it was very poorly organized exhibition. It failed, in almost every department of orgnaisation to come to the level of national exhibition. I do not want to belittle the selfless effort of few persons, who made sacrifice of time, energy and I am sure money, to make this exhibition a success. However the enormity of the task was beyond the effort of the dedicated handful of philatelists. What lacked was mobilization and management of human and monetary resources from among the sponsors, advertisers, philatelists and Department of Post coupled with wrong choice of place and venue. The net result is that, for record a national exhibition was held at Nasik but there was difference between holding an exhibition and holding a good exhibition.
I hope PCI will take note of the shortcomings and ensure that the next National Exhibition is devoid of these shortcomings."
The complete text of both these letters is available online at