17, Issue # 74 - July 18, 2002
Judging and conducting of exhibitions seems to be the flavor of this season. After our focus on these subjects other editors and publications are also coming forth and writing on these topics.
Some pertinent excerpts are given below from the editorial by Dr. S K Sondhi in the 'North Post'. Dr. Sondhi is the Secretary General of the Philatelic Congress of Punjab, and the Governing Council Member of the Philatelic Congress of India.
"More than seventy per cent of the frames were either empty or to be erected at the time of the inauguration. Even on the last day of exhibition large number of frames remained unmounted due to defects in them. Even frames with good condition were not mounted for the reasons best known to organizers. In the invitee class there were ten exhibits to be displayed in about sixty frames. Some of these could not be displayed due to defective frames, thus, depriving the visitors of an opportunity to see and admire world class exhibits. Some of the exhibits were mounted using two side self adhesive tape. As a result number of exhibits got damaged while removing them after the exhibition.
Publicity for the exhibition was poor. No publicity material was sent to philatelic bureaux. We did not find any banners and posters during our stay at Nashik. Perhaps Publicity Committee was not active. May be due to financial constraints. This was one of the reasons for poor response to the exhibition. Barring vernacular papers, there was no coverage of the show in electronic media and leading newspapers. There was no organized visit of school children. In fact most of the schools at Nashik were closed. Since space available for exhibition was not adequate and spread over three floors, most of the activities were confined to ground floor where dealers were located. The space between some of the booths and exhibit rows was so tight that is was impossible for visitors to pass through, giving an impression of large attendance.
The announcement of awards was delayed and list was displayed by noon on last day of the exhibition. Thus depriving the exhibitors of an opportunity to interact with the jurors. As soon as the list was put up, I found number of exhibitors showing their disappointment and air their feelings about the quality of judgment. I saw one exhibitor moving from one jury member to another and got the same reply that they have not judged his exhibit. This was contrary to the claim of the organizers that the jury judged all the entries. Even if all entries were judged, whether displayed or not, one cannot judge and appreciate the quality of the exhibit by going through one page at a time in comparison to viewing the whole exhibit at a time. Moreover the regulations for judging the Open Class were not adhered to, as these were not displayed and so evaluated by the visitors.
There were number of entries which were declared out of competition. One exhibit was debarred as he had won large Vermeil in earlier National and sent only 5 frames against the norms of 8. I would think it was the fault of the Allotment Committee. They would have asked him to apply for eight frames at the time of screening the entry forms."
Lieutenant Colonel J Dutta writing in the editorial in the 'Deccan Philatelist' also focuses on the same; once again we present the pertinent excerpts:
"The jury of our exhibitions tend to go totally by the book and come up with harsh decisions. The book rather than the spirit being the guiding principle. Adolescence is a time not just restricted to physical changes but also beset with psychological, emotional and social ones. In a situation plagued with dearth of true youth philatelists, the jury in India commit nothing short of child and adolescent abuse. We say this because they do not have any knowledge and hence any concern for the psychological and emotional trauma they cause to the vulnerable age group. It is a shame that at the last Nationals at Nashik there were just 16 entries in the youth group. Six of these we know were adult entries in the name of their children who have no interest or inclination in philately. That leaves 10. Let us assume that all 10 are genuine philatelists. One out of these was given 69 marks and thus a silver bronze medal. One more mark and the child would have got a silver. When he pleaded, we were told politely "No". A Silver medal after all will qualify for internationals. Who are we fooling?
A time has come to think. Lets give up this silly jargon of promotion of youth philately. IT rings hollow. Lets not get bogged down with FIP Regulations for youth philately. Let us frame our own. Let us create jury members qualified to judge youth exhibits. These people must acquire knowledge of adolescent psychological and emotional concerns. If not there are a number of doctors who are PCI members. Take their help. At an exhibition a member of the jury was explaining how the youth exhibit could be enhanced. "How can I improve?" asked the child. "Yours is a catalogued collection. You have to get some errors. The errors like the . . . error." The child was shocked. The error is a rarity in philately. Till then child be satisfied with silver bronze, because you cannot show treatment, knowledge and what have you to get a higher medal. And this is a true story of youth group A (12 - 15 year group)."
If the jury is making these kinds of suggestions to youth philatelists what direction can we expect philately to take?