30, Issue # 89 - October 31, 2002
PHILATELY IN TRANSITION IN INDIA, Part 30
Dipok Dey from Kolkata needs no introduction to most of our readers. He belongs to that almost extinct breed of philatelists who has been working to promote philately in a selfless way unlike some who have made philately a one way ticket to personal gains. In addition to being an artist, designer of stamps, philatelic journalist, Dey has organized many exhibitions since 1979 in several districts including India's first private national exhibition CINEPEX-90 in 1990 at Kolkata. He had suggested the introduction of Competition Post Card to deal with the deluge of postcards for contests that found favor with India Post.
International philatelic exhibitions in India are fully funded by the Government. He recently wrote on this subject, as follows:
"The Department of Posts is planning to hold a further International exhibition. And I am sure that like all other previous exhibitions this will also be another purposeless and pseudo-philatelic show. I presume that this time also the Department will organize this show under the Patronization of International Philatelic Federation (FIP). Is it mandatory to be associated with FIP? What is the fun of paying a huge amount to FIP, just to use their name only? In return what support they will give us? Only they will send some Jury from their panel and this is another financial burden to the Department, as for each Jury the Department will have to spend minimum 200,000 Rupees.
Whatsoever the amount will be paid to FIP as patronization Fees and also the cost for the Jury hospitality, if this amount would have been distributed to various Philatelic Societies all over India, they could do some basic works that is the need of the hour.
[The bare minimum cost of associating with FIP is half a million US dollars, 250 million Rupees, towards patronage fees, air fare for Jury, accommodation and per day cash allowance for Jury and commissioners, and other expenses. - Editors]
If you go through the FIP rules and regulations you will find that it is totally based on European economy. What FIP did for the promotion of Philately for average collectors in developing countries? FIP should modify their rules in two separate groups, one for the Developed and the other for Developing countries.
Over last 30 years the Department had organized several exhibitions and spent several millions of Rupees, but what is the outcome? All these exhibitions failed to attract new comers. The new comers we meet step in to this hobby of their own will, but not with the inspiration of these exhibitions.
It is an undeniable fact that due these exhibitions a few millionaires came to limelight in the national and international philatelic exhibition market. They became the guide and philosopher of the Department. But it is interesting that financial responsibility is of the Department of Posts that will also provide manpower. Then what for this "In Association with..." credit is claimed? Just because they will supply to the Department some jury like their principal FIP? Unfortunately our Department of Posts never judged whether the supplied juries are competent enough or not.
By the way do you know in which institution these jury are being trained and obtained their skills? Some years back I had asked this question to D N Jatia. So far as I remember, he told me that if any collector obtained a Large Vermeil or so in any international exhibition generally he gets the chance to be a Jury. I argued with him that a collector may even get a Gold or Large Gold for his one collection- I take it as granted that he is having a profound knowledge about his subject, but in an exhibition there may not be a collection of his subject- then how he will judge the exhibits? He could not instantly reply to this question. In INPEX-93 two exhibits were awarded Gold? I asked each and every jury member how these exhibits got Gold? All the Jury replied to me that he has not evaluated that exhibit, better you asked other jury and so on. Only one Jury replied to me that these exhibits got large silver in previous exhibition. Do you agree that this could be the criterion for judging an exhibit?
Juryship in India created an avenue for Trading without having a Trade Licence. Now it is clear that Indian philatelic juries' motive is not to promote philately but the self promotion so that they could add some more millions to their wealth and at the end of their life they could encash it either in Rupees or Foreign currency. I will not blame them; it is fault on the part of the Department of Posts. Whenever there is any National or International philatelic show was going to be organized by the Department they had associated themselves with one particular organization without giving any second thought -who is going to be benefited with this association whether the Department or some top people of this particular organization. Same people every time, what about the other members of that organization?
These same people will select the organizing committee members; they will select who will write articles for the souvenir, they will select the Jury. Department has no guts to go beyond their list. Even these people will select who will be the Philatelic Advisory Committee (PAC) Members. This type of tie-up with the Department helped these people in many ways. Firstly they can remain at the top in their society, so that they can attend overseas exhibitions as Jury, Commissioners and overall they can create a market for their accumulation. If anyone dares against them - they could stop them easily- by offering the appointment as commissioner or apprentice jury or PAC member or by upgrading the medal etc.
I don't know whether PAC ever advised the Department how to increase the revenue for the country from philatelic wing. These people either individually or collectively never organized any philatelic show of their own."
We would like to know what Indian Philately gets by incurring half a million US dollars that is the bare minimum cost of associating with FIP?
Why not India Post spend this half a million US dollars on aggressively promoting philately in India at grass roots, a move that is bound to give rich dividends to India Post besides strengthening philately nationwide.
We are looking for answers and our friends in FIP and FIAP must realize that PCI has miserably failed to provide these to the philatelists in India and to the officers of India Post.