40, Issue # 99 - January 16, 2003
We reproduce below a letter dated April 28, 1998 from Vispi Dastur to Dilip Shah, a copy of which was sent to all governing council members by Dastur. The letter is only a small indicator of the infighting that has been prevailing in PCI for a long time now and also shows that people were not above personal remarks and maligning.
"My Dear Dilip,
It is past the midnight hour with silence all around except in my heart, for the last few hours I have been pondering whether to write this letter or not. Ultimately, my conscience prevails upon me to pen these words.
My thoughts go back to 1982 when a young enthusiastic philatelist approached me in a very friendly manner and I immediately took a liking to him. Although I was not aware that he was a big businessman with immense wealth, in my heart I felt that there is a young man with a genuine love for philately and an ardent desire for knowledge who would definitely go a long way in philately. However, I must confess that even I did not then dream that one day that young philatelist would bring home a Grand Prix d'Honneur and make us all proud of him.
Dinoo and I were happy to see you turning into a first class philatelist. Wherever I spoke, whether before philatelists, Lions or Rotarians, Experimenters in International Living or before students, I proudly mentioned about our "Mr. Universe of Philately". Dinoo and I also took a great liking to you, Divyabehn and your family.
When I received, along with the Insurance Receipt, your small note mentioning my "being busy in drinking a cocanut and watching the sea beauties on sea beaches of MumbaI" I was hurt as it was completely false. I assumed it to be a humorous note from one friend to another; more so as only a couple of days before we had discussed the matter of the minutes. Hence, I did not reply although I felt it was not in good taste for a Vice President and Secretary General of a National Federation to write in this manner to/about its President.
I am shocked to learn that you have sent copies of this derogatory and defamatory note to members of the Governing Council even though the matter of the minutes was discussed with you. Dilip, have you ever seen me misbehaving with any lady? I have a reputation for character, honesty, integrity and loyalty which I have built up over the years, I feel it very keenly that a dear friend like you should have distributed this defamatory and derogatory note which maligns my integrity and character.
Let me assure you I do not drink any alcohol or tea or coffee or cocanut water nor is there any more misdemeanor with "beauties on the beaches of Mumbai".
This false maligning, defamatory and derogatory statement coming from a friend like you and distributed by the Vice President and Secretary General to the members of the Governing Council is indeed in poor taste.
Have I committed a Himalayan crime that you should circulate such a note about your friend and President to the members of the Governing Council and that too at the fag end of his term of office?
Did you not anticipate the repercussions your letter would create vis-?vis my spouse?
For the love of philately and the PCI I not wish to pursue the matter further. Let the dead past bury itself; let us look to the future.
We need cooperation and collaboration if the PCI is to survive and prosper; we should endeavour to work as a team instead of running down another human being.
I pray that Saraswatidevi's blessings be on you and you do not distribute such false maligning notes about any one in future.
I shall always consider you as a dear friend. To me friendship is eternal and so if a dear friend sometimes falters I do not crucify him.
With warm personal regards and wishing you further success in your philatelic and other endeavours,
Vispi S. Dastur
President, Philatelic Congress Of India"