From the issues of Stamps of India Collectors Companion

Part 68, Issue # 157 - February 26, 2004

India was represented by non-qualified exhibits at 17th Asian international philatelic exhibition in February 2004 at Hong Kong in spite of having a large number of qualified exhibits. It is a matter of great concern that Indian philately is seen in such poor light internationally. This is treachery not only against philately but also against the nation.

Furthermore India?s commissioner for HONG KONG 2004 carried exhibits without permits and he was consequently intercepted at Kolkata Airport by Customs on his return. His maternal uncle, Satya Sadhan Chakraborty being a Minster of Higher Education in West Bengal state government seems to have helped him flout the laws of the land with impunity. He also reportedly used a letter from Director General from West Bengal Police Dinesh Vajpayee.

The exhibits carried to HONG KONG 2004 were not selected on merit but followed the dangerous trend started by Sahadeva Sahoo with CHINA 2003.

Sahoo was appointed national commissioner for the 16th Asian international philatelic exhibition in November 2003 at Mianyang in China by Dilip Shah without any reference to the elected Governing Council or to the roster of commissioners whatsoever.

Sahoo did not give any information on participation to qualified exhibitors and not even to those PCI members asking for it repeatedly. Later he also refused to part with the information on awards in utter contempt of norms.

Sahoo once again (remember Bangkok 2000) carried without the requisite permissions 7 exhibits flaunting his former official position in the state government while smuggling antiquities.

The participants with unqualified exhibits were from his immediate neighborhood and were personally known to him. With his active connivance the exhibits were entered in junior class in China to avoid paying of entry fees while they had been exhibited in senior class at Orissa state level philatelic exhibition in April 2002, where he was a jury member.

All exhibits to world philatelic exhibition in October 2003 at Bangkok were carried with permits.

For the world philatelic exhibition in August 2002 in Korea few exhibits with permits and others without permits were taken from India. This was in disregard to the express instructions of their owners who paid thousands of rupees to the commissioner for obtaining mandatory permissions. The exhibits were seized by Customs on return and although the exhibits have since been released, the case is still on.

The PCI appointed commissioners have been carrying all the exhibits with permits, all the exhibits without permits, and part exhibits with permits and part without permits to an exhibition. It is this wayward functioning, and flouting the laws of the land at will, which has landed PCI into facing legal action seeking annulment of its incorporation.

We fail to understand why FIP and FIAP go to great lengths to ensure participation from India, however unmerited, even at the cost of violating the FIP rules for qualification of exhibits, for appointment of jurors, and for the working of the national commissioners? What is their compulsion? Are FIP rules not applicable to all?

FIP and FIAP must realize that they are unwittingly furthering the short term interests of a small group of persons who are falsely pretending to represent India?s philately. These persons? total focus is on immediate personal gratification and these will disappear once they find out that they can no longer monopolize benefits. FIP and FIAP?s active support to these persons will harm the long term philatelic interests of not only India but of the world.

We request FIP and FIAP to follow their own rules. The philately in India will take care of itself and in any case it can do without the ?favors? of this kind. Is it too much to expect?

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