President of India Pratibha Patil inaugurated the World Philatelic Exhibition, INDIPEX 2011, here today by releasing a special limited edition Khadi stamp on Mahatma Gandhi.
\”Stamps are usually printed on paper. For the first time in history, a special Khadi stamp is being issued which is on Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence,\” she said.
Ms Patil noted that there had been a decline in letters by post. \”While technological advancements may have provided many faster modes of communication, the intimacy of the letter and the legend of the stamp cannot be matched,\” she said.
Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal said that India Post is also celebrating the centenary of the world’s first official airmail flight.
On 18th February 1911, a French pilot, Henri Pequet flew a small Sommer biplane carrying 6,500 letters from Allahabad to Naini. The journey was brief and lasted just thirteen minutes. To commemorate the occasion a set of stamps on aero philately is being issued at Allahabad today. The historic flight is also being re-enacted, courtesy Indian Air Force, he added.
Referring to \”My Stamp\”, the exciting offer at INDIPEX 2011, he said this customized and personalized stamp is being introduced by India Post for the first time. One can have photographs of oneself on a stamp sheet which can be used to send out greetings or preserved as a unique philatelic memento.
The Minister said that, to commemorate INDIPEX 2011, India Post had brought out two sets of stamps in 2010, one on Heritage Post Offices and one on old pre- Independence era stamps of Indian States. A set of six stamps on six legendary actresses of Indian cinema will also be issued during this exhibition.
Later, Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology Gurudas Kamat presented a gold plated ingot with various stamps embossed on it to the President. The other Minister of State Sachin Pilot presented the first sheet of \”My Stamp\” to the President.
The aim of the exhibition is to promote philately and provide a forum for interaction between philatelic stakeholders such as collectors, dealers, stamp designers and printers and postal administrations. The exhibition will showcase some of the best collections of stamps, stationery and philatelic literature from all over the world in different categories. There are 595 collectors from 70 countries who will be participating in the exhibition, apart from 28 philatelic dealers and 31 postal administrations.
Among the rare stamps on display is the most expensive Indian stamp, the \”Inverted Head Four Annas\” issued in 1854.
INDIPEX 2011 has been organized by India Post at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from 12 to 18 February after a gap of thirteen years. It is being organized in collaboration with the Philatelic Congress of India under the auspices of the Federation Internationale de Philatelie and the Federation of Inter-Asian Philately. This is the sixth time that such an exhibition is being held in India. India first held such an exhibition in 1954 and the last one was in 1997.