By N A Mirza
Mr. Qambar Ali Zaidi is right that small countries make billions of dollars in foreign exchange by issuing beautiful stamps. But I do not agree with him when he says a stamp issued by Pakistani postal authorities on the Karachi Gymkhana Club does not have an international attraction for collectors.
KG as it is known, is a landmark in the city of Karachi and a city is known by its landmarks. Just a few days ago Mr. Anil Pujara presented to PhilaMirror picture post cards on Ahmedabad. They depict the landmarks as well as architectural heritage of the city. There have been Indian issues on landmarks.
Clubs have been a theme for collectors and countries issue commemoratives on them. Karachi Gymkhana Club is one of the oldest clubs in Asia. Founded in 1886 the gym offers a number of facilities and services like tennis, badminton, squash, cricket. It also has a swimming pool, sauna bath, snooker room, T.V room, jogging track, library etc. and has over 45,000 members. Cricket matches that were played and musical concerts were organized there. I thnink just last year Rahat Fateh Ali Khan enthralled a huge crowd in the KGC premises.
Karachi resembles Mumbai. Club or organization in every nook and corner are found in both the cities. The former has a zoo known as Gandhi Garden and also has clubs like Karachi Boat Club, Karachi Boat Club, Sind Club, Karachi Golf Club, Agha Khan Gymkhana, Civil Aviation Club while the former has Hindu Gymkhana; Parsi Gymkhkana, Islami Gymkhana, etc. Mumbai’s Fort area is in particularly known for the libraries.
Mr. Sandeep has rightly suggested that there should be a joint issue. Stamps are ambassadors of their respective countries, they travel freely and carry the message of goodwill. They bring strangers close and ties in amicable bonds. I do not agree with Mr. Garg that the two people are not on talking terms. Had it been so, we could not have seen comments of Sarvshri Sandeep, Anil Pujara and Dinu, and of course Shri Garg himself who feels the pinch of rivalry. Exchanges are there between the two peoples – in particular cultural and literary – and that is a glaring example of the bond in the subcontinent. A few months ago we hosted the youngest foreign minister from Pakistan and the Indian media praised her deliberations with Mr. S. M. Krishna, the Indian minister of external affairs. Bilateral relations will lead to joint issues one day. The most important factor is the governments on both the sides should realize that real development is difficult without having peaceful relationship between the two countries. A few years ago when the BJP was in power, veteran journalist Mr. M.J. Akbar had interviewed Mr. Yeshwant Sinha, then Minister of External Affairs. And on Indo-Pak relations Mr. Sinha in very clear terms said that two neighbours can never remain enemies for a long time. The barriers need to be broken by the governments of the two countries.
And the latest news that India and Pakistan have agreed to ease decades of visa restrictions is certainly the most welcomed and constructive step for the two people. The two countries’ joint working group finalized a new draft visa agreement in New Delhi on October 14, 2011 after months of negotiations and consultations.Partition of six decades is now a farce, especially when we claim to be living in a global village. Berlin Wall fell many years ago; Koreans are meeting; Chinese and Taiwanese are reaping fruits of exchanges; Europeans travel freely from one point to another extreme point without any barriers, what then prevents we in the subcontinent and reap the fruits of common identical and interlinked practices from religions to languages to cultures and customs we have? Six decades of partition has not deterred the people and matrimonial alliances that take place between children of the two people blows up every design.
However, I welcome Mr. Zaidi’s suggestion on stamps on worst epidemic threat of dengue. It will serve two purposes, i.e. earning for the country and public campaign against the epidemic.With regard to Sandeep’s question about joint issues, my understanding is that joint issues are released on the conclusion of a bilateral agreement between two countries. India Post released many joint issues. I reiterate my suggestion of a India-Saudi joint issue. The ties between two countries have been extremely good with the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah\’s visit to India in January 2006.
King Abdullah is the first Saudi king to visit India in 51 years and was the guest of honour at Republic Day celebrations. Our Honourable Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh visited Saudi Arabia in February this year.According to Wikipedia: “A joint issue is the release of stamps or postal stationary by two or more countries to commemorate the same topic, event or person of relevance to both countries. Joint issues typically have the same first day of issue and their design is often similar or identical, except for the identification of country and value.”