Friday, March 16, 2012

Rare postal tribute to the Indian woman’s journey For the first time in Indian postal history, Dept of Posts, Maharashtra and Goa, hosts exhibition charting achievements of women

Dear Comrades,

For the first time in Indian postal history, the Department of Posts, Maharashtra and Goa, is hosting an exhibition commemorating the journey of Indian women, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The imposing 99-year-old building of the General Post Office at Fort, is the venue for the philatelic exhibition which began on Wednesday.

On display are about 200 rare and ancient stamps, first day covers (envelopes designed to commemorate the first day of special events) and special covers (envelopes commemorating special events, institutions or persons).

While the exhibition also features Indian women before independence, there is special emphasis on the journey of Indian women after independence. It also reminds one of contemporary names like PAN AM flight attendant Neerja Bhanot who gave up her life while saving passengers from terrorists.

There is a special cover as well as a stamp in her honour. Another contemporary personality honoured is the fiery Dnyanpeeth awardee Ashapurna Devi whose writings bring out the pain, ideals and dreams of women.

The exhibition is divided into interesting categories. One such category is social reformers and activists who empowered women. This includes Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule who pioneered women’s education in India, and women’s rights activist Ramabai Ranade.

There are also categories which include warrior queens, and women in paintings, folk dance and cinema. Tributes to women in cinema include those for actresses like Devika Rani, Kanan Devi and Madhubala.

There are also stamps on the paintings of Jamini Roy and Nandalal Bose. Maharashtra’s popular folk dance lavani is commemorated on a special cover. The oldest stamp on display is one issued in 1952 on Meerabai.

The exhibition also traces International Woman’s day celebrations, and pays rich tributes to women like Hellen Keller and Eleanor Roosevelt.

“We thought of this exhibition to celebrate International Woman’s day, which is on March 8. But we decided to host it later, as this year Holi was on that day and a weekend followed it. We wanted to host it for the benefit of a wider audience,” said Chief Post Master General, Maharashtra and Goa, Humera Ahmed.

The exhibition was put up with help from the staff of the Postal Women’s Welfare Organisation.

“The exhibition is unique in the sense that not only it is the first such dedicated to women organised by the Indian Post, but it has a powerful theme: connecting girls, inspiring futures. A special cover with a picture of a girl riding on a pencil that takes off like a rocket was released on Wednesday, to show how women are being empowered through education and the internet,” says Abha Singh, director, Postal Services, (HQ). Ahmed feels the exhibition will be an eye opener and a revelation on the spirit of womenhood.

On Thursday, there is a short play on women by postal staff at the exhibition venue. Prizes will be distributed for rangoli that is being exhibited along with the stamps, as well as for an essay competition on ‘My vision of a woman’ which was for postal employees in Maharashtra.

The exhibition is on till Saturday.
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