Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sikkim's first Philatelic Special Covers

An Inaugural Day Special Cover of Sikkimpex-82

An Award Day Special Cover of Sikkimpex-82
Despite associated with its postal history since 1861, the state of Sikkim lack in promotion of philately. A significant chapter of Sikkim Rocket Mail Experiment 1935 had different pioneering achievement in world philately today.  Till this date only four philatelic exhibition had been held in the state and the last one been held in 2008.
A little is known or read about the first philatelic competition that was held for three days at Gangtok during November 2-4, 1982. The exhibition was called “Sikkimpex-82” and inaugurated by Homi J.H. Taleyarkhan, then Governor of Sikkim. More than 30 stamps enthusiasts had took part in the exhibition. Two Special Covers with the illustrations of an orchid and a yak and a souvenir book was also released on the occasion
I here want to share a small anecdote that happened during the second Philatelic Exhibition that was held at Gangtok in 2002, exactly after twenty years. I was one of the 40 participants who took part in the exhibition and my first foray into the world of philately.
In a welcome speech, one of the officials of the Postal Department of Sikkim told that the exhibition was the first philatelic exhibition to be held at the Himalayan state of Sikkim but they had to accept their mistake when they were told that the first exhibition in Sikkim was held in 1982 and Mr. Ganesh Pradhan from Rhenock had exhibited the three special covers that was released then. A handful of these covers are still available with Mr. Ganesh Pradhan. Interestingly, I am happy to write that I had come across a certificate of Late Ganga Kaptan, Sikkim's first Nepali Novelist who had taken part at that competition. It gave me an immense pleasure that a legendary personality of Sikkim Nepali literature was a fan of stamp collection that we never knew.