Wednesday 27 February 2013

Learning from stamps

Museums generally rarely interest the young, more so children. Unless, it is an aquarium or a wildlife museum, children by and large dislike museums.
Children consider museums to be big bores and their attention span is so short that it is difficult to see all the exhibits in a museum.   
There are only a handful of museums that interest both the young and the old and of them there could be only one or where the children will stop and stare and also look and fell interested. Of course this interest passes on to the old too and Bangalore is really fortunate in having one such museum.
This museum is easily approachable and the Bus stop is right opposite it. Apart from buses, there are plenty of autos available and you can even come here on your own vehicle but parking your four wheeler might cause some problems.
This is the philately museum in Bangalore and it is located right within the premises of the General Post Office (GPO) on Ambedkar Veedhi.
The GPO is centrally located and it is almost opposite the Vidhana Soudha and Raj Bhavan. It is adjacent to the High Court and, therefore, there is no problem of connectivity. Moreover, the GPO is in Cubbon Park and you can walk along the park and enjoy its beauty after your visit to this museum.
Coming back to the museum, it is within the GPO and the GPO building itself is recognized as one of the most beautiful post offices in the world. The entry to the GPO is from both the Ambdekar Veedhi and the Raj Bhavan road.
The museum is on the first floor of the building. The ground floor has postal counters that sell stamps, covers, post cards and other postal paraphernalia.
The museum is very well maintained and it has hundreds of stamps of different countries, denominations. There are stamps of all sizes and shapes and of different periods.
Both the types of stamps printed- the limited Commemorative stamps and Definitive stamps are exhibited. Almost all the stamps printed in India from 1947 are displayed.
There are also a number of stamps printed before Independence.
Called the Modern Philatelic Bureau and Museum, the stamps have been arranged aesthetically and apart from the stamps, adequate philatelic material is available except for a few items.
Another excellent feature is the round study table around which are almirahs housing nearly 600 books and magazines, many of them devoted to philately. In case you need to read, sign the register and sit on the round table and go into the history of stamps.
Many of the books are donated by Y. R. Shah, a renowned philatelist of Bangalore.
By the way, entry to the Museum is from Philatelic Bureau only. This is the only such museum in Bangalore and you can find people of all ages, including children, coming here and spending time.
Another interesting aspect of the museum is that you can shell out just Rs 200 at the philately bureau and become a member of the bureau by opening a Philatelic Deposit Account (PDA).
Becoming a member is easy. Fill up the order form and remitting Rs.200 (minimum deposit) at any of the nearest Post Office or the GPO. The stamps will be sent to the account holder by Registered Post every month. Money can also be paid by cheque (local only), demand draft, money order or Indian Postal order favouring the Postmaster of the Bureau concerned.
There are 1,28,042 such philately deposit accounts with the GPO of which, about 5000 accounts are running accounts that register regular transactions.
India issues about 75 to 85 stamps every year (the Postal Authority of India issues these stamps) and some of them commemorate events such as Aero India and persons such as Dr. Raj Kumar. The most popular Indian stamp of all times has been of Mahatma Gandhi and no less than 166 countries have issued stamps in his honor.   
The Philatelic Bureau and counters offer a host of philatelic materials like First Day Cover, Collector’s Pack (a pack of all the stamps released in one year) and miniature souvenir sheets that are issued only occasionally.
The philatelic Bureau section at the GPO opened in 1957. They host a meeting every first Sunday of the month for Karnataka Philatelic Society members. However, the philately museum is a recent addition.
Though children enjoy stamps, I know of only two schools in Bangalore that have philately clubs and bureaus-Vijaya High School and college near South End on RV Road and Poorna Pragnya School in Sadashivanagar.  
Stamps can be the ideal vehicle for teaching children and even adults about persons, events, incidents and countries. Along with books, it is the most inexpensive tool of education. Stamps are also inexpensive to collect and you can tap your friends and relatives for use stamps. You can also prepare your own stamp album and also wrote a brief note on each of the stamp.

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