| Pradip Jain with his book, Indian Airmail Development and Operation 1911-1942, and (below) his collection. Pictures by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, July 28: In the age of jet-speed infobahn, he has a liking for snail mail accessories. He believes the traditional form of communication still has a charm.
Meet aero-philatelist Pradeep Jain. A renowned name in philately, Jain mainly deals with stamps, post cards, airmails and especially Mahatma Gandhi’s stamps from across the world. And as his trophies speak, he has mastered the hobby in 35 years.
Jain’s collection of Indian airmails was first exhibited at Amerix-86, Chicago (US). He bagged his first Large Silver Medal there. There was no looking back thereafter. Jain went on to clinch several international awards.
At present, Jain is the only member of the expert group from India at the Association Internationale des Experts en Philatelie (AIEP), Europe.
He is also the only philatelist from Bihar to take part in the World Stamp Exhibition held in London this year. Said to be the biggest event in the world of philately, it is organised once every 10 years.
Jain’s collection includes millions of stamps and postal cards, the first postal stationery of London of 1840, which now costs Rs 10 lakh and the first stamp in Asia priced at Rs 7.2 lakh now.
The philatelist feels that because of the rise in the use of computers and internet, the interest in philately as a hobby has taken a beating. Jain said the art of writing a letter is no longer the same. This reduced the importance of postal services, use of stamps and cards. However, he believes that philately has a charm and there are many who are still interested in preserving the stamps and airmails for the future.
Jain said that countries like Britain and Sweden are earning huge revenue through the sale of stamps, but India, he feels, needs to work more to popularise the profession mainly among youngsters. “The philatelic societies are not doing the required groundwork to encourage people to collect stamps. As a result, the hobby has not developed as expected,” said the philatelist.
He has been awarded the highest state honour — the Bihar Ratna — on March 28, 1991 for his contribution to the field of philately. He has written a book called Indian Airmail Development and Operation 1911-1942 released on May 10, 2003. President APJ Abdul Kalam released it.
According to Jain, the future of philately is safe. There is a need to attract young people to stamp collection. The related to traditional philately are expensive and they are subject of research now. He also said collecting stamps and postal is comparatively affordable and is more scope for expression of ideology.