The department of posts has agreed to release a commemorative postal stamp in memory of legendary king of Rohtas Satyawadi Harishchandra.
The stamp will depict the historical Rohtas Fort built by the king. Legend has it that Rohtas is named after king Rohitashwa, the son of Raja Harishchandra.
The department of posts took the initiative after a decade-old agitation launched by Surendra Krishna Rastogi, a resident of Kudra village in Kaimur district.
Rastogi received a letter from the department of posts, New Delhi, asking him to provide the design of the fort for the purpose.
The department of posts letter issued on September 14 stated: “The proposal for issue of a commemorative stamp on Raja Harishchandra has already been examined by the Philatelic Advisory Committee in the light of existing guidelines.”
Confirming the development, Rastogi said: “I have already despatched the design of the fort and other related documents to the department of posts, New Delhi. A copy of the design has also been despatched to the chief postmaster-general, Bihar.”
He added that the proposal to issue a stamp on the fort was earlier approved by the Rohtas district administration. “I have been fighting for the issue since 2001. I have organised exhibitions in different cities, including Delhi, Kanpur and Patna, to highlight the importance of the fort,” he said.
Anil Kumar, the director, business development and technology, GPO, Patna, has also asked Rastogi to provide him the design of the fort. “Anil Kumar has promised to issue stamp of the fort on inland letters, postcards and envelopes,” Rastogi said.
Rohtas district magistrate Anupam Kumar said the district administration would extend full co-operation to the department of posts in releasing the postal stamp on the historical site. “It is a long-cherished demand of the people of the district,” he added.
An exhibition — “Incredible Rohtas” — was organised at Dehri-on-Sone, the sub-divisional town of Rohtas from November 10-12 to make people aware of the historical places in Rohtas, including the fort.
A signature campaign was also launched to exert pressure on the Union and the state governments to draw attention towards lack of facilities for tourists at the fort, situated on Kaimur Hills around 1,600ft above sea-level.
“The signature campaign is aimed at including Rohtas Fort in the list of world heritage sites,” said Krishna Kumar, the brain behind the signature campaign.
It is believed, Rohitashwa also called Ruidas, the son of king Harischandra, had perceived threat to his life and stayed in the fort for years in exile. The fort was named after the prince.
In the late 15th century, the fort sprang to life with the advent of the great Pathan, Sher Shah Suri, who was in revolt against his Mughal adversary, Humayun. Sher Shah is believed to have seized the fort from a Brahmin king in 1538 because it was an ideal place for refuge and military operations.
During this period Sher Shah was consolidating his power in Eastern India. He had defeated the Sultan of Bengal and acquired immense treasure from Bengal, which included the Chatr (umbrella) and the throne.
It also served as a safe shelter for treasure and families of Sher Shah Suri, Shah Jahan, Maan Singh and Mir Qasim. During the revolt of 1857, the fort had become the rallying point of defence. Records suggested that prince Shah Shuja (governor of Bengal and Orissa, now Odisha) preferred the fort of Rohtas together with the suba (province) of Bihar in lieu of the provinces of Bengal and Orissa put together.