Covers that uncover Karnataka’s pride

Bangar Patler. (DH photo)

At the Karnapex 2019 in Mangaluru, the four-day 12th state-level exhibition, 10 special covers have been released. Apart from being innovative, they uphold the state and national pride as well.

The special postal cover on the famed Mattu gulla (green brinjal), from Udupi district, which enjoys GI (Geographical Indication) tag, has an embossed picture of the vegetable. The special postal cover on the national flag includes a strip of khadi.

“This is in recognition of the efforts of the khadi weavers in Garag in Dharwad,” informs Dr Charles Lobo, Chief Postmaster General, Karnataka Circle.

These covers go on the list of special covers on Karnataka released since 1960.

“The innovation seen in every post cover is to help collectors and visitors experience something similar to feeling the actual object,” he adds.

The Department of Posts has been focusing on highlighting Karnataka’s diversity in customs, folk, traditions, heritage, culture, flora and fauna. The two volumes on special covers (compilation of special covers released from 1960 to 2018), released at the state-level philately exhibition, endorses the fact. They are also important reference materials for students of postal history and philately.

The compilation includes special covers on the spirit worship in DK district (released in 1984), temples in Hampi (1974), Mysuru Dasara (1992), Maha Mastakabhishekha Mahotsava (2002), Channapatna toys (2003), Bengaluru Karaga (2000), Dollu Kunitha (2003), Chowdike Song (sung during Yellamma worship, 2008), Dasara Gombe (2008), coins of Alupa dynasty (the state’s longest-ruling dynasty, 2003), the century-old Mercara Downs Golf club, Mysuru-style paintings (2008) and even Pope’s visit to Mangaluru (1986).

Special covers on Karnataka’s icons like Jog Falls, Khedda operation in Mysuru, Bandipur National Park, Tala Cauvery, Krishna Temple in Udupi, Chamundi Hills in Mysuru, among others have been around as early as the 70s. Special covers generally complement the release of postage stamps.

Dr Lobo says special covers double up as ‘cultural ambassadors’ at the hands of ‘postcrossers’ (postcrossers are members who have registered with www.postcrossing.com — an online project that allows you to send and receive postcards).

Dr Lobo, a postcrosser himself, informs that the active postcrossers in Karnataka fix a stamp of value Rs 12 on the special cover highlighting the culture, tradition, folklore of the state, before sending it to the anonymous receiver residing in a foreign country.

“The postcrosser will then receive a special cover in which the sender highlights something significant about the his or her region,” informs Udupi-based postcrosser Ammunje Nagendra Nayak, who sends special covers on Karnataka’s heritage spots, festivals and local traditions.

There are even special covers to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Dr Lobo says 12 covers have been released documenting the Mahatma’s journey and his work in Karnataka.

“What makes the covers interesting is that they also include the speech delivered by Gandhiji on the occasion,” Dr Lobo points out.

Shortlisting themes

A committee of officials from The Department of Posts and Philatelists has been set up to shortlist themes for the covers. The committee set up prior to organising Karnapex 2019 in Mangaluru had shortlisted 100 themes. The themes and the creatvity of the special covers impress private institutions, who willingly sponsor the cost of its release.

“Thus the department, which has been popularising Karnataka’s culture and traditions, should be given the best tourism award,” Dr Lobo quips.

Biggest recognition

H Basava Prabhu, President of Garag Kshetriya Seva Sangha, which makes khadi flags; Mattu Gulla Growers’ Association Manager Lakshmana Mattu, Siddi Karnataka Foundation President Diyog B Siddi and Prof Hareesh Joshy (the scientist who discovered a new species of frog, Euphlyctis Aloysii) say that the special covers have been the biggest ever recognition of their work.

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