Paush Amavasya, Kaliyug Varsha 5111
Stamps Commemorate Hinduism
By Susan Gosine
India has long been considered the land of Hindu mythology. Where magic and myth created legends of Gods and Goddesses that once walked the earth among ordinary humans. Where the cobra is king and the land is worshiped with great reverence.
Rich in colour, culture and history, it tells the story of cousins, the Pandavas and the Kauravas who fought a war of good over evil as told in the Bhagavad Gita. And where such great sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabarata took place. It is home of the legendary spiritual leader Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi, pioneer of satyagraha and ahimsa and the origins of the ancient Indian text on human sexual behavior, the Kama Sutra.
Stories that can jump out at you from a simple image. Perhaps a postage stamp. Or even seven, showcasing India through religion.
USA-Postage.com, an Atlanta based company, has recently launched seven stamps customised with Hindu deities for the Indian community in America. For the first time real U.S. postage will depict the exclusive designs of the deities on a colourful 20-stamp commemorative sheet.
The stamps priced at 44 cents single and $18.99 a book were created in seven spiritual designs: Sri Krishna, Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi (together),Sai Baba,Murugan,Lord Venkateshwara, Sree Vinayaka and Goddess Lakshmi.
These are exclusive designs not available anywhere else, according to USA-Postage. They are valid U.S. postage and are produced by a technology called PC Postage.
“Usa-postage.com is proud to be the first company to offer customized postage with divine images that have specific appeal to the Indian community living in the United States,” the company stated on its website.
“We are proud to serve the Indian community in USA with postage that reflects its culture, heritage and religious beliefs.
“Usa postage.com allows customers to put their favorite digital images on valid U.S. postage. The high-quality, adhesive-backed postage is produced using advanced printing technology within a short time frame. Use it for a wide variety of personal and business usages. The company targets small businesses, home offices and individuals in the Indian community in USA.
“We also try to encourage fund raising activity in the Indian community and temples across the USA,” it further stated and urged religious groups looking for a fund raising program for temples or a non–profit organizations to contact the company and “we will be happy to assist you with your program.”
Each sheet contains 20 PhotoStamps postage labels. The minimum order is one sheet. It also comes in custom rolls of up to 10,000 per roll. Each individual Postage label measures 1.9 inches in width and 1.4 inches in height, and the image area is 1.1 inches in width and 1.1 inches in height.
That’s in keeping with the company’s effort to achieve the largest possible image display while making the overall stamp dimensions reasonable for most applications.
Hindu organisations in America have been lobbying for a Divali stamp ever since the United States Postal Service (USPS) released a statement indicating that it would release a stamp in 2010 to honour Mother Teresa.
At that time last year, Rajan Zed, a Hindu pundit and president of the Universal Society of Hinduism based in Nevada had said that besides recognizing Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa, it was also an honour for India, since she was a citizen of India.
He called for the USPS to issue a stamp on Divali to honour the feelings and contributions of the estimated 2.5 million Hindus living in the United States of America and an estimated one billion more worldwide. “It was long overdue,” he said.
USPS choose Mother Teresa because she “had been a citizen of India since 1948″ and she “served the sick and destitute of India and the world for nearly 50 years”. She was buried in Kolkata (India).
Sandip Roy, an editor with New America Media and host of its radio show New America Now on KALW 91.7 FM had also raised the issue in his blog when Hindus had petitioned for the Divali stamp. He wrote “if Muslims could get the Eid stamp, why not a Divali stamp? Divali is our Christmas said the Hindus.
“There was an online petition for signatures. According to SAJA (sajaforum.org) the petition was started by an Atlanta businessman Bob Ghosh, and it even got dead signatories, like former Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The US Postal Service told them respectfully that the signatures didn’t count.”
He further wrote, that the fight had started a long time ago, when a stamp was worth 37 cents, and pointed out that in 2009 the Hindu American Foundation had formally asked the US Postal Service’s Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee for a Divali stamp. In response the committee had indicated that it may not be possible until 2012.
While it may not have been the USPS that introduced the stamps it is indeed a welcome sight to see Hindu deities among famous and prominent historical figures. It is a clear indication that Hinduism is finding its place among mainstream America. A stamp with a Hindu deity will more than likely find its way to many regions of the world and will help to educate and inform, if not create an awareness of the immensity of Hinduism and its message of moksha.
I have seen custom designed postage stamps in every image possible in the US, but to see Hindu Gods and Goddesses on stamps, evokes an emotion that my ancestors with their traditions deeply entrenched in Hinduism and India can truly relate to.
It is representative of mystical India, its history and its heritage. And of every Hindu wherever they may live worldwide. My hope is that these stamps will find their way into as many homes that can afford them, not only those of Hindus.
Philatelists in USA and around the globe will be delighted to add such a worthy and innovative philatelic product, a one of a kind Hinduism replica to their worthy collections.
The stamps, available on high quality paper are adhesive-backed postage and can stick to mail by removing the thin film at the back.
Divali is the most popular Hindu festival. And Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world. Hopefully the USPS will follow the USA-Postage company and fast forward the divali stamp project, and maybe before 2012 we can all delight in the warmth of a lighted deya on a USPS stamp. Maybe.
The seven stamps are displayed here. They are not sold at the local post offices but can be ordered at USA-Postage.com. The order is shipped within seven to ten days.
Source : Immigrant News
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