The Collector’s Club — An Interview with Master Sikh Stamp Collector Paramjeet Singh
By Rupinder Kaur
In February, 2011, the international exhibition on philately, INDIPEX-2011, was held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi where seventy nine countries participated. Organized by India Post, Government of India, in association with the Philatelic Congress of India it was one of the biggest events in India after the Commonwealth Games.
The exhibition was highly competitive and showcased some of the finest and rarest stamp collections from around the world. S. Paramjeet Singh from Patna, Bihar, bagged a ‘Large Silver Medal’ for his thematic collection on ‘Sikhism and Sikhs’.
Here is a brief interview with him where he talks about his passion for philately and motivation to excel in this trade.
R K: Sat Sri Akal Paramjeet ji! Many congratulations for your recent acheivement. How do you feel?
P S: SSA and thanks for the same. I feel that this achievement has not come overnight. It involves long perseverence and running errands viz. visiting exhibitions, untiring efforts and constant support of friends and family.
R K: How were you motivated into philately?
P S: The basic awareness about stamps came to me in my childhood days. When I was in Class I, we were given a project on stamps which only two children could do in the whole class and were awarded by the Principle. Next, after finishing my matriculation in 1980, I once visited my friend’s home where his younger brother showed me a stamp album. I somehow did not like the display part and decided to make my own stamps collection.
In those days people used to write letters rather than emails or phones. So lot of letters coming home solved my purpose. I also starting buying stamps and also exchanged if need be to increase my collection. Our postman also used to help me a lot in collecting stamps.
R K: When did you start participating in stamp exhibitions?
P S: Once I visited Patna GPO where late S P Mukherjee, President, Bihar Philatelic Congress, guided me into exhibiting my collection. Later Dr R S Gandhi, Vice President, Philatelic Congress of India and late N K Jain, a senior philatelist from Bihar took special care to prepare the exhibit and displaying it.
I displayed my collection for the first time at Bihar Philatelic Exhibition, BIPEX-82, in two frames. Moving from state to national level I exhibited at the Indian National Exhibition, INPEX-84, Delhi, in three frames. At International – world philatelic exhibition INDIPEX-97 first time displayed and was awarded bronze medal. This gave to my collection an international identity. Thanks to the advice and cooperation of late D N Jatia, the then President of Federation of International de Philately. Later I also exhibited my collection at Nepal South Asia Philatelic Exhibition, NEPHIL-2001 at Kathmandu. In the recent Indipex-2011, I extended my collection and displayed it in five frames.
R K: What made you choose the theme on Sikhism?
P S: In the beginning I was in doldrums as what to collect. When the term ‘Thematic Philately’ came to my knowledge, sharply my faith Sikhism struck my mind. I kept my views before late N.K Jain who advised me to go ahead. In my collection I have tried to capture the essence of Sikhism, its followers, its culture, its spirit, its architecture, its sportsmanship, its patriotism and its contribution on the whole, as acknowledged and represented by the government of our country as well as by the numerous countries of the world in pictorial form.
R K: Did you face any challenges while collecting items for your collection?
P S: In early days whenever I visited any exhibition and tried to show this collection to people, they used to comment, “Your subject is not good, it is communal.” This criticism used to hurt me deeply. But some of my friends stood by my side through these odd times and gave me ideas to develop my theme from various perspectives. My struggle turned into a success when my same theme was duly acknowledged by the F.I.P and also awarded.
R K: Is philately only a collection of stamps?
P S: No, philately is a broad terminology which covers every element of postal paraphernalia, like stamps both commemorative and definitive, first day covers, special covers, postcards, postmarks, meter marks, aerogramme, air graphs, inland letters, maximum cards and special flight covers, cinderella, meter franked covers, etc.
R K: What are your upcoming plans?
P S: In future, I want my collection to be in a book from, so that everyone who loves ‘Sikhism and stamps’ can refer to it and keep it with pride on stamp lover’s book shelf.
R K: How does your family looks up to your passion?
P S: My beloved wife Sardarni Gurmeet Kaur always stood with me at every moment in philatelic ideas, innovations and cooperation. She deserves credit for my achievements.
Interview conducted by
Rupinder Kaur < Contact Rupinder Kaur