The Collector’s Club — An Interview with Master Sikh Stamp Collector Paramjeet Singh

* Read the Introduction to this Series and more intriguing articles!

By Rupinder Kaur

OBE Medal

OBE Medal

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.

S. Paramjeet Singh with his ‘Large Silver Medal’, won early this year.

S. Paramjeet Singh with his ‘Large Silver Medal’, won early this year.

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.

The first Sikh stamp was issued by the British Indian, in 1935

The first Sikh stamp was issued by the British Indian, in 1935

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?

S. Paramjeet Singh with his ‘Large Silver Medal’, won early this year.

Post card showing Darbar Sahib, Dera Baba Nanak issued by North Western Railway, in 1935

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.

A greeting aerogramme of 1946 with a casual depiction of a Sikh soldier

Click to Enlarge – A greeting aerogramme of 1946 with a casual depiction of a Sikh soldier

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

 

 

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11 Responses

  1. Ranbir Singh says:

    SSA ji ,
    We would like to extend good wishes to S Paramjit Singh for his constant efforts in philately and inspiring others also . Just to add a small incident , he participated in the national held at Chennai in 2008 also even though his right hand was in a plaster . A jovial person .
    Regards to all .

  2. Pradip Jain says:

    Paramjeet, Heartiest Congratulations for your major achievement. In the field of Philately, you made a new story, highly impressive and very educative. I wish you all the best and success.

  3. AJAY KUMAR says:

    thanks to rupeinder kaur, whose efforts has enlightened us through sardar paramjeet singh motivating thoughts that how a interest can be created even in a field ,which requires a tremendous amount of patience and guts to achieve almost
    impossible dreams .good luck to him and kudos to his thoughts.
    ajay kumar, washington d.c.(u.s.a.)

  4. DR.K.JAYA PRAKASH says:

    Hello My Dear Friend,
    Heart congratulation for the major achievement in getting the large silver medal.I really missed you in meeting In Indipex 2011.Wishing you great success in Philately.
    take care.
    DR.PRAKASH,KERALA,INDIA

  5. R.K.MISHRA says:

    Dear,Paramjeet,

    my heartiest congratulations over getting ‘Large Silver Medal’at a world platform of philately,a very few has it.
    Pleased to see the first stamp over Sikhism 1935.I will share it with my e.mail friends.Please keep me posted with your other achievements,thanks.

    mishra

  6. Heena says:

    SAT SHRI AKAL FUFAR JI CONGRATULATIONS FOR YOUR GREAT SUCCESS FROM YOUR WHOLE FAMILY I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST FOR GETTING MORE & MORE MEDALS

  7. Pradeep Kumar Mallik says:

    Congratulations! Paramjit Bhai,
    I felt sense of pride when it is learnt through Stamps of India collector’s Companion that your interview as Master Sikh Stamp Collector is available on Sikh Foundation website. After going through it I pray and wish that with Wahe Guru blessings your exhibit will be in book form.
    With all the good wishes,
    Pradeep Kumar Mallik, PATNA, INDIA

  8. C D Singh says:

    Dear Paramjit,
    A valiant attempt. I wonder if I can get information on the origins of the Regt. of Artillery and some other Regts. There is no book by the army on it, I think.
    I have taken the proposal I had made when we met with HS Khalsa, during INDIPEX, a step forward and gone on line with the proposed Sikh Philatelic Club at which has the Objectives and Outline of the Club. Do read it and give your valuable views to share them worldwide. There is an older site with over 65 letters at
    The Sikh Phil Group is further to my old letter in the Tribune (17/8/2004) for having a Club on Sikh Philately.

    sikhs@yahoogroups.co.in
    philatelistsworldwide@yahoogroups.co.in

    Keep writing & exhibiting.
    C D Singh

    Editors Note: Posts merged and message conveyed to the author.

  9. sanjay kumar jain says:

    Dear Paramjeet
    Heartiest congratulations on bringing Sikh philately on world panorama.Also I extend my gratitude for acknowledging my father late N.K.Jain’s support in your mission.Wish you all the success in your en devour.
    YOUR FRIEND
    SANJAY JAIN

  10. Tajinder Singh says:

    Dear Masad Ji,

    Congratulation for your wonderful work and achievements.
    Wish you get more success

    Regards
    Tajinder

  11. amoke garg says:

    heartiest congratulations to you on your major achievement in philately.wish u a good luck for u & your family