As reported by Manoj Mitta of TNN in The Times of India, Hyderabad Edition, 14 June 2008: Welcome
When politics stamp out rules
Govts Often Found Flouting 10-Yr Embargo On Releasing Philately
New Delhi: A commemorative stamp on Rajesh Pilot in the time of Gujjar agitation? Whether an inspired move or not, it is the latest in a series of 97 stamps issued so far on eminent persons and the timing of most of those, including the one on Pilot, has been contrary to the prescribed 10-year embargo.
In order to ensure “objective assessment” of the proposal to issue such a commemorative stamp, rule 72(4) of the handbook on philately says “no stamp will be issued sooner than 10 years after the individual’s death.” The occasion is generally required to be the birth centenary or 10th, 25th, 50th or 100th death anniversary of the person concerned.
The only exception provided to this rule is a former “head of state,” which has been loosely interpreted to include not just presidents but also prime ministers and the father of the nation. For, each of them has been marked as an “exception” in the list of persons honoured with stamps within 10 year of their death.
That there is more politics than “objective assessment” behind these commemorative stamps breaching the 10-year embargo is evident from the list given out by the postal department in response to an RTI application.
Although former prime ministers have been taken as “exceptions” to the 10-year embargo, the postal department is yet to commemorate P V Narasimha Rao, who died in December 2004. In contrast, his home minister S B Chavan, who had died 10 months earlier than him, was honoured with a stamp about a year ago.
Both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were honoured with stamps on the very first birth anniversaries after their violent deaths in 1984 and 1991, respectively. While the gap between the death and the stamp was barely three months in the case of Rajiv Gandhi, it was even less so in the case of Indira Gandhi: just 19 days. This is despite the rule that the proposals should be taken up at least two years ahead of the proposed date of issue “to enable proper examination” by the philatelic advisory committee.
If Rajesh Pilot has just been commemorated with a stamp on his eighth death anniversary, his colleague Madhavrao Scindia, who died a year later in 2001, was honoured with a stamp in 2005 on his 60th birth anniversary.
Majority of the persons commemorated with stamps are political leaders and, needless to add, their selection depended on the attitude of the party or parties in power at the given point of time. One very significant departure from this pattern is that in 1970, the Indira Gandhi government issued a stamp honouring Vir Savarkar.
The stamp on Murasoli Maran was issued on his 70th birth anniversary in 2004, within a year of his death, when the minister in charge of the postal department was none other than his son Dayanidhi Maran.
The file notings ferreted out by RTI applicant Subhash Chandra Aggarwal show that the stamp on Maran Sr came about after Maran Jr had “acceded” to a request made by A Raja, who was then his cabinet and party colleague and now his successor in the ministry. While submitting the stamp draft for his “formal approval,” a senior official wrote on the file that Maran Jr himself might “like to indicate who is to be contacted in Chennai/Delhi to organized the function” for launching the stamp.
Basiclly I do not consider the prevelent Indian History or World History or History of any Nation as factual. It is the dictum of the winner who succed in ruling. It is the history the winner wants others to believe. Over the period the facts are forgotten and manipulated history come into effect. This practice has been happening since time imemmorial. Creating philalately is part of creating history the way the rulers want the generations to believe. Politiians have no alternative other than doing what Mr.Maran and others are doing when they are in power.
In democratic set therulers of a particular period cannot ensure continuity of his regime and philosophy6. The rulers coming to power tomorrow may not agree with the present ruler. In such a cituation one set of rulers cannot ensure that they arekept alive in the history of the nation tomorrow. They got only one alternative. To ensure that they are commemmorated to-day itself.
New Delhi (PTI): Can ministers repeatedly use their discretionary powers and sidestep norms laid down for their own departments by the government?
Not once but 97 times since Independence, the Department of Posts (DoP) has allegedly violated the norm for issuing stamps on the death anniversary of famous people, claims RTI applicant Subhash Agrawal, a charge denied by the department.
The first alleged violation was made in the case of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 when a stamp was issued just seven months after his death while the latest being that of Congress leader Rajesh Pilot for whom a stamp was released in 2008, eight years after his death, he claimed.
Two separate RTI applications were filed by Agrawal who wanted to know whether the PMO knew about the alleged violations or not.
In his second query, Agrawal asked the DoP about the rules regarding the issuance of stamps.
The DoP, in its reply, mentioned that there were no statutory rules for issuing the stamps. There were just "broad guidelines" issued by the Department in this regard.
It said the Union Minister for Communications can give administrative approval to any proposal for issue of postage stamps and there was no violation of rules.
Unsatisfied with the DoP reply, Agrawal has moved the Central Information Commission, which will hear his plea on the enquiry to the PMO on wednesday.