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Saturday, May 26, 2012



To adorn a city by means of that oldest form of plastic art – Sculpture – is an old and time-honoured usages. It was more common in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece than anywhere else, and it originated in ancient India and other lands also independently….. Sculpture and statuary as decoration of a town came to be adopted as a universal practice in the West through the example of the Greeks and the peoples of Italy. ………The different countries of Europe began to  vie with one another in this matter, and Italy and Germany, France and Spain, and England produced some of great sculptures whose works adorning the various towns and galleries of Europe form the pride of modern European art…….

The English, after they became established in India as masters of the land, in Bengal and elsewhere, introduced, along with other things of European culture, the practice of erecting statues of eminent  persons as a most graceful form of town-decoration. ……..The  statues which were set up in India at the instance of the ruling English naturally were of Britishers eminent in the history of the establishment of English power and prestige in the country……. . So wrote  National Professor Dr Suniti Kumar Chatterji  in  an article titled ‘Calcutta Sculpture’ in November, 1925.
After India gained independence in 1947, many a statues have been erected  at street-corners and public places all over India immortalizing our freedom fighters and  national heroes.  Most of these  statues  have been erected in places  connected with the person celebrated, or,  where an event  that  took place glorifying the whole nation.  Several of these Statues - both in relief and round forms – have commemorated ‘Flag Events’ and ‘Flag Personalities’.
Pingali Venkayya (1876–1963), hailing from Masulipatam (Machilipatnam), founded the Indian National Flag Mission and relentlessly pursued his goal to give shape to a distinctive national flag to be accepted by all.
  In 1916 Venkayya came up with a booklet titled ‘A National Flag for India’ in which he put forth about twenty-four designs for the Indian flag.None of the flags designed by Venkayya could satisfy the then leaders who mattered.
In April 1921, prior to the Bezwada (now, Vijayawada) Congress, Mahatma Gandhi asked Venkayya to prepare a design which should contain a Charkha (spinning wheel) on a red (Hindu colour) and green (Muslim colour) background. The Charkha was placed on the flag apropos of the suggestion made by Lala Hansraj of Jullundur(Jalandhar). Later, on maturer consideration of Mahatma Gandhi, a white band, representing the other religions, was added on top of the colour green.

The Tirupur Kumaran Memorial at Tirupur,  Tamil Nadu.
 When Mahatma Gandhi was arrested on 4 January 1932 by the orders of Lord Wellington, the then British viceroy of India, a protest march was organised in Tirupur on 10  January. Tirupur Kumaran was leading the procession, holding the Swaraj flag in his hand, when police attacked Kumaran brutally. He exhibited an exemplary act of defiance against the police violence by holding the Swaraj flag up and kept chanting ‘Vande Mataram’. Next day, 11 January 1932, he breathed his last. He is known as ‘Kodi Kaatha Kumaran’—Kumaran who protected the flag.

The Martyr's Memorial is a life-size statue of seven brave young men who sacrificed their lives in the Quit India movement (11 August 1942), to hoist the National Flag on the Secretariat building, Patna, Bihar. The  foundation stone of Martyr's Memorial was laid on August 15, 1947, by the governor of Bihar Jairam Das Daulatram. The sculptor  Deviprasad Roychoudhry built the bronze statue of the seven students with the National Flag. These statues were cast in Italy and later placed here. The seven students, whose names are engraved on the Martyrs’ Memorial in Patna were:
Umakant Prasad Sinha –         Ram Mohan Roy Seminary, class IX
Ramanand Singh –                  Ram Mohan Roy Seminary, class IX
Satish Prasad Jha –                 Patna Collegiate School, class X
Jalpati Kumar –                       Bihar National College, 2nd year
Devipada Choudhry –             Miller High English School, class IX
Rajendra Singh –                    Patna High English School, Matriculation class
Ramgovind Singh –                Punpun High English School, Matriculation class
 India Post is yet to come out with a stamp on Kanaklata Barua, the real heroine of Assam
On 20 September 1942, Kanaklata Barua, at Gohpur in Assam, a young girl then led a procession of unarmed villagers waving Purna Swaraj flags to the nearby police station.  As soon as Kanaklata unfurled the flag at the police station she and her companion Mukunda Kakati were gunned down by the Police. On the same day at Dhekiajuli police station eleven villagers were gunned down by the Police while trying to hoist the Purna Swaraj flag - three of them were teen-aged girls - Tileswari, Numali and Khahuli.
 Matangini Hazra statue, Kolkata
A statue now stands at the spot where she was killed in Tamluk, East Medinipur.
And a Memorial Pillar adjacent to Matangini Statue at Tamluk 
Matangini leading the procession, statue at Nandkumar, East Medinipur. 
Matangini Hazra was known as ‘Gandhi-buri’ (literally an old female version of Gandhi). At the age of seventy-three she joined the Quit India movement, as an active volunteer. On 29 September1942, while she was leading a procession at Tamluk in Midnapore, with the Purna Swaraj flag in her hands, a shower of bullets from the police felled her. While dying, she had held the flag high and had collapsed only when she had passed the flag onto the next marcher; the flag had remained unsullied.

Note: The FDCs and Special Covers depicted above were all post marked at the birth/event place

Monday, May 21, 2012


The word  Phillumeny is derived from Greek phil  i.e. loving + lumen i.e. light.  It was coined by Marjorie S. Evans of the British Matchbox Label & Booklet Society in 1943.  Phillumeny  is the hobby of collecting different match-related items, viz., matchboxes, matchbox labels, matchbox-safes, etc.
Here are two title pages of the Match Label News, the official journal of the British Matchbox Label and Bookmatch Society.
First practical matches were made in England in 1827by a druggist, John Walker. The first safety matches, which light only on a prepared surface, were made in Sweden in 1845. Safety matches made of cardboard or heavy paper and put in a tiny  folded packets were invented by Joshua Pusey of Pennsylvania, USA in 1892. There were many trials in match making in Europe and America. Before 1905, all matches were single topped; then silent ‘double dipped’ matches were developed.

 British Union Jack and Ensign on early Indian matches (Pre-independence)
 A Swedish make matchbox showing Indian theme, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and his famous composition 'Bande Mataram'.
India make matches were flourished in cottage industries since Swadeshi movement days (national awakening) competing with both imported matches, mainly from Sweden, Austria and Japan, as well as, indigenous big manufacturing houses.  
Matchbox labels were utilised and employed for Swadeshi (meaning 'self rule') Propaganda, since it could be produced cheaply in cottage industry. Matchboxes were widely distributed/available. These labels penetrated every households and could be seen everywhere  carrying  images with attractive and appealing designs. Many interesting images in the form of matchbox labels came out during Swadeshi movement days. I am prompted to present here a few of such matchbox labels which depicted Swadeshi (national) flags for the discerning readers.  
here the Sivaji image is an example of anachronism. Sivaji Bhosle (1627-1680) just can not fly a tricolour Swadeshi flag which came into being in 1921.
The slogan reads  "Boycott Foreign Goods and use Swadeshi Products"; M.N.Mehta, Calcutta, Maunufacturer of the Best Matches


Kamaldevi Chattopadhyay (1903-1988) and Swaraj Flag 


Purna Swaraj (Complete Independence) Flag, Saffron over White over Green (1931-1947)

"Flag Salutation"
Islamic Flags of pre-independence (prior 1947) period

Bonhomie between Indian National Congress and All India Muslim League (Khilafat Movement 1919-1922)

Netaji Subhas Bose, Supreme Commander of the  Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fouj) and Purna Swaraj Flag.


Dawn of Independence :  The National Flag of Free India
'Father of the Nation' and the National Flag

According to Flag Code of India, published by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the National Flag shall not be used for commercial purposes in violation of the Emblem and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.