The Philatelists' Association of Bangladesh (PAB) recently arranged a three day long philatelic exhibition marking the 30 year anniversary of PAB. Taken place between August 10 and 12 at the postal auditorium of the General Post Office (GPO), the display would have been the opposite if it was any time during the heydays of stamp collecting in Bangladesh during the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Ranging from items as postage stamps, envelopes, First Day Covers, Mint and used stamps, private and commercially used covers and many other articles Bangladesh's history was once more chronicled and displayed through private collections. Needless to say - the once all-pervading zeal for collecting postage stamps is missing all across the country. At least the long empty corridors leading up to the exhibition hall with a few participants and enthusiasts echoed of a dying hobby. Be that as it may, some diehard philatelic crusaders are still working to keep the passion alive. The mere 38 participants - in collaboration with the GPO have exhibited their philatelic collections against the face of all odds.
This writer being a stamp collector himself could fortunately spot some of the enthusiasts who had been glued to philately when kids. In a span of thirty years they have aged but their philatelic fervour hasn't faded even the least.
They were namely Tuhin Bin Salam (youngest son of the illustrious stamp aficionado late M A Salam), A T M Anowarul Quadir (PAB General Secretary) and the ever-green Saiful Islam. Like the rest of the participants, all the three had their respective thematic collections ornamenting the display. Tuhin's collection showcased stamps, souvenir sheets on the 1971 war and genocide, Quadir displayed a long row of boards' exhibiting the mint stamps issued since July 1971till now, and Saiful Islam, for the first time in the exhibit's history, showcased his rare collection of used East India Company stamp papers of different values.
It was these collectors' stick-in-the-mud attitude to remain with philately which impressed this writer. In fact, this writer couldn't help recollecting a famous saying about stamp collection "The great collectors of stamps were all men of passion. If they did not have passion when they started collecting, they soon developed it, for there is no mistress so demanding as stamps."
When philately is back in fashion with increased on-line sales all across the globe, we believe, the hobby can also be revived in Bangladesh too. Our hat's off to those crusaders's who are struggling to keep philately alive in Bangladesh.
The writer is the Assistant Editor of the Daily Observer