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IIC throws light on philatelic afterlife of Ambedkar

IIC throws light on philatelic afterlife of Ambedkar
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India International Centre has organised an exhibition titled 'Baba Saheb: An Extraordinary Philatelic Journey (1966-2022)'. Curated by Vikas Kumar, it will be on view till June 21.

This exhibition puts together a unique archive on the philatelic afterlife of Ambedkar (1966-2022), his journey from being the first Dalit personality to be honoured with a commemorative postage stamp to becoming a key philatelic icon in the country. It uses postage stamps, postal information brochures, first day covers, postal calendars, inland letter cards and other postal materials to throw fresh light on the shifting evolution of the official and popular imaginations of Ambedkar. The philatelic material is organised into three broad periods. The first period begins with the issue of a commemorative stamp on Ambedkar in 1966 and ends with another commemorative stamp issued in 1991 after he was posthumously conferred with the Bharat Ratna. The material of this period is limited to commemorative releases that portray him as a standalone icon. The second period (1992 - 2010), when Ambedkar was included in the definitive series, marks his entry into the philatelic pantheon hitherto restricted to Gandhi and Nehru. Also, in this period Ambedkar is no longer restricted to commemoratives and he figures on a very wide variety of philatelic material. In the third period (2012-22), postage stamps and special covers celebrate him as a pan Indian leader by representing the different stages of his life and tracing his journey across the country.

As part of the exhibition, there will be two related programmes in the Art Gallery. First is 'Ambedkar, Stamps and the Indian Republic', which will be held on June 11 at 6:30 pm. Illustrated lecture by Professor Vikas Kumar, Faculty, School of Development, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru and author of the forthcoming book Waiting for a Christmas Gift and Other Essays and co-author of Numbers in India's Periphery: The Political Economy of Government Statistics (Cambridge University Press: 2020) will be held.

The second one is 'Gallery Walk Through' to be held on June 20 at 6 pm. This will be held in collaboration with Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.

The exhibition's curator Vikas Kumar teaches economics at Azim Premji University. He is co-author of Numbers in India's Periphery: The Political Economy of Government Statistics (2020, Cambridge University Press) and author of Waiting for a Christmas Gift and Other Essays (forthcoming). He is presently working on a manuscript on census in Jammu and Kashmir.

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