Saturday, June 8, 2013

Searching for Philatelic Bees....


I was longing to visit GPO for a while and refresh my good old memory. But somehow it was never getting planned. Then one fine day I decided to make a visit on the way to my office on one of the working day. It was long route but I decided to take it. If I am in town and don't visit GPO then shame on me ;-) I happened to be back in town and was living a bachelor life for couple of weeks so it was but natural for me to visit my temple. I knew once my parents and wifey are back, I won't have such opportunity. Though, I had a month to go before we fly back to US this was only opportunity so I decided to make up for last one yr since we visited India.

I was relaxed as soon as I entered the GPO premises. The GPO surrounding is lush green with rose garden and trees around it. When I entered the philatelic department, to my surprise I found an old known philatelic dealer (we will call him gentleman) looking for his registered post items. We greeted each other. He had shifted to Hyderabad 3 years back but I had no information as he sent me message on my Indian mobile which was inactive. I decided to pay attention to philatelic items available for sale first and then continue chatting with the gentleman. After I satisfied myself with buying lots of items, I turned towards gentleman who was still struggling to find his items with postal department. They were as usual kind of clueless trying to locate his items. The aged dealer (must be in late 70s) was helplessly looking towards them. 

I didn't reveal the fact that I had relocated to US almost 2 years back but started chatting as usual. He asked me to visit GPO again on coming Sunday as there was a philatelic society meeting planned. He had been trying for many years to enroll me in that society. Somehow I was just not buying the idea despite knowing the fact that society was well known and had may veterans in philatelic world. It was then the postal department person also told me that I should make a visit. The society hold auctions etc also during the meet. The gentleman offered me to sit next to him despite the fact I was not a member and I could participate in auction where he would buy items on behalf of me. That scheme seemed attractive to me. I was also keen on finding people who had same interest as mine in the world of WW2. I thought this could be a good place to meet people. Anyway, it was over weekend so I decided to return to GPO.

The gentleman had asked me to be there at 10:00 AM. I woke up late as usual on Sunday morning and by the time I started from home it was already 10:00 AM. I was filled with guilt that I was running late. I have a bad habit of always being punctual. Throughout the ride, I was just thinking the gentleman must be feeling bad probably thinking I didn't turn up despite promising to be there. Finally, I reached GPO around 10:30 AM. Because of Sunday, lots of sections/areas inside GPO were closed. I was also in hurry and furious of running late, I lost my way to philately section. Then, someone pointed me a way to philately. I entered the room and saw empty chairs. There were only a handful of people present including gentleman. My heart sank at that moment. I was not able to have eye contact with gentleman as I thought meeting was over and I came after most of the people had left.

I decided to quietly leave the room when gentleman called me and said he had reserved a seat for me. I should sit next to him. My mind started working once again I realized that it was a meeting called in India that too over weekend. How could most of the people be on time. I was all of sudden very much relaxed. The guilt had gone but I was again furious :-) this time on other people who had not reached on time. I located a sofa at the end of the room and placed myself on it. The gentleman kept on telling me to sit next to him but I politely declined as I had become UN observer (as an observer one should position oneself such that one can do its duty diligently. I couldn't do such thing sitting in front row with gentleman). I started watching people coming in, mingling with others, reading philatelic notice boards and buying philatelic items from counter which was specially kept open for that meeting duration.

Most of the people seemed to be aged, some retired and some businessman. Then there were some techies as usual and I saw a lone girl. Later a group of ladies joined the team. It was almost 11:00 AM when society president/secretary started pleading people to sit on chairs arranged rather than roaming here and there and chatting. He had to plead couple of times for people to keep quiet so they can start their activity. By this time I had become a true naturalized Indian (smiling on what's happening there). Everything appeared to be as expected and very natural. The meeting started while people were still coming in. The ladies didn't stop chatting. The secretary had to voice his concern a little louder. After a short speech, president asked people to participate in auction for items placed in the room. The items were from another gentleman (let's say gentleman#2) who was music teacher by profession. His area of interest was Paris (quite natural isn't it). He was asked to give a brief speech over Paris and items placed for auction by him. The show had begun. He started with history of Paris, touching some important milestones in history of Paris and then shared some information related to philatelic items he had on sale. He was explaining what Paris is famous for: art, historical buildings, music etc when someone asked where could we get famous shoes of Paris. The gentleman didn't understand what was being asked. The enquirer repeated saying he had heard Paris was famous for its footwear so where was that available? I was controlling my laugh. The gentleman#2 was still at loss. Someone from crowd then intervened and explained what was being asked. It was a curious case of Benjamin Button. He couldn't answer to enquirer question. Finally, auction started. I think no items were sold (I had guessed that already). 

After the auction, secretary gave people 10-15 minutes to relax. I saw some people went out for smoking in gallery. The smoke was already coming inside room. It was those passive smoking moment which you can't escape in India. I decided to make a move and tried to talk to some people. I approached a young guy who appeared to be talking to everyone and was only one who was wearing some kind of badge. I introduced myself and my interest to him. His first question was are you a member? I politely said no and pointed him to the gentleman who had invited me to be part of the show. I used that as weapon to further engage him asking for his help if he knew people there having same or similar interest. Initially, he didn't understand my interest (he appeared not to be very keen also as I was not a member. It was just because a known member had invited me he decided to help me). I tried to bring his interest back in me by showing some pictures on my mobile to make him understand kind of items I collected and was looking for. He was in hurry so he simply said there was none who had similar interest adding it was difficult to find people with similar area of interest. Before I could ask further he excused me. I then tried talking to couple of more people but none showed interest. Then some people came to me and chatted checking area of interest etc. Nothing was positive till then. I decided to check with gentleman if he knew anyone there having same interest. He also replied negatively saying there was none.

I was loosing patience by then. I was thinking it was perhaps waste of time for me coming over there. I decided to get fresh air outside. The gallery was full of smoke. I still strolled a while watching green sphere around GPO. After couple of minutes, I was back on my sofa. Secretary asked people to sit quiet again. The gentleman#2 came and sat next to me. Someone from society board questioned gentleman#2 why he had some items other than Paris for sale in auction. Gentleman#2 tried to rebuff that claim but he was cross questioned and had to admit there might be some items not related to Paris on sale. Though, it was of no use as nothing got sold.

I was just thinking on intention of that question from society when gentleman#2 started speaking to me saying those people had no job but always point finger on others. They always looked for some point to question others. I was shocked. I just nodded to acknowledge him I heard what he said. He then continued releasing his anger and pain, what did those people know about Paris. He introduced himself to me saying he was music teacher and had been to Paris. He had many music teacher friends there. Fuming over question asked to him earlier, he said those people cared for shoes and sandals only. What's the relation of shoes to Paris. Instead of appreciating the art and cultural aspect of Paris which he was describing the sole interest of people was to find out where to buy shoes in Paris. What could you expect from such people. I continued nodding with bit of smile (Man, it was really hard for me to control that!). 

The gentleman#2 perhaps realized that he was talking to me without getting introduced. He asked me what were my area of interests. As soon as he learnt, he started speaking did I know Paris was liberated by so many (some numbers which I forgot) soldiers. That piece of history was less known to people. He shared couple of more information about Nazi and WW2. I kept on acknowledging (remember I was UN observer there. My job was to observe and listen everyone not to comment or share my views). By that time, other fellow was invited to continue his talk from past meeting. The other fellow (gentleman#3) had given some talk on how to judge or claim a stamp has error in previous meeting. This time he seemed to had come unprepared (that's what I could guess). He apologized people saying he had no materials to speak as he was waiting for those from his Australian friend. He then advised everyone to read what he had shared last time and put questions next time. It appeared to me as if we were still living in good old days where there was no medium of communication (not even postal letter) so he had to ask people to read whatever was shared last time and come with question in next meeting. I was thinking did this society have no email communication or groups through which members could discuss topics? Was meeting called for such announcements? Some other people in crowd started asking some questions to gentleman#3 about what he had shared earlier. The gentleman#3 had to repeat part of what he had shared earlier but he was not able to satisfy as he had no materials to show (no stamp example, no xerox/printouts, no proofs for whatsoever he was claiming). He was saying he had all those things at home and he would bring next time (including some rare stamp error which he claimed got sold for 2 Million Indian rupees some time back). He was following it up with Stanley Gibbons to acknowledge such error and print in their next catalogue (he claimed Stanley agreed to publish it in 2016 edition). At that moment gentleman#2 started chatting again. He said those people had ego problem. Look at them, he (gentleman#3) had nothing to share or show besides talking loosely. He (gentleman#3) was claiming he had some big shot stamp error rarity. People came there for that purpose only just boasting themselves. What kind of nonsense was that! I was smiling again (the thing I am best at). I could understand his pain (not being able to sell any item and asked about shoes as if someone would have thrown shoe at him. The pain would definitely had doubled as it was none other than his philately society members who had thrown shoes at him).

The secretary again disbursed the meeting for next round and asked some other people to place their items for auction/sale. Some other people placed their items (mostly related to India). I decided to make another round to see if I could find something of my interest. There was none. I tried observing some more people and then decided to get another round of fresh air. I came out and saw bees making their home on a tiny branch of tree next to GPO gallery. I started thinking did they know it would fell down some day as branch couldn't take load of their home as it grew but thought they were selfless creatures doing their best. I observed them for a while and then decided to walk out of GPO thinking there will still be some philatelists in society who will keep it floating. There must be lots of volunteers (like gentleman) who will never get disturbed with what happens in such meetings but continue to work for promotion of philately by urging people like me to join the society and participate. I don't know what all happened in society meeting that day but I couldn't keep myself any longer.

I know philatelic bees are still out there.... I am still looking for them. I hope to find them in my next India trip. Until then enjoy this photo-shoot:



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Words that express friendship - WW2 Anti-Japanese Poster


It's very long time after which I am posting some article. Life has been busy-busy ;-) I had a pleasant trip back home (India) and just returned refreshed (new items bought over the trip)!

Below is one rare WW2 Anti-Japanese poster issued by National War Front in India. The poster is in Gujarati language.


The English translation of text is as follows:

First line : Mitratabharya bol mean "Words that express friendship" 
Second line : "Dusht Karmo" mean "Evil deeds" 

Last line : "Japanio saame rashtriya yudh morcho ubho karo" means "(Lets)Start a national war campaign against the Japanese"

It basically warns Indian public of what Japanese speak versus do. A very interesting and colorful poster. It also has a numbering S.53 at right bottom. I am not sure what that coding means. The poster is also of unusually large size measuring 19.5 x 29 inch.

I am sure you will like the poster. Let me know if anyone has any more information on background of this poster.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

For India's Defence Services - WW2 Label


Today's post is on three different WW2 victory label issued during 1939-45. They were issued in denomination of 1 anna. All the labels had text "For India's Defence Services" in English. They were issued in Red, Green and Blue color.

Shown above is red color mint label (block of 4) which has small V in blue color on top of Indian map. The label also had text in Hindi. The back side of label has a blue colored seal with text in Hindi translated as "Central India War Fund", Thanks!

The one shown above is used example of red label where they were commonly used in judicial papers along with revenue stamps. This one is used with Maihar state stamp. The back side of paper also has small V seal/postmark in blue color.

The Green colored variety is almost same as Red colored one. The only difference being it has text in Urdu than in Hindi. It doesn't have any V sign on Indian map.

The last one in this series is blue colored label with red colored V symbol on it. The one I have is an used example with Dhar state revenue stamp on judicial paper.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Mhow Mercury - WW2 STC (B) India Publication


It’s long since I shared any WW2 publication. Frankly speaking, it is more difficult to gather any information on literature items specially if they were local to some unit in some country. Today’s item is one of such thing. It’s called “Mhow Mercury” a WW2 paper covering the social activities of the S.T.C. (Signal Training Center), Mhow, India. Before we even hit upon Mhow, let’s dive into history of Signals!

~~~~~~~~~~~~Royal Signals~~~~~~~~~~~~

It all started with formation of Royal Signals (India) or Corp of Signals (now known as Indian Army Corp of Signals)on the 15 February 1911 as a separate entity under Lt Col S H Powell in India. Lt Col SH Powell,Royal Engineers, was the founder and first head of the Indian Signal Service which later became the Indian Signal Corps.Till then, the Sappers part of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers established in 1777, where in charge of passing battlefield messages. The Corp of Signals celebrated its centenary in 2011.

Corps of Signals (India) was itself part of Royal Corp of Signals just like all the similar establishment of British Commonwealth. Until World War 1, the Royal Engineer Signal Service provided communications. During that time the Dispatch Rider (DR) came into prominence and wireless 'sets' were introduced into service. Wireless communications were provided in France and Flanders and also in the campaigns in Salonika, Palestine and Mesopotamia.

It was not until 1918, when the first official agreement to form a separate Signal Corps was made, but due to various policy delays the formation of the 'Corps' was delayed until 1920. A Royal Warrant was signed by the Secretary of State for War, the Right Honourable Winston S Churchill, who gave the sovereign's approval for the formation on the 28th June 1920 of a 'Corps of Signals'. Six weeks later His Majesty the King conferred the title 'Royal Corps of Signals'. During the 1920s and 1930s the Corps increased its strength and had personnel serving in overseas stations such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ceylon, Egypt, Jamaica and many other 'out - posts of the Empire'. The largest portion of the Corps was overseas and one third was concentrated in India.

Throughout World War 2 members of the Corps served in every theatre of war and at the end it had a serving strength of 8,518 officers and 142,472 soldiers. During the war 4,362 members of Royal Signals gave their lives.


/\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ Mhow Training Center /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\
\/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/

As part of Corps of Signals establishment, two Training Centers were created in India: one in Jabalpur and the second in Bangalore. On partition, the assets of the Centre at Bangalore were transferred to Pakistan. We will focus upon the Jabalpur and surrounding training centers.

Mhow (cantonment) town was founded in 1818 by John Malcolm as a result of the Treaty of Mandsaur between the British and the Holkars who ruled Indore. John Malcolm's forces had defeated the Holkars at the Battle of Mahidpur in 1818. It was after this battle that the capital of the Holkars shifted from the town of Maheshwar on the banks of the Narmada to Indore.

Mhow gained in military status early in the 20th century as part of the reforms brought about by General Kitchener. With his wide experience of warfare in Egypt, the Sudan and Africa, he saw that the existing broad spread of military units over the country might usefully serve local troubles but had no merit for military action against an invader. He rightly foresaw that there were potential enemies in the north, Russia amongst them, who might take advantage of the situation if improvements were not made. He therefore set about grouping fighting units into Brigades and Divisions. Mhow became a Divisional Headquarters and formation training became part of the routine of life. Mhow was the headquarters of the 5th (Mhow) Division of the Southern Command during the British Raj.

There is total lack of unanimity on how Mhow got its name. There are many theories about this, but there is no confirmation about which theory is true.

Many people believe that MHOW stands for Military Headquarters Of War. There is no proof for this as it is said that the village near Mhow has been called Mhow Gaon since time immemorial. Thus the Cantonment which came up in 1818 came to be known as Mhow Cantt.

The Mahua (Madhuca longifolia) tree which grows in profusion in the forests around Mhow has also been mentioned as a possible source for the name of this town.

It was a town of modest size in open undulating country with the advantage of an altitude of 1824 feet. It therefore provided a climate that was never oppressive. The countryside was open, neither forested nor lacking trees. All in all it was a good choice for training establishments.

It led to creation of The British Signal Training Centre, STC(B) for short which undertook the revision training of soldier tradesmen after their long sea voyage from England and also ran courses for new specialties or upgrading. The Officer Cadet Wing, which was part of it, received its input from Officer Cadet Training Centres in England as well as those at Dehra Dun, Bangalore and Mhow itself in India. These had given basic officer training for all future officers.

The Cadets then moved on to specialist training appropriate to the branch of the Army that they intended to join. It was a great advantage for both nations that the British and Indian components of our courses should meet and make friends with each other during the four month duration of their Signals training.

From 1933-40, Indian commissioned officers were trained at the Signal Training Centre (STC) Jabalpur and Army Signal School, Poona. Besides this, specialist training was imparted at the Telecommunications School, Agra and Communication Security School (Cipher) at Mhow.

But after creation of the Signals Officers Training School, as part of the STC (British) Mhow, trained cadets commissioned into the Royal Signals as well as the commissioned officers of the Indian Signal Corps during 1940-46. All these institutions, except the Army Signal School, Poona, were amalgamated at Mhow on October 1, 1946 to form the Indian Signal Corps School. After independence, it was renamed the School of Signals on June 25, 1948.

The school was organised to train Young Officers (No 1 Squadron), Tech Training (No 2 Squadron) and Cipher Training (No 3 Squadron). However, in 1947 the squadrons were renamed Coys. By early 1949, the establishment was revised again and the school re-designated the School of Signals.

On October 1, 1967, the School of Signals was re-designated "Military College of Telecommunications Engineering" (MCTE) in keeping with the advanced technical training being imparted in the Institution, and the Wings were renamed Faculties.

The Mhow Mercury

Mhow Training Center came into focus after the Japanese invasions in Burma and North East India. Before that Indian Divisions, largely British-officered, were moved to the Mediterranean area and played an important part in that area including, in the Italian campaign. After the rapid expansion of Mhow Training Center, a recreational paper was planned which gave birth to “The Mhow Mercury”.

It had overall only 36 issues starting first issue on 27th July 1944 and final issue on 29th March 1945. The majority of the issues were 6pp, some were 4pp, and one was 2pp and the final issue 10pp. It was printed at the Imperial Printing Press, Mhow initially and then at the Rasalpura Electric Press, Mhow (Vol. 2, No. 4 onwards).

Here is what editorial section of first edition has to say:

No fanfare of Trumpets; no Red Carpets; no Garlands of Orchids as the first edition of the new Mercury goes to press. The aim of this publication is to give you the up-to-date news on events in this station, far removed from the horrors and grim machinations of war. This is YOUR paper, and it is to you that we look for criticism. But don’t keep your comments to yourselves. Let us have them. Write your suggestions or criticisms on a piece of paper, add your name and number, and hand it in to your Wing office.

May be you have an idea which will benefit the social activities of the S.T.C. Let us have it, and if it’s good, we’ll use it. Remember it’s YOUR paper and we want you to help in its publication.

Have you a bona fide grievance? Do you wonder why the Thrift shop only opens on Friday? Are you worried about your stoppages, your food, your Income Tax? Drop us a line and we’ll give you an explanation. One thing more, be brief for we’re short of space.

Maybe you have a short story or an article on ‘Dhobis’ tucked away in your Kit Bag. Send it in maybe you’ll hit the headlines.

Our Live Letter Box and Poet’s Corner are your features. Keep them going, chaps.

The weekly publication of this paper depends on YOU. So, with apologies to Winston Churchill we say, Give us the scripts, and we’ll continue the job.

Here is what editorial section of last edition has to say:

Sir James Grigg’s recent statement that general demobilization would not come into effect until Japan in beaten, has shattered the hopes of those, like myself, who were optimistic of early release when Germany is beaten. If the Govt. makes this decision general throughout the world, and rule out all possibility of ‘string pulling’, this news is not as depressing as it first seems.

After the downfall of the Third Reich, two million more men will be available for the Far East theatre of operations, and the Govt. will then have little excuse for not bringing repatriation down to 3 years of even less.

The British press has long been telling its readers of the bitter winter conditions our troops are suffering on the Western front. We realize, and appreciate, the hardships suffered by them and we hope for an early victory, in order that they can come east to enjoy the splendor and warmth of an eastern summer.
A famous London newspaper reported that a welcome was given to troops home from Burma, who had for three and a half years been sweltering in a temperature of 80 degrees (Celsius). If proof were needed that the 14th Army has been forgotten, then you have it here. The newspaper concerned would do well to study temperatures in Burma before again making such a faux pas.

As the German army crumbles and their cities are systematically razed to the ground by Round-the-Clock bombing by allied air forces, a child of seven wrote to Air Chief Marshal Harris, thanking him for bombing Germany off the map. The reason which prompted her to write this letter of thanks was, she said, because the removal of Germany from the earth’s surface would make her Geography lessons easier.

Be of good cheer, the road which the allies have travelled since Sept. 1939 has been hard and long. The end is in sight, and before 1945 has petered out, great events will have taken place and sanity will once more come into its own.

As this final issue comes off the press, Mercury says farewell to the S.T.C. To those contributors who have helped us in the past, to Aunt Sally and Passionate Percy who responded to our appeal for regular contributors, we say thank you. Continued lack of interest in this paper justifies the decision by the A.O. and Editor to close it down. Alternative arrangements will be made to advertise the Unit entertainment and Cinema programmes within the Unit.

The Mhow Mercury Editions:

No. 1, 27th July 1944
No. 2, 3rd August 1944
No. 3, 10th August 1944
No. 4, 17th August 1944
No. 5, 25th August 1944
No. 6, 31st August 1944
No. 7, 7th September 1944
No. 8, 14th September 1944
No. 9, 21st September 1944
Vol. 1, No. 10, 28th September 1944
Vol. 1, No. 11, 5th October 1944
Vol. 1, No. 12, 12th October 1944
Vol. 1, No. 13, 19th October 1944
Vol. 1, No. 14, 26th October 1944
Vol. 1, No. 15, 2nd November 1944
Vol. 1, No. 16, 9th November 1944
Vol. 1, No. 17, 16th November 1944
Vol. 1, No. 18, 23rd November 1944
Vol. 1, No. 19, 30th November 1944
Vol. 1, No. 20, 7th December 1944
Vol. 1, No. 21, 14th December 1944
Vol. 1, No. 24, 4th January 1945
Vol. 1, No. 25, 11th January 1945
Vol. 2, No. 1, 18th January 1945
Vol. 2, No. 2, 25th January 1945
Vol. 2, No. 3, 1st February 1945
Vol. 2, No. 4, 8th February 1945
Vol. 2, No. 5, 15th February 1945
Vol. 2, No. 6, 22nd February 1945
Vol. 2, No. 7, 1st March 1945
Vol. 2, No. 8, 8th March 1945
Vol. 2, No. 9, 15th March 1945
Vol. 2, No. 10, 22nd March 1945
Vol. 2, No. 11, 29th March 1945

Unfortunately, I have Vol. 1, No. 22, 21st December 1944 and Vol. 1, No. 23, 28th December 1944 edition missing in my collection.

Before I end this long post, I would like to suggest my readers to have a look on:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Indian Military Air Letter Card (MALC) - WWII


This is continuation of my old post Taj Mahal Military Air Letter Card. I had shown the airletter which was printed in S.S.P. Ltd. or Sree Saraswaty Press at Calcutta, India. The variety was known with coding S.S.P. Ltd. - G1623 - 15-9-44 - 3 lacs. Shown below is mint example of that type.

Today, I will be showing one more variety of same type.

Shown above is front side of what is called ICG 44, Sub-Type 1. Coded THE CALCUTTA PHOTOTYPE COMPANY as per catalogue "Indian Military Air Letter Cards 1942-47" by late O.R.J. Lee. The one I have is mint sample.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mourning India - WW2 Nazi Propaganda Postcard against British India


Today's post is in continuation to my earlier Propaganda War Postcard post. You have seen couple of propaganda postcards from UK now see this alleged Swiss product, probably printed by the German Propaganda Ministry.

It depicts an Indian woman standing near a tombstone. It implies that the Indians are against the British and may soon rise us against their colonial rulers.

India in Mourning

Years of lost opportunities.

Here lies the hope of settling the Indian question!


An interesting propaganda from Axis side!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bikaner Cash Coupon - WW2


Today's post is on another princely state cash coupon issued during WWII. Bikaner was a 17-Gun salute princely state of British India and now part of Indian state of Rajasthan. It bordered on the north and west by Bahawalpur; on the southwest by Jaiselmer; on the south by Jodhpur; on the southeast by the Shekawati district of Jaipur; on the east by oharu and Hissar; and on the north east by Ferozpore. It was part of Rajputana (Western Rajputana States Agency). It acceded to India in 1949.

The state was ruled by Lt.-Gen. HH Maharajadhiraj Raj Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharajah Sri Sadul Singhji Bahadur G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., C.V.O., 22nd Maharaja of Bikaner 1943/1950 during WW2 period after demise of his father Maj.-Gen.HH Maharajadhiraj Raj Rajeshwar Narendra Siromani Maharaja Sri Sir Ganga Singhji Bahadur.

Ganga Singh who ruled from 1887 to 1943, was the best-known of the Rajasthan princes and was a favourite of the British Governors-General. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India, served as a member of the Imperial War Cabinet, represented India at the Imperial Conferences during the First World War and the British Empire at the Versailles Peace Conference.

Sadul Singh accompanied his father on important Imperial and International conferences including the peace treaty at Versailles in 1919 and the League of Nations Session. Since second World War was still going on with full vigour when he succeeded to the Gaddi, following his father's tradition he offered his sword and personal services in the cause, and expressed his desire for an opportunity to proceed on active service. He also repeated the offer in his letter dated 25'h July 1943 after becoming the Maharaja. The offer being accepted this time, the Maharaja, accompanied by his second son, Maharaja Kumar Amar Singh, left Bikaner on 26 October 1943, and visited the Sadul Light Infantry stationed in Persia, the 49 (Bikaner) G.P.T. Company stationed in Iraq as well as certain other units of other States Forces and Imperial and Allied troops including the 4th Indian Division and the 3 Indian and Armoured Division. He returned to India in November, 1943 and on his way to Bikaner visited the Ganga Risal which was then stationed in Sind.

In November 1944 Maharaja proceeded to the Assam-Burma war theatre where the Bikaner Bijey Battery was engaged in active operations against the Japanese and returned to Bikaner in December 1944. While passing through Calcutta on his return home, the Maharaja received a tumultuous reception by a lac or more people of Bikaner settled in Calcutta in pursuit of business. The Maharaja and his staff were the recipients of the 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal and the War Medal.

Shown above is three of cash coupons issued by Bikaner estate during WWII. All the cash coupons mention Govt. of Bikaner in front and Sadar Treasury with Chief Treasury's signature on the reverse.

First one (on left) was issued with denomination of 1 anna. It shows a windy circular print-drawing which was later used for 10 paisa coin by Govt of India. It has been recorded as number 6.2 in Indian Paper Money Catalogue by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla.

The one at center was issued with denomination of 1 paisa. It shows a circular print-drawing with Govt. of Bikaner symbol. It has been recorded as number 6.1 in Indian Paper Money Catalogue by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla.

Other one (on right) was issued with denomination of 2 annas. It shows square print-drawing. It has been recorded as number 6.3 in Indian Paper Money Catalogue by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla.

The catalogue mentions another cash coupon which is missing in my collection. It was issued with denomination of 4 Annas and recorded as 6.4.
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