Sunday, February 22, 2009

Madras Presidency War Fund Raffles

Today's item focus on contribution from Madras presidency during world war II.

At its greatest extent, Madras Presidency included much of southern India, including the present-day Indian State of Tamil Nadu, the Malabar region of North Kerala, Lakshadweep Islands, the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh, Brahmapur and Ganjam districts of Orissa and the Bellary, Dakshina Kannada, and Udupi districts of Karnataka. The capital was at Madras, now known as Chennai.

In 1908, the province comprised 22 districts each under a District Collector. Today, we cover North Arcot, Ramnad, Tanjore and Madura districts under British rule.

North Arcot

North Arcot district formed a key province in the then Madras Presidency, under the control of the Nawabs of Arcot. During world war II, North Arcot held a grand raffle to aid the war plane fund.

As shown above, the raffle was held at 1st Dec, 1940. The ticket price was 4 annas. North Arcot had Mughal/Muslim influence and they tried to imitate the Hyderabad's Nawab fund raising campaign. As we know, Hydeabad had raised funds for 2 squadrons of Splitfire airplanes. Nawab of North Arcots also tried the same. Even though, they were not as successful as Hyderabad.


Another district under Madras presidency which issued raffles for victory in war was Ramnad. Ramnad or Ramanathapuram (as it is known) is close to Rameshwaram, one of the main pilgrim centres in India.

This is where the difference in war raffles start showing. If you notice Ramnad had issued Victory raffles of denomination 1 Rupee in Tamil not English. Perhaps the reason could be that the area is close to Sri Lankan peninsula. And, both the sides of ocean, Tamil population was predominant with not much influence of English in those era. These were still hard core Tamil place.


While Madura or Madurai as it is known had issued raffle in aid of warplane fund in demonination of 8 Annas in both English and Tamil language. Perhaps, the reason lies in the fact that Madurai is one of the oldest continually inhabited city in the Indian peninsula with a history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era. And, the very fact that it was accomdating to change in culture over period of time (the reason of survival), that it had adapted English language also.

Well! Madurai is major tourist attraction in Southern India. It is also referred as Temple city. Madurai's cultural heritage goes back 2,500 years, and the city has been an important commercial center and has conducted trade as far as Rome and Greece since as early as 550 B.C.E.


And the last item that I want to present belongs to another oldest place in Southern India: Tanjore.

Tanjore or Thanjavur (as it is known) is one of the oldest cities in India and has a long and varied history dating back to Sangam period. The city rose into prominence during the rule of the Later Cholas when it served as the capital of the Chola empire. After the fall of the Cholas, the city was ruled by the Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, the Madurai Nayaks, the Thanjavur Nayaks, the Thanjavur Marathas and finally the British!

Shown above is image of raffle issued by Tanjore District war committee to aid H.E. the governor's war fund. The draw date was 8th Dec 1940. The denomination of ticket was 8 Annas same as Madura warplane fund raffle.

Now, Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian art and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples, an UNESCO World Heritage Monument are located in an around Thanjavur.

For any tourist coming to Southern India, a visit to all these places: Madurai, Tanjore and Rameshwaram is a divine experience, specially for people having interest in history, architecture and civilizations. These places are rich in culture and offer variety of memoirs to be taken back home.

I guess, I should become another ambassador of "Incredible India!" campaign run by Toursim department of Govt. of India :D

Sunday, February 15, 2009

B.B.C. London Ka Sawal - German Leaflet

Today we are back to propaganda leaflets. This is one of German leaflet from the delta series that I will talk about. I was asked to translate today's leaflet some time back by a US based collector. It was definitely a pleasant and enriching experience. And, I finally ended up buying the same leaflet from a collector based in the UK :-)

This "delta" leaflet delta.gif (1104 bytes)156/9/44 shown above depicts "Death" holding a British flag at the top and starving Indians below. The front text is written in Urdu script. The text talks about the British and German radio broadcasts, the British causing strife between the Hindus and the Muslims, and the British looting of Indian foodstuffs and industrial items.

While the reverse side is written in Roman [English] letters, the text once again consists of Hindustani [Urdu] words. It shows Churchill holding a bag of money, naturally showing looted bounty.

And here is translation of text in English [the collector has not only corrected my translation but made the text more informal so people with a limited historical background can also understand it better]. I have borrowed some of his words to present a similar version that he published in his article:

Question from BBC London

On Thursday 21st Sept, BBC London's morning programme addressed Indians fighting in Buhera.

"Do you ever wonder why India is so poor? Think about this using all your new experiences and ideas and figure out what can you do for betterment of India after war ends."

We know that lots of our brothers won't have ever heard our [German Radio] program, and very a few of those who have heard this program would care or believe. it One of foremost question is why India is so poor.

It is because of the unfortunate presence of Britain in India!

Why is that?

The British government's policy has been to cause confusion among Indians since the beginning. This confusion started during the reigns of the Muslim rulers and Hindu kings in India.

Can anyone give any proof quoting history, of any such communal fighting before the British came to India.

No! There was not! Never!

India never had shortage of workers and farmers producing crops.
But, who now gets all the wealth produced in India?

It is all meant for British empire not for the betterment of India!

Britain has been ruling India for 200 years but Indian are still poor and dying because of hunger.

Why is that?

Because, all Indian food is sent to hungry and dying British people outside India where besides a lot of potato and ice, nothing else is produced.

Because of the British, there is also a weakening of education system and shortage of industries in India.

And this is the reason why India is so poor!

What did you see and learn in other countries?

The country has to be free and independent to be prosperous!

Think! Are you doing any good for your country by helping the British?

I am happy to translate any Indian leaflet, so anyone wanting a translation is invited to contact me. And of course I hope in the process I will get to buy more of these leaflets for my collection.

No! Don't worry. I won't ask for a leaflet as a reward ;) But if you have any spare Indian leaflets which you are willing to sell, please offer them me and I will buy them.

My translation of text is not done for reward. I hope I didn't scare aware any collector here. So, ping me at for any help in translation or for information on India...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

War Purposes Stamp - Chhatarpur

Well! It's long time again. In fact, the blog has become weekly affair. So, no more long time statements from next blog onwards. Allow me one last time today :-)

For last couple of blogs, I was trying to display variety of items like stamps, Cinderella, labels, postcard, leaflets and other postal stationery. The aim was to start series on each of such items. I guess, I have sort of achieved that.

So, today we continue on our war stamp series. Today's item is focused on another princely state of India: Chhatarpur, who had issued some war purposes revenue stamps to help British in war.

Chhatarpur is now a district in Madhya Pradesh state of Modern India. Before independence, Chhatarpur was 11 gun salute princely state, also known as central India (Bundelkhand) agency.

Well! Chhatarpur is definitely a spot on every tourist's map because of its historical background as well as closeness to world famous Khajuraho Temples. Oh ya ! I don't want to get into Khajuraho Temples. This is not the right forum to write about those magnificent artifacts ;)

Let's keep our focus on Chhatarpur. So, during world war II, the government of Chhatarpur who was under British patronage, issued series of war purposes stamps.

In fact, these were existing 1 Anna value of Type 5 & 6 court fee stamps (as they are called) which were overprinted with "War Purposes Stamp". There are several different overprints, each made by machine or hand stamp in red or black color. The above stamp for example is called of variety (I) where overprints were made in red color in serif caps letter of size 51 x 3.5 mm. The stamp itself is of green color.

Above stamp is of variety (II) which is sub-type of variety (I) but measuring 67 mm long also in blue color with red overprint.

This one is of variety (III) which was as sub-types (I) and (II), but measuring 47 mm long on blue color stamp with black overprint. While below one is of variety (IV) in sans-serif italic caps letter measuring 60 x 3 mm on blue stamp with red overprint.

And last one that I have is of same variety (IV) in sans-serif italic caps letter measuring 60 x 3 mm but with error: "PUPPOSES".

It is again in blue color but with red overprints. Of course all the stamps carried serial numbers which was originally part of Type 5 & 6 court fee stamps.

Last one is slightly rare because of error in prints. Also as usual, all the stamps were punched which was very common treatment with these revenue stamps in India :( I just hope people that time would have devised some better way to treat stamps. Anyway, there exists other variety also like (V) which is missing in my collection :-)

Hope, some day it will appear out of blue and increase value of my collection ;)

Monday, February 9, 2009

War Slogans

It's long time since I updated the blog. Life has been busy for a while. I was planning to update the blog with today's item for long but it just didn't happen.

Nevertheless, here we are. Today's item is 1st part of such series. It is about war related slogans printed on envelopes, covers, postcards or on any kind of postal stationery during world war II.

I know there are so many varieties of postal stationery in existence and most of them are unrecorded. That's what makes it hard to collect them. To start with, I will show some of items that I posses. In coming weeks, I will show other interesting items which I don't have and am looking for :-)

During war, as a propaganda or message, every country used to put slogans on postal items so when they reach the destination, they carry message from the fighting nations. Basically idea was to urge people how to assist their country even without directly fighting the war. There were so many ways people could contribute to save lives and help them in war.

One of the most popular slogan that is easily available in postal items is "Careless talks cost lives, with victory symbol on it".

An example of such is shown above, printed in 17th May 1946 on KGV postcard of 9pies.

Another example of same type but with multiple cancellation is shown above. The above prints are on printed matter letter [Bookpost] with advt. from Rajasthan Ayurvedic Pharmacy, Ajmer. Above item has 4 such prints and of different dates. At least I could read 2 of them: 3o Oct 1943 and 1st Nov 1943.

Another type of slogan is shown below:

Another popular slogan was "Buy defence saving certificates". Above print is done on 10th Nov 1940 dated cover from Lahore. Another example of same type is below on 29 Oct 1941 in KGVI 9p post card from stamp dealer Ram Gopal & Co. Alwar to Quilon.

Perhaps for some people this post may appear dull :-) but don't worry next post will carry some interesting envelopes on same theme...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Anti-Nazi Propaganda Postcard - U.K.

Well, it was 1940s and place Lisbon. So what? :-)

I know that's irritating piece of information. But of late, I found that Lisbon was the place :-) Ok. You knew it. So for others, who didn't know. Lisbon was the place of heightened political activity during world war II from both side. Oh, ya! I meant political activity meaning war propaganda :-)

By this time, you would have already judged not just guessed that today's item is about war propaganda (postcard), of course focusing on India :-) Am sorry but I can't control my infectious smile.

On a serious note though, let's start. War had just started spreading all over the Europe and beyond. Great Britain and Germany both were on full swing with publishing propaganda items against each other (Allies versus Axis). As part of their strategy, United Kingdom issued series of anti-Nazi propaganda postcards distributed by their embassy in Lisbon, Portugal.

In one of my earlier post, I showed one of Germany's propaganda postcard targeting all allies nations. This one above is part of series of such postcards by UK where they showed how all allies nations (read commonwealth nations) came together and contributed in the war.

The above item is showcasing India's might to world. The postcard was published by R.K., initials printed on front side of postcard in lower left corner. Back side mentions the numbering 51-761.

As far as I know, all such postcards carry 51-xxxx pattern where xxxx seems to be numbering given to each such issue (focussing countries). Also, all of such postcards carry same heading "Em Liberdade - Forcas!" in Portuguesse meaning "In Freedom - Strength!".

The main text is also in Portuguesse which when translated in English reads:

"No country in the British commonwealth is playing this part more vigorously than India in the fight against Nazi aggression. In India, as much as in the Indian States, their sons work and fight to defeat the tyranny that, they know well, would mean the end of any free and peaceful progress."

[Thanks a lot to Pablo from Álbum de Estampillas for getting text translated for me.]

Also note that Portugal too had some colonies in India though relatively smaller ones than to Great Britain which ruled the Indian sub-continent and most of Asia/Australia barring China.

Then the postcard shows how India is contributing in fight against Nazi aggression. It shows how India contributed during world war I period (1914) with her factories and manifacturing units. And again, it is contributing as need arised. It depicts the number of factories that have grown, almost 4 times (in 1936), to help allies in the great war.

This was very interesting series of propaganda postcards issued by UK where they showed how each commonwealth countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia etc were contributing with their milk, cheese, manifacturing, ships etc.
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