Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mysore State War Fund Label/Stamp

Today's items is about War Fund stamps/labels issued by Mysore State during WWI. Well, the name of Mysore brings image of the Palace and Brindavan Gardens in memory. Most of the people who visits India will be familiar with Mysore. It is one of the most friendly and popular city among tourists all over the world.

In fact, because of its proximity to Bangalore, we ensure that our colleagues who visit us from our office in US and China do make a trip to Mysore and surrounding places before returning. You can say we run an "Incredible India!" campaign free of cost for the benefit of Government of India. They shall list us in their website at least as one of partners in promoting tourism :-)

Anyway, let's get back to actual item. In short, the princely state of Mysore was a 21 gun salute state and one of the largest under British India. It was founded in 1399 and finally acceded to India in 1947. You can read more about the Mysore at Wikipedia. There are tons of article available on Mysore on Internet.

Kingdom of Mysore
Princely States of India

I will concentrate more on the war efforts part of Mysore state in this post. During WWI, state of Mysore was ruled by His Highness the Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV. The Maharaja offered to His Majesty's Government the military and other resources of his state for the Imperial purposes. He offered the Imperial Services Lancers which under the command of Urs Bahadur, left Bangalore on October 13, 1914 and took part in three engagements with the enemy in the Suez Canal zone. The state contributed 1355 combatants to the Imperial Service Troops and supplied over 6500 recruits to Regular Indian Army.

The Mysore Lancers played a leading role in pursuing Turkish forces after their unsuccessful attack on the Suez Canal in February 1915. They were responsible for the defense of the breach in the British line at Gaza in September 1917. The Lancers distinguished themselves in the capture of Gaza and were acclaimed far and wide for their daring charges against the enemy across the Jordan in July 1918. In the final defeat of the Turkish army in September 1918 the Mysore Lancers were once again conspicuous notably in the capture of Haifa, Homs, Alleppo and Maritan.

After the first world war the Mysore Lancers were again recognized to form part of the Indian State Forces with which they remained till the integration of the country after Independence and the amalgamation of the State Forces with the Indian Army.

The Maharaja also supplied ambulance carts and trained horses. Besides he contributed 50 Lakhs of rupees towards the cost of the Indian Expeditionary Forces in Europe, 10 Lakhs as free gifts, 14 Lakhs to Relief Fund, 65 Lakhs to War Loans, 21 Lakhs in British and 19.5 Lakhs as Indian Treasury Bills.

Mysore was second only to Hyderabad state in terms of contribution towards War purpose accounting all sort of war relief, loan and other funds. Naturally for the Maharaja's great effort he was awarded GCSI (Knight Grand Commander) by the British Empire. The award was created in 1861 and was the senior order of chivalry associated with the Empire of India.

Shown above is a special cover issued by Bangalore G.P.O. on 15th October 2008 on the occasion of Philatelic Exhibition on Post Office in Bangalore. The special cover carries pictorial presentation of picture postcard issued by British India showing His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore riding a horse and it mentions the reason for issuing such postcard as benefit of M.I.S.L. War Fund (Mysore Imperial Services Lancers War Fund).

The special cover also carries a special postmark of "War Fund Mysore State" with Mysore Palace shown. The design of postmark was borrowed from actual War Fund stamp/label issued during WWI by Mysore State as shown below.

Well, the general people of Mysore were never behind the Maharaja. They contributed nearly 45 Lakhs of rupees to different War funds and the war loans. Some 19,000 army blankets were supplied by the state, along with the 1,50,000 feet of rose wood to the Gun carriage factory at Jabbalpore (now Jabalpur) and 30,000 teak metre gauge sleepers for railway construction in Mesopotamia. The pecuinary assistance rendered by His Highness, his state and his people amounted to over 2 Crore of rupees.

Shown above is 2 different kinds of War Fund stamps/labels issued during WWI by Mysore State. Both of stamps/labels are of denomination of 1/2 anna each but in different color carmine red and violet. The stamp/label show the Mysore Palace in centre. Well, I have no catalogue to quote here how many such varieties or different denominations exist. In fact, getting a Mysore state War Fund stamps/labels are now very very difficult.

To conclude the War saga of Mysore state, let me post some of other information I could gather from Internet after WWI ended. At the end of WWI, a peace celebration was held in the city for 4 days from December 13, 1919, on which Rs. 10,000 was spent. The programmes included feeding and distribution of clothers to the poor, religious services in all places of worship, organising Bhajans and Harikathas in select locatlities, march past by the troops, music, distribution of sweets to school children and organising of sports events for them, along with exhibitions and public meetings. Public buildings were illuminated and crackers were burst (obviously!!!).

Even though, WWI ended in 1918-19 and WWII ended in 1945-46, Mysore Palace continues to be illuminated every night. In fact, watching the Palace illuminated at night has become one of major tourist attraction of state.

And talking about bursting crackers, well Indians are never enough of it. We look for excuse to burst crackers whether it is a festival, a marriage or a cricket match!

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails