Saturday, April 10, 2010

Save for India's Defence - Patriotic Label WWII

I know it's again after a long time that I am updating blog ;-) Well, I was as usual lazy. I was thinking to publish an article on today's item for long but simply couldn't. So, let's quickly start. Today's item is on a set of patriotic labels issued by British India during WWII. Before I showcase them, let's have some history lesson!

September 5th 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany, witnessed also the passing of the Defence of India Act. Under this Act the Viceroy of India was given power to pass any ordinance which he considered necessary for the security of India and for the proper prosecution of the war.

Thus, by a stroke of the pen, the few political rights which the Indian people had won after decades of struggle, were filched away. That was a big blow to the Indian Freedom Movement led by Gandhiji & other nationalist leaders of Congress and Subhas Chandra Bose of Forward Bloc (later INA).

Initially, Gandhiji and Congress resisted the legislation and continued their mass protests which led to arrest of Gandhiji under the Defence of India act; he was encouraged to speak out against the INA and the Japanese. Eventually, Gandhiji and Congress started supporting the cause.

As India was one of the most prized asset for Britain and supposed to provide man, machinery, resources and money during WWII (just like during WWI), British Government came out with patriotic war labels encouraging people to save for India's defence. British India issued set of 3 such patriotic labels under the name of "Save for India's Defence". The exact date of issue of these labels are not known but they are predicted to be somewhere around 1941.

Shown above is a Defence Saving Card printed in Urdu from Kasur province of now Pakistan. The below image shows reverse side of same card where 1 Re and 8 Anna denominations of Save for India's defence labels were used on 13th Dec 1943.

The label shows a native soldier with sword. The three different denomination were in Re1, 8 Annas and 4 Annas. They were issued in 2 different size. The 4 & 8 Annas one were of perforation 11.5 with size 18x22 mm.

Here is another example of usage of Save of India's Defence label. This one was also issued in Kasur province on Defense Saving Card.

The reverse side of card shows usage of 10 labels of 1 Re denomination each, dated 4th Jan 1944.

The last variety i.e. of 4 Anna one is shown below:

And, this is one the interesting variety of WWII label where 1 Re denomination of patriotic label were overprinted with "PAKISTAN" word. This case is same as with other British India stamps which were used by Pakistan overprinting on India immediately after the partition after all the resources were divided.

Though, I don't think the below stamp would have been ever used since the label was meant for WWII and partition happened after that. So, I really wonder the need for Pakistan overprinting on such labels.

Another fact about these labels is that it was the same British Government that strongly cracked down on the use of nationalistic cinderellas and labels (Boycott British Goods, Swadeshi and Buy Indian Goods) in the 1930s encouraged the use of patriotic war labels during WWII for obvious reasons.

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