Maldives issues special postage stamp on Maharaja Agrasen
The stamp was released to highlight the growing trade relationship between the Maldives and India and chose to focus on one of the country’s main business groups.
The stamp was released to highlight the growing trade relationship between the Maldives and India and chose to focus on one of the country’s main business groups. While India had released a stamp on Maharaja Agrasen in 1976, this is, perhaps, a rare instance of an entire community being honoured by a foreign country.
The Agarwal and Agrahari communities are descendants of Maharaja Agrasen, who is considered the founding father of the entire Marwari community. There are about 17 gotras – or clans – under the Agarwals, including the Jindals, Bansals, Mittals, Singhals, Goyals, Gargs and Tayals. Agrasen is credited with establishing a kingdom of traders in North India named Agroha.
The stamps were released under the “Inventions and Explorations” series, which also features Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Christopher Columbus, Charles Darwin and Valentina Tereshkova.
The limited-edition stamps – 1,200 in number – are in the shape of a kalash (urn) decorated with gold foil with four crystals embedded. About 1,000 stamps have been earmarked for the Indian market.
The miniature sheet is also of an unusual shape and each sheet is numbered. A special folder with gold foiling has been designed to preserve the miniature sheet. It opens as a window and explains various aspects and details of Maharaja Agrasen and the Agarwal community and has been designed by philatelist and collector Alok Goyal of AG Impex in Kolkata.
The unusual shape of the stamp, the first instance in philatelic history worldwide, has created a buzz among collectors. The majority of these stamps have been brought by Dinesh Chand Mittal, an Indore-based businessman. He is chairman of Mittal Appliances Ltd., which manufactures blanks for currency coins and is a major supplier to mints in India and overseas.
A few of the stamps will be available online after they are released in Bhopal this month.