After a very long time I attended the SIPA meeting on 12th April. It started with Mr. Balakrishna Das' welcoming speech and he informed all the members about the Special Cover and Special cancellation they are going to bring out on April 17th on the occasion of Golden Jubilee year of Gandhiji's first visit to Chennai as a National Icon / Freedom fighter.
Then Mr. Anup Kumar Goel discussed about the new releases of Indian Stamps since the last meeting and he shared the list of special covers released during the month of March. Quite surprisingly it was indeed a lengthy list, but the good part is there is something of interest for every collector. Among the all special covers and special cancellations Nainipex's cancellation should grab collectors attention for its fine details.
Mr. Anup who is instrumental in bringing out the Gandhiji's Special Cover told some interesting facts about Gandhi's visit to Chennai.
Gandhiji stayed in Chennai, the so called Madras Presidency that time, for about 3 weeks(from April 17, 1915 to May 8,1915) along with his wife. He stayed in Mr. G.A. Natesan's house in Thambhu Chetty Road. Incidentally in the year 2003, January 26, The Hindu covered Gandhiji's Chennai visit in a different context. As Mr. Anup pointed out, Gandhiji had visited Chennai earlier as well - though not related to India's Independence struggle - for e.g. in 1896.
The special cover as well as Special cancellation releasing function is going to take place at the Chennai GPO, Mount Road, on 17th April 2015 at 10.00 A.M.
Mr. Mervin Alexander, Mr. Pandiyan and Mr. Balakrishna Das are the some of the dignitaries who is going to preside over the function.
Myself and my sister spoke briefly on how the new CBSE curriculum book for 4th standard has couple of references to Philately as a hobby.
As always, Mr. Hemachandra Rao provided some valuable insight into different historical survey points scattered around Chennai on Church tops, Lighthouses etc.
There was a healthy conversation towards the end where concerns around timely release of new issues, availability, quality of printing and choice of themes.