15 September 2012

Philatelic Connection of KBC….




- Naresh Agarwal

“Philately for knowledge”, “Philately ,an educational hobby”.. these are the common slogans related to philately which project philately as a source of knowledge and education. Of course, a stamp is an open window which depicts the cultural, religious, economic, social mythological and historical status and overall development of a society. Of late, with the invent of new technological systems like computer and internet, paper philately has become little weak to attract many people in to its fold yet it is very truly and sincerely serving its very purpose for which the above slogans were formed.



 bb  cover


Cover with Stamp of Great Britain depicting the original version of KBC, the Indian reality game show based on the UK Game Show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”


One may believe it or not, many great people have accepted the fact that philately has given them great knowledge and helped them to reach high. Since 2001, there has been a very popular T.V. program telecast at Sony T.V. in India in the name and style of “Kaun Banega Crorepati”(KBC) the Indian version of “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” with millennium Star Mr. Amitabh Bachan as Anchor. He emphasizes that only good knowledge can win you crores of rupees. A set of 13 questions framed and asked one after the other and the contestant has to answer correctly each question asked with four options to reach the next. The winning amount also multiplies as the next question is asked. The level of question asked has three major tests which are temperament, confidence and of course, knowledge. Not every one can cross even 10th question mark.

This knowledge based game show has proved that philately has a great deal to do with it. Philately has a strong connection with this show as many philatelists have become its part and also some of the questions asked related to philately and postal operations. Surprisingly, the journey of KBC started with a philatelist as in its very first edition, on 6th December 2000, it was an internationally renowned philatelist Mr. Nikhilesh Melkote from Bangalore.


Nikhilesh Melkote, a noted philatelist from Bangalore with Amitabh Bachchan on hot seat in the first edition of KBC on 6 December 2000.

Nikhilesh Melkote,  a member of Karnataka Philatelic Society, made his way to the hot seat in front of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, the host. While sharing his experience of KBC-1  Nikhkilesh says, “When it came to Fastest Finger First, imagine my delight when Amitabh announced "Kitne logon ne sahi Jawab Diya? Kewal EK! Nikhilesh Melkote from Bangalore!" So I found myself on the Hot Seat, sweating & more nervous. Again Big B made me relax & feel comfortable. He asked me about my hobbies, and he was thrilled to hear that I had won international awards in phillately. I managed to answer 8 questions & reach upto Rs.80,000. Here I got stuck on a tough question. In spite of using 2 lifelines, I gave the wrong answer” .Hence , I crashed down to Rs.10,000/-. But meeting my childhood & present hero Mr Bachchan and facing the camera with him is worth more than crores of rupees...”

Well, from here the connection of KBC with philately came in to existence which was carried forward in the other editions followed the same when other philatelists or stamp collectors or stamps became part of the show.


The first stamp of independent India shows the new Indian flag. It was issued on 21 November 1947.

In its 2nd edition with the top prize money of 20 million rupee on September 30, 2005 philatelic history was made when the penultimate question for 10 million rupees (one crore rupees) was ‘what was depicted on the India’s first postage stamp issued after independence?’ The philatelists watching the show could not believe such an easy question can be worth 10 million. However, to everyone’s disappointment the contestant did not know the answer and quit taking home only 5 million rupees.


Anil Kumar Sinha the contestant of KBC season-5 who quit the answer of Rs.10 million question

Anil Kumar Sinha from Bihar, a bank employee who won one crore of rupees through “Kaun Banega Crorepati season -V” has also been a philatelist. He disclosed that he joined philately in 2000 and that the stamp collection had helped him a lot in answering some of the difficult questions asked. Though he opted out on final hurdle but he had all the reasons to confess that postage stamps had helped him becoming a crorepati. He not only visited but participated in Bihar Stamp Expo-2012, a regional level exhibition with his exhibit “Sawal KBC Ke: Jawab Stamps Se’ on “Kaun Banega Crorepati” also. He attributes his success in KBC to his love for philately and accepts that stamps enrich one’s knowledge because every stamp has a history behind it. Given his interest in philately, he says without any doubt that the hobby, to a large extent, has helped me become a crorepati.

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Anil Sinha and his Exhibit “Sawal KBC Ke: Jawab Stamps Se’

In the recently concluded show on 09.09.12 the most valuable question worth of rupees 5 crore (50 Million Rupees) was on postage stamp. The question related to the first free India stamp showing aircraft. The question read as under :

Which was the first aircraft to be featured on a postage stamp issued in Independent India KBC question

A. Lockhead Constallation B. Douglas DC-4 C. Wapiti D. Humber-Sommer

From here it can be understood that the highest amount questions related to philately.


Manoj Kumar Raina the contestant of KBC season-6 who quit the answer of Rs.50 million question.

The stamp was one of first three stamps issued by India Post on celebration of 15th August 1947.This 12 Aana stamp depicts a Douglas DC4 Aircraft. Siddharth Basu, the quiz master who invented this rich question implying the hidden potential of philately which includes all elements of hobby, pleasure, treasure and knowledge.


A Question of Rupees 50 Million (5 Crores) on Postage Stamp !

Asked by Millennium Star Amitabh Bachchan on KBC
Question : Identify the Aircraft on first postage stamp issued after Independence !!
Answer : DOUGLAS DC 4


First Flight – Air India International 8th June 1948

On 29th May 1948, One more stamp similar to DOUGLAS DC 4 was issued to commemorate  First Flight of Air India International .On this stamp Aircraft face towards right: Name of the Air craft is" 'Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation'. So it was quite a tough question. As anyone may be confused to name the aircraft as both the stamps are similar in  appearance and difficult to differentiate.

Looking little deep in to the scenario, we see KBC has also connection with late Sri Harivansh Rai bachchan, a noted Indian Hindi poet, the father of Amitabh Bachchan, the key name behind the success of the show. India Post issued a stamp on him too.


Postage Stamp issued by India Post showing Harivansh Rai Bachchan a distinguished Hindi poet, the father of Amitabh Bachchan, the host in KBC who. often reads the poems of his father on the hot seat !

Philately otherwise also has strong connectivity with KBC as more than 30% (if not more) of the questions asked so far in last five seasons and also in the ongoing 6th season can be answered through philatelic material such as stamps, cancellations, covers etc. For example, we see can see hereunder how some of the questions asked in different seasons in different episodes can be answered through philately to strengthen the above statement and the connection.


KBC-3 6th FEB. 2007 


Starting with the earliest, arrange these means of communications in the order they first used.

a. Telegraph b. Carrier Pigeon c. E-mail d. SMS

The correct order is:

  PM tleclip_image018[1]    clip_image019

b. Carrier Pigeon a. Telegraph c. E-mail d. SMS.

NOTE : This question otherwise also has direct connection with philately as it relates to the development of communication system starting from Pigeon post to the latest SMS technology. The chronological development of post is reflected through this question.

KBC-2 2005 EPISODE-3

Q. What in India is the equivalent of Zip code in US?

A. STD code    B.Bar code    C.PIN code    D. ISD code

Answer : PIN code


NOTE : This question too has direct relation with the movement of mail as pin code or the zip code easily locate the post office of delivery and thus ensure fast carriage and prompt delivery.

Q. What pin number would you write to send a letter to the Indian prime minister?

a) 330033 b) 220022 c) 110011 d) 440044


Q. When were bar code scanners invented ?

a) 1940s b) 1950s c) 1960s d) 1970s

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Q. In the 1700s, who would pay the postage fee for letters before the stamp was invented?

a) The sender b) The post office c) The receiver of the letter d) There was no fee


"Albanie 19th July 1682". Dateline on folded autograph letter


KBC-2 2005 EPISODE 2 :

Q. 3 faces of  which animal are visible on the cover of Indian passport ?

a. Tiger   b. Peacock   c. Lion   d .Elephant

Answer : Lion


KBC-3 5th FEB. 2007

Q.      The plant of which of these edible substance belongs to the lily family?

a)      Onion b)      Ginger c)      Mint d)      Black pepper

Answer: Onion


KBC-4,EPISODE-11, 27 Oct 2010

Q : Indian national Song 'Vande Mataram', written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee , is in which language?
A. Hindi B. Sanskrit C. Plai D. Maithili
Answer: Sanskrit


Q . Who invented the battery?

a) John Wilkinson b) James Hargreaves c) Thomas Edison d) Alessandro Volta


Q . What Sir Isaac Newton invented?

a) Chronometer b) Reflecting telescope c) Microscope d) Spectacles


Q . What Igor Sikorsky invented?

a) Glider b) Helicopter c) Jet engine airplane d) Hydroplane


Q . Who invented the first controllable flying AEROPLANE (AIRPLANE)?

a) South Brothers b) West Brothers c) Wright Brothers d) Lidenbergh Brothe


Q . In which decade was the telegraph invented?

a) 1810s b) 1840s c) 1890s d) 1870s


Q . Who invented Airship (rigid)?

a) G. Ferdinand Von Zeppelin b) Otto c) Dr. Alan M. Turing d) Roger Bacon


Q . In Mahabharat to whom did Draupadi pray in order to protect her honor when she was being disrobed by Dushyashan ?

a) Krishna b) Surya c) Agni d) Shiva


Q . Which of the following Prime Ministers was not born in what is now Pakistan?

a) Gulzarilal Nanda b) IK Gujral c) Manmohan Singh d) Moraji Desai


Q . Which god destroyed one of the five heads of Brahma?

a) Indra b) Vishnu c) Shiva d) Durga


Q . In India, which businessman had Pilot License Number One?

a) Ardeshwari Godrej b) Nusli Wadia c) J R D Tata d) Laxmipat Singhania


Q . Who has had the longest tenure as Prime Minister of India?

a) Indira Gandhi b) Atal Bihari Vajpayee c) Jawaharlal Nehru d) Manmohan Singh


Q . Which mountain was formerly known as Peak 15?

a) Mount Rushmore b) Kanchenjunga c) Mount Everest d) K2


Q . Whose birthday is celebrated as ‘Engineers’ Day’ in India?

a) A P J Abdul Kalam b) John C. Gammon c) M Visvesvarayya d) Soren Krisitian Toubro


Q . Which temple is believed to have been first built in gold, then silver, then wood and finally stone?

a) Somnath b) Kashi Vishwanath c) Khajuraho Temple d) Mahakaal Temple


Hence, it can be widely accepted that philately is a big source of knowledge and has helped changing fortunes of many contestants through KBC. Let’s hope that in the oncoming episodes of KBC, some more philatelists will come in to lime light and have good fortunes by the help of knowledge gained through their love for philately to strengthen the statement that philately is an educational hobby which gives tremendous knowledge.

image : Naresh Agrawal - Bilaspur (C.G.)

  email : nareshkumar1992@yahoo.co.in


Blogger’s Point : Readers are requested to send the questions related with philately asked in different episodes of  KBC if any of them is left to be mentioned here. We will publish them for fun and knowledge !! I am extremely pleased  to publish this article by Mr Naresh Agarwal for the lovers of KBC, the most popular show of Indian television !! ….Many re-makes of this programme were shown on TV but none could beat KBC …It is only  because of its host, one and only, dearest of all and greatest of all, the Millenium Superstar, Mr Amitabh Bachchan !!

I am also very happy to share here that Nikhilesh Melkote  is the first philatelist to enter KBC in its very first season show and I watched that programme in 2000 with great thrill as Nikhilesh is my long time friend and he had told me about it before the telecast of that episode  !!

1 comment:

Rammohan Menon said...

Excellent.Really enjoyed reading the article as it very informative.

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