26 August 2014

Indian Antarctic Expedition - Philatelist’s Guide



I am pleased to write the review of the recent book “Indian Antarctic Expedition-Philatelist's Guide'” by noted philatelist of Dehradun, Mr Abhai Mishra  . Mr Mishra personally presented this book to me recently . I have gone through the book and found that it is not only the catalogue of philatelic items related to Indian Antarctic Expeditions for a philatelist but a complete book on all Indian Antarctic Expeditions which will attract philatelists and non philatelists both since the book gives comprehensive details about  people, organizations and scientific units associated with Indian Antarctic Expeditions. Another interesting part of the book is author’s personal experiences revealed in the book  which he had as a member during twenty-first Indian Antarctic Expedition  2002 .He writes …

“Participation in the Antarctic Expedition requires mental and physical fitness at the utmost level. An Antarctic expeditionary has to face the severe cold, blizzards and isolation. Members  of the Expedition had to undergo a week long rigorous medical examination at AIIMS, New Delhi. The team was taken to Gursaon Top (13000ft), Auli, Joshimath for acclimatization purpose. The team had undergone extensive training for movement in the glaciers.”

The book is the amalgamation of  philately and scientific expedition which the readers would find  extraordinarily interesting !! Before I share my own review I would like to share here a wonderful review of this book by a non philatelist, Mr US Pandey who is a banker,  novelist and a  writer. His review is available at following link..

A Scientist and a Philatelist

Indian Antarctic Expedition —Philatelist’s Guide 

image -  A Review by US Pandey 


Book Review


Indian Antarctic Expedition Philatelist’s Guide By Abhai Mishra - Pages 116 - Price For India  Rs. 1500/- postpaid. For foreign via paypal 50 euro postpaid  Available at  : www.stampsofindia.com or contact Abhai Mishra  email : abhai_mishra@rediffmail.com 

 A book titled "Indian Antarctic Expedition-Philatelist's Guide" by noted philatelist, Mr Abhai Mishra was recently released in Dehradun. The book traces the history of Indian Antarctic Expeditions through mails and letters carried with the expedition. It documents the Indian Antarctic postal history through cancellations, cachets, labels, envelopes, letter  heads, QSL cards, postcards used during the expedition. The book reveals very rare and lesser known facts of Antarctica. The book illustrates, hundreds of rare letters carried with the expedition and describes each and every Indian Expedition in detail.


Author with Dr Giriraj Singh Sirohi,First Indian to visit Antarctica

The book has 54 chapters.These include historical perspective (with details about Dr Giriraj Singh Sirohi, First Indian to visit Antarctica and Dr Paramjit Singh Sehra, first Indian to winter over in Antarctica) , Various date cancellers used in Indian Antarctic Post Offices,Institutions managing the Indian Antarctic  Program, Indian Antarctic Expeditions,Indian Antarctic Stations ( Dakshin Gangotri, Maitri and Bharati), Lists of Commemorative stamps, special covers, Cinderella and booklets pertaining to Indian Antarctic Expeditions, Indian Antarctic Clubs, lists of QSL Cards used by the HAM operators  during the expeditions,, honorary postmasters of Indian Antarctic Post offices, Feats and Facts of Indians in Antarctica and List of estimated price of  Indian Antarctic Covers .

The author has given guideline as to how to use the book. Various  Philatelic items illustrated in the book have been numbered for reference purpose. Specific numbers have been assigned to Covers, Letter Heads, Labels, Postcards, Cachets, Viewcards, QSL Cards and Date Cancellers. The details about these numbers have been given under special chapter “ Numbering System”.

The author himself was part of twenty-first Indian Antarctic Expedition in 2002 as communication officer. He writes…‘When I saw the first iceberg, draped in the evening sun and glittering like gold on the vast expanse of water, I decided I will definitely write a memoir of my journey to the forbidden continent. It never happened.’ But in this book Mr Abhai Mishra writes about his Antarctic Expedition both as a scientist and philatelist with a deep research on various type of philatelic items issued  on Indian Antarctic Expeditions. As a scientist he explains all technical terms, organizations and technical units associated with the expeditions as well as many interesting facts which he himself experienced during the expedition. As a philatelist he categorized all the philatelic items related with Indian Antarctic Expedition  which he could obtain or create so meticulously in a catalogue form. The material listed in the book primarily belongs to author’s collection which took about ten years to form.

In fact this book has  created  a special branch of postal history which could be called Postal history of Indian Antarctic Expeditions . It  will be cherished by all philatelists as this is a novel and difficult subject . Difficult in the sense that to collect letters from Antarctica,lot of patience is required as it may take about a year for the letter to reach its destination by various modes of Transport like ships, snow automobiles, aircraft helicopter, sledge etc..The author has put great efforts to  list and catalogue the material related to Indian Antarctic expedition which beautifully  emerged into new branch of Indian postal history. This book will be very useful to those too who love to know more about Indian Antarctic expeditions as the book gives  necessary details  about all Indian Antarctic Expeditions and personal thrilling experiences of the author .

The book is first of its kind to be written on Indian Antarctic postal history.  The book has a nice  layout with high quality printing on very fine paper. Various philatelic items illustrated in the book are very sharp , clear and  are in their original color   . This is an essential reference book for the lovers of  Indian Postal History and those collecting stamps on   Antarctica or scientific expedition themes. The book will be an asset to the libraries of educational institutions as well as to the  libraries of the philatelic societies. Every philatelist will be proud to have this book in his/her collection.

About the author


Abhai Mishra is an amateur philatelist since 25 years.He has designed over fifty Special Covers and cancellations for the Department of Post. As a philatelist he specializes in in the area of Indian Antarctica and Uttrakhand. He has authored a book titled – ‘A Philatelic Journey’, published by Deptt of Post, Uttrakhand Circle.Professionally he is a scientist with Defence Research and Development, presently working at DEAL, Dehradun. He may be contacted at email : abhai_mishra@rediffmail.com


- Jeevan Jyoti

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