Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stamps of Nepal and the Tharus

Philately, the stamp collecting hobby, is engaging and interesting. With the advent of email and social media the postal business is almost nil these days. However, there was a time when we used to run after our relatives and parents for the mail envelopes – with stamps and postmarks. 

After securing the coveted envelopes, our adventure would begin with cutting out the stamp bearing portion, dipping it in water, detaching the stamp from the envelope portion with the help of forceps, drying the stamp between blotting paper and finally arranging them in expensive stamp albums according to the collection theme. Many of my friends arranged the stamps on country basis, however, few of my friends and I would arrange them theme-wise. And the most popular themes used to be butterflies, orchids, animals, sports, famous personalities to name a few.   

We used to exchange the stamps not only with our friends but also with pen-pals from far-off countries. It used to be a lot of fun. Besides, we used to check the stamps with magnifying glass – to find any sort of anomaly or defect in printing – which would make the stamp more valuable and rare.

Among my large volumes of stamps, I found four stamps that were issued in honour of Tharus and their culture.


The first one depicts a couple from inner Terai/Madhes. The stamp was issued in 1973 and is one among the four stamps in the set.


The second stamp shows a Rana Tharu couple and is valued at NRs 5.

By the time the third stamp was issued, the World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) had jointly conceived and developed the WADP Numbering System - WNS, which was launched on 1 January 2002.

A postage stamp issued by a postal authority is allocated a WNS number on the basis of four specific criteria – design, face value or indication of tariff, colorimetry and format. When any one of the criteria differs on another postage stamp, a different WNS number is given to the stamp.

The WNS number comprises the ISO 3166 Alpha-2 country code (2 letters), a serial number (3 figures) and the year of issue (2 figures), i.e. a total of 8 characters including a dot. For further details refer to the page http://www.wnsstamps.ch/en/wnsnumber .


The third stamp with WNS number NP043.05 was issued on 26 December 2005 and showing the ornaments of Tharus. The stamp has a face value of NRs 25 and was printed by Austrian Government Printing Office.



Likewise, the fourth stamp with the WNS number NP030.07 was issued on 4 June 2007 and portrays Horilal Rana Tharu, one of the 25 martyrs of Jana Andolan II (Democratic Movement II). The face value of the stamps is NRs 2 and was printed by Cartor Security Printing, France.

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