Friday, December 14, 2012

Book Review…

Flag 2 image

The Indian National Flag unfurled through Philately By Sekhar Chakrabarti

image Book Review by  Ilyas Patel 

Editor - GPA News

I have just gone through a very well researched, decently composed and thoughtfully illustrated color book titled “The Indian National Flag unfurled through Philately” written by Sekahr Chakrabarti. Sekhar Chakrabarti is an active philatelist and working on this topic since long. The book is published by Niyogi Books, New Delhi and is priced at Rs 495/-. It is available in Ahmedabad at Natraj Book Store with 10% discount.

This book was given to me by my friend and a vivid collector of Indian National Flag Prakash Jambudi to refer and write a review for it. Being actively associated with him for this theme, I am aware that it is a very difficult theme to develop for want of sufficient philatelic material and even more difficult to write a book for want of supporting literature. In spite of all these difficulties, Chakrabarti has adventured in this field which suffers from many gaps and unanswered issues. His Herculean efforts have resulted in an innovative book with fascinating history of our national flag through the medium of philately. The author did an excellent but a balancing job linking history with philately and put up a brilliant story in a very lucid manner. It is a well known fact that the story of our national flag is also a story of Indian National Movement for total independence. In the process of total independence, the process of evolution of a national symbol such as a flag played a pivot role in public awakening and subsequent mass movements for civil disobedience. In this sense, it is a very good book on philatelic history of our national independence.

The book begins with historical background through Indian Epics and legends and gives brief account about flag and its appearance in our religious scriptures. From there the author takes us on a tour to the age of discovery and arrival of the European flags in India. The author has given exhaustive information about the arrival of the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British as well as the French and their efforts to establish their colonies in India and their respective flags. The author has also touched the flags of our princely states but cleverly in very brief not to deviate from the main topic.

With this brief historical account, the author takes us to the historical background for the evolution of our national flag. The quest for a distinctive Pan-Indian flag covers those who conceived the initial idea of flag making and their respective contribution in this evolution process. Their die hard attempts to symbolize it paved a way for the birth of a Swaraj Flag. From Swaraj Flag to the evolution of our national flag today is precisely covered in chronological order with illustrations of all who contributed to it. The author has not forgotten to mention the topic like flag hoisting and its importance as a matter of national pride.

The author has devoted separate chapters for other aspects of flag; flag related events, its use in sports, at sea, at international forums, in military as well as its legal aspects, etiquettes and protocol. All these chapters are covered with relevant illustrations and brief account of it is given. Being a research scholar he has not forgotten to give chapter wise references to make it a well documented book. The bibliography and detailed index makes it a worth reference book and indicates a dedicated efforts of the author.

Though vexillology is a bit boring theme for philatelists due to limited scope for its development, Sekhar Chakrabarti’s painstaking research and a dedicated pursuit of philately has made his work a very well illustrated philatelic cum historical reference. It is fully colored finely composed and decently printed book worth to refer at a first glance. I personally congratulate the author for his maiden efforts on this theme. With this Sekhar Chakrabarti has also enrolled his name in the elite group of philatelic authors in India. His efforts are worth to be saluted like our National Flag. Jai Hind! Well done and Good Luck.