Book Review: Stories Of Nepali Stamps
YETI – The Stories of Nepal King’s Stamp, authored by Prof. Kun Hoo Rhee &Arun Ranjit, printed and published in South Korea, ISBN: 978 – 89 – 6253 – 210 – 403810.
Gandhi Raj Kafle
The values of various societies across the world are being nurtured meaningfully. Nowadays people are working together to explore avenues of bilateral and multilateral relations for the common benefits among the member nations of the world.
Politicians and men of government channels are doing their best to contribute to this vision at official levels, but there are experts of various fields who are trying to reveal new truth through study and research to enrich the bonhomie among countries. They have different fields of study: some are engaged in anthropological research, some in economics, some others are in the field of cultures and religions.
One such field, which is not only worthy of study but also commands the attraction as a hobby is philatelic collection. In fact, it is something which represents many aspects of a country’s history.
The book jointly authored by Korean Professor Kun Hoo Rhee and Nepali well-known journalist Arun Ranjit does an interpretively praiseworthy works of philatelic collection. The book manages to reach Nepalese philatelic history to Koreans and English readers too. The subject that interlinks the two nations, however, is the very philately and the chosen interest of the expert is four modern kings of Nepal - King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Dev, Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev and Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev.
In fact, the postage stamps in the book of writersRanjit and Kun highlight the facts about four important monarchs under whose period the nation passed through many ups and downs.
During Tribhuvan’s time, Nepal achieved democracy and freedom from the autocratic rule after the revolution successfully overthrew the Rana Regime. However, when King Mahendra became the King after the demise of his father Tribhuvan, he imposed the Panchayat system instead of democracy and kept power to himself to govern the country as per his wish.
The third king featured in the book is Birendra Bir Bikram Shah, who ruled the country for long time and faced mounting oppositions in favour of democracy and freedom. Though he took some democratic steps till the notorious Royal massacre when he and his entire family was murdered. Gyanendra Bir Bikram is the last king because Nepal embraced a republican set up during his time allowing him to exit from the monarchical system in the country. So, these are the four kings whose importance in the study of various aspects of national life can hardly be overstated.
The book’s beauty lies in being bilingual also, which means it aims to serve two kinds of readers – native Koreans who do not know English or Nepali and English readers who do not know Korean or Nepali languages. Undeniably, being some parts in English also means the book is accessible to all interested native and non-native English readers of philately publication about Nepal.
There are some views by the experts in English too. The contents have been presented in statistical or factual format. Let’s take an example from page 86 of the book, which features a stamp of King Tribhuvan. The knowledge to get from this factual presentation is: This is a stamp worth 24 paisa, its colour rose lake, overall size 25.5x14mm, designer Chandra Man Maskey and this stamp is printed by the Security Press of India, Nasik.
For today’s readers, a few facts about this stamp are astonishing, too. Price 24 paisa is surprising compared to today’s market value, the beauty of colour of that time of 1954, April 15 is revealing to speak about the printing technology of that time and to tell unforgettably the mentioning of the names of designer artists (Chandra Man Maskey is the designer of this page 86 stamp) is an honour to them. So, the facts and the photos of stamps presented in this book tell a lot of things from various periods of the four kings of Nepal.
Indeed, to collect and write about postage stamps is an engrossing hobby. Hence duo-author Kun Hoo Rhee and Arun Ranjit deserve kudos for bringing this book out because this publication will help to understand Nepal through the medium of postage stamps.