Friday, June 13, 2008

Meghdoot post cards

Do you know what is a Meghdoot post card ? If you are interested in Indian philately you probably know. If not, here is some information.

Last year , I showed a
postal card that I received from India. In a comment to this post, Velu mentioned the Meghdoot post cards. It triggered my curiosity and I searched for some information about them. Even more, recently I got the chance to get a relevant number (100 !) of such post cards, some of them are displayed in this post.
These Meghdoot post cards have been introduced by Indian post in 2002. They are pre-stamped post cards that cost 25 paise each, which is half of the price of a regular post card. It means that this is an interesting saving for the sender. The particularity of those cards is that the left half (on the address side) is reserved for an advertisement. The sender can write the text on the other side which is blank (instead of a picture on a normal postcard).
Meghdoot (which means “cloud messenger” ) cards have a yellow background. The advertisement is usually multicolour and contains text in English and/or in Hindi. I have seen three types of pre-printed stamp on them, as you will see on the examples I show below. Those pre-printed stamps does not seen to correspond to actual postage stamps from India, if I’m not wrong.
A lot of various advertisements exist on Meghdoot cards, from commercial products to environmental messages. Of course as a postal stationery these items are collectable.

Here is a card issued in 2002 bearing an ad for a Motorbike. The printed stamp picture the Panch Mahal, a five story palace located in Fatehpur Sikri, which seems to be a very impressive piece of architecture !


Here is a card issued in 2003 bearing an ad from the Coconut Development Board ! The printed stamp is the same than the one on the card I showed last year.


A card from 2004 bearing messages about AIDS (I’m not able to translate, sorry…), again with the same stamp.

A card from 2005 highlighting the importance of the saving of water.


A spectacular card from 2006 with an ad for the BBC Hindi.



And finally a card from 2007 with message about nature preservation. Note that the stamp is a different one : this one pictures Gandhi.

If you are interested by those cards you can find a complete listing (with pictures) on the excellent web site Stamps of India.

If some specialist is reading my blog I would like to know one thing : the post card I showed last year did not bear any advertising. Is it anyway considered as a Meghdoot card ? Or is the ad mandatory to have this naming ?




3 comments:

MBstamps said...

Hi, Eric,
The Post card without advt.is not a Meghdoot card, Meghdoot card is the cheapest card for Rs.0.25. Even private party can have thier advertising done here. Meghdoot was a recent innovation. You can see the picture of the 1st Meghdoot card in my website http://www.geocities.com/manbol1/Others.htm

Mansoor.B

pallbi said...

The idea of the Meghdoot card is to bring almost-free mail to the massive population of India. It makes possible for 25p what the envelope user has to pay 5 Rupees, and halves the cost of a simple postcard. It does this by using advertising on the address side to defray the cost. In the early days space sold well. But when it didn't we start to see government publicity campaigns take over. What you show are still Meghdoots [it says so on the card], and the campaign subjects give some insight into the concerns of modern Indian society. The word ‘Meghdoot’ links with the great Indian sanskrit poet Kalidas who wrote the ‘Meghdoot’ epic in AD 40. It is a combination of two words, i.e. ‘Megh’ and ‘Doot’, and means ‘the Cloud-Messenger’. (the cloud is personified as a human being). Incidentally, the original Meghdoot, or cloud messenger, from the poetry of Kalidasa, can be seen releasing his message, on an Indian stamp of 1966. My thanks to Arjun Lal Harchandani who helped me with this information.

pallbi said...

The idea of the Meghdoot card is to bring almost-free mail to the massive population of India. It makes possible for 25p what the envelope user has to pay 5 Rupees, and halves the cost of a simple postcard. It does this by using advertising on the address side to defray the cost. In the early days space sold well. But when it didn't we start to see government publicity campaigns take over. What you show are still Meghdoots [it says so on the card], and the campaign subjects give some insight into the concerns of modern Indian society. The word ‘Meghdoot’ links with the great Indian sanskrit poet Kalidas who wrote the ‘Meghdoot’ epic in AD 40. It is a combination of two words, i.e. ‘Megh’ and ‘Doot’, and means ‘the Cloud-Messenger’. (the cloud is personified as a human being). Incidentally, the original Meghdoot, or cloud messenger, from the poetry of Kalidasa, can be seen releasing his message, on an Indian stamp of 1966. My thanks to Arjun Lal Harchandani who helped me with this information.