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JUN 2023  
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The Avian World on Stamps: Book Review by N Kalyani

Himalayan Birds on  Stamps by M Lokeswara Rao is a recently published book that showcases the bird species found in the Himalayan region that have been featured on stamps and other philatelic material brought out by the postal departments of the countries of India, Bhutan, Nepal, China, and Pakistan.

The collecting and study of postage stamps and other philatelic products is known as philately. Postage stamps are brought out by the postal departments of countries. Portraying as they do a country’s history, geography, politics, society, culture, traditions, art, architecture, flora and fauna, stamps are considered the ambassadors of a nation. Stamps are also issued on renowned personalities, significant events, and important occasions. Postage stamps are brought out in various formats including sheetlets and miniature sheets. Besides stamps, postal departments also bring out philatelic products such as first day covers (FDCs), special postal covers, maxim cards, postcards, inland letter cards, and aerogrammes. In Himalayan Birds on Stamps one gets to take a look at a variety of beautiful and colourful stamps and philatelic products.

Postal departments also issue various kinds of cancellations or postmarks that are used for cancelling a stamp when it is used as postage. Postage stamps are a form of miniature art. Cancellations or postmarks are also designed artistically and may include a pictorial presentation.

Stamps and other philatelic products convey significant messages on issues of social, economic, health and environmental importance that can reach people far and wide thanks to the widespread reach of postal services. Philatelists collect postage stamps and other philatelic products from around the world.

In his book, Himalayan Birds on Stamps, Bengaluru-based Lokeswara Rao has brought together his abiding interest in nature and environment, thanks to his profession, and his passion for philately. Belonging to the 1983 batch of Indian Forest Service, he possesses a vast knowledge in the areas of nature, environment, and wildlife. He retired as the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and head of Forest Force in Nagaland. He has authored books such as “Plant Biodiversity of World”, “Buddhism on Stamps”, both philatelic books, and an environment-related book titled, “Conservation through Forest Conservation Act.” He is a recipient of a number of philatelic awards at the national and international levels. He has also been involved in making wildlife documentaries. He also received the Tigerland India Biodiversity Conservation Award in 2015 for leading the conservation of amur falcon in Nagaland. 

In Himalayan Birds on Stamps Rao writes, regarding threats to the Himalayan biodiversity, “Climate change is the major threat as far as birds are concerned. The impact is visible in the shifting distribution of sensitive species.” He points out that avian populations are an important indicator of ecological balance.  Rao goes on to say: “Increasing temperature, melting glaciers, erratic and unpredictable weather conditions and changing rainfall patterns, are impacting the habitat of birds of the Himalayan region. Himalayan birds are losing their home ranges to birds from much lower elevations, who now find the higher elevations hospitable because of changing climates, temperatures, and vegetation.” On  conservation of Himalayan birds, Rao notes: “Climate change might induce shifts in habitat distribution that are not followed by species, shifts in species distributions that move them outside of their preferred habitats, and changes in habitat quality.” In the direction of seeking a solution Rao points out: “There should be a balance between development and conservation to save the habitat of birds and it is also the duty of everyone to lessen the carbon footprints to save the beautiful birds of Himalayas.” The author explains: “Any effort to check increase in temperature due to climate change may secure Himalayan birds’ habitats from further deterioration. The solution to climate change, if there is one, will not come from the world’s governments or at an international level. It will have to come from local level from individuals, conscientious citizens who try to save resources in daily life by practising green eco-friendly lifestyles, by switching off lights in an empty room, moving into more fuel-efficient homes, and using renewable energy for their living, use machines that are less polluting, use vehicles that consume other types of renewable energy. It is the individual social responsibility of everyone to decrease individual carbon footprints to help in the decrease of carbon emission to check global warming. This is the time to conserve and save these rare, beautiful Himalayan birds.”

Himalayan Birds on Stamps has been brought out in an A4 format and so the pages of the book come across as the pages of a philatelic exhibit with beautiful stamp images and corresponding text comprising information on the various birds featured and the varied philatelic products shown.

Along with each of the birds shown on stamps and other philatelic material is information on the bird species that includes its biological name; the family it belongs to; its home range; its habitat; its identification; its behaviour and habits; the threats it faces in its habitat to its survival; and its conservation status as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Rao gives us the spread of the Himalayas in India and the avian diversity here. “The Indian Himalayan region is spread across 13 Indian states and union territories namely Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Assam and West Bengal stretching across 2500 km.” And the documented checklist of birds in the Indian Himalayas comprises a total of 940 species.

Some of the birds featured in the book are the Himalayan shrike babbler, western tragopan,  Kashmir flycatcher, Himalayan bulbul,  orange-flanked bush robin, Tibetan snowcock, golden pheasant,  Himalayan vulture,  satyr tragopan, European goldfinch, yellow-billed blue magpie, Alpine chough, white-throated laughing thrush, Himalayan monal, Eurasian jay, red-headed bullfinch, Mendell’s leaf warbler, yellow-bellied fantail, whiskered yuhina,  plumbeous water redstart, Himalayan cutia, brown parrotbill, verditer flycatcher, spotted forktail,  rufous sibia, silver pheasant, Temminck’s tragopan, brown-eared pheasant, Chinese monal, and red-billed leiothrix. These Himalayan bird species are categorised as resident, endemic or  migratory according to the country they are seen in.

This is a book that will interest lovers of birds, nature, art and stamps. #

N Kalyani is a Delhi-based journalist who writes regularly for TerraGreen. She is an avid philatelist, and her philatelic exhibits on wildlife protection and forest conservation have won awards.

   
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Nominations open for CSP Today India awards 2013


The inaugural CSP Today India awards ceremony takes place on March 12, and CSP developers, EPCs, suppliers and technology providers can now be nominated.

CSP has made tremendous progress since the announcement of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010. With Phase I projects now drawing closer to completion, the first milestone in India's CSP learning curve is drawing closer. CSP Today has chosen the next CSP Today India conference (12-13 March, New Delhi) as the time for the industry to reflect upon its progress and celebrate its first achievements.

At the awards ceremony, industry leaders will be recognized for their achievements in one of 4 categories: CSP India Developer Award, CSP India Engineering Performance Award, CSP India Technology and Supplier Award, and the prestigious CSP India Personality of the Year.

Matt Carr, Global Events Director at CSP Today, said at the opening of nominations that CSP Today are excited to launch these esteemed awards, which will enhance the reputation of their recipients. I am particularly excited to launch the CSP India Personality of the Year award, a distinguished honor for the industry figure deemed worthy by their peers."

All eyes will be on the CSP Today India 2013 Awards when nomination entry closes on March 4 and the finalists are announced on March 11. The awards are open to all industry stakeholders to nominate until March 4 at
http://www.csptoday.com/india/awards-index.php or by e-mail to awards@csptoday.com

Contact:
Matt Carr
+44 (0) 20 7375 7248
matt@csptoday.com