Sideline: In Ottawa, Magnificent Stamp Exhibition Kindles Memories of the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations

Past Stamp Collectors Get Nostalgic,

As They Are Awed by Tribute to their Imam

The Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee - Commemmorative Stamps

The Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee Commemmorative Stamps on display in Ottawa, Canada

A collection of several dozen stamps and first day covers from seven different countries went on display at the Ismaili Jamatkhana Social Hall in Ottawa, Canada, on Thursday May 28th, 2009, to bring even more awareness about the Golden Jubilee Tributes that were bestowed on His Highness the Aga Khan during   his Golden Jubilee celebrations. His Jubilee celebrations were held from July 11, 2007 until  December  13, 2008. Portugal was the first country to issue stamps in July 2007 and Kenya published the last series of stamps in December 2008. Bangladesh, India, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique were the other countries which produced  special commemorative postage stamps and first day covers to mark the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee as well as pay him tributes for his tremendous contribution for their countries’ social and economical well being and progress.

Since the commencement of the Golden Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan, the Ottawa library has had a standing order for stamps from Mr. Abdul Mamdani, a Toronto based Ismaili stamp collector and supplier who has had an abiding interest in this field for several decades. This past week saw the arrival of the last batch of stamps from him, and the library proceeded to have the stamps mounted for display on three frames by one of Ottawa’s leading framers, Malen Framing. “Magnificent”, “Excellent Display” and “Very Professional Looking” were some of the comments made by some forty viewers who were on hand on the opening day to see an entire collection of stamps on one frame and sets of first day covers on two more frames. Hundreds more are expected to view the exhibition on the remaining three days, after which the exhibits will feature permanently in the library room.

The Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee - Commemmorative First Day Covers

The Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee - Commemorative First Day Covers

The Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee - More First Day Covers

The Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee - More First Day Covers

Viewers on the opening day  were astonished to see the variety of stamps and first day covers that were published  in brilliant colours and sizes. The Aga Khan’s Imamat initiatives in areas as diverse as tourism, health, education, Ismaili Jamatkhanas, the East African Madrasa programs, architectural restoration projects, rural support programs and micro financing are  depicted on many of the beautiful  stamps.

Country Stamp Features
Uganda A set of eight stamps issued on 30th September, 2008 with the following designs:
1) Madrasa Programme; 2) The Ismaili Jamatkhana, Kampala; 3) Aga Khan Education Services; 4) Air Uganda; 5) Bujagali Hydropower Project; 6) Kampala Serena Hotel; 7) Jubilee Insurance Company; 8) Diamond Trust Building
Kenya A set of four stamps issued on 13th December, 2008 with the following designs:
1) Madrasa Programme; 2) Coastal Rural Support Programme; 3) Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa; 4) Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi
Portugal A set of two stamps issued on 11th July, 2007. The designs consist of 2 different views of the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon
Tanzania A set of 4 stamps, a souvenir sheets of 4 stamps and a sheetlet of 1 stamp – issued on 18th August, 2007.
Designs on the set of 4 stamps:
1) Zanzibar Madrasa Resource Centre; 2) Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam; 3) Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge; 4) Zanzibar Serena InnDesigns on souvenir sheet of 4:
1 & 2) Stone Town Cultural Centre, Zanzibar; 3 & 4) The Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam
Design on sheetlet of 1 stamp: Zanzibar Madrasa Resource Centre.
Mozambique A set of 5 stamps issued on 21st November, 2007 with the following designs:
1) Ismaili Centre, described as: “His Highness Aga Khan Building”; 2) Micro Finance Programme; 3) Rural Development; 4) Polana Serena Hotel; 5) Bridges for the Future
Bangladesh A set of 4 stamps issued on 16th September, 2008, with identical design – but in different colours – “Celebrating 50 Years” in a circle of fifty crescents.
India A pair of stamps and a souvenir sheet issued on 17th May, 2008. Subjects:
1) Heritage Restoration 2) Social Commitment

Note: The India stamps are not designated as  Golden Jubilee stamps; nevertheless they were produced during the Jubilee period.

Some elder visitors to the stamp exhibition,  who were once upon a time avid stamp collectors, recollected their  childhood memories when they would seek out envelopes from foreign countries, carefully peel off the stamps – sometimes soaking the envelopes in water to ease their removal – and store the stamps  in their  stamp albums.

Whilst stamps related to the Ismaili Imamat, such as marking the birth centenary of the late Aga Khan III in 1977  issued in Pakistan, and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture have been published before, the interesting variety of the Golden Jubilee Stamps produced in a span of 18 months might just revitalize the stamp collecting hobby which, to many people’s dismay, has been in decline since the advent of the internet and the age of emails.  This is perhaps one area, along with reading, coin collection and other similar interests that can infuse children with some great hobbies for the future.

To view a sample of stamps and first day covers in PDF format, please click:
A Selection of Golden Jubilee Stamps

Story and photos by:
Stamp Features: Abdul Mamdani, Toronto

One thought on “Sideline: In Ottawa, Magnificent Stamp Exhibition Kindles Memories of the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations

  1. Very nice, very interesting site to visit. We have our Ismaili brothers in Quetta, Pakistan and even a lady from the community was my bank colleague. Being a keen Scouting stamps collector, I appreciate your efforts. May you all live long with my prayers and I beg for the prayers of you all for me and my children. Regards to you all there.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s