by Paul Fernandes

PANJIM: No commemorative postal stamp or even a post card. No celebration or a function to mark his 250th birth anniversary on May 31, 2006.

An European nation will commemorate Father of Hypnotism, Abbe Faria by releasing a post card on his birth anniversary but back home, no such honour will be bestowed on 'the genial creator of scientific hypnotism'.

While Goans seem to have lapsed into a slumber, the government does not have any plans to celebrate the occasion on May 31, and an initiative by US-based Goan artist, Dom Martin to petition the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for release of a postal stamp would have to wait as the next meeting of the Philatelic Advisory Committee (PAC) is likely to be convened only around September 2006.

"The petition for issue of a postal stamp has been put up before the Committee, a reliable source in the Director General of Post in New Delhi said. But indications are that the stamp may come late this year or next year.

However, the source hinted that the PAC which meets only once a year and last met on May 17, 2005, could be convened at short notice, depending on the lobbying at government level.

US-based artist, Dom Martin had sent the proposition, endorsed by Goans in India and abroad, to the governments of France, where the great hypnotist spent the significant part of his life and died in 1819 and Portugal, where he studied for priesthood after migrating from India.

One of the European nation has been gracious enough to agree to issue a commemorative postcard on May 31.(GT, May 11, 2006).

Amidst the shocking indifference, there is still some reason for hope. Mustard Seed Art Company, a theatre group, is planning to hold a programme in the city in association with some other agency. "Though people who are influential seem to have forgotten the event, there is still hope, says Isabel Santa Rita Vaz, lecturer and theatre person. "Perhaps, programmes can be held for the whole year as Abbe's anniversary year, she added.

When contacted, Director of Art and Culture, M V Naik said he was not aware of any plan to celebrate the event.

The issue of postal stamps appears to be a bright possibility, if pursued at government and other levels. Says Dom Martin, "I have urged the Philatelic authorities of France and Portugal to consider issuing an Abbe Faria stamp in 2007 under open categories such as 'Figures of History' or 'Personalities of Our Times'.

This report appeared in the issue of the Gomantak Times dated May 12, 2006

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