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Thursday, September 3, 2009

International Book Year 1972 (January 15, 1972)

The format of the stamp is vertical. A group of children, sitting on the floor, with open books placed on Rahils are receiving religious teaching from old holy man. The traditional lamp (FANOOS) hangs from the arch of the Mosque above the class. The Quranic verse in Arabic is placed

on the decorative arch in black on the top of the stamp. The brown vertical panel appearing on the left side of the stamp, bears the word “Postage”, value “20-Paisa” and the word ‘Pakistan’ in English, Bengali and Urdu in black. The symbol of “International Book Year” in reverse appears at the bottom of the panel. The words “International Book Year 1972” appear at the bottom of the stamp in Brown.

More than fourteen hundred years ago, Allah the Almighty in His first message to the Holy Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be on him) stressed :

“Read In the name Of thy Lord and Cherisher Who created”

The Holy Book thus conveyed the divine command;

“ Read, advance your intellect and know for yourself”.

Islam is indeed the “Deen”

of knowledge and urges man to discover “Huq”

and to discriminate between “Haq” and “Baatil”.

And, the Holy Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be on him) urged upon the faithful that they should search for knowledge (BOOK~ even if it could be had’ from China-then considered to be the lengthiest and the most hazardous journey from Mecca. A perusal of the following verse of the Holy Quran is indeed of great interest- “We have sent to you an apostle who is from amongst you, reads you our text, sanctifies you, teaches you the Book and the Wisdom and teaches you what you did not know Islam has thus from the outset enjoined upon its followers the imperative necessity of acquiring knowledge which can be had through books. The import-ance of books was very beautifully underlined by the Arab poet Al-Motanabbi in the following words:

It is indeed interesting that the UNESCO decided on 9th November 1970 that 1972 should be celebrated as the International Book Year, the objective being to focus attention on the role of Books in society. Being major media of mass communication and because of striking advances in the production and distribution techniques made during the last several years, there has actually been a virtual Book explosion and the audience for books has expanded enormously.

The vast increase in population, spread of education and the growing leisure time have widened the book mar-ket and new distribution channels as well as the extension of libraries (parti-cularly school and public library services) have added to the free availability of Books, in spite of the vast impact of the electronic media of radio and television, Books have maintained and even expan-ded their influence and remained the essential tool of knowledge.

As stressed in the Holy Book of Islam, “Iqra” - “read and advance your intellect and know for yourself” remains the all-time ideal for humanity to keep peace by acquiring new technological advances and learning new skills and perfecting the older ones. BOOKS FOR ALL is indeed the prime necessity of the time. To highlight the international message regarding the importance of BOOKS-really good BOOKS, the Pakistan Post Office is, in common with other Postal Administrations of the world, issuing a Postage Stamp of 20-Paisa denomination on 15. 1. 72.