Philately is the study and collection of postage stamps, postal stationery, postal history and other associated subjects. There are stamps of different sizes, shapes and colours focusing on different themes such as art, architecture, flora, fauna, science and technology, sports etc. Stamps have emerged as a vehicle to accord recognition to past and present achievements and to honour and pay homage to individuals, institutions and organisations. Stamps are also used to promote various values and causes such as
environmental protection, promotion of tourism, creation of awareness about health and hygiene etc.
The term 'philately' is a combination of two Greek words: 'philos' meaning 'fond of' and 'telos' meaning 'exemption from tax'. Hence philately literally means, 'something lovable that is exempted from tax. The term was coined by Herpin, a French stamp collector.
The first postage stamp was the 'Penny Black', issued by Great Britain on 6 May 1840. It portrayed the head of Queen Victoria. The second country to issue postage stamps was Brazil in 1843. The first British colony to issue stamps was Mauritius in 1847. Belgium and France brought out their first issues in 1849. The first stamps in India were issued in the province of Sind, now in Pakistan. These stamps were known as the 'Scinde Dawk'.
Stamps issued on the Defence theme are shown in this web site.