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Saturday, October 22, 2016

US Postal Service has no intention of discontinuing Forever Diwali stamp

 Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Oct 21, 2016

The stamp design, unveiled by the US Postal Service (USPS), is a photograph featuring a traditional oil lamp lit in a sparkling gold background. (Picture courtesy: USPS website) 
The US Postal Service (USPS) has rejected reports will discontinue the “forever” Diwali stamp if there aren’t enough sales.

“The Postal Service is excited about celebrating the festival of Diwali on a Forever stamp and has no plans to remove them from sale,” Mark Saunders of the corporate communications division of USPS headquarters, told Indian American Times.

Some Indian American organizations, in mass emails addressed to the community, had claimed the stamp, issued earlier this month, would be discontinued.

Saunders reiterated the record-breaking popularity of the stamp, saying, “Due to the popularity of the stamp some Post Offices may have temporarily sold out. The easiest way to purchase the stamps is online at and then click the buy stamps icon and scroll down to the Diwali stamp.”

Indian American organizations and individuals, including Maryland-based social activist Mayur Mody, had urged members of the community to order the stamp and use it to send Diwali and New Year cards. They had claimed that the stamp would be discontinued if it does not sell enough.

On October 5, the USPS commemorated Diwali by issuing the stamp and holding a first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at the Indian consulate in New York. This was the first stamp to also commemorate Hinduism.

The stamp bears a picture of a ‘diya’ or Diwali lamp. The diya was photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce, the stamp was designed by Greg Breeding, and William J Gicker of the postal service was the project’s art director.

Ranju Batra, an Indian American, spearheaded the Diwali Stamp Project for years.

USPS vice president of mail entry and payment technology Pritha Mehra had said, “We hope these stamps will light up millions of cards and letters as they make their journey through the mailstream.”

Indian Americans first began working for a Diwali stamp 16 years ago, according to MR Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has been involved in the project.
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