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B/N 873 - Anton Chekhov

Sri Lanka Philatelic Bureau if the Department of Posts will issue a new postage stamp to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the visit of Anton Chekhov to Sri Lanka in the denomination of Rs.10.00 on 23rd November 2015.

Date of Issue 23rd November 2015
Denomination Rs.10.00
Stamp Designer Ms. Wathmi de Zoysa
Catalogue No: CSL 2130
Sheet Composition: 20 stamps per sheet

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born on the 29th of January 1860, in Taganrog in Southern Russia on the Azov Sea. He was the third of six children of Pavel Chekhov, a grocery store owner. Chekhov's mother Eugenia who was a wonderful housewife and children's storyteller, totally dedicated herself to the family and the children's care. Anton started supporting his poor family in his teenage years by writing popular comic sketches, while attending medical studies in Moscow. He qualified as a physician in 1884 and started practicing, treating mostly the poor, free of charge, but continued his literary work, writing to periodicals, newspapers, short-stories, plays and so on. Chekhov's first book published by someone else, "Motley Stories", came out in 1886 with his real name on it. The book did well, and Chekhov was recognized as a new talent, becoming highly popular in Russia as well as the world over. He began practicing medicine less and writing more.

Unfortunately though, his life was short-spelled for he was affected with tuberculosis in the mid 1880's and died on the 15th of July, 1904, at the age of 44 years. During his short lifetime however, he wrote over 600 literary works, mostly short-stories and plays and rose to be one of the greatest Russian writers, internationally acclaimed as a short story writer.

Anton Chekhov visited Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) once in his life time when he landed in the Colombo harbor on the 10th or 12th of November, 1890 on his way back home to St. Petersburg, Russia from the cursed island of Sakhalin. He had stayed a few days in our island paradise as he described it and has visited the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens and gone to Kandy by train.

Some analytical studies on Chekov and his visit to Ceylon have been published by erudite scholars from time to time, which are of great value in reference to this subject. Following are two classic examples of same.

Over one hundred of Chekhov's best works (mostly short-stories and plays) have been translated into Sinhala by many of our Sri Lankan translators over the years and have become very popular among the local readers. Moreover some of his outstanding plays have been put on stage by our leading theatre directors.

There is a successful development in friendly relations between Russia and Sri Lanka, especially in the recent years, as well as a great influence of the Russian Literature on the formation and development of Sri Lankan national literature. As most Sri Lankans are well acquainted with the name of Anton Chekhov and honor his creative legacy, it was decided by Russian public organizations to commemorate Chekhov's visit to the island by installing a commemorative plaque of Anton Chekhov at Galle Face Hotel and unveiling a monument in his honor at the Grand Oriental Hotel (2010).

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