Gopi De Sarkar, a phillumenist, has over 9,000 matchboxes, many of which depict tigers
Gopi De Sarkar, a journalist in Kolkata, has been collecting matchboxes for the past five decades. He now has over 9,000 matchboxes in his collection. Among these are matchboxes that depict the tiger as shown here. Photo: Saikat Kr Basu
Most of these matchboxes not only serve as a tool for lighting ovens, candles, lanterns, pipes, cigarettes or cigars but also provide an important message of tiger conservation. Why is this important? Because every time an individual uses the matchbox, he or she is reminded that as an apex predator, the tiger needs protection to conserve our ecosystems. This photo shows white tigers. Photo: Saikat Kr Basu
However, with increased e-commerce and e-transactions and rapid transformation in e-communications, our heritage and emotions associated with matchboxes are slowly eroding. Advances in technology have produced many modern lightening tools and lighters that are slowly replacing matchboxes around the globe. Here, a tiger and a deer are shown on a matchbox. Photo: Saikat Kr Basu
Yet, matchboxes are still in use as they have a nostalgic appeal for all of us due to their novelty, simplicity and rich heritage. Here, another cat family member, the leopard is shown on a matchbox. Photo: Saikat Kr Basu
De Sarkar deserves respect for his dedicated efforts and passion for his collection and for his monumental contributions towards education and awareness among the public. Here, the puma, another feline is seen on a matchbox. Photo: Saikat Kr Basu
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