Sanjay N Joshi with his currency collection exhibited at the UAE- India Fest organised by the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Binsal Abdul Kader/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Collecting currencies and stamps as a hobby can save children from internet addiction and lead them to an interesting world of knowledge, according to a self-described “numismatist” known for collecting coins for 30 years.

Speaking to Gulf News at the UAE-India Fest on Friday, Sanjay N. Joshi, 56, an Indian based in Mumbai, said he has conducted 123 exhibitions of his collections from more than 200 countries across the globe, mainly in schools in India and the Gulf.

Speaking on the sidelines of his exhibition at the fest organised by the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) in the capital, he said: “When I started conducting exhibitions 10 years ago, Internet access was not widespread in India. Now, most of the children from middle and lower classes have Internet access that has aroused their curiosity for knowledge,” he said.

Joshi told Gulf News he has been keenly observing changes in the attitudes of young people in the last decade and believes digital natives are more curious about knowledge.

Currencies and stamps give basic information about nations. It gives you fundamentals of economics, history, geography and general knowledge, which are beneficial for children following all curricula.”

- Sanjay N. Joshi, Indian numismatist

“I can see the difference. The present-day children are more curious and knowledgeable thanks to Internet access,” he said.

Joshi is happy that many children ask interesting questions about the world and nations during his exhibitions, powered by the knowledge gained from surfing the web.

“My exhibitions are educational. Currencies and stamps give basic information about nations. It gives you fundamentals of economics, history, geography and general knowledge, which are beneficial for children following all curricula,” he said.

At his exhibitions, Joshi creates a folder of nations with its currency, coin, stamp and basic information and arranges the folders in alphabetical order. “I often conduct quiz competitions and ask children to find answers from the folders. They enjoy doing it,” he said, adding currencies and stamps can connect people from distant lands.

“My dream is setting up a museum in Mumbai. I have a currency note of São Tomé and Príncipe, an unknown African island nation. When a person from that country visits India and sees his currency in the museum, he will immediately feel at home. It will make a connection between him and Indians,” Joshi explained.

Joshi began his hobby when a relative working with an airline brought a currency note from Sri Lanka. Since then he has been approaching people, currency exchange houses, acquaintances and penfriends across the globe to enhance his collections.

“Today an employee of the UAE Exchange, the sponsor of the exhibition, presented a currency note of Georgia [which he was looking for]. This is how I enrich my collection,” he said.

UAE-India Fest attracts thousands

Members of the Indian community at the UAE-India Fest. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The ninth edition of the UAE-India Fest at the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC), a three-day event that began on Thursday evening, is attracting thousands of people.

A musical performance by a team of Indian celebrities — percussionist Sivamani, musician and keyboard player Stephen Devassy, bass guitarist Mohini Dey, mandolin player U Rajesh, violinist Elena Thedwall and ghatam player and percussionist Giridhar Uduppa — enthralled the audience on the inaugural evening.

First Lt. Fadhal Al Tamimi of the community police department of Abu Dhabi Police and his wife Reem Al Amiri; Dr B.R Shetty, chairman of NMC health care; Ramesh Panicker, president of the ISC; were present at the inaugural ceremony.

Siva Mani and Stephan Devassy from south India perform at the UAE-India Fest 2018 in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Award-winning magician Ganesh Kudroli and his Vismaya Magic troupe performed a magic show Friday evening.

Bengaluru based band Param and local bands On the Rocks and Rooh will perform on Saturday evening, the final day.

A blend of Indian and Emirati cultural shows, dance shows by Filipino, Spanish, Russian and Samba artists were slated to perform almost 20 hours spanning over the three days.