7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Indian Postal Service
Every small village, town or a metropolis in India has one thing in common: India Post. The Indian Postal Service handles mail from every nook and corner of the country. India Post holds the record for having the highest post office in the world at 15,000ft in Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh. Such is the postal service which just about fits the 2nd most populated nation in the world.
India Post was established 163 years ago on 1 April 1854. In its a century and a half of existence, the Postal service has gone through several changes. Some of these are surprising and unknown to us. So here are 7 things you didn’t know about the Indian Postal Service.
- In 1876, India came one of the first non-founding members of the General Postal Union, the UN body for international postal policies.
- The first airmail in the world first took place in India on 18th February, 1911. The journey was 18 kms long and took 27 minutes. It was the job of the french pilot, Henri Pequet,, to deliver 15 kg of mail from Allahabad to Naini. It contained approximately 6000 letters and cards. One of the letters was addressed to Britain’s then Monarch George V.
- The telegraph was introduced via the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885. The telegraph system was then merged with the India Post in 1914. A separate body for the Telegraph was constituted and the two services went their separate ways on 1 January 1985. Similarly, the telephone system was also a part of India Post, initially.
- It is common knowledge that the India Post is more than just a postal service. They also accept money deposits, provide ATM facilities, carry out pension payments, give insurance amongst other things. Did you know that the Postal life insurance began on 1 February 1884? It was offered to the employees of the Posts & Telegraphs Department for their welfare.
- The first adhesive stamps in the entire Asian continent were issued in the former Indian city ‘Scinde’ (Sindh) in July 1852. These were introduced by Bartle Frere who was the chief commissioner of the region at the time. These stamps came to be known as Scinde Dawks. The Dawks was the english variant of ‘Dak’ meaning post in Hindi. The first all-India stamps came around two years later on 1st October 1854. The Scinde Dawks were in use till 1866 and were available for 1/2 anna.
- In 1866 the Indian Postal Service began overprinting the stamps they issued. Overprinting is the extra layer of text or graphics over an already printed piece of paper. The postage stamps had the word ‘Service’ overprinted on them whereas the revenue stamps had ‘service postage’ on them. This technique was taken up by many countries in the world after us.
- India has printed stamps for its neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Burma (before independence). We have also printed stamps for Ethiopia and Portugal.
These were really exciting points that I hadn’t heard of before I began searching for them about the India Post. Do you know any other cool things about India’s postal service. Comment below and let us all know.
Here is an extra ‘Did You Know fact’
The Indian stamps previously read ‘India Postage’ written on them. This was changed in 1962 to ‘भारत INDIA’.
And a double extra fact!
The first stamp after India won Independence was issued 21st November, 1947. It had the Indian tricolour with Jai Hind written on it on the top right hand corner. The value of this stamp was three and one-half annas.
Did you know about India’s Freedom Struggle? It is a single story with 2 sides. Hear both the perspectives-
British POV- http://giglee.in/origins-british-empire/
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