World Post Day is celebrated globally on Oct 9 followed by National Post Day celebrated in India on Oct 10. The reason we celebrate this day as World Post Day is because the Union Postal Union was established on the same date in 1874 in Bern. But the celebration only started after 1969 in Tokyo when the day was announced as the International Post Day.
In India Governor General of East India Company Lord Clive has begun the Postal service. He laid the foundation of the service in the state of Bengal of British India on March 24 1766 and further established Post Offices in the cities of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. However, this is not counted the beginning of Postal service in India because Lord Clive had started a commercial postal service aimed to strengthen communication between the important centers of East India Company.
Sir Bartel Frere, who was the commissioner of the Sindh in 1850, introduced postal stamps, then known as 'Scinde Dawk' (like the British would call Sindh Daak) in 1852. However, the stamps were withdrawn by October 1854, since regular Indian postage stamps were introduced by then. That is why, 1854 is considered when the Postal service was actually established in India and was allowed for everyone to avail.
The most important content of any letter in postal service is the postal stamp it bores. A stamp may seem merely a piece of paper with attractive pictures on it but it also has a specified value which has been issued by the National Post Office and it indicates the postage paid to send the letter or parcel and avail the postal service. Living in a digital world where emails and Whatsapp messages help the world connect, it is difficult for us to understand the value of postal service and stamps. In fact the, even the pictures on stamps were not random and have a story behind each of them. There is a specific purpose behind each image. On this World Post Day and coming National Post Day, which is tomorrow, let us go back in time and check some important stamps on India Post.
This is the first stamp of Independent India with the Indian tricolor and the slogan of Indian freedom struggle 'Jai Hind'. It was first issued on November 21 1947.
This is the commemorative stamp of India post to honour the Brahmos Cruise Missile developed by DRDO. It was issued in December 2008 with a value of Rs 20.
This is a recent stamp depicting an African Rhinoceros issued in October 2015. The stamp was issued on the background of Third Africa - India Forum Summit to resemble the strong bond between India and African nations.
This stamp was issued on 15th August 1965 by the Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department as a tribute to the glorious success of the Indian expedition to the Mount Everest.
In 2017, India Post took the initiative of issuing 11 postage stamps depicting the chronicles of Ramayana. The stamps were released by PM Modi at Varanasi.
Eleanor Roosevelt was the first foreigner to be depicted on Indian stamp. The stamp was issued in December 1963 to commemorate Universal declaration of Human Rights.
- Himali Nalawade