Do you know the story of post and postal service?
In the romantic story of Nala and Damayanthi, swan acted as a postman. Though it’s a Hindu mythological story such practices existed from early times itself. If someone wants to convey a message to a person far, doves, hawk and parrots were used. Specially trained birds were used for this purpose as they are less doubted and they can travel through air, thus less threat from soldiers and enemies. Usually the message will be folded and tied in bird’s legs and the bird is sent. Such practices are available now also in certain countries. In 1879 in Lij of Belgium ‘cat postmen’ were hired within 30 km area. So, centuries before postal system came into existence, people have communicated with distant relations in one way or another.
Stones and leaves to write letters
Before paper letters were used, stones, clay and papyrus leaves were used to quote words and messages. In India brass and palm leaves were also used. When paper was made from papyrus leaves, people began to write letters in paper.
Stamps came into existence
When letters in paper came into existence, a duty was also given. It was a cheap cost taken from the sender and a seal with letters printed ‘paid’ was placed on letters with received duty. The receiver should give the duty in case the sender has not paid for that letter. People used to play trick by sending messages in the form of codes on the outer cover of letters.
First stamp – Penny Black with Queen Victoria’s head was made by an English teacher Sir. Rolland Hill. Very soon many countries adapted this feature. India’s first stamp was printed on 1947 November 17 with the picture of National flag. First perfumed stamps of the world belong to India.
Historians say that first post box was place in Paris and French man Deevileyar was behind this. Post boxes are seen in different colours. In India, it is red while in America, it is blue. Blue colour post boxes also belong to Singapore and in Saudi Arabia, yellow colour is painted.
Printing envelops and use of money orders
Till 1926, whole printing of Indian postal department was done in Direta and Company, London. Then whole process was transferred to India security press.
Till the arrival of ATMs and online money transfers, money order through post was the only way to transfer money. Though such transactions have lost significance now, Instant Money Order (IMO) is available in India. Through IMO, you can transfer 1000 – 50,000 rupees anywhere within India with the help of postal department.
PIN – Postal Index Number
PIN was first introduced by Germany in the year 1941. In India this indexing system came into existence in the year 1972. It provides the easy way to index post offices and send letters easily. Indian postal service is divided into eight postal zones. First digit of PIN code indicates the zone to which a particular post office belongs to. Second digit indicates the sub-zone, third digit for sorting district, fourth one for postal route and last two digits indicate the corresponding post offices belonging to the above.
Post offices now waiting for its end!
No doubt, post offices and letters have given a great contribution to the world’s development and have provided a basement for the cultural growth of the world through letters. How many histories and intellectual debates have they witnessed till now! How useful information have been passed through those postal hands in the form of white letters! But world is growing! Technology is expanding! Information can be sent in less time and low expenses through e-mail and mobile services. Such services can be handled anywhere at user’s convenience, and information passes at lightning speed. Somewhere post offices and letters have lost their way in the run! Now post offices and letters are almost dead and they are facing the threat of extinction.
Very soon we may witness our post offices and post boxes closing their eyes one by one. It’s not at all surprising if it happens so. Though we regret a lot about their lost value, no one find enough time to give special attention to them, including me! Now banks are constructed replacing old post offices with ATM counters and e-banking facilities.
Recent update in postal service is that, in future we may be able to send postal letters to our dear ones with fixed stamps of our faces! Perhaps such interesting solutions may bring back interest in people to use postal service. Let us all expect so!
Image source: Wikipedia