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Little bit Shy, introvert, musician, philatelist & numismatist, and love to be alone and spend time in my hobbies.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Postal History of India

Postal History of India in Brief:

                The postal history of a country is more important for a philatelist than its political history. India is one amongst the richest countries of the world who provides for a vivid, varied and wealthy postal history material for an ardent student of philately.

In India, during the administration of Warren Hastings (1774-1785), the postal system maintained by the East India Company was made available for transmission of private communications. Before the introduction of postage stamps, prepayment of postage was indicated by hand struck stamps known as Bishop-mark, named after Henry Bishop, Postmaster General of Great Britain. In India, it was in all probability first introduced in Calcutta Post Office in January 1774, when Warron Hasting allowed carriage of mail of private individuals on payment of fee through the Ease India Company's postal network. Small copper tickets or tokens valued at Anna 2(1/8th of a rupee) were generally the medium for payment of postage. Single letters up to 2-1/2 tolas (29grams) weight charged at the rate of annas 2 for every 100 miles (160Kms.). These copper tickets were reported to have been withdrawn by the Government on 14th September, 1784.

                Sir Ronald Hill (1795-1879) introduced the Penny Postage stamps in England on 6th May, 1840. The first postage stamps issued in India were in 1852 in the province of Sind under the Bombay Presidency. Sir Bartle Frere, than Chief Commissioner of Sind, was asked by the Bombay Government to undertake the upkeep of the postal services of the province and also to popularize it among the public. He was a great admirer of Sir Rowland Hill and his Penny Postage Scheme. With the help of Edward Less Coffery, then Postmaster of Karachi, Sir Bartle issued the postage stamps on 1 July, 1852. They were embossed pieces of paper with a circular design in red, with or blue, 'Scinde Dawks' as they were known, were of the denomination of 1/2 Anna. The number of stamps per sheet was probably 64, 8 row stamps. However, the exact number is not known. They were used in the Province of Sind as well as on the Karachi-Bombay route. Though these, embossed stamps were recalled in September 1854, but the order was not apparently carried out till June 1866.

After 13 years of the use of postage stamps in England, the Government decided to extend their use in India. In 1853, the first design was prepared in the Mint at Calcutta and the stamps were struck under the guidance and supervision of (later on General) Sir Henry Thuillier, then Deputy Surveyor General of India at Calcutta. The stamps were issued in July 1854.