India gained independence on 15.8.1947 and the number of post office were 22116. But on 31.3.2011 the number of post offices have gone up by 154866 out of which 139040 are in rural locations transporting mails through various means-foot runners, cycle runners, animal runners, Departmental or private Motors, (1history)railways ,airways and waterways cargos and delivering large number of mails of various types throughout the country.After Independence of India, first stamps of 3- 1/2 (three and half Annas) featuring Indian National Tricolor Flag were issued on 21 November 1947.
We hoist our National tricolor flag high above the sky on every year on 15th August. We, similarly, unfurl , our National tricolor flag on the occasion of republic day 26th January every year. Our country became Republic in 1950 and a constitution . We had inaugurational postage stamp series of Republic of India of denomination of 2 Annas 4 Annas issued on the occasion.Since then ,we continue to unfurl the tricolor national flag every year on the day 26th January. The country was urgently needed a flag of its own during the freedom struggle (pre independence period ) and an artist Awanindra nath Thakur from Bengal ,who was included in the flag designing committee of the Congress ,was asked to present a design of a flag acceptable to all. He designed a flag in Kesaria, white and green color . The charakha was in the middle of the white color. Congress held its session at Karanchi in 1930 and accepted the design. Since then the tricolor is in the hand of all Indians and they love and respect it most. On the 22 July 1947 Ashok Capital 24 spokes wheel replaced the Charakha . The flag now became the National flag of India. The postal department on many occasion depicted the tricolor on stamps.Since then, We the Indian, wherever we be, whether in India or abroad,The origin of the tricolor, had long journey . First of all ,on 6th August 1906, some enthusiast and patriots hoisted a red colored flag in the Parasibagan (Green Park) of Calcutta .
The flag was square in shape and in design ,composed in horizontal strips of red yellow and green The top corner depicted “The Sun” and the lower corner featured “The MOON “.The strip on the top had eight white lotus embossed in row. The slogan “Bande Matram” was inscribed in the middle in Devnagari script.Madam Bhikaji Kama a Persian Lady along with her , some exiled revolutionaries young Indians companions raised an Indian flag colored red, yellow and green in 1907The flag was similar to the earlier one but the difference the top strip had one lotus but seven stars representing the Saptarishi. India Postage Stamps of 15 paise was issued to to commemorate her.
In 1917 Tilak and Annie Besant hoisted a red and green strip at London but it had the “Union Jack “the dominion status symbol of British Empire. But the design of the strip was protested by many other patriots.
A telgu Brahmin Pingali Venkayya enthused and patriotic zeal placed a proposal ,in the Kakinada conference of The Indian National Congress ,the urgent need of a flag and was authorized to present a design of a flag soon . He came forward, in the next congress national conference of the Indian National Congress held at Vijaywada on 31st march 1921,with a design of flag . It was a square and it half upper part was in red and the bottom half part of the strip was green. This strip was accepted with simple modification in the flag. The upper part was in white strip while the middle was in red and below the red was green. It was not popular. He was one of the makers of the tricolor and to commemorate him a postage stamps for collection purpose was depicted by the Indian Government . Pingali Venkayya is maker of National flag and the Government had released a stamp on him. The posatal department has issued stamps on Pingali Venkayya and Madam Bhikaji Kama.
The next issue was depicted the National Emblem of India The Ashok lion Capital (three lions pillar) on 15.12.1947. The third stamps depicting Douglas DC 4 Aircraft 12 annas value Airmail service for foreign mails . All three stamps were inscribed Jai hind slogan in Hindi (long live India) .When India became Republic , inaugurational postage stamp series of Republic of India of denomination of 2 Annas 4 Annas were issued on the occasion. National Indian Governement decided to issue a set of two stamps potraying Mahatama gandhi and important events of his life on the occasion of his 80th, birth anniversary but the idea was dropped due to his tragic assassination on 30th january 1948. The Governement of India later on decided to issue a set of two mourning stamps of value 2 ½ annas for the Air mail service in side the country and 12 annas stamps for UK on 12th march 1948. On the suggestion of JawaharLal Nehru then Prime Minister of India “Bapu” popular name of Gandhiji was printed in Hindi and Urdu. The decision was redropped and it was finally released on 15th Augusr 1948 on the eve of first anniversary of Independence to mark tribute to“Bapu”.
Indian stamps consists large number of flora and fauna found in the country since 1962 Great Indian Bustard ,the Likh florican and the Siberian crane includes depiction. Stamp collecting is reckoned a most popular hobby spread over the world as the countries depict the lift of the country, its animals including wildlife, building,scenery besides these birds, butterflies, fish, aircraft, cars, railways, ships, space travels and from flora to fauna, from technological advancements to historical events and monuments.
Gandhi, Nehru, Shubas and many other historic persons were depicted in Indian postage stamps. New theme are getting featured in stamps. by many philatelist throughout the world. The India thematic stamps are being collected in which most popular are saint series . Mira the woman saint of India,kabir and Tulsidas the most loved and praised saint ,tney all have been depicted in postal stamps during the beginning years of independent India.
India has brought out a wide series of 16 postage stamps on the ancient heritage. Mahabodhi temple built by Emperor Ashok at Bodh Gaya was depicted in three and half annas denomination stamp on 15.8.1949 in blue color. In 1951 the depiction stamp value was reduced to two and half annas. Indian stamps consists stamps from individuals to groups and organizations, from monuments to flora and fauna and from historical events to technological advancements,Sending messages through various means is very old practice of man. Before invention of the paper people used to send their messages by messengers orally run over foot or riding over an animal. When man learnt writing, he used animal skin and sculpt stone or wood artistically for the purpose. Man has written their ideas on dried leaves- palm tree or bhoj patra.
Philately is mainly a term for collection of colorful postage stamps. Stamps are small paper meant for realization of the charges for the mails sent through the Post offices. The first paper stamps were used in United Kingdom.
Postal History starts when Henry I in the 12th century employed letter carriers for Government mails on horse heads. Henry III introduced uniforms for them and Edward I instituted posting houses for change of horses. Edward II, during his period saw first postal marking hand written notations saying Haste, post haste. Henry VIII created the Royal Mail in 1516 appointing Brisn Tuke as Master of the Postes
first of all. Elizabeth I made Thomas Randolph as Chief Postmaster where as Thomas Withering become as Chief Postmaster under Charles I . King Charles I opened the Royal Post in 1635 for all. Before that only Royal messages and commands were conveyed from one place to another and the system was called Royal messengers service. His son King Charles II changed the system and set up the General Letter Mail Office which is now days popularly known as Royal Mail. Henry Bishop was appointed as first Postmaster General of Great Britain in 1661 by King Charles II. When he received a customer’s complain over delay in delivery of letters ,he introduced a circle mark with month and day in side of the letters in London GPO and the foreign mail section. Thereafter Scotland (Edinburg) and Ireland (Dublin) adopted the method. The Circled marked was named after him as Bishop Mark. The Postal services were spread through the country and set up post offices in all towns whether small and large. They have their own postmark. London Penny Post was established by William Dockwra a business man in 1680 for delivery of mails within London and its suburbs on the cost of one penny. He earned a good profit from the postal business and it attracted the attention of the Government and took over it.
In cash realization caused in inordinate delay in handling the postal items. James Chalmers and his assistant Charles Knight advised to use wrappers on the items and a piece of paper cut in circle looked like a seal. Thus Chalmers pave the path of use of postage stamps.
The father of adhesive stamps Sir Rowland Hill while crossing a village in Scotland ,he met a girl who was refusing a bearing letter from a postman. From this insistence he felt that
the need of realization of the postal charges in advance to avoid loss. He propose the British Parliament which accepted it and introduced adhesive stamps on 6th May 1840 the penny black the world`s first stamp.
The first and famous Penny Black and Two penny Blue were issued by Great Britain in 1840 featuring a portrait of Queen Victoria were the first paper labels. The beginning stamps were called then so. Those stamps were used in great Britain and Ireland. The name of the country was not printed on it and stamps had to separate with the help of seasors.Victorian Jubilee issue of 1887 a set of twelve designs ranging from ½ d to 1s stamps in two colors were last major issues of her time. The stamps issued between 1860 and 1870 used the same profile of Victoria in many kind of frames, watermarks and corner lettering.
Brazil was second country in issuing the Postage labels (stamps). In curious design and distinctive appearance stamps were issued by Brazil on 1st April 1843 . The Brazilian design was much popular hence nicknamed bulls eyes. The country name was not printed the stamps. Further Brazil issued a new slanted numeral series stamps were issued on 1st July 1844. The most popular pictorial stamps were released in 1866 depicting the Emperor Dom Pendro II.
Belgium featured the King in its first postage labels and France published the stamps on 1st January 1849 showing Ceres. Ceres series the first postage stamps of France bore the effigy of the Ceres goddess of growing plant of Roman mythology. The denomination of the stamps were 20 centimes black stamps and 1 franc red. Belgium started to use national stamps on 8th July 1849 10c brown and 20 c red having no separation space. The stamps bore the French the Government language name Belgique . Under the Government of Jules Venden peereboon in 1890 the Dutch language name Belgie was addedThe first British colony Mauritius a country situated in Indian Ocean issued its first stamp in 1847.The wife of the Governor General lady Gohm wanted to organize a fancy dress dance and to use postage stamp on the invitation cards. As such the colony issued two stamps of 1 penny orange and 2 penny deep blue bearing the profile head of Queen Victoria. The design maker of the stamp Joseph Osmond Barnard by mistake or forgotten the word Post Paid and engraved the word Post Office instead. The Words Post Office changed by Post Paid when the mistake was detected after long 17 years of its circulation. The locally printed stamps a distinct primitive character made the name of barnard, immortal in the postal history . India has most interesting postal history and long postal journey. The past is very pleasant and fascinating. It can be divided into two part –pre 1837 and post 1837. In ancient time foot messenger were employed to convey messages from one place to other places. During Mughals periods horse and camel riders transported Royal mail .The East India Company London was formed in 1600s and was granted Royal Charter to trade in India. The company set up its first business house in India at Madras in 1639 and that after they opened their Bombay house in 1660 and at Calcutta in 1686. The trading houses in India needed an efficient postal communication system in connection with their growing trade from one places to another. Therefore they opened Post offices in Bombay (now Mumbai) and Madras (now Chennai) in 1688 .The officials of the company were handling the mails and using company seal on the bags. The company set up first Post office at Calcutta independently for organized and regular service in 1727. Madras was the first GPO was opened on 1st June 1786.
The company in its board meeting held on 17 January 1774 at Calcutta was presided over by the President of the company Warren Hasting. He suggested many changes for up gradation of the system and regulations. He also suggested for opening of General Post Office at Calcutta. Mails from persons other than company mails were allowed on payment of the postal charges and their transmission through the company channels. Accordingly four divisions were created—1. From Calcutta to Ganjam 358 miles,2 from Calcutta to Patna 398 miles 3 from Patna to Banaras and 4.from Calcutta to Dacca179 miles.
The division from Calcutta to Patna was covered in 48 stages and from Patna to Banaras 19 stages. For all the stages had three harkaras, one masalchi and one drummer. A deputy Postmaster was posted at Patna for receipt and dispatch of the mails and ten peons were attached to assist him. The postal charges were fixed two annas for 100 mile . A copper token ticket was introduced prepared locally with inscription AZIMABAD DO ANNI in Persian and Patna Post two annas 1774 in English but it was withdrawn after some time of its use.
During British Raj the head profile of the monarchs – queen Victoria, King Edward VII King George V King Edward VIII King George VI Queen Elizabeth were featured. Indian Stamps can be recognized from the inscription on as “INDIA” but in the olden days the inscription on the stamps were “India Postage” and during East India Company period the stamps prescribe East India Postage but the first four stamps featuring queen Victoria was inscribed “INDIA”.