ALLAHABAD: World Post Day is celebrated across the world on October 9. Today, in the times of e-mails, SMS and apps, letters continue to hold a place of are still there in the minds of people. A lot of us may not be aware, but Allahabad is credited with many firsts in the world of postal services. The first air mail, railway mail and other postal services all started from Allahabad.
Sharing the details with TOI, director Postal Services, Allahabad region Krishna Kumar Yadav said being strategically important, British emphasised development of postal services in Allahabad. World's first air mail was started in Allahabad on 18 February, 1911 in Allahabad. The plane carrying about 6,500 letters took-off from the Polo Ground of Allahabad and after a flight of 13 minutes landed on a ground near Naini Railway Station. These postal articles were then dispatched further using other modes of transport. Yadav said as per records, Colonel Windham contacted postal officer sent some articles through Air Mail for the first time, and the then chief of posts gladly accorded his permission for it.
On the mail bag carrying first Air Mail, 'First Aerial Mail' and 'Uttar Pradesh Exhibition, Allahabad' was written. There was a restriction on weight of letters and only 6,500 carefully sorted letters were allowed for transport. The flight which lasted for only 13 minutes created a history. Letters carried through the first Air Mail were addressed to people across the world, out of which one letter was sent to Jawaharlal Nehruby his father Motilal Nehru. Many British officers wrote letters to King George V. A special postage stamp was also created for that day.
Yadav claimed that Railway Mail Service (RMS) is also said to be started in Allahabad. After the beginning of Railways in 1853, a Railway Sorting Section was started between Allahabad Kanpur route, for the first time in India on May 1, 1864, which eventually emerged as Railway Mail Service.
Yadav, who has also authored a research-based book on India Post named "India Post: 150 Glorious Years" said right after the release of World's first postage stamp in Britain on May 6, 1840, next year in 1841 a horse-cart mail service was started between Allahabad and Kanpur. A rich merchant of Allahabad Lala Thanthimal, whose business was spread up to Kanpur, is credited with launch of this horse-cart mail service, Britishers also used to trust him. After construction of Grand Trunk Road, mail was carried by this road through palanquin and horse cart, in which a horse used to travel 7 kilometers. Freight was to be paid immediately at the rate of one paisa per half tola. From Allahabad to Bithoor, 'daak' was transported through Ganga river. 'Daak Harakkaras' used to travel through forests, so as a measure of their security, they used to carry a bell with a spear for protection. In 1850, Lala Thanthimal founded Inland Transit Company in association with some British nationals, and after Allahabad, he started horse-cart service between Kanpur and Kolkata. In coming years, the service was extended to cities like Meerut, Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Banaras etc. Being situated at the center of all these cities, role of Allahabad was very important. As such, Lala Thanthimal is credited with starting the first company of postal system in India. In 1854, with integration of postal services as a department, Inland Transit Company too merged with it.
1. Prayag, a pioneer in Postal Services : House-cart Mail, Railway Mail or Air Mail, It all started in Sangam City (Courtesy :The Times of India, 10 Oct. 2013 coverage about 'World Post day' in Allahabad via Krishna Kumar Yadav, Director Postal Services, Allahabad Region.
2. Pl. also check the article of Krishna Kumar Yadav, Director Postal Services, Allahabad Region regarding this on this blog @ http://dakbabu.blogspot.in/2013/10/prayag-has-always-been-pioneer-in.html