Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Indian Postal Service - Philatelic account

I had written some time back, in an upbeat spirit about the Indian Postal service and the philitaly service that it offered. In the intervening period, the postal department has not done much (Apart from a few misplaced postcards- which could be because of Thai post) to remove the tinted glasses from my eyes.

The scheme that had made me so buoyant was brilliant in its simplicity. It purported that if you deposited some money with the post office, they would at no postal cost (all in house you see!) send you new philatelic stamps as and when they did get published.

I had put in my trust into the department and placed my 500 rupees in their care. That was in June and just when I was beginning to fidget, in came the mail with this package.

I must say that the packaging and the processing is great. The stamps come by speed post and are sealed in an impressive envelope that is sealed with wax (do they still do that?) on the behind. Inside the stamps are further enclosed in a clear polythene bag to protect them from any eventuality that the postal employee might face. And finally, the account sheet is great. In it are detailed every stamp that is sent, the total cost and the final balance that is left in your account.

The stamps themselves are not such "swoon-worthy". The only one that I liked is the one commemorating the Mutiny of 1806 at Vellore. I honestly did not even know anything about this, but this link provides some great info about the mutiny. If I might quote a few lines,

" The massacre of the helpless European sick so aroused the British that no mercy was shown; about 100 sepoys who had sought refuge in the palace were dragged out, placed against a wall and blasted with canister shot until all were dead. John Blakiston, the engineer who had blown in the gates, recalled that although such punishment was revolting to all civilized beliefs, `this appalling sight I could look upon, I may almost say, with composure. It was an act of summary justice, and in every respect a most proper one.' Such was the nature of combat in India where the `civilized' conventions of European warfare did not apply."

But history apart the stamp itself is a beauty with sepia tones and and artists sketch. A piece of art.

The other stamps are on the whole uninspiring stuff. A high court in Srinagar, a girls school and a college. Not something to slobber all over the keyboard about.

But for all those with a postal address in India, I most highly recommend a visit to the local GPO and opening an account with them. The least it will do is restore the faith in the amazing thing that the Indian Postal Department is.

No comments: