With the advent of modern technology, primarily the internet, postal services in India has become redundant for many people, but its rich history is not something that can be ignored. For over 150 years the Indian Post Office served as the primary mode of long distance communication. Initially, the Post Office Department was set up by the East India Company on 1 April, 1774 antecedents of the system have been traced to the Persian empire where runners were hired to transport important military and political information, a dangerous job at the time.
No postal service is complete without stamps; originating as pieces of paper, a receipt of sorts of specific value that, as stated by the Department of Post, was “a token of prepayment for postal service equivalent to its face value. Over time, however, the postage stamp has evolved into an article with diverse functions ranging from its original role, to functioning as a tool for celebration and promotion of a nation’s heritage, and, as a collectible item, of both intrinsic and actual value, which may differ greatly from its postal value.”
Independent India issued its first stamp on 21 November 1947 - a proud image of the Indian flag along with a patriotic Jai Hind inscribed on the top right hand corner, valued at 3.50 Annas. From being pictorial ambassadors for their country of origin, to commemorating the nation’s historical achievements, stamps have evolved tremendously over the years. We’ve posted below some of our favourite vintage Indian stamps depicting India’s culture and history, courtesy of the Department of Post.