Postal system-old but not outdated

Lawrence Pinto

IN the modern world, the postal system may be defined as the institution which makes it possible for a person to send a letter, a packet or a parcel to ad-dress in his own country or abroad. In these circumstances, it is understood and expected that the item posted will be conveyed according to certain stan-dards of regularity, speed and security. Advance payment is made, in form of postage stamps, for this service. When did the postal system start? In the 8thcentury B.C. the Assyrian empire was at its height.

The Assyrians ruled over the old Babylonian empire and most of Palestine. In order to bring all cities together, the Assyrians built roads to link them. Then, they introduced a kind of postal system. Messengers carried mail from one place to another, riding on horseback. Almost a hundred later Nebuchadnezzar, a King of the new Babylonian empire (605-562BC) lost his empire to the Persian Kings, CYRUS and DARIUS.

King DARIUS also built roads to connect major cities of his empire. It was he who developed the Persian Postal system. Fresh horses were kept at intervals along certain routes so that messages could be carried from one pant of his empire to another; without unnecessary delay. In this way, mail travelled from SARDIS to SUZA in less than two weeks instead of three-long months. As centuries went by postal system progressed.

In the year 1765, ENG-LAND built modern roads which paved the way for the stagecoach. It was in 1784, that the stagecoach made its appearance and superseded the post boys on house back. The stage carried mail from one place to on another in six to seven miles an hour. The appearance of the railway had a marked effect on postal work. Letters, parcels, etc were carried by rail faster and quicker. Many trains had one separate bogey which dealt with mail.

Many modern-day trains still follow this procedure. People all over the world used to wait anxiously for a letter, a parcel from their near and dear ones. Business communication depends on postal system. The faster the postal system, the better. With the invention of the airplane the whole postal system was revolutionized. Mail is now being carried by aeroplanes; their service is faster and quicker. It was the British who introduced the AERO-GRAMME in Britain during World War II as a convenient way of writing to overseas military personnel. It consists of a sheet of light weight paper, suitably folded and gummed on all sides.

After all this progress in the world Postal system, still there are places in Pakistan and India and other places on the face of this earth where no vehicular traffic can go. For instance in RAJISTAN in INDIA, there is nothing but sand and desert for miles around with small habitations dotted here and there. Even in such a remote place, an ancient postal system exists. Letters, parcels, etc are delivered by men who ride on the back of a camel. These ‘post men’ cover long distances in desert sand under scorching sun to deliver letters and their mode of transport is a camel. These postmen apart from of delivering let-ters also sell stamps, collect mail for onward deliv-ery and conduct other postal business Although, in this modern age of electronics, we have the telephone, mail, fax and the telex, even then the good postal system holds sway.

This system can never be outdated. A letter or greeting card is always welcomed from a post postman, himself, is a welcome visitor. Moreover, the postal system has given rise to hobbies such as philately and pen friendship.

Pen friendship has brought people of the world closer together.


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