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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

India’s First Postage Stamp after Independence

After ruling for almost two hundred years, Britain announced on 3rd June 1947 its decision to relinquish suzerainty over India and give independence. They decided to partition British India by seceding the Muslim majority provinces on 14th August 1947 and create a new state of Pakistan. The remaining of British India was to become the successor government as Dominion of India and both states to be given Independence on the 15th August 1947.

To mark the event, India decided to issue a set of three postage stamps to commemorate the Independence Day. The postal department, though busy dividing assets, stores, property, saving bank deposits, pension funds etc., entrusted Mr. T.I Archer, a Government artist to prepare designs for the new stamps. The approved designs were sent to Master, India Security Press in Nasik for production and delivery before 15th of August.

India Security press was setup by Government at Nasik in 1926 and has since produced all requirements of India’s Bank notes (currency) Government Security paper, fiscal and postal stamps etc.  The postage stamps of that period bore the effigy of King George VI and were in use all over India from Shimla to Tuticorin and Quetta to Chittagong.

India Security Press was unable to produce the stamps in such short notice, besides the press was already engaged in overprinting the existing British Indian stamps, Bank Notes, Court Fee Stamps and papers with the word “PAKISTAN” for use by the new state under the order from Viceroy’s Partition Council.

Since the stamps count not be made ready for release on the 15th August, orders were placed with The Postal Workshop in Aligarh to prepare special postmark for use at all Head Post Offices on 15th of August 1947 until new stamps, being printer were made available. The bilingual postmark bears the work “JAI HIND” in Roman and Devanagari.  They were used to cancel mails from 15th August, very few of this postmark now survives.


The first special stamp to commemorate the attainment of Independence was delivered by Nasik Press in November 1947. This 3½ annas value stamp (overseas postage rate) was placed on sale at the post offices all over India on the 21st of November 1947. The stamp depicts the new tri-color Indian National Flag with Ashokan Dharma Chakra in blue on the center of the white horizontal band, flanked on both sides with saffron band at top and bronze green band at bottom. It is flying tied to the flag mast. The inscription in Devanagri reads “JAI HIND” with date “15 AUG. 1947”, “POSTAGE” “INDIA” and the value “3½ As.” in English.
The other two stamps were ready and released on the 15th December 1947. The 1 ½ annas value is with denomination both in Hindi and English as it was to be used for domestic postage. Printed in grey green, this stamp depicts the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar and this historic object was adopted as the government’s state emblem. 

The 12 annas stamp was for foreign mail postage rate printed in airmail blue shows a Douglas DC4 Skymaster aircraft in flight. The stamps were photo-lithographed on gummed paper with multiple star watermarks and perforated 13½ X 14.
As successor state, India continued to use the stamps with the effigy of King George VI as large quantity of these stamps were lying in stock at Nasik’s central stamp depot and various treasuries thought India. These stamps were repealed in 1949 on the second anniversary of independence by a beautiful set depicting famous Indian Archeological monuments.

6 comments:

  1. Being a postal employee, till today i was ignore about that interesting one.
    Thanking You
    Bibhuprasad Mohapatra
    Rayagada Head Post Office
    Rayagada 765001

    ReplyDelete
  2. Never know about this.. thanks a lot for sharing this information!

    First Postal Stamp of India

    ReplyDelete
  3. Im getting more and more knowledgiable on India postal history

    ReplyDelete
  4. Im getting more and more knowledgiable on India postal history

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    Kelia Pincode

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