A Tribute to Indian Stamps
The Indian Post Office was setup in India by the British On October 1st, 1837 to maintain an official mail sysytem. At that time, mny indian states did maintain some sort of postal sysytems, and the official Indian postage stamps were only used by the British to send mails across the states.
History of Stamps in India
Pre-Independence Era of Stamps:
The first postage stamps, the adhesive Scinde Dawk stamps, began to be used from 1st July 1852. Made in a circular shape, the stamps were embossed generally on paper. It had Scinde District Dawk written around the rim and had a central emblem showcasing the British East India Company's Merchant's Mark. The price for these stamps was 1/2 anna.
Then in October 1854,
the first stamps for postage across India came into effect. Printed in Calcutta, These stamps had the face of Queen Victoria and were sold in four values of 1/2 anna, 1 anna, 2 annas and 4 annas. By 1855, a stamp with Queen Victoria in an oval vignette inside a rectangular frame started to be printed. This stamp had the words "East India Postage" inscribed around the Queen's photo. 1865 onwards, all Indian stamps carried a watermark of an elephant's head and were printed only on paper.
The term East India Postage was changed to India Postage from 1882 onwards. The watermark was also changed from elephant's head to a star shape. Just around the start of the 20th century, in 1895, the first high value stamps came into being, priced at 2, 3 and 5 rupees. Even a 25 rupees stamp showcasing King Edward VII was released in 1902. The watermark was changed for a third time in 1926 to showcase multiple stars.
India's first pictorial stamps were created to mark the Govt's move from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1931, and showcased the Purana Qila in Delhi. After the funds crunch in 1941, some of the plainest stamps were created, which were made with the least of ink and paper.
Post-Independence Era of Stamps:
It was on 21st Nov, 1947 that Free India's first stamp was issued. It showed the Indian Flag, with the slogan of "Jai Hind" and was valued at three and one-half annas. The Queen's Dominion also issued three stamps in November. The first one showed the Independent India's Flag, the second one showed the Ashoka Pillar and the third showed an airplane.
These were followed by a memorial stamp edition to Mahatma Gandhi on 15th Aug 1948 amd then later by India's cultural heritage showcasing temples and monuments of India.
The term "India Postage" was finally removed in the year 1962 and was replaced with "भारत INDIA",
and continues to be used the same way till date across all Indian stamps.
Here's a year wise collection of Indian postal stamps for you: