By Dr. Sohail Ansari
Scinde Dawk: Another accolade for Karachi
The Indian Post Office was established in 1837. In 1850, there were four post offices in the province of Sindh — Sukkur, Shikarpur, Hyderabad, and Karachi. Sir Henry Bartle Frere took to modernise the postal system; in concert with Edward Lees Coffey, the Postmaster of Karachi, he issued the first stamp for India, famously known as ‘Scinde Dawk’. On 1st July 1852, the red half anna Scinde Dawk became Asia’s first postage stamp. India was the first in Asia and 10th in the world to issue a postal stamp. The design on the stamps depicts a heart-shaped device divided into three segments, each containing one of the letters E.I.C. of the East India Company. This introduced inexpensive and uniform postal rates.
The Scinde Dawk stamps remained in circulation for just over two years from July 1, 1852, to September 30, 1854. However, the withdrawal order was not fully implemented until later. The then Director-General of the Posts, India, received a letter in June 1856 that was addressed to him. That letter bore Scinde Dawk stamp adhered on it. He immediately took notice of the situation and the balance stock was forthwith destroyed by the collector of Karachi.