Trailing the journey of the Indian postal system from 1668 till 2007, Arvind Kumar Singh’s book “Bharatiya Dak: Sadiyon Ka Safarnama” has been chosen by the Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development for the Shiksha Puraskar or the Education Award for the year 2009. The award was launched by the Government of India in 1992 for encouraging original writings in Hindi in the field of education.
Published by National Book Trust, the book has already been translated into three languages -- English, Hindi and Assamese -- and is going to be translated in seven to 12 more languages.
“This book has been a best-seller on the subject and that the new editions will have a new look,” said an NBT representative.
One of its chapters titled “ Chittiyon KI Anokhi Duniya – the unique world of letters” has also been included in the NCERT book of Class VIII which runs into seven pages.
Titled the “Moving encyclopaedia of Indian Post” in English, the book has 43 chapters and explains in detail the postal systems during the times of kings and nobility, modern and rural postal systems, postmen’s lives and the hardships they face, postcard, letterbox, earlier postal services through pigeons to dak-bunglows to horses and elephants and from male runners to rail, air etc.
It notes that that stalwarts in their own fields like Noble Laureate C.V. Raman, authors Munshi Prem Chand, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Nirad C. Chaudhary and Mahashewta Devi, actor Dev Anand and celebrated Dogri writers Shivnath and Krishna Bihari ‘Noor’ were once postal department employees.
Arvind Singh’s book has been written for the layman and is about the post Independence status of the postal services. It covers the challenges met by the carriers of postal services and its heroic survival despite the onslaught of technology via mobile, internet and private couriers.
Recalling a story about another person who wanted to write on the subject, the 52-year-old author, who hails from UP, said: “A postman in Allahabad wanted to write a book on the subject but due to financial constraints and ill health he died. He would get me my money order which I used to wait desperately for in my college days in Allahabad. Once when I didn’t get any money order, I went to see him. He was ill. I came to know that day that he used to give me money from his own pocket if my money order didn’t reach on time. It humbled me immensely and raised my curiosity to know more about the lives of postmen. But due to the lack of any research material, I had to run across the whole of India and meet almost every postman, virtually every post office to know the reality behind this unique service.”