‘India is a huge country, nay sub-continent. Two things that bind the whole country together are Railways and Postal Service.’
V S Naipaul, The Daily Mail, London, 2011
The postal state in India could be termed as snail mail/outdated mode of knitting together the diverse nation. Yet, one can’t discount or pooh-pooh the postal service of India that has been doing a Yeoman’s Service since the days of Raj.
The detractors of Indian Postal Service are unaware that the relevance of postal state is still alive and kicking. The problem with the critics of this particular system is that they all live in metros or big cities and are net-savvy. They think that the post has lost its significance. Mind you, it hasn’t.
Urban and urbane perceptions are always far removed from the ground realities. I ask these guys a simple question: How much is the proliferation and penetration of internet in the entire country? According to The Internet Data Survey (2014), only 19 percent Indians are net savvy. The rest of the population still depends upon the age-old and time-honoured postal service which has a nationwide presence and proliferation.
Agreed, postal state has suffered considerably in recent years, thanks to other modes and electronic mediums, but certain trustworthy things, pursuits and hobbies remain despite the onslaught of ‘modernism’.
Postal service is a government machinery. In other words, it’s a government undertaking. If we, the citizens of India, show reluctance towards its functioning and modus operandi, we unknowingly belittle our government and its service sectors.
Agreed, an age-old system needs a revamp. The same applies to Railways and Postal state. Do you know, the failure rate of reaching letters has come down from 13.7 percent to just 2.22 percent in recent times? In other words, your snail mails (a very derogatory term indeed) reach their destinations usually in time without getting misplaced on the way. The failure rate, considering the hugeness of the system, is negligible.
Moreover, Postal Service of India’s Speed Post is bracketed with the very best in the world in terms of efficiency. No courier company in India and abroad can hold a candle to it. Its failure rate is almost zilch.
It’s safe, secure and sure. Moreover, ensured. This attitude to run down all old systems is not good. Postal service is now well diversified into other activities as well. Postal savings are still very popular with people from all walks of life.
The town and village people rely on postal savings. Just think, by sticking a 5 Rs. stamp, you can send your letter anywhere in the country. A postcard is still so cheap and within the reach of every Indian.
Before criticising, we must realise and take into account the ground realities and affordability factors. From these perspectives, the Indian Postal system has been doing an admirable job for decades.
It’s been in existence for a long time and will continue to exist, serving the poor and middle-level population of the country.
Be positive about your own service sector/s. Then only can you contribute to the collective nation-building.
Remember Hindi poetess Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s lines, ‘Daak hai toh ye bharosa hai/Nahin chitthi gum hone ka andesha hai’ (There’s a certainty because of post/The letters will not be lost).