- Who started this system in Mewat?
- Why were Brahmins employed?
- When was the ‘dak’ looted?
- What did the harkaras carry with them?
- What were the charges for public?
It was Maharana Swaroop Singh who started the postal system in Mewar for the first time. East India Company had acquired the monopoly to run postal services in the whole of India. However, Mewar was exempted and allowed to have its own system.
The Maharana appointed Brahmins as Harkaras, runners or messengers, as this community was highly respected those day and nobody dared harm them. This ensured the safety of articles that were sent by post. So the service got its name ‘Brahmini Dak’. Of course, later on other communities always got appointment.
There were no means of transport and all Harkaras had to pass through jungles and lonely places. Once in 1908 the ‘dak’ was looted by Meenas near village Luhari that was in erstwhile Jahazpur district but now falls in Bhilwara district. Many times, this was done by the enemy or robbers.
The Harkaras used to wear a special kind of ‘pagri’. They also carried a special type of wooden stick. On one end of it were tied ‘ghungrus’, the sound of which informed the villagers about the arrival of the Harkaras. In case of emergency, the stick was also used as a means of safety.
Carrying a weight of 25 to 30 ‘ser’, the Harkaras had to run at a speed of 3 to 3.5 miles per hour. Initially, their monthly salary was rupees two but later on it was raised.
There were no charges for government letters. For efficient running of the service the contractors were paid Rs 1920 per year but later on the amount was raised to Rs 6000. Initially the service was only for government but later on public could also use it. The charges for public were nominal and three paisa per letter was to be paid for one letter. Parcels could also be sent and charges were on the basis of weight and distance Senders did not have to affix stamps or use envelopes as is done now. If the charges was paid by the sender, the postal employee would put a seal ‘Mehsul Chuka’ (postal charges paid) on the item. In case the payment was to be made by the receiver, there was a seal ‘Mehsuli’ (payment due). It was compulsory for the receiver to pay. The letter boxes were of dark green colour. In the beginnings there were forty post offices in Mewar but the numbers was raised to sixty in 1637.
After independence, the government of India stopped all other postal service including Brahmini Dak.
Content Courtesy: JNRV, Shodh Sansthan