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the history of postal Services in India, the role played by former
princely state of Marwar in Rajasthan catches great attention.
Before the unification of the postal services through the Imperial
(British) Postal system, a number of postal services had been in vogue, in
the country, like the Anche Dak in the south, Nizamat Dak,
the Nawab’s Salt Dak or Police Dak and the Behangy Dak in the
East. The most important of these - the Mirdha Dak, was
prevalent in Rajasthan and Northern India. The historic association of the
family of Mirdhas of Rajasthan with development and maintenance of Postal
services in different parts of Mughal Empire has been traced to the
halcyon days of Akbar the Great.
Mirdha family of Jodhpur managed the postal system in Marwar,
known as Mirdha Dak. The administrative reports of Maharaja
Jaswant Singh written by Munshi Hardayal Singh, compiled in
1883-84 captioned as ‘Mazmoo-e-halat Raj Marwar’ relate to
postal arrangements along with other administrative matters. Dafa 321
and 232 in the 17th Chapter refer to the Department of
Posts. Reference is made to incidents around 1584 A.D. One such event
relates to the victory of Raja Uday Singh over Gujarat by
defeating Sultan Muzzafar. This news was conveyed to the Emperor Akbar
at Delhi by one of the Mirdhas. The Mughal was so pleased that he
presented a Tughlaki - golden earring - to the bearer of the good
the Mirdhas belonged to the Jat community, their traditional
role as conveyers of mails, gave them a distinct identity. They usually
accompanied the king during the pilgrimage and other travels. Mails were
delivered even when the king was in the battlefield. The Mirdhas were
responsible for delivering all messages and mails from the royal
headquarters at Jodhpur to other officials and the systems operated by
them. In recognition of this position as the chief of the Postal system it
was called Mirdha Dak. The Mirdhas were presented with a silver
rod, to which were attached small bells, symbolic of the mail carrying
work. This rod was also an expression of the authority conferred on the
The Quaysides (couriers) working under the Mirdhas covered normally
15-20 miles a day but when there was urgency they could 50 to 70 miles a
day. Impressed by this feat, Maharaja Bakht Singh gave the Mirdhas
the privilege of riding horses (the title of Godha-Quasid),
something that was exclusive to the higher classes in those days. On
conquering Ahmedabad Maharaja Abhey Singh
awarded a village known as Kuchera to the Mirdha family.
When Maharaja Bhakt Singh, 1751 A.D., came to power he gave Mangal
Ram Mirdha, the then Chief Postal Administrator, the village Silas.
An additional gift was made to the Mirdhas by giving them power to
collect land revenue up to Rs.500 annually. Raja Man Singh also
awarded the grandfather of Shivji Mirdha the right to collect
revenue in the village of Bhakrod, Dhudia at Nagaur.
now in the town of Jodhpur there is a place called Mirdhon ke Dera,
which would have been awarded to the Mirdhas by the Maharajas. Over the
centuries Mirdhas attained the status of nobles. The remnants of the
mansions occupied by these Mirdhas at a place called Jatadas bears
testimony to the social status enjoyed by the family.
the Mirdhas, a community called Sargara did the actual carrying of mail,
which was to be delivered to village officers. Different sets of people
were employed to handle the mails meant for the common people. They were
under the charge of the head messenger who was responsible to the Mirdha.
Depending upon the distance between places, schedules were fixed. For
instance, between Lahore and Delhi it was 8 days, between Ahmedabad to
Jodhpur it was 5 days, from Delhi to Jodhpur it was 6 days.
details of this system have been given in the reports, which state that
the Mirdha Dak was conveyed through horses and that there used to be a
mail post at every 10 kos. The mail couriers (The Quaside) used to work
under the supervision of the Mirdhas who acted as supervisors of mail
offices (Dak Chowkies) and the courier services. There used to be 2
Quaysides working at intervals of 5 kos each who were paid a salary of Rs.
5/- per month by the state. Whenever the Maharaja or any VIP had to go out
on tour, the Mirdhas used to arrange for the appointment of quaysides and
Harkaras, for satisfactory conveyance of messages. Mirdhas used to
accompany important dignitaries during their tours to personally supervise
the mail arrangements. This Dak used to normally cover 40 kos in 24 hours
though there were occasions when it covered up to 70 kos during 24 hours.
At times, it could even Jaipur & Bundi (situated over 100 kos apart)
in two days.
the middle of 18th century, during the rule of Raja Bakht
at Jodhpur, the postal system was quite well organized. For Nagaur and
other places mail was delivered through carrier-pigeons; the mail system
was divide in to four categories; -
Dak was further subdivided in to three classes:
1818, the British gained control over Marwar through a treaty they signed
with King Chatar Singh. But even after this, the various Dak systems were
operating as before. The English Dak was commissioned in 1819 during the
reign of Maharaja Man Singh. After the introduction of railways in
1882, in the reign of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, trains to some
stations from Jodhpur sent mails. The Angreji Dak was sent by train to
Naya Nagar (Bedwar) Sojat, Pali, Eranpura, Abu, Sambher, and Naun cities.
The rest of the Dak was still delivered by runners.
In 1870 the government enunciated the policy of integration of all postal systems in to one. In Marwar the postal system was integrated in 1885, in the reign of Jaswant Singh II. The amalgamation of Princely states’ postal system was completed in 1892.
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