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Indian Postal History 1947-1997

1948 September 15, First Postal Stationery of Independent India

2 annas Inland Air Letter, (similar to the 6 annas Foreign Air Letter) was the first Postal Stationary of Independent India. It was issued on 15th September 1948 from a few important post offices viz., Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi & Madras and for others, it was from 1st October 1948.

The Air Letter form is on greyish paper with brick red overlay of vertical lines. The 2 annas stamp was printed on the form- it has a single flap measuring 22 mm. This 2 annas Air Letter form was intended for inland Air Mail correspondence only, vide Postal Notice No.36 dated 7th September 1948. Registration, Insurance and Express Delivery of such Air letter was not permitted.

This 2 annas Air Letter lost its utility when All up Scheme was introduced on 1st April 1949. It became obsolete, when 1? anna Inland Letter Card was introduced on 2nd October 1950. Postal Notice No.2 dated 9th April 1951, requests members of the public holding such forms to tender these at any post office in India as may be convenient to them, for exchange with ordinary postage stamps or postal stationery provided the forms so tendered are in unused and serviceable condition (Printed or written matter was not allowed). Such exchanges will be allowed upto 31st May 1951. No extension of the date will be made under any circumstance.

The Postal Notice No.42 dated 27th October 1951 says that the stocks of the obsolete 2 annas Inland Letter forms should be unitized against the demands for 3 annas Air letter intended for Ceylon and Pakistan after the additional I anna stamp thereon. The issue of the present 1? annas Inland letter Cards for the purpose, shall be withdrawn forthwith, as stipulated in Postal Notice No.11 dated 24th May 1951, which interprets as:

  • The 3 anna air service was introduced on let June 1951.
  • As 3 annas forms were not printed, 1? anna Inland Letter Cards were used after affixing additional 1? anna stamp.

The Postal Notice No.14 dated 4th September 1952 speaks that pending issue of the new 5 annas foreign letterforms intended for correspondence to Burma. It has been decided that the stocks of the obsolete 2 annas Inland air Letter Forms being used at present against demands for Air Letter to Ceylon and Pakistan, may as well be utilized for Burma after affixing additional 3 anna postage stamp thereon.

Thus we can assume that the unused surplus forms of 2 annas Air Letter were used by the Department efficiently.

annas Inland airmail envelope was also issued along with 2 annas Inland Air Letter on 15th September 1949 vide Postal Notice No.36 dated 7th September 1948. The value Stamp is in blue on blue wove paper, with or without IMPERIAL AIR MAIL and castle watermark. The air mail etiquette reads INLAND / AIRMAIL in two lines and blue lozenges appear on the lower half of the envelope.

annas Inland Air Letter was a new service, introduced for the first time in India, but 2? annas Inland Air Mail service was being used since many decades. The bifurcation and 1 anna as Inland Air Fee. This 2? annas envelope lost its importance when All up Scheme was introduced on 1st April 1949 and domestic Air Fee was abolished.

For many years the unused envelopes remained unutilized. Then the postal Department decided to obliterate the word "Inland" appearing at left-hand corner and to put on sale on and from 16th October 1952. The word - Inland was blanked out with a diagonal black bar measuring approximately 23 x 1? mm.

It was decided by the postal Department that these envelopes should be sold through 4 treasuries namely Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi and Madras only after affixing additional postage stamps of requisites values to make up the deficiency for use on Air Mail to countries like Ceylon & Pakistan (1 Anna Stamp) and Burma & Afghanistan (3? annas stamp), vide Air Mail Postal Notice No.20 dated 16th October 1952.

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