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Post Office Instruction Labels.

For a short period before the Old Rectangular stamps became obsolete, a variety of small “instruction labels” were occasionally affixed to envelopes by certain Post Offices. This practice, which appears to have been confined to the British and Native Offices at Srinagar and to the Native Office at Jammu City, seems to have been discontinued after the New Rectangulars had been in issue for some five or six years. These labels are found, printed on yellow paper, both in English and also in Native characters. Our enquiries as to their nature having failed to produce any official information, we must leave the labels, illustrated on Plate 50, to speak for themselves. They may have originated from the desire of both British and Native postal officials to encourage the Kashmiri to take advantage of postal facilities of every description, and to co-operate in exercising a fuller measure of control over the more modern postal methods and routine now in force. The nine known varieties illustrated were...

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...all affixed to entire covers in our possession and we proceed to describe them with the addition of such points of interest as may appear from the covers themselves.

Fig. 1.  This was used in or before 1876. The English inscription reads:—“Post Master will kindly obtain this cover and forward to Supdt. Travelling Post Offices Amballa.” We have no knowledge of the nature of these “Travelling Post Offices.” This cover was stamped “No. 7 DOWN TRAIN”—a mark of which we know of no other example—and as Amballa lies in the British Punjab some 150 miles south of Kashmir territory, the control here exercised would seem to have been entirely that of British postal officials. The stamp on this cover was the ½-Anna in red watercolour of the Jammu Old Rectangulars obliterated with the “square black seal” of the Native Post Office at Jammu City, and the cover shews additional postmarks of “Umballa”, the spelling of which differs from that of the label in respect of the initial letter.

Fig. 2.  The English inscription is here identical with that of the preceding except for the alteration in spelling—“Umballa.” The stamp and obliteration are also the same, and indicate a similar period. A point of some interest appears to arise from both of these covers owing to the fact of British control although, and perhaps because, no British Post Office existed in the Jammu Province. These are the only two covers on which we have seen the instruction labels in company with Old Rectangular stamps.

Fig. 3.  This shews a third type of English inscription:—“N.L.I. Post Master will kindly obtain this cover, and forward to Supdt., Travelling Post Office, Lahore, for reference.” The stamp on this (as on all the six covers which follow) is the ½-Anna New Rectangular in red on thin wove paper. The obliteration is the “barred-minim” of Jammu City which superseded the “square seal” in 1879, and the period of this label would lie between 1880 and 1884.

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Fig. 4.  The fourth type of English inscription reads:—“This cover to be sent to Supdt., R.M.S. Lahore.” The obliteration is, again, the “barred minim” of Jammu, and the period of the label would be, approximately, that of Type 3.

Fig. 5.  The last of the English inscriptions reads:—“Missent. Please return this envelope to the postman.” The cover shews a postmark of Amritsar dated 13 April, 1885, the obliteration on the stamp being that of one of the Native Post Offices in the Kashmir Province. The date is the latest known to us for the use of these labels.

Fig. 6.  The first of the four labels with native inscriptions occurs on a cover of June, 1882, with the stamps again obliterated at Jammu City by the “barred minim.” The three lines of inscription read:—“In the Post Office Savings Banks—have been opened—enquire in the Post Office.” This inscription, together with that of No. 7 following, is in Hindi characters.

Fig. 7.  A literal translation of this Hindi inscription reads:—“Stock notes of the value of Rupees 12/8/0—Rupees 25 and 50 from the Post Office—can be obtained.” This occurs on a cover of December, 1883 with the same Jammu obliteration as before.

Fig. 8.  This label gives an instruction identical with that of No. 6, but in Urdu instead of Hindi characters. The obliteration on the stamp is the “large barred-L” of the British Post Office at Srinagar (Kashmir). The margin of this native label is printed in English.

Fig. 9.  This occurs on a cover dated May 1882. The Urdu inscription is the same as in Type 8, but the narrow margin is not printed in English and has been filled in with M.S. native characters. The obliteration on the stamp is, again, the “barred-minim” of Jammu City.

We would, by way of concluding our notes on these labels, suggest that they are, from a philatelic standpoint, of greater importance than their unprepossessing appearance...

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...might indicate. Such evidence as the limited amount of material provides, certainly supports what has been written in an earlier Chapter as to the inter-dependence of the British and Native Posts, and still further proves, even at this comparatively late period, that the status of the native stamps must be regarded as something higher than that of mere “locals,” and that they formed an appeciable part of one great Imperial Postal System.

List of Post Offices.

In 1930 we obtained, through the courtesy of the Director-General of the Posts of British India, an official list of the Post Offices in Jammu-Kashmir at that date. These numbered sixty-five, of which twenty-two are unknown to us and of which the great majority, if not all, were probably established after the closing of the Native Posts in 1894. In the list which follows these Offices are shewn in italics.

We are able to record a further fourteen Post Offices, in addition to those scheduled in the official list, making up a total of seventy-nine. Of these fourteen, all but two—Bhadawar and Tavi—received the 3-circle Postmarks in or after 1890 and before the closing of the Posts. In respect of these the Official list is either incomplete or else these particular Post-Offices had been discontinued between 1894 and 1930. They are marked (*) in the list which follows.

1 Akhnur, 2 Anant Nag, 3 Astore, 4 Baramulla, 5 Barwa Magam, 6 Bandipura, 7 Banhal, 8 Basoli, 9 Batout, 10 Bhadawar*, 11 Bhimber, 12 Bijbehara, 13 Bunji, 14 Camp Post Office*, 15 Chak Karna*, 16 Chakoti, 17 Check Office*, 18 Chirat, 19 Chomak, 20 Danusa, 21 Dachanpara, 22 Deosar, 23 Doda*, 24 Domel, 25 Dras, 26 Gilgit, 27 Gulmarg*, 28 Gurez, 29 Hamipursiddar, 30 Hasora*, 31 Hattian, 32 Islamabad, 33 Jammu, 34 Jasrota, 35 Jasmirgarh, 36 Jhelum (Mail Agent), 37 Kanachak, 38 Kargill, 39 Karnah, 40 Karolin, 41 Kathua*, 42 Katoha, 43 Kishtwar, 44 Kohala, 45 Kotli, ...

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...46 Lar, 47 Leh, 48 Maharajgung, 49 Manawar, 50 Mirpur, 51 Muzaffarabad*, 52 Nagam, 53 Nowanshah, 54 Nowshera, 55 Paddar, 56 Pampur, 57 Parrat, 58 Parol*, 59 Rajauri, 60 Ramban, 61 Rampur, 62 Riazi, 63 Rondu, 64 Sakchinpur, 65 Samba, 66 Shopian, 67 Shorayer*, 68 Skardo, 69 Sopur, 70 Srinagar, 71 Sunmergh, 72 Tavi*, 73 Thana, 74 Udhampur, 75 Ular*, 76 Ullavehu, 77 Uri, 78 Uttar Machipura, 79 Veri Nag.

Of the above, Chak Karna (15) and Kanachak (37) may be identical. The spelling in the official list varies in several cases from that of the postmarks which shew the following differences:—

Bara Mula, Bandpura, Basohli, Bhimbar, Choumak, Jasmergarh, Padar, Panpur, Rajaouri, Ryiasi, Sanbha, Askardu (Skardo).

► Chapter XV.

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