The word communication is much related to our lives and is essential to human beings. Thus, from ancient times, there were various ways to communicate news. Those methods were made by people to keep communication active among them.
Postal service is one of the major ways which fulfills the communication necessity of people. Over Sri Lankan’s history post facilitated many services to the society and continues to do so.
From the earliest times in history, postal services existed in the form of messengers who travelled large distances on foot or horseback. In the 1600s and 1700s, many countries set up national postage systems and entered into bilateral agreements for the exchange of mail between countries.
World post day falls on October 9 and there is a story to proclaim today as the world post day.
History of the stamp runs to the 19th century. Penny Black is the world’s first official adhesive postage stamp which featured the Queen Victoria’s portrait. It was issued on May 1, 1840. The day marks the anniversary of creation of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in Bern in Switzerland. Then, in 1969, the Universal Postal Union Congress was held in Japan and they declared October 9 World Post Day.
There are several purposes and reasons for creating world post day. Main objective is to spread awareness of the role of the postal sector in people’s and businesses’ everyday lives and its contribution to the social and economic development of countries.
Since 1969, countries across the world participate annually in the celebrations. Each year, more than 150 countries celebrate world post day in their unique ways. Those celebrations encourage member countries to undertake program activities aimed at generating a broader awareness of their post’s role and activities among the public and media on a national scale.
In some countries, world post day is observed as a working holiday. Many posts use the event to introduce or promote new postal products and services. Some posts also use world post day to reward their employees for good service. Other activities like open days at post offices, mail centers and postal museums, conferences, seminars and workshops, and cultural, sport and other recreation events are also organized on national postal day. Theme for 2015 is ‘Tell us about the world you want to grow up in.’
When talking about the postal service, the letter is the main thing which comes to our mind, because that plays a huge role in the postal system. When we send a letter, we have to pay for the stamp as the postage. A letter is a written message from one party to another that contains information. Letters guarantee the preservation of communication between both parties. They bring friends or relatives closer together, enrich professional relationships and provide a satisfying means of self-expression.
In ancient Sri Lanka, people used to send letters frequently as the effective way of communication through posts. Not only locally, people sent letters to their friends and relations who were abroad. Reply for the message was also received through a letter to the first sender.
In Sri Lanka, the Posts Department, functioning under the brand name Sri Lanka Post, is a government operated postal system. The postal headquarters is the General Post Office which is located in Colombo. Postmaster General is the head of Sri Lanka post. The first Postmaster General of Ceylon was A Kennedy, an Army Officer. Currently Sri Lanka Post has a total of 4,737 post offices in the whole country.
When mail is sent to relevant places, there should be a proper transportation system for it. Over the years, different modes of transport have been used for the transportation and delivery of mail. In a bygone era, delivery was first by foot (in the hills and remote places it is not uncommon to see postmen delivering letters on foot, even today!), and then bicycles were added. Sri Lanka Post was the first to inaugurate a mail coach service in Asia. The mail coach service began operations in 1832, between Colombo and Kandy. For the international letters, it uses airplanes.
Sri Lanka post offers many services apart from mail-delivery, like money transferring, postal express service for documents and merchandise, logi post, speed post courier service, utility bill payments, epf/etf payments, examination payments, pension and social payments, banking and hybrid telemail. Thus even if we don’t send letters anymore, we will still use the postal service for one reason or another.
Currently, post is not used much because of mobile phones, instant messaging systems and social media which were introduced by modern technology. While some people do send letters and postcards simply to keep the system alive, it has been abandoned for faster methods of communication. People, especially the youth, rely more on instant methods of communication, like social networking sites and messaging apps, than snail mail. The postal service however, continues to do its duties towards the community.