M. Shefyaet Hossain
The journey of the Postal Service in exchanging news along the path of history dates back to four and a half thousand years ago. In this long journey, the world’s oldest institution has gone from ancient Mesopotamia to Babylonian civilization by showing flames signal, sending hunting pigeons, or from the era of horseback-runner bags, or the era of Tore-Tokka technology invented by Samuel Morse. Now the Postal Service has entered the age of digital technology era in the wake of thousands of years of global evolution. This oldest media of communication has adapted to the times and has survived to this day. With the advent of digital technology, the era of letters has come to an end, but the importance of Postal Services will continue in the world of the next fourth industrial revolution.
World Postal Day is being celebrated on 9th October every year at the initiative of Universal Postal Union with the aim of creating public awareness about Postal Services. The International Postal Union was formed on 9 October 1874 in Bern, Switzerland with the participation of representatives from 22 countries. October 9, 1969, was declared as World Postal Day by the organization to commemorate the formation of the Union. Bangladesh became a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 1973 under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Since then, World Postal Day has been celebrated in the country every year.
This year, World Postal Day is being celebrated with the theme “Innovate to recover”. Vaccine innovation is helping to save the world from the grip of the Covid 19 virus. The concern at the beginning of the Covid crisis was that it would take many years for the vaccine to be developed to deal with the epidemic. But the vaccine has been developed within a year due to the continuous efforts of different world organizations and above all scientists and researchers. Those who invented the Covid-19 vaccine are the heroes of protecting the world from the corona. The Corona epidemic has raised new hopes. The international postal sector can emulate how this innovation is protecting people from epidemics. From that point of view, this year’s proposal has become very relevant. A review of the history of the postal service shows that in 1840, the first postage stamp in the history of the world was used in Britain. A decade later, the first use of stamps in the Indian subcontinent began in 1852 with the hand of Sir Bartel Frere, then Commissioner of Sindh. The name of the stamp was – ‘Sinde Dock’. After the stamps were issued for a couple of years, the East India Company introduced a uniform postal system throughout the subcontinent. The stamp had a picture of Queen Victoria. Until independence in 1947, all stamps in the Indian subcontinent bore the image of either Queen Victoria or her successors. The glorious history of the postal service is drained with our great war of liberation in 1971. We did not just fight with arms. We have fought through cultural activists, players, common people and Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendra. Postage stamps are also part of that struggle.
On 29 July 1971, eight stamps designed by Indian citizen Biman Mallick (Biman Chand Mallick) were issued by the Mujibnagar Government, Bangladesh Mission in Calcutta and London. The Mujibnagar government took this initiative as a diplomatic process to build world public opinion in favor of independence. The 8 commemorative stamps issued by the Mujibnagar government and the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on July 29, 1971, have reflected our nationalism, statehood and liberation war in the world. There is a reason to celebrate this day as a national day and not just in the postal department. Through this, the existence of the state has been highlighted which has caused a stir all over the world. The postal department is already emerging with the addition of digital commerce. Digital technology has turned the current world into a global house.
There is no alternative to transforming the postal service into an appropriate technology to meet the challenges of technology. About 40,000 workers are engaged in postal service in ten thousand post offices in the country. A program has been taken to digitalize the post office to make it a useful force in establishing a digital equitable society based on the vast infrastructure and network knowledge of eighty thousand hands of forty thousand people and post offices across the country. As a very old organization, the organization has many flaws and backwardness. In order to overcome the existing backwardness, it is necessary to digitalize all the activities of the Postal Department. The Department of Posts has entered the digital age from the traditional method under the direction of the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Mr. Mustafa Jabbar in the quest to establish the golden Bengal of Bangabandhu’s dream by making successful the ongoing struggle of the visionary leader Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. As a result of the digitalization program, the Postal Department has launched mobile financial services, digital money orders, postal cash cards and digital commerce. Following the transformation of 8500 post offices in the country into digital post offices, the grassroots people of the country are getting 200 digital services from the government.
The vast network of post offices across the country is used by private entrepreneurs engaged in digital commerce. As a result, it will be possible to transport and distribute perishable goods including vegetables in a fast time across the country. To this end, initiatives are being taken to set up frozen chambers in postal transport vehicles and shorting centers in 64 districts of the country. This will open a new horizon in the development of digital commerce in the country. The post office’s extensive transportation network and vast infrastructure have been utilized to serve the people in the global epidemic caused by Covid-19. As a result of the unimaginable development and application of digital technology, the ancient institutional postal department is turning around. In addition to developing the post office as a digital post office, initiatives have already been taken to make the existing manpower digitally useful. Digitization has been implemented in some cases but it will not be easy to reap the full benefits without digitization as a whole. Digital commerce has kept shopping in the coronal lockdown and the pressure on digital commerce will increase in the coming days.
Digital commerce will come to the city just as the products of the city will go to the village. By training entrepreneurs, it is possible to build the vast potential of digital commerce. In this case, necessary training initiatives have been taken to create digital capabilities among digital post office entrepreneurs.
A big surprise of this year’s World Postal Day is that the Department of Posts has taken the initiative to give a reception to the world’s best letter writer on the occasion of the day. Nubaysha Islam, an eighth grade student of Sylhet Ananda Niketan Vidyalaya, has won a gold medal in the 50th letter writing competition organized by the Universal Postal Union (UPU). Nubaysha Islam has won the 50th International Letter-Writing Competition (LLWC) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Nubaysha wrote the letter to her younger sister Amal. Letter to a family member in the coronavirus epidemic – Nubaysha Islam was declared the winner in the latter category. Bangladesh is happy with Nubaysha’s achievement. Hon’ble Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Mr. Mustafa Jabbar responded by saying, “This is a global recognition of our talent.
Writer: Information and Public Relations Officer, Posts and Telecommunications Division