Pigeon Post

A commemorative postage stamp on the Orissa Police Pigeon Post :

1217 Pigeon Post [India Stamp 1989]Issued by India

Issued on Nov 3, 1989

Description of Designs : The stamp has been developed by India Security Press based on designs provided by Madhukar Dewagaonka. The design for the First Day Cover has also been designed by Madhukar Dewagaonka. Cancellation design is by Kamalakshya Kanungo.

Type : Stamp, Postal Used

Watermark : No

Colour : Single Colour

Denomination : 100 Paise

Stamp Overall Size : 3.91 x 2.90 cms.

Stamp Print Size : 3.55 x 2.54 cms.

Perforation : 13 x 13

Paper : Indigenous unwatermarked P.G. Coated gummed stamp paper

Stamps Printed : 15,00,000 in sheets of 35

Printed : India Security Press

Printing Process : Photogravure

About : 

  • The Pigeon is man’s close companion and exhibits no fear in his presence. Pigeons have a natural habit of returning unerringly to their homes after a flight.
  • From the Khalif of Baghdad, Sultan Narrdin’s regular pigeon post covering his entire state in 1146 A.D., recorded pigeon messages have been used on many interesting occasions. The message of victory in the Battle of Waterloo sent from Waterloo to London in 1815 was a notable one. During World War I “CheerAm 1”, a homing pigeon of the American army, helped in saving a lost American battalion from being captured by the Germans. In India, Chandragupta Maurya, Emperor Ashok and the Mughal Emperors used pigeons as message carriers.
  • The Orissa Police is the only state force in India to have adopted and maintained this method of communication since 1946. They procured 40 pigeons from the departing colonial government at the close of the Second World War. The force now has a strength of 926 Homing Pigeons spread over 17 police districts of the state. The pigeons are trained on three courses – static, mobile and boomerang. The static category forms a batch in which pigeons are moved with the forces leaving headquarters for remote areas and are released in the sky whenever the need arises for communicating with Headquarters. In the mobile category, the police take the trailer alongwith pigeons to the places of operation. In the third, boomerang-category, the pigeons are trained to deliver and return with the message within their flying area, usually restricted to 50 miles both ways.
  • Pigeons are cheap to maintain in terms of diet as well as rooming space. Supplied with potash dissolved drinking water and a special regular diet of shark liver oil twice daily, the racing homing pigeon’s life-span covers 15 to 20 years with an active life ranging from seven to ten years. Such a bird of proper health, can fly upto 1000 km. at a stretch at a height of about 150-200 ft. The information to be communicated is written on a small sheet and tied round the feet of the pigeon in a plastic capsule. Usually two birds with the same message are released simultaneously, so that even if one wanders away or is attacked by hawks, the other will not fail to deliver.
  • The Orissa Police has achieved immense results in times of emergencies, natural calamities, riotous situations and times of stress and strain, by the use of carrier pigeons. During the Postal centenary celebrations of 1954 at Delhi the Homing Pigeons of the Orissa Police gave a successful demonstration, by conveying the message of inauguration from the President to the Prime Minister. When the foundation stone of the longest, Hirakund Dam was to be laid by Prime Minister Nehru on 13-4-48, he desired certain changes in the public meeting scheduled at Cuttack. The Homing Pigeon of the State Police transported his message from Sambalpur to Cuttack, 400 km. away in 5 hours, to his great delight.

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