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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Emperor Sher Shah Suri, Pioneer Of Highways In Indo-Pak Sub-Continent October 5,1991



The history of India from AD 1526 to AD 1556 is mainly the story of Mughul - Afghan Contest for supremacy in the Sub-continent. Berber’s victory at Paniput did not result in the complete destruction and annihilation of the Afghan chiefs. They only needed the guiding hand of strong personality to guide their isolated efforts to an organized national resistance against newly founded Mughul rule.
The opportunity soon came in the shape of Sher Shah Sun who was born Circa 1472.AD and named Fend Khan. His forefathers belonged to Peshawar. This promising, agile youth showed a great promise in the successful administration of parganacs and winning over the favor of the ruler of Bihar and the gallantry award of Sher Khan\", by Killing a tiger single-handedly.
Babar laid the foundation of establishment in India and when it was about to collapse in the days of his son Humayun it was then celebrated Sher Shah Sun who by sheer courage, talent and by putting up a great fight, brought about Afghan prominence and gave it new vigour and vitality.
Sher Shah Sun grew up to be one of the ablest administrators and emperors in the annals of history. His knowledge, intellect and management was simply amazing. One of the greatest statesmen and policy makers of history, his reforms still hold good and fresh as they were a few centuries ago.
Sher Shah introduced a sound Revenue System in the country. He gave a humane and equitable land revenue System with the following objectives in his mind.
(I)- To obtain correct measurement of the land.
(ii)- To ascertain the amount of produce of each acre and the proportion it should pay to the Government.
(iii)- To give the equivalent, if possible, in cash Sher Shah succeeded in achieving all the three objectives.
Sher Shah rebuilt the beautiful city of Pataliputra, the capital of Asoka and renamed it 'Patina'. He assembled around his person all the great men of letters, learning art of his days and his court became distinguished for all good characteristics of a good Muslim sovereign.
Sher Shah Sun improved communications network to a great extent. For the purpose of Imperial defence, as well as for the convenience of the people, Sher Shah connected the important places of his kingdom by a chain of excellent roads. The longest of these, the Grand Trunk Road, which still exists, extended from Sonargaon (near Dhaka) to Peshawar. One road ran from Agra to Burhanpur, another from Lahore to Multan.
Following the traditions of some rulers of the past, he planted shade-giving trees on both sides of the highways. For the convenience of poor travelers, Sher Shah constructed Sarais at every two kos (approximately three miles) having separate lodging for Muslims and Hindus with all possible facilities of the time. The Sarais, being the halting places of officials, two horses were kept in each one of them to convey reports of important happenings to the king every day. Sher Shah ordered establishment of villages around these Sarais.
THOUGH THERE EXISTED A POSTAL SYSTEM BEFORE SHER SHAH SURI BUT, THE EMPEROR GAVE IT SPEED, EFFICIENCY, RELIABILITY AND OTHER DIMENSIONS AS WELL. THIS POSTAL SYSTEM, WHICH ARGUABLY WAS THE BEST OF THE TIME, ENABLED THE EXPEROR TO MAINTAIN AN EFFICIENT SYSTEM OF INFORMATION TO KNOW INSTANTLY WHAT HAPPENED IN HIS KINGDOM. GREAT TRAVELLER FARISHTA DESCRIBED THE EXISTENCE OF A WELL-ORGANIZED AND FAIRLY-DEVELOPED MOUNTED POSTAL SYSTEM IN VOGUE IN THE REIGN OF SHER SHAH SURI. HE PLACED HORSE COURIERS ON THE ROAD AT A DISTANCE OF TWO TO THREE MILES TO RUN THIS SYSTEM EFFICIENTLY. HE CONSTRUCTED ALMOST 1700 SARAIS AND KEPT THOUSANDS OF HORSES (ONE ESTIMATE 3400 HORSES) IN THE DAK CHOWKIES PLACED UNDER THE CHARGE OF A DAROGHA-I-DAK, FOR SMOOTH FUNCTIONING OF POSTAL SERVICE.
Besides building roads, Sarais, hospitals and other institutions of public utility and, for the first time ever in this part of the world, he adopted a system of Old Age pension for the sick, poor, old and infirm.
In the field of law and justice he made law both from his own ideas and by extracting from the works and teachings of wise and learned providing relief to aggrieved and oppressed from coercion, tyranny and repression for the prosperity and safety of public, safety of highways and facility for the merchants and traders. The secret of his power lay in the love for his subjects, who felt convinced that his unwearied daily labourers were dedicated to their contentment and prosperity. They felt that he was one of them and they could approach him without ceremony for the redress of their grievances against the strongest in the land.
A brave Warrior and a considerate Ruler, Shah was the architect of a brilliant administrative system. His brief reign of 5 years was marked by the introduction of wise and salutary changes in every conceivable branch of administration.
"No Government-not even the British 'affirms Mr. keens," has shown so much wisdom as this pathan".
Sher Shah Sun, the embodiment of "Aristocracy of Talent", builder of Grand Trunk Road (G.T.Road) - the path we still traverse-died on May 22, 1545.
The stamp is issued on the eve of foundation stone laying ceremony of Indus highway by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif at Peshawar on October 5, 1991 after the memory of the noblest, the ablest and the most successful administrator of the Indo-Pakistan history who gave, inter alia, a vast communications network old and still extant.
To commemorate the occasion the Pakistan Post Office is issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rs.5/- and a souvenir sheet of Rs.7/- denomination on October 5,1991.