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Thursday, September 3, 2009

2500th Anniversary of Monarchy in Iran (October 15, 1971)

The format of the stamp is in diamond shape. The background colour of the 10-Paisa stamp is viridian green that of the 20-Paisa stamp is pale blue and of the 50-Paisa stamp is red. The design is the same for all the values, the emblem and the crown occupies the top corner of the stamp, the statue of Cyrus in white against the coloured background is to the left of the runner on horse back. It is suggestive of the idea that Cyrus the great was the first to originate the idea of ‘runners’ or messengers on horse back for the swift transmission of messages from post to post.
The emblem, the crown, the words “runner on horse back”, and “2500th Anniversary of Iranian Monarchy” as well as words ‘Paisa’ and ‘Postage’ are in black in all the values. The value 10-Paisa and 50-Paisa and the figure of the runner are in yellow whereas the colour of the saddle cloth is the same as that of the background in the respective stamps. The words ‘Pakistan’ in Bengali, English and Urdu are in reverse in the l0-Paisa and 50-Paisa stamps and Red in the 20-Paisa stamp with the value figures ‘20’ also in red. Iran, the sister R.C.D. country, is celebrating the 2500th anniversary of MONARCHY which had also originated the system of Post-Horses to keep the MONARCH abreast of the developments in the far-flung empire. To highlight this auspicious occasion, Pakistan Post Office is bringing out a set of three Commemorative Postage Stamps of 10-Paisa, 20-Paisa and 50-Paisa denominations on 15-10-1971.
A Souvenir Sheet containing the three stamps in question in imperforated condition is also being brought out in the size of 5 ½”x5 1/8”. Each Souvenir Sheet is priced at 80-Paisa. The number of Souvenir Sheet is 10,000 pieces only. The Souvenir Sheets will be available for sale at the Philatelic Bureaux, Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Dacca and also at the Philatelic Counters.
Cyrus the Great (559-529 B. C.) it may be added, not only welded the Persian Tribes into a single nation which became the foremost people in the world but was also the originator of the system of POST CHOWKIES which can easily be regarded as forerunner of the modern POSTAL system.
Cyrus the Great was an exceedingly able general who understood the art of organizing his people and arousing the feeling of nationality and the courage of self sacrifice. His manly beauty, his soldier like qualities of bravery and activity, were apparently conspicuous throughout his life, and he never• lost his virility through luxury and self-indulgence, as so many great men have done. His ideals were high, as he laid down that no man was fit to rule unless, by his own qualities, he was more capable than all his subjects. By virtue of his great sagacity, Cyrus acquitted himself as an extremely intelligent and reasonable monarch who made is yoke incomparably lighter than that of previous conquerors. His humanity was equaled by his freedom from pride, which induced him to meet people on a level instead of affecting the remoteness and aloofness which characterized the great monarchs who preceded and followed him. In the considered opinion of Xenophon, “he was able to extend the fear of himself over so great a part of the world that he astonished all and no one attempted anything against him. He was able to inspire all with so great a desire of pleasing him that they ever wished to be governed by his opinion.”
With the growth and consolidation of the Empire, the urge to establish regular system for keeping the ‘King of Kings’ informed of the developments in the various provinces/satrapies was keenly felt. The courier system was, therefore, introduced in the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great and elaborated upon by his successors. Post-horses and horse-chowkies were pressed into service. Darius 1 (529-485 B. C.) had constructed the Royal Road between Surdes and Susa and the long distance of 1500 miles (which constituted a three months’ journey for a man on foot) was covered in only 15 days because of the rapid movement of mounted couriers. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, “Neither snow, rain, frost, nor darkness could hinder the swift courier of the post of Darius”.