Thursday, May 3, 2012

Civil and Military Gazette: Complaining About the Mail

April 1886. Complaining about the mail being delivered to the Punjab.

The arrangements now in force for supplying people in the Punjab with English letters are in some respects anything but perfect. So far as the writing of letters is concerned, there are not many complaints. Correspondents at home are on the whole fairly regular; sometimes too much so. From the time, hoever, the letters are confided to the care of the Post Office, there is endless mismanagement. The P. and O. Mail steamers are not made by contract to steam fast enough; letters for the Punjab are taken to Bombay instead of Karachi; and when they get to Bombay, they are often kept waiting several hours at the bombay Post Office, if the ordinary train has started, instead of being sent on by special. Next they are not brough to Lahore by the shortest roads from Bombay even, which would be by Rewari and Ferozepore. When at last they reach Lahore, they are carried off in a horse van to a tumble down bungalow, which does duty for a post office, some miles away frmo the Railway Station. but this is not all. Sometimes, to vary the proceedings, the bombay postal authoriteis will mix up the bags in Bombay, and send a few of them round by Allahabad; and by a strange malignity, hwnever a portion of the mail is delayed in this way, and the rest of it sent by the proper route, it is a letter informing you or your tailor's pressing desire for a remittance... 

The remark in this excerpt that seems worth checking is whether the Lahore post office at the time was indeed a 'tumble down bungalow' or a proper, established post office as one would expect.

The rest is a reminder that British residents in Lahore felt themselves to be in a provincial, remote place still being settled and developed. 

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