Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Dak Harkara

The Harkara literally ran with the mail, not necessarily from point A to point B, but as part of a relay system. In the Moghul days, they ran 8-10 miles in each direction and back (i.e. 20 miles a day), but in later EIC times, they ran 5-6 miles per direction, before they handed it over to the next Harkara. The harkara was not only a delivery man of letters, but also a person who conveyed news to both ends, officially and unofficially, publicly or surreptitiously. They were sometimes purveyors of intelligence to authorities of far flung areas, reporting on troubles and important happenings at both locations. In many an instance, they were letter writers, transferring the word of mouth of an illiterate man to paper.............

This is the story of one such harkara.