Postal History – India 30 -1-1949 Inauguration of Inland Night Airmail
With the growing demands of the Indian commercial sector for better mail service,the then Civil Aviation Minister Mr. Rafi Ahmed Kidwai inaugurated the 1st Indian Inland Night Air Mail Service on the occasion of the 1st Death Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 30th January 1949 – the world’s first overnight air mail service – keeping in mind, that air mail would move at night and this had the added advantage of making overnight delivery possible in what may very well be also the world’s first example if not one of the earliest examples of a hub-and-spoke operation. Under this system, the four main cities of India also happened to form each of the four corners of a diamond- New Delhi to the north, Bombay to the west, Calcutta to the east, and Madras to the south. Connecting these cities was a central location at the city of Nagpur in central India. The Night Air Mail scheme was an experiment towards night flying in India and for the introduction of the “All Up Scheme”. Initially only mail was transported on N. A. S. Before this period, night flying was not safe in the absence of security measures and equipment at Airports.
Under the N.A.S., the 4 principal cities of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and New Delhi, which are in 4 different corners of India, were linked with Nagpur. 4 night planes will leave, one each from these cities, for Nagpur, with a mail load from their region and will return to their home base in the early morning, after exchanging the mail at Nagpur.
A superb cover tied on the front with all three special postmarks cancellations provided on that day….
1.Double wavy line Cachet in Black….Bapu’s M.K. Gandhi’s favourite slogan…SABKO SANMATE DE BHAGWAN…
2.Duplex Cancellation reading.NIGHT MAIL .FIRST FLIGHT. and NAGPUR / 30.1.49 / AIR in round circle was used on the inaugural day of the N.A.S., from Nagpur only..
3.A special Supplementary Cachet was also used which reads INLAND NIGHT AIR MAIL / INAUGURATION / JANUARY 30, 1949.
Scanned Cover which speak by itself that they must have travelled by N.A.S., or otherwise they would not have reached the destination, the next day. Delivery Postmark on the back.