There was a time when responses to messages were as instantaneous as they are now. Before the era of telegraphs or telephone, and long before the internet was conceived, we had picture postcards from British India.
A constant presence in the subcontinent from the 1900s to 1930s, postcards served as an affordable and popular means of mass media for Europeans living in colonies to keep in touch with families and friends at home, much like what text messages are right now.
Omar Khan, chief technology officer at a software firm in the United States, saw postcards being exhibited in San Francisco, observes in his latest study, Paper Jewels: Postcards From The Raj, the postcard as the ‘Instagram of that era’.
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He explains, “They often came in colour, so it was the Instagram of their time. You were sitting here in India and on receiving a postcard, you entered a new world. It became a revelation of sorts.”
Collected from the cities of Calcutta (Kolkata), Benares (Varanasi), Bombay (Mumbai), Delhi, Lahore, Karachi, Jeypore (Jaipur), Madras (Chennai) and the state of Jammu and Kashmir, these postcards from British India tell us a great deal about India’s architectural history.
Let’s have a look at some of them:
Isn’t it incredible how this age-old communicating process can be a thing of beauty?
Image Credits: Google Images