With the bombardment of social media platforms and web-based communication services, pigeongram may have turned obsolete all over the globe, however, the Odisha Police carries on keeping this unique practice alive.
The unique practice was put to experiment yesterday when the Odisha Police, together with the Bhubaneswar chapter of Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), fled 50 pigeons at OUAT Grounds in order to deliver letters of heritage conservation to Cuttack, 25km away.
The ceremonial occasion was attended by individuals from all walks of life, comprising school kids from Bhubaneswar as well as Cuttack.
Ex-DGP and state convener of INTACH, A B Tripathy, congratulated the police section for maintaining the ancient custom.
SP (signal) BN Das stated Odisha was the only state in India to make use of carrier pigeons to converse between police stations.
The Odisha Pigeon Service commenced during the year 1946 when around 200 pigeons were delivered to police staff by the armed forces on an experimental basis to converse in regions without telephone connections, Das added.
The letters, penned using the piece of paper, got placed in the plastic capsule and attached to the feet of the Belgian Homer Pigeons that can cover around 25 km in about 15 to 25 minutes, he added.
The service, headquartered in Cuttack, was widely utilized during floods and Super Cyclone during the year 1999, as radio systems got disturbed, stated a higher level police official, adding that the pigeon service was also the only mode of communication to the marooned city of Banki all through the terrible flood in the year 1982.
Ornithologist Panchami Manoo Ukil thinks that this special practice requires being defended for a new generation to dig up an idea on the early customs.
“Pigeon service is an art that dates back to the Mughal days. The birds delivered messages to the harems and battlefields. This unique tradition has historical significance and should be preserved,” he stated.
Anil Dhir, an associate of INTACH, stated that the traditional service has produced a lot of curiosity in the midst of the collector’s community.
“All the pigeons reached Cuttack within an hour,” Anil Dhir added up.