The world is full of mysteries that are waiting to be uncovered, however, some of these mysteries are so weird that it’s hard to believe they were followed by our ancestors for centuries. India is a diverse country with thousands of traditions by one custom followed by a police station in Odisha, is leaving people amazed all across the world.
The Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage recently discovered a one of a kind police station where it had an unusual custom of using pigeons to communicate in remote areas.
This strange custom began in the year 1946, where 200 pigeons were handed over to to the state’s police personnel by the army on an experimental basis to communicate in remote areas with no wireless or telephone link. The message that was to be delivered was written on a piece of paper rolled up and inserted into a tiny plastic capsule, it was then tied on the feet of the pigeons.
Interestingly, on April 13, 1948, the then prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru sent a message to state officials in Cuttack from Sambalpur using a pigeon. The message read “The arrangements for the public meeting should not be such as to separate the speaker from the audience in Cuttack.”
The tradition began in Cuttack but was soon introduced to many other cities. the Police Pigeon Service’s headquarters was established in Cuttack where a breeding centre for Belgian Homer pigeons was set up.
This smart species of pigeons are different from the ones we usually see, called the Belgian Homer pigeons these birds can fly 25 km in just 15-25 minutes and live up to 20 years.
Their initial training begins when they are just six weeks old, and once trained they mark their spots which remain intact for decades. The winged messengers also bond with the constables who handle them and can recognise them from their voice.
The pigeons came to the rescue on many occasions, like the catastrophic flood of 1982 and 1999 Super Cyclone were some of the instances. However, with the advent of new technologies, these heritage courier service of Odisha Police have been abandoned for years. Although they used to make ceremonial appearances during state functions
Today there are 95 police pigeons in Cuttack and 50 in Angul that are kept for display purpose. This unique tradition shouldn’t be forgotten and forever be remembered.