News / Asia

    India Marks End of Era with Last Telegram

    India Marks End of Era With Last Telegrami
    X
    July 15, 2013 11:09 AM
    Thousands of people crowded telegraph offices around India to send the country's last telegrams, as the government shut down the 163-year old service on Sunday. VOA Correspondent Aru Pande talked to those who lined up in New Delhi to send one final message.
    Thousands crowd telegraph offices to send country's last telegrams, July 14, 2013.
    Aru Pande
    Thousands of people crowded telegraph offices around India to send the country's last telegrams, as the government shut down the 163-year old service on Sunday. 

    Most Sunday afternoons, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone at the Central Telegraph Office in New Delhi - let alone people lined up in the rain.  But this day is different.  For engineer Rasmeet Chawla - it is the end of an era.
     
     “I am here for the same reason as everybody.  This is the last day, and I wanted to have a souvenir of this telegraph medium,” he admitted.
     
    Most of the people who crowded the office were young and have grown up in the age of mobile phones and e-mail, technology that eventually helped make the telegram obsolete.
     
    But others like Neelima Chandak, who brought her 19-year old daughter to the office, remembered the weight the small slip of paper carried when it was finally delivered to its destination.
     
    “Most of the time, it used to be anxiety.  As soon as you heard the word ‘telegram,’ you mostly associated it with news of death and sometimes a job,” she recalled.
     
    On July 14, the last for the Central Telegraph Office in the Indian capital, most of the telegrams carried nostalgic messages and good wishes for loved ones.  By late Sunday, with just a few hours to go before the doors closed for good, 1,500 telegrams had been processed - compared to 10 to 20 on any other day.
     
    An employee for 31 years, Jagdish Chand joked the telegraph service would never have incurred huge losses and be shut down had it seen crowds like this through the years.
     
    Still, he said he is proud to be part of a communication mode that carried messages during India’s fight for independence and was a vital part of Indians’ day-to-day life.
     
    “If someone had to be picked up at the railway station or from the airport, the telegram used to reach [their loved ones’ homes] on the same day," he explained. "I was very happy that along with doing my job, I was also doing a public service.”
     
    His service along with that of about 1,000 other workers across India will no longer be needed.  Many will either retire or be transferred to other departments within state-owned telecommunications company BSNL - which will continue its focus on expanding Internet and mobile phone services across India. 

    • Indian telegraph employees process telegrams on the last day of the service at the central telegraph office in Mumbai, July 14, 2013.
    • Indians line up to send telegrams on the last day of the service at a telegraph office in New Delhi, July 14, 2013.
    • Telegram senders crowd inside the Central Telegraph Office in Kolkata, India, July 14, 2013.
    • Indians send telegrams on the last day of the service at the central telegraph office in Mumbai, July 14, 2013.
    • Employees of India's state-run telecommunications company protest the shutting down of the telegram service at the central telegraph office in Mumbai, July 14, 2013.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Pradeep Deo
    July 16, 2013 3:40 PM
    Telegrams were an integral part of life....Well , have to move with the times...Nobody could predict the influence of the Internet and Mobile phones 15 years ago.........

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.