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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More