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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs