The digital age has brought closure on over a 160 years of history in India. The last telegram has been sent in the sub continent as the state-owned BSNL communications company shut down.
On Sunday on the telegram service reported a last minute rush of people thronging telegraph offices to send souvenir messages to family and friends, many of them youngsters and first timers.
Its messages which were always hand delivered announced births and deaths, marriages and war.
Shyam Lal Chhokar, the deputy manager of the telegraph services of BSNL, said he believed it was not just modern communication methods which are to blame for the end of the telegraph in India.
“Had the public been booking telegrams, we wouldn’t have to close as revenues would have increased for BSNL. If we had got gotten revenues, why would it be shut? These days people are using fast track communications like email, SMS and broadband,” he opined.
The service – known locally as the ‘Taar’ – was linked by a network of telegraph offices across the sprawling country.
It is the last remaining service of its kind in the world. In 1947 alone 20 million messages were dispatched from India. By 2012 the number had dwindled to 40,000.
The first experimental electric telegraph line was started between Kolkata and Diamond Harbour in 1850. In 1854, the service was made available to the public. To keep pace with technology, it eventually become a web based telegraph mailing service using emails to pass along messages.