Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

End of telegram

The era of telegram which began in India in 1850 came to an end on 14/7/2013. It was revolutionary when it began and dominated for about 150 years. Many times people dreaded the arrival of a telegram because they feared it brought the news of death. There were not many telephones and outstation calls had to be through telephone exchanges. With the spread of telephone and of telex and fax there was less reliance on telegram at the end of the 20th century. Things changed drastically in 21st century. Mobile phones became common. Telex became outdated. Spread of internet meant documents can be scanned and sent. Telegram began to fade away. The government had to shut down telegraph department.
Employees who wanted leave would ask someone to send a telegram to say father or mother is serious. Telegram had numbers for certain messages and that saved money of senders.
Change in technology renders many things irrelevant. Telegram joins a long list of such things. Pagers, VCPs, VCRs, telex, typewriters, cyclostyle, floppy disks, LP records, and audio cassettes are some of them.
Many cities have central telegraph officers which are now redundant. The government can maintain them for historical value or auction them and make money which can reduce current account deficit.

Updated: July 16, 2013 — 8:11 am

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  1. I read somewhere that during the British Raj, Congress workers would only dismantle Telegraphic post whenever they agitated against the Govt of the day. Such was the importance the Telegraphic office had once. Now, the telegram is gone. Though it’s use is no longer needed due to the advent of better technology, I still bode farewell to it with a heavy heart.

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