End of Telegram

How does a society evolve? Either by killing its redundant aspects or changing them. However in India the former seems easier than the latter. We like to kill those who revolt against barriers of caste, rebel  to affirm their choices or decides to be a woman even before taking birth. So what chance does a money losing entity have? Especially in Mumbai!

For 163 years the telegram remained a source of tremendous joy as well as a fore bearer of deep despair. Promotions, birth of a baby, death of a relative and forceful self invitations were communicated through telegrams. It was also the only medium of communication that could be admitted in court as evidence.

Although the BSNL claimed that this service was a loss making entity as digital channels of communications have become popular, the critics of this decision point out to numbers.Almost 300 million Indians still lack cell phones as per government data. Compare this number to the entire population of the US which is 313 million! In non urban areas, telegrams also work as an effective payment recovery mechanism.

I decided to send a couple of telegrams on 14th July 2013 as the government had decided to discontinue sending telegrams from the next day onwards. Here are some images:

 (You might think this isn’t much of a crowd, but if you get to speak with any of the employees they would say it was the most they had seen in their entire career at the Telegraph Office!)
 (Some of the employees who were protesting the closure of the telegram service)
(A board that opposed the decision taken to close down the telegram service and also a couple of posters about what action the employee union intends to take to oppose this decision. Sources claim this decision might be reviewed after six months) 
Countries like Italy and the UK are offering online telegram services. I wonder why did this not happen in India as they seem to be selling everything else (from lingerie to counselling) online. Or they could have increased the rates as they did in 2011.

Sources:

The Internet didn’t get the message, the telegram is not dead: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-internet-didnt-get-the-message-the-telegrams-not-dead

Telegram flies to sunset: Taar brings bad news as usual http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/1847743/report-telegram-flies-into-sunset-taar-brings-bad-news-as-usual

Hunted lovers mourn end of telegraph http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2013/07/15/lovers-mourn-end-of-the-telegraph/

Forget Dodo, its dead as a telegram http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/1861187/report-forget-dodo-it-s-dead-as-a-telegram

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