Many young Indians have never seen a telegram. Enough said.

by Rashmee

Posted on July 14, 2013



The first telegram sent by Samuel Morse read 'what hath God wrought'
The first telegram sent by Samuel Morse read ‘what hath God wrought’

Today is the final day for the telegraph in India. India’s last telegram will be sent on Sunday night as the country’s state-run telegraph service shuts down. With that, ends an era – for the whole world. India was the last bastion of the functioning telegraph machine.

All those teary about change and insistent that the old order needs preserving simply because it’s old, might do well to listen to a report by the BBC World Service’s Rahul Tandon in Kolkata.

At a shopping mall, he engaged young Indians in conversation and asked them if they had any idea what the telegraph was.

“It’s a newspaper?” replied one young woman.

A young man said he had never seen a telegram, except in “old movies and the museum”.

Another said he had no idea what a telegram looked like, being more attuned to SMSes and emails.

To me, the three vox pops were the best explanation ever why the telegraph will die on July 14, 2013, 176 years after Samuel Morse invented it.

That said, rather nice to read Geeta Pandey’s piece on the BBC radio mag on the way it was.


Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK

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