The iconic 163-year-old telegram passed into history, with the last message being delivered to Rahul Gandhi. The telegram counter closed at 11:45 PM last night and the last message was booked by Ashwani Mishra, who sent messages to Gandhi and Director General of DD news S.M Khan.
A large number of people, many of them youngsters and first timers, turned up yesterday at four telegraph centres in the Capital to send a message to their loved ones on the last day of the service. Started in 1850 on an experimental basis between Kolkata and Diamond Harbour, it was started by the British East India Company the following year. In 1854, the service was made available to the public.
It was such an important mode of communication those days that freedom fighters used to cut the telegram lines to stop the British from communicating. But the progress of technology – SMS, emails, mobile phones has rendered the the iconic service irrelevant in modern times..
Though started as a Morse code service, the telegram service evolved gradually with computers. By the end, it had become a web based telegraph mailing service (WBTMS) which used emails to instantly convey message to the other end.
Receiving a telegram would be an event itself and a sense of fear prevailed as people feared for the welfare of their near and dear ones. For spldiers seeking leave or waiting for transfer or joining reports, it was a quick mode of communication.