Friday, June 14, 2013

End of an era. Stop. India scraps the telegram. Stop.

In years gone by, the arrival of a telegram could make the heart skip a beat or the stomach tighten. Was there terrible news of a son at war on foreign shores or a declaration of love from a suitor?

In India, it was the technological breakthrough that revolutionised communications across what was then the vast British Raj – expediting the East India Company's total commercial dominance of the country, helping to suppress the 1857 uprising and providing newspaper readers in Britain with regular updates from the Empire.

However, after 163 years, the days of the telegram – or taar in Hindi – are coming to an end with the dawn of the age of text messages and emails reaching India's rural poor for the first time.

More than 900,000 Indians now own mobile phones and 120 million people use the internet – figures that are expected to rocket in the coming years.

 India is the last country in the world to use the telegram on such a large scale, but officials said the service, operated by the government-owned telecom giant BSNL, had run up losses of more than £2 billion and the government stated it was no longer willing to bear the cost for what had become "nostalgia". Full story...

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