On 24th October 1851, the Telegraph Service is introduced in India by the British. The first message went from Calcutta to Diamond Harbour.
Within no time the Telegraph Services grew. From a service for official use, it became an essential service for the people to communicate urgent information. It was utilised by the business in a very large way. Telegraph offices were opened in all parts of the country.
The introduction of telephone services, mobile telephones, fax, internet and latest communication systems dealt a serious blow to the telegraph services. From crores and lakhs of telegraph messages in the country, it was reduced in to thousands and hundreds in a day.Still many people were using it. It have continued for years more as the Tram Service in Kolkata.
But NO. The government of India and the Management of BSNL wanted to terminate it, to bury it even before it died. And on 15th July 2013, it was unceremoniously buried for ever.
But lakhs of ordinary people like me still remember the days of telegram with nostalgia. Whether it is news of passing in the examination, whether it is a birthday greetings, or even an intimation of death – telegram brought it to your house intimating good and bad news! That is why, on the last few days before 15th July 2013, people came in thousands to the telegraph office to send their last messages. And lo! Many people could not send the messages due to the huge rush.
The next generation will not be able to understand what telegram was to the common people. I still feel a great loss. I still feel guilty that we could not stop the closure of telegraph services, despite the strong protest of the BSNL employees and their unions.