After 163 years, India’s telegraph service shuts its doors

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telegramNEW DELHI, INDIA – Technology’s come a long way. Email, text messaging. Believe it or not, once upon a time the fastest way to send a message to someone was by telegram.

Boy, that was a long time ago. Yeah, like… Yesterday.

No joke. The Indian telegraph service of New Delhi has been bicycling messages across the city for a hundred and 63 years. Until now, that is. Cell phones and email have finally put the telegraph office out of business.

“In villages, people would wait anxiously wondering what news each telegram brings,’ explains telegraph messenger R.K Royal, ‘happy news sad news, if someone’s had a son, if someone has died, the price of vegetables.”

Believe it or not, until just recently folks in New Delhi, India have still relied on old-fashioned telegrams to send messages. And it may not be why you think. By most definitions India is not a third-world country, especially in centers like New Delhi. But getting important messages to the out-lying villages has been historically difficult. But as technology has advanced, the telegram has finally gone the way of the telegram. And for all the reasons you might expect.

“The very fact that you have to put each word in a column,’ says Rosalyn Dmello, ‘that you have to have a sense of economy about the words that you are sending, and obviously because you’re paying for each word.”

As quaint as it may seem. Stop. There comes a time. Stop. When old technology must simply. Stop.