India’s last telegram

People lined up on July 15 at telegraph offices in India to send their last telegram. India was one of the last countries in the world that still had a telegram service, a service that had started 163 years ago in the country. When the service had first started, there were no cars, airplanes, computers, or phones. Telegrams were a way to communicate messages quickly across hundreds or thousands of miles. They were expensive, and the cost of a telegram was dependent on the number of words in the message. Therefore, telegrams were used to send important messages and the messages were kept as short as possible (similar to Tweets today :-) ). The word “STOP” was used to separate sentences. Today, to send a message to a person far away, people in India usually send a text message, post a message using a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter, send an email, or simply make a phone call.

Many Indians wanted to use the telegraph service on its last day. As a result, the last telegram actually took nine days to be delivered. In comparison, India’s first telegram 163 years ago took only two and a half hours to get to its destination :-) .

Sources: Hindustan Times