“We aren’t sure why our corporate office in Delhi announced that they were going to discontinue telegram services from July 15. We’ll accept booking of telegrams only until 7 pm on July 12,” Jayanto Chakraborty, an employee of the Central Telegraph Office (CTO) in Kolkata, told HindustanTimes.
The telegram has enjoyed a long and colourful history in the subcontinent, where it is known as the “taar”. The first-ever telegram in India was sent way back in 1850 from Kolkata, when William Brooke O’ Shaughnessy sent a message from the city to Diamond Harbour. Within three years, more than 4,000 miles of cable had been laid, establishing a vital, near-instant communication link between all the major Indian cities.
Although relegated to the background by more modern technology, the telegram has managed to cling on through the years thanks to slow-changing government rules. For instance, the courts still accept records from telegram offices, while the service is still used to intimate the recipients of presidential awards in India.