End of telegrams in India STOP


Twitter @ginamontaner

They say everything must come to an end, so it must be true. The first telegram was sent in the United States in 1844, and the last telegram might be sent next July 14.

In India, at least, where, after supplying telegraph services for over 100 years, the state-run communications office, BSNL, will forever discontinue this system of communications that in the 19th and 20th centuries kept contact alive from one end of the globe to the other.

It is true that, for a long time now, users barely resort to the telegram, especially in the First World, where companies like Western Union eliminated that service in the United States because of its lack of use in the era of great technological advances.

Even in the poorest countries mobile telephony has taken over, with text messages and SMS popping up on cell-phone screens every hour of the day.

At a time when young people stay connected day and night through social networks like Facebook, it no longer makes sense to enter those establishments where a telegraph machine, a descendant of the device first used by Samuel Morse, emits electrical signals to send messages.

Nevertheless, the news that telegrams are now a vestige of the past reminds us once more that the world we knew is vanishing. Except for the scant correspondence that we find in our mailboxes, containing receipts or advertising, today it is rare to receive a personal letter.

The concept that we may find an envelope with a long and intimate epistle is something out of the past, yellowing among the pages of some forgotten book.

Even the e-mails, which ended up replacing the letters we wrote all our lives, are now seen as antiques by a generation that condenses and exhibits its experiences with pictures on Instagram or brief postings on a virtual wall. The telegram, which during two major wars last century enabled us to keep track of our loved ones at the front, is today as obsolete as smoke signals.

Reading in the papers that in less than a month we’ll hear the swan song of telegrams, I remembered that I still keep one telegram that a good friend sent me in 1987 on the occasion of the birth of my first daughter. The brief missive, sent from Spain to welcome the baby, was placed in a photo album as a reminder of a loving gesture. Now, that old telegram is a relic of a time that becomes increasingly remote.

When Morse sent his first encoded communication from Washington to Baltimore on May 24, 1844, he used a quote from the Bible: “What hath God wrought?”

Today, after more than a century, someone in a telegraph office in India will provide an answer to that existential question: We have taken a dizzying leap in the technology that has rendered obsolete such revolutionary inventions as the telegraph.

The day will come when we’ll have no memory of those telegrams. STOP.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald



    Taxi drivers are Lyft and Uber drivers, too

    Complaining about taxis is a Miami sport. Most Miamians have a story about a late or no-show taxi, or about the worn-out and dirty conditions of the cabs themselves, or about our “bad attitude.” But what are the actual conditions for us drivers?



    What Vladimir Putin and Raúl Castro want from each other

    Vladimir Putin sharply made it clear that his country does not plan to restart electronic intelligence operations at the “Lourdes” base near Havana. That was predictable. Getting in bed with the Castros again makes no sense at all.



    Amendment’s ‘caregiver’ clause sneaky approach to legalizing marijuana

    One of Florida’s foremost cancer hospitals takes the job of caregiver so seriously, it holds a Caregiver Academy for those caring for patients following stem-cell transplants. Caring for someone who is very ill is a huge responsibility that often involves addressing basic needs such as bathing, eating, continence, dressing, toileting and transferring.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category