India discontinues its telegram service

Andy Deemer discovered that India was about to decommission its telegram service on July 15, so he ran around Bangalore until he located the telegram office and sent one to a friend, just to document a procedure that is about to vanish forever: He handed over an old slip of paper, wanted more details than… READ THE REST


As far as I can tell, there was no Outlook 95.

Taking a week for a telegram to show up seems like a long time too. I thought the point of a telegram was it showed up the same day or the next day.



Bah; can’t post in all-caps? Bit nannyish.

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Since there’s still significant demand for telegram services in India, I suspected an entrepreneurial company might step in to fill the demand, and indeed it has:

A quote from the website of International Telegram:

“We are pleased to announce that International Telegram will launch
private telegram services in India in July 2013, and international
telegrams can continue to be sent to addresses in India.”



I guess they got tired of all the SHOUTING

a WEEK? man, no wonder it’s dying. i thought telegrams went same day, or even the same hour.

Too loud; didn’t read

We’re all dying here with this new comment system. And you quibble about whether there was an Outlook 95 or not. Get a life my man. :smiley:

In . . . ahhh . . . 1990 I think, my manager and I visited a scruffy truck rental place in some industrial wilderness in northern Queens. The office was a trailer, the kind you see at construction sites. It turned out the place was also a Western Union office. Most of their business was likely money transfers, but I got a kick out of seeing that the still would send a telegram for you!

But . . . only to members of Congress and the White House. The cost was high, maybe $25?

(Also, the office had a hound dog who could open the spring-loaded door. She stood on her hinds legs and gave it a shove.)

It’s really just a ploy for the clacks to take over.


Just wait until Boing Boing’s next new comment system. It’s going to be telegram-based.


“Telegram-related terrorism fears are high in India”. Come again?

Oh, and it’s interesting how the bottlenecks of this once thought blindingly-fast communications system make it seem so slow from the modern-day perspective. Let’s see: the delays would most likely come from the message queue (how many messages to encode and send before the operator gets to this one?), the process of actually tapping the message out, the decoding on the other end, and (the biggest bottleneck in my opinion), the snail mail delivery from the receiving telegraph station to the actual message recipient.

Did you need to wait to have a clear line to send, or was a dual-line setup (one to send, one to receive) standard?

Pretty primitive all in all, but when you remember that at the time the alternative in its day was to send a letter on a possibly months-long journey by ship…

AFAIK, there’s no tapping anymore. They use Telex links…

I last saw a telegram maybe 4-5 years ago, when some client from a rural area sent one to my dad. Quite a novelty even back then, and today, the same guy probably SMSs or just calls. With the penetration of simple dumb-phones into India, there’s hardly a need for telegram services. But it’s always sad to see an institution disappear like this!


India Post has an alternate. Its ePost service has been online for last 2 years. Works just like telegram except the text is scanned.

I must admit, I’m kind of bummed that my comment about a new telegraph company that’s stepped in to fill the gap gets hidden in the forum, while some random trivia about which versions of Outlook were released is “notable.”

I’m not the biggest fan of the idea of a comment ghetto.


So, I see there is no way to reply directly to comments on my comments. Sorry Jardine and Beholder. Both gave me a smile.

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Not a big fan of flat threads either.

Apparently the telegram in India has (or had) a special legal status which made it useful for actvist organizations and young couples marrying against their parents wishes. (See the end of this article.)

I sent one telegram in my life (it’s not over yet), to report my high school grades to my parents. I was hiding on the other side of the world. I really only ever saw it as useful for that, and arranging for Thomson & Thompson to intercept an arriving passenger ship.