India's last telegram went out late yesterday, marking the end of a service that millions of Indians had relied on for fast (relatively speaking) communication for more than 160 years. Hundreds of people thronged the 75 telegraph offices remaining in the country to send their last telegrams to friends or family as a keepsake. The company that ran the nation's telegram service says declining revenues forced the decision.
Some of the last-day users sent telegrams to Kapil Sibal, India's minister for telecommunications, pleading for the service to be continued. But with losses mounting year every year in the digital age, that's not going to happen. At last count, India had 867 million cellphone users. Until recently, the government used telegrams to inform recipients of top civilian awards and for court notices. What will the government use now? Most likely email.