18 June 2013

Philatelists plan to send last telegram….



The telegraph service in India, which was launched in 1851, will formally close down on July 15. Many philatelists are making this day very special  by sending the last telegram to each other and making the last telegram  a memorable and  collectible item for a life time. I am sharing this news clipping here sent by Mr Mahesh Parekh of South India Philatelists’ Association, published today in Chennai edition of Times of India. The news covers the special plans of sending last telegram by  Mr CG Bhaskar and other members  of  South India Philatelists’ Association on 15th July to make this day memorable. This news will certainly encourage many philatelists to send the last telegram on the very last day of this service !!


In dying days, almost-forgotten telegraph service returns to life

CHENNAI: Philatelists, collectors, and those with a penchant for nostalgia have decided to use July 15—the day BharatSancharNigamLimited will its 160-year-old telegram service — to pull out all the stops.


As telecom and IT minister Kapil Sibal plans his ceremonial send-off for the telegram on July 15, C G Bhaskar, treasurer of South India Philately Association, has made calls to various telegraph offices in the city to make sure they will still be functioning on July 15. He and his fellow philatelists plan to go in and send telegrams.

"Some of us will be sending telegrams on July 14, others on July 15. It will be among the last telegrams the world will see and that will make them collectors' items," says Bhaskar, who has also been contacted by philatelists from other southern states to send them telegrams. The association is planning to hold an exhibition of telegrams after the service ends.
According to G Vijaya, spokesperson for BSNL, there are more than 20 centres in Chennai that will offer the telegraph service till July 15. "The service will be preserved till its end," she says. Another official at BSNL's Anna Nagar branch says that people are still coming in to use the service.

Philatelist Vedachalam Ethiraj, who is also known for his telegram collection, says he plans to send a telegram on July 15 to complete his collection. "I have telegrams that were sent in 1859, six years after the telegraph service started in India. I want to get one sent in 2013 to complete my collection," says Ethiraj, who has sent a telegram from Karaikudi to Rangoon. He, like Bhaskar, plans to send telegrams with messages like 'This is the last telegram' to his relatives and friends and ask them to post them back to him for his collection.

It's not just philatelists who are keen on sending telegrams. Ramya Murali, a human resources manager with Real Image, is planning to surprise friends and relatives by sending them telegrams on July 15. "I have called the telegraph office near my house and they told me they are working till July 15. I will go there and pick out nice messages to send to everyone. Just thought it would be a good surprise for them," she says.

Bhaskar won't just be sending out telegrams, he'll be calling his relatives to warn them before shooting off the telegrams. "I don't want them to think something bad has happened and get worried. So, I will call first to tell them about the farewell telegram," Bhaskar says.

Published in  - Times of India : 18 June 2013, Chennai

: Mahesh Parekh, Chennai

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