Union Government on 12 June 2013 decided to discontinue the Telegraph Services in India from 15 July 2013. Telegram in India was also known as Taar. The decision of ceasing the services of Telegraph came up after more than 160 years of its being into operations. The last time Telegraph would be used to send a telegram on 14 July 2013.
A circular was issued by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) Corporate office on 12 June 2013 and sent to different telegraph circle and district offices with an order to discontinue the telegraph services from 15 July 2013 onwards. As per the issued circular, the telegraph offices under BSNL have been directed to stop booking telegraph from 15 July 2013 onwards.
The decision came up in consultation with the Department of Posts because the service was not commercially viable. To maintain the losses and declining revenue, the telegram charges for inland services were hiked in May 2011. BSNL has suffered an annual loss of 300 - 400 crore rupees from telegraph service alone. Before this, the telegram services for overseas communication were withdrawn by BSNL in April 2013.
The telecom offices has been directed to maintain log books, service messages, delivery slips for six months from the date of booking. The telecom offices will also have to maintain the press reports, complaints and other messages from different consumer forums of one year.
The telegraph staff members will be deployed to mobile services, broadband services, landline telephony.
Difference between telegraph and telegram
Telegraph is the means via which a telegram is sent, whereas, telegram is the message itself.
Telegraph is a communication system that is used to transmit and receive the unmodulated electric impulses via radio or wire. The telegrams are the messages send by the telegraphs and are transmitted as a series of short and long electric impulses.
Whereas, telegram can be defined as the message that is encoded, decoded or telegraphed in form of the original message.
Different Kinds of Telegraphy technology in series of development:
Optical Telegraph: for the first time, telegraph came in form of optical telegraph
Electrical Telegraphs: One of the earliest electromagnetic telegraph designs was created by Pavel Schilling in 1832.
Morse Telegraph: An electrical telegraph was independently developed and patented in the United States in 1837 by Samuel Morse. His assistant, Alfred Vail, developed the Morse code signalling alphabet with Morse. The first telegram in the United States was sent by Morse on 11 January 1838, across two miles (3 km) of wire at Speedwell Ironworks near Morristown, New Jersey.
Oceanic Telegraph Cables: The first commercially successful transatlantic telegraph cable was successfully completed on 18 July 1866. The lasting connections were achieved by the ship SS Great Eastern, captained by Sir James Anderson. The telegraph across the Pacific was completed in 1902, finally encircling the world.
Wireless telegraphy: Nikola Tesla and other scientists and inventors showed the usefulness of wireless telegraphy, radiotelegraphy, or radio, beginning in the 1890s. Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstrated to the public his wireless radio receiver, which was also used as a lightning detector, on 7 May 1895.
Telex: In 1935, message routing was the last great barrier to full automation. Systems that used telephone-like rotary dialing to connect teletypewriters were developed by many service providers of telegraphy. These systems (machines) were called "Telex" (TELegraph EXchange). Telex machines first performed rotary-telephone-style pulse dialing for circuit switching, and then sent data by Baudot code.
History of Telegraph Services in India
Telegraph services was introduced in India by William O’ Shaughnessy, a British doctor and inventor, who for the first time used different codes to send a message on 1850. The first experimental electric telegraph line was started between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour in 1950. In 1851 the services were opened for the use of British East India Company and it was opened to the public in 1854. Since then the service was prevalent across India although it faced threats on many occasions like, after invention of Radio Transmission by Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor, than with the advent of the digital computers in the 1960s, followed by Fax, email and SMSs.
BSNL (the Indian telecommunication company), took over the charge of country’s telegraph system from the Indian Postal Services. Telegraph that faced threats from the new technology prevalent in the market suffered financial losses and thus the charges of telegram saw its first price rise in 60 years from four rupees for 50 words to 27 rupees for 50 words.
Telegraph and the World
Telegraphs have been into existence in Europe, since 1792. Initially it was available in form of semaphore lines also called optical telegraphs. In this process of telegraphy, line of sight signals were sent in form of messages to a distant observer. The first successful experiment with electrical recording of telegraph was done by Samuel F. B. Morse in 1837.
Terms used in Telegraphy
• Telegraph coined by Claude Chappe the French inventor of the Semaphore line, who also coined the word semaphore.
• Wireless Telegraphy is also known as CW (continuous wave)
• First electric telegraph was invented by Schilling
• A telegraph message is sent by using Morse code
• Cablegram was a message sent by a Submarine Telegraph Cable
• Telex means a message sent by a Telex network
In the world of Smart Phones, emails, SMSs and many more digital communication facilities, telegraph faced too many threats. As the result of the threats posed by the new technology, operation of the same was hard for the department of Telecommunications, BSNL on financial ends. Hence, the department in consultation with the department of posts came to a conclusion of ceasing the telegraph services in the nation from 15 July 2013.