End of the telegram era in India
After 163 years of acting as a messenger of good and bad news, the Indian Telegram Service came to a stop on July 15, 2013. All over the country, there was a rush to send off the ‘last’ telegram in the era of emails and SMSes.
In Gujarat alone, over 6,000 telegrams were sent by children from two schools in Vadodara, hoping to make it to the Guinness Book of Records. The contents of some of the 6000 telegrams, relayed in dots and dashes, were like this: “Dear Mom, we are the last generation to send a telegram, please preserve it with care. Your loving son, Saurabh Singh”.
For the 1,000 street children belonging to BadhteKadam, a federation of the street and working children under the guidance of the NGO, ‘CHETNA’ (Childhood Enhancement through Training and Action), this was the first and last time they would send a telegram.
Hailing from cities like Agra, Delhi, Gwalior, Jhansi, and Mathura, the children sent their little missives to the President of India, saying, “Pay more attention to children’s issues”, “Let us play in the DDA Park at Tughlaqabad”, and so on.
Children did have the last word there, but officially, the last two were sent by Ashwani Mishra, at 11.45 pm on July 15, from the Central Telegraph Office (CTO) on Janpath in New Delhi. They were addressed to Rahul Gandhi and SM Khan, Director General of Doordarshan News.
Kolhapur’s wax museum The SiddhagiriGramjivan Museum near Kolhapur, Maharashtra, on the Bengaluru-Pune highway, seeks to recreate Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a self-sufficient village in rural India before the Mughal invasion. It is located at the Siddhagiri Math, which has a 1000-year-old history. The open-air museum depicts every aspect of rural life-farming, basket-making, weaving, a potter at his wheel, the panchayat in session, children at school, people at home or working in the fields, milking the cows, worshipping in the temple, and so on. The life-size models of men, women, children, and animals are all made of wax, especially treated to withstand the extreme heat of the Indian sun. The figures are all clad in authentic Indian costumes of the region and are so true to life that it is easy to drive past this ‘wax’ village and mistake the museum and its figures for real!