Thank you and goodbye ~ the telegram!
SIR, ~ The eclipse of the telegram marks the end of an era. Indeed, the old and reliable mode of communication was fighting a losing battle with the advent of post-modern telecommunication gadgetry, such as smart phones, the fax, e-mail, sms and so on. The telegram was also referred to as taar (wire service).
It served us commendably for more than 163 years. Like the Railways, it was a legacy of the Raj that conveyed messages that could make the recipient both happy and sad. In museums, it shall now share space with the typewriter ~ an object to be seen and not used.
Instead of scrapping the system altogether, the Government of India ought to have entrusted the management of the telegram service to the post office. Even courts accept telegram-receipts as proof of delivery of documents. It is also used by the armed forces as a mode of communication.
Thank you and goodbye ~ the telegram.
yours, etc., ramesh g jethwani, bangalore, 14 june.
Tinkle and the words
SIR, ~ The tinkle of the cycle even at an inhospitable hour and the words, takka tare, tare takka, will no longer be heard as the 163-year-old telegram service will be scrapped from July 15. I will never forget that 43 years ago I had sent my first salary to my mother through telegraphic Money Order. Factory workers would try to extend their leave by sending telegrams that would mention “serious illness” in the family.
With the advent of e-mails and SMS, the telegram should long ago have died a natural death. Perhaps re-deployment of the telegraph office staff posed a problem. Senior citizens like me will never forget the telegram. The messages could be as welcome as distressing. Rest in peace ~ the telegram.
yours, etc., bidyut kumar chatterjee, faridabad.
Options before Nitish
SIR, ~ The Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, must have weighed the pros and cons of his decision to sever the JD (U)&’s ties with the BJP. He now has two options before him ~ to switch over to the Congress-led UPA or to join the contemplated federal front.
There is little doubt that he too has the ambition to become the Prime Minister. That ambition will not be fulfilled if he sides with the Congress. If he plumps for the third front, he will be pitted against five heavyweights, all of them aspiring for the top post. They include four former chief ministers and two women. Besides, there is the Maratha war-horse waiting in the wings for an opportunity to throw his hat into the ring.
yours, etc., arun malankar, mumbai, 13 june.
Government of the people
SIR, ~ In his letter on 13 June, Ranjit Kar has written in support of a Congress-BJP national government . Yet he is aware that it will have to contend with “certain inherent faultlines”. A Congress-BJP electoral alliance, not to mention a coalition, is an absurdity. The resultant shadow-boxing will be a daily affair, leading eventually to the fall of the government.
It bears recall that a true national government was once recommended by R Venkataraman, the former President, in an interview to Doordarshan in 1996. He had envisaged that the Prime Minister would be elected by Parliament. At present, the Prime Minister is selected by the party with the highest number of MPs, and not by the votes of all members of Parliament and cutting across party lines. A head of government, so elected, will form his Cabinet by inducting ministers from all the major parties in keeping with their strength in Parliament. Such a national government will be a government of the people, and is likely to be stable.
yours, etc., sripati ranjan chaudhuri, kolkata, 14 june.