I know that its a cheap laugh looking at texts written in the English language when it is not the language of the land and India is full of that as the refrigerator manual shows, errors on bill boards and menus and some of the language used in newspapers. "Private Eye" the english satirical magazine would find abundant material here. Today however I want to tell you about another form of writing, one that I have learnt is sadly dying out. India is full of people who are always striving to better themselves and help their families, families that are often far away, left behind in the more rural areas with grandparents while the parents struggle to earn a decent salary in the cities. Post offices, but also other venues in India were where these people could find letter writers, men mostly, who had learnt to read and write and who were able to offer their services to others less fortunate. For a few rupees these men would compose letters to loved ones, fill in official applications or send postal orders for the hard-earned rupees.
They were often the only form of contact for these families and they were entrusted with facts and money as a matter of course. These men were granted a licence to operate and for the first time the Postal Services have decided that at the end of this year these licences will no longer be renewed. The grounds - technology has fast replaced them with mobile phones and internet connections and they have become a victim of India's rapid progress.So letter writers who have been found day in and day out for decades in specific locations, who developed friendships and loyalties with their many customers will no longer have a licence to operate.
The passing of another age old tradition and service. The saving grace of this one is that undoubtedly more children these days attend school and learn to read and write aspiring to a better life than that of their parents before them.