The Nation’s opinion: Azad J&K is India, Hina immotional & stranded Paks in B’desh

At least in new secondary education textbooks for class three in Indian Army schools in Srinagar, the Indian government accepted existence of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The new textbooks depict the map of Jammu and Kashmir exactly how Pakistan claims it to be.
Indian government officially used to call this part of the disputed territory between two nuclear armed countries as ‘Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region’ but the new textbooks now have shown it as ’Azad Jammu and Kashmir’, a term used by Pakistan to describe the region.
Further, the books showed Gilgit-Baltistan region, which India says is a part of Kashmir, is called the Northern Areas.
Indian opposition Bhartiya Janta Party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that the Education Ministry must get to the bottom of the matter. he said.

“The Education Ministry must look into the matter immediately. They must find out if this was a mistake or done deliberately. This is a serious matter because Jammu and Kashmir is a controversial topic. If wrong information about the country’s boundaries is being taught to young children, then it must be stopped at once because it is goes against the good of the country.” 

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said action would be taken against those responsible. “We do not have information on the issue. If such a thing has been done, action will be taken,” he said.
Reportedly, some Indian army commanders have now asked some of the school principals to get back to them with the books so that they can take a look. In the meantime, the Indian army has decided to write to the Education Ministry regarding the issue.
Indian army has been maintaining that its position vis-a-vis the issue is very clear since the army is not a publishing authority. Also, the book was published by a leading publishing house based in Karol Bagh in Delhi, which means that, probably, the Education Ministry is going to sit up and take notice.
Later, the Indian army withdrew the controversial class three textbooks from schools, without giving any explanation.

(Hina’s) Incomprehensible judgement
It appears emotions, rather than pragmatism, have become dominant (in Hina) in this regard.

It appears emotions, rather than pragmatism, have become dominant (in Hina) in this regard.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s remarks on ties with India and other neighbours that Pakistan cannot afford to be selective in relations with them are contrary to what has traditionally been our foreign policy.

It appears emotions, rather than pragmatism, have become dominant in this regard.

Not only does this reflect a betrayal of the Kashmiris suffering under India’s brutal occupation, but also the disputed state’s singular importance to our very survival. Terming Kashmir as jugular vein is not a philosophical view, but a hard reality.

In its quixotic venture to cosy up to the Indians the government seems to be fascinated by the idea of bilateral trade. Ms Hina’s view that we can’t be selective in relations means compromising on this core issue. Peaceful co-existence can follow when Kashmir is resolved according to UNSC resolutions? As of now India is not even ready to talk about this outstanding issue? The government cannot be blind to Indian armament programme also that makes its intentions to push Pakistan to the corner, militarily as well as economically, quite clear.

Donaton for stranded Pakistanis in Banglades !

Donation for stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh !!!

Line Of Control – Subodh Gupta’s work so visually powerful it gives you goose bumps.

Indian girls look at an installation titled "Line of Control" by Indian artist Subodh Gupta in New Delhi, India, Friday, April 20, 2012. The installation made of steel utensils is in the shape of a giant mushroom cloud referring to the dust-cloud of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while also literally alluding to the contested India-Pakistan border, according to a press release.

India’s first philanthropic museum, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi unveiled the recent addition to its collection, the monumental sculptural installation “Line of Control” by nationally and internationally acclaimed contemporary Indian artist Subodh Gupta.

Visually, the giant mushroom cloud composed of steel utensils refers to the horrendous dust cloud after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while also literally alluding to the contested Indo-Pak border. The gigantic installation is made of stainless steel utensils, converting a blasé media stereotype into a poetic metaphor.

The phrase, Line of Control, invariably used to denote contested borders between disputed territories world over from Kashmir to Bosnia is shorn of its limiting and limited geopolitical rhetoric to describe the invisible-yet-concrete time-space existing between want and aspiration; between dreams and reality; between realization and faith; between night and nightmare.

Putting the work in perspective, Charles Darwent of the UK Independent pointed out when the work was shown at Tate’s Altermodern:

“Globalization hasn’t just swept away cultural differences; it has also made us to think of history differently. Just the way geographical boundaries do not any longer count so also historical ones. In fact, history, today, is an amorphous thing. Postmodernism, by playing around with bits of past history, made itself part of that (history). Whether or not this holds true is for you to ponder. Subodh Gupta’s giant mushroom cloud of pans and pots, is worth the trip alone.”

Richard Dorment of the UK Telegraph termed Subodh Gupta the star of this show. The reviewer mentioned:

“His ‘Line of Control’ fills a rotunda from floor to ceiling in the Duveen Galleries with a mushroom cloud-shaped column of stainless steel pots, pans and kitchen utensils in a work so visually powerful it gives you goose bumps. By making his atomic blast out of harmless implements virtually every person both in India and Pakistan uses in everyday life, the artist subverts (and therefore neutralizes) the meaning of the mushroom shape – a sign for death as universally understood as the skull and crossbones.” 

THE MEADOW says ‘India, A State Sponsoring Terrorism’

Catherine Scott-Clark declare India- A State Sponsoring Terrorism.

Review of Book “The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 — Where the Terror Began”

A Srinagar based human rights group has requested the region’s State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and subsequent killing of four western tourists by a militant group in 1995 in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark in their book put on sale from 1st May 2012 “The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 — Where the Terror Began”  claim that the four Westerners were murdered by a group of Kashmiri militants who worked for the Indian Army. They came to the conclusion after their investigations based on the interviews with police officials then investigating the case. The book was released on March 29 in England.

The book contains blow-by-blow descriptions of the negotiations for the hostages’ release between an inspector and the kidnappers, which seemed to be nearly completed several times, only to be blown apart when the agreed terms of the negotiations were leaked to newspapers, including the Hindustan Times, infuriating the kidnappers. At times when the Indian government claimed the kidnappers and their hostages were untraceable, the book said, they were being watched and photographed by an Indian Army helicopter.

Rather than working for the hostages’ release, the Indian government, Indian intelligence agencies and Indian military prolonged their capture and sabotaged negotiations with the kidnappers, a new non-fiction book called “The Meadow” alleges. Indian officials’ actions were part of a larger plan to present Pakistan, and the Pakistan-backed insurgency in Kashmir, in as harsh a light as possible to the world at large, the book says. Ultimately, the men were killed by a second group, funded and controlled by the Indian government, the book alleges.

“All the time New Delhi said it was trying to crack Al Faran, a group within intelligence and the STF (Special Task Force, an Indian Police division) was letting them dangle, happy to let the militants portray themselves as savage criminals,” one police detective who worked on the case tells the authors.

Quoting the Kashmir police’s crime branch squad, the two authors write that the investigators had been convinced that the Government-controlled renegades had the control of four Westerners after Al Faran dropped them.

“The squad reported some of its thoughts to its seniors, using these kinds of words, ‘Sikander’s men handed over Paul, Dirk, Keith and Don to Alpha’s renegades in the third of fourth week of November, around the time when the final sightings dried up. Sikander has given up. Al Faran is finished. Embarrassingly, India controls the renegades.’”

Adrian Levy told in a interview to NYT that “We also determined the exact route taken by the kidnappers, and followed that route, through Anantnag, and over in Kishtwar and the Warwan Valley, interviewing hundreds of villagers over the years, staying in Sukhnoi where we learned from villagers, and then the IB and the J&K police, the hostages had been deliberately penned in for 11 weeks approximately, while they were observed in detail and near daily, by an Indian helicopter.”

Inspector General Rajinder Tikoo (who led the negotiations with the kidnappers) confirmed it to Adrian that the sabotaging of the talks and that intelligence did not want there to be a resolution. He resigned as a result from the inquiry. He then had no part to play and does not express a view of the ending.

A member of the Crime Branch team who worked on the case describes the “dawning realization that their desire to solve the crime was at odds with the goals of some senior figures in the military and the intelligence services, who could have saved the hostages but chose not to.” Authors claim that “The kidnapping was a boon that enabled the Indian intelligence fraternity to clearly demonstrate Pakistan backed terror and demonize Kashmiri aspirations.”

“Right from the beginning the strings were being pulled from New Delhi,” said Altaf Ahmed, a police security official who worked with the security adviser to the government of Kashmir.“Those of us dealing with the hostage-taking on the ground in Srinigar were not in control.”

On Christmas Eve, 1995, the four remaining hostages were walked into heavy, deep snow behind the lower village of Mati Gawran, shot and buried, an eyewitness to the killings said, the book reports.

“There was only one end for them, and we all knew it,” he said. “No one could risk the hostages being released and complaining of collusion, having seen uniforms and STF jeeps,” he said. (STF is the Special Task Force of police in Kashmir).

The book’s claims echo some of the darkest fears brewing in the international intelligence community after the hostages, or their bodies, failed to surface month after month.

Almost a year after they were taken, the fate of the hostages was still uncertain, despite diplomatic appeals and secret military operations from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, The New York Times reported.

The journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark an award-winning investigative journalist in their book comprising 500 pages put on sale from 1st May 2012 “The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 — Where the Terror Began”  claim the Westerners were murdered by a group of Kashmiri militants who worked for the Indian Army. The book was released on March 29 in England .

The  adventurers and nature lovers across the globe, envy to see Kashmir a paradise on earth. But for one group of travellers in 1995, a trip to the Meadow became a nightmare that none of them could possibly have imagined. These men - two Americans, two Britons, a German and a Norwegian - journeyed to Kashmir in search of nature and humanity – but became entangled in a hostage drama that lasted for six months before they vanished from the face of the earth leaving their loved ones and family in agony for rest of their life. The conclusions in the book are drawn through investigations based on the interviews with police officials then investigating the case and the wives and girlfriends of the missing men. It  reveals how the Kashmir hostage crisis was an opening shot in the war on terror; what these terrorists did to a group of western adventurers and set them on a cold-hearted path to terrorise the West.

A review of the book “In the Meadow, A chilling alternate view of the 1995 Kashmiri kidnappings” published in NY Times discussed the kidnappings of six foreign tourists in a meadow in Kashmir by a group calling itself Al Faran. The Indian government, Indian Intelligence agencies and Indian Military prolonged their capture and sabotaged negotiations with the kidnappers which resulted in the killing of the hostages. This was later discovered that it was an Indian conspiracy to put the blame on Pakistan and its intelligence agencies afterwards for the killing and kidnapping of the tourists. However, upon investigation it was learned that the men were killed by another group, funded and controlled by the Indian government(See salients from the book below). However, India has always tried to deceive its own people, region/neighbors and the world as a whole .The  TRUTH can only be blurred but never hidden. Few examples from recent history are as under:-

Own people:

  • On night between February 17-18, 2007 at least 68 people, mostly Pakistanis, were killed in a series of explosions and a resultant fire on Pakistan-bound train in the northern Indian state of Haryana, near Panipat, about 80km north of Delhi. Initial investigations blamed the Pakistan-based LeT (Lashkar-e-Tayaba) and JeM (Jaish-e-Muhammad), so much so a Pakistan national, Azmat Ali, was also arrested in this connection…Later it was found by the police that right-wing Hindu activists and an Indian army officer Colonel Prohit had a significant role in not only the Samjhauta Express bombing but also in the Malegaon and other similar terrorist incidents. The confessions of Swami Aseemanand have now further confirmed the Hindutvaradicals’ role in terrorism.
  • In the Makkah Masjid blast on May 18, 2007, 14 people were killed and as a reaction around 80 Muslims were initially rounded up by the police. The bombs are believed to have contained a deadly mix of RDX and TNT, in proportions often used by the Indian army.” CBI director Ashwani Kumar told the media that an activist named Sunil Joshi“played a key role in orchestrating the Ajmer blast and a set of mobile SIM cards that had been used in activation of the bomb-triggers in the Makka Masjid blast was used again in the Ajmer blast. ..India’s National Investigating Agency (NIA) filed a case in a court accusing 11 Hindus and members of the ultra-right-wing Sanathan Sanstha, of masterminding and executing the October 2009 Margao blast.
  • In Ajmer Sharif  Blast on October 11, 2007 ,3 people died. In 2010, Rajasthan ATS arrests Devendra Gupta, Chandrashekhar and Vishnu Prasad. Initial arrests of Abdul Hafiz Shamim, Khushibur Rahman, Imran Ali linked  to  HuJI, LeT could not be proved.  Again in Malegaon 2nd Blasts in September  2008 in which 7 died   Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Srikant Purohit and Swami Amritanand Dev were found involved.

This shows a glimpse of investigation handling in India however more can be understood by a statement of Mumbai advocate Mihir who said: “It is believed that CBI is seeking directions from the home ministry to see the Ajmer, Makkah Masjid, Malegaon and other blasts in conjunction, after there has been no conclusive evidence of the involvement of Islamic groups”.

Source: This is how India shine, read here

Region/Neighbours:

  • India has always had hegemonic approach towards its neighbours and its goodwill gestures have mostly concluded with economic or militarily strangulating projects for the neighbours. May it be the construction of a barrage at Farakka, near the border with Bangladesh or Wullhar Barrage over River Jhelum to dry up the water resources for its neighbours.
  • Pakistan is locked in other territorial disputes with India such as the Siachen Glacier, Sir Creek and construction of dams including Baglihar Dam built over the River Chenab in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly China, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka all have host of problems leading to mistrust in neighbours relationship.
  • India has redrafted its military doctrine on building border infrastructure as a force multiplier in a real war situation. Indian Army Chief’s statement of taking on both Pakistan and China simultaneously through its cold start doctrine is an announced policy.

Source: Who is attacking Balochistan?Read here

The world as a whole:

  • One of the Worlds biggest Glacier reservoir are depleting fast.  Blaming only global warming for rapid defrosting is a false impression being created deliberately by India with a view to covering up the serious and catastrophic environmental crime its army is committing. It leaves not even an iota of doubt that the rapid shrinkage of the Siachen Glacier is due to chemical and explosive storage and cutting of glacial ice by the Indian army and not by global warming.
  • Indian troops are involved in dumping of chemicals, metals, organic and human waste, and daily leakages of 2,000 gallons of kerosene oil. This oil passes through 250 kilometre of a plastic pipeline, laid by the Indian army across the glacier.
  • The global environment and human rights experts and activists may realise one day that they have stains of this blood on their ignorance and not putting enough pressure on Pakistan and India to demilitarise the glacier.
  • The glimpse of misguided investigation handling by India quoted above is worth noting. Wendy Sherman  US Under Secretary of state announced in New Delhi on April 02,2012  that the US had put a bounty of US $10 million on Hafiz Muhammad Saeed a leader of Pakistan based social welfare organization Jama’at-ud-Da’wah(JuD) to please India.. Despite India’s investigation record and fact that Pakistani courts has acquitted Hafiz Saeed on many occasions and in many cases due to lack of evidences against him. On October 12, 2009, the Lahore High Court quashed all cases against Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and set him free. The court also notified that Jama’at-ud-Da’wah is not a banned organization and can work freely in Pakistan. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, one of two judges hearing the case, observed “In the name of terrorism we cannot brutalise the law. But somehow india has succeeded in hiding reality.

See detailed study  here

Conclusion:

It is very much evident from the facts revealed in the book and above mentioned facts that in order to get psychological benefits, India has always remained indulged in dirty games. Either this benefited India or not but it gave a massive blow to humanity. India contributes in making future of this world bleak. Therefore it is the responsibility of analysts, social workers and environmentalists to take notice of these psychological wars that India has waged against not just its neighbors but against the whole world .


Jammu Tribune: ‘National Press’ Ingress

Shujaat Bukhari
The Chandigarh based leading newspaper, Tribune recently made an entry into the media market in Jammu and Kashmir by launching its “Jammu Tribune” supplement. During the launching ceremony, the Governor N NVohra hoped that it would also reach to Srinagar with a similar mission. 

Dedicating a few pages to the affairs of the state by the regional and national newspapers is not new but the way Tribune has started presenting it, is something significant. With the unprecedented revolution in Information Technology in last over one decade, conflicting trends have emerged in the media scene. In contrast to shrinking space for newspapers in United States and other western countries, more newspapers have started appearing on the news stalls in India. Notwithstanding fast advancements in dissemination of news through social media viz Facebook and Twitter, only 3 percent population in India has direct access to the internet. That is why Hindi press in India is getting stronger and there is hardly any decline in the readership of English newspapers through the hard copies.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the scene is no different. From not more than 30 registered newspapers in 1989, the number has already crossed 800. It is afact that only a handful of newspapers in English and Urdu have a stable readership but the trend of becoming “Editors” has not shown any sign of discouragement.

While the problems of local newspapers (except a few) have not ended, the national newspapers have started looking towards closer connection with the readers in Jammu and Kashmir. Launch of “Tribune Jammu” is part of that experiment. One cannot jump to the judgment about the failure or success of Tribune in eating up the space of other leading English newspapers in Jammu but it certainly would depend upon how the newspaper would deal with the local issues. Jammu is already tasting the local editions of Amar Ujala and Dainik  Jagran, two leading Hindi newspapers of mainland India. After expanding their bureaus, both launched full fledged editions from the city thus making a huge dent into the circulation base of once the “king” of Hindi journalism in the north – Hind Samchar – and to an extent to Dainik Kashmir Times. With a variety of material, from local to national and international affairs, both newspapers have made a difference in the market.

The English newspapers such as Hindustan Times, Times of India and Indian Express had started devoting few pages to the state much earlier. Indian Express had gone ahead by having tie up with a local newspaper. However, the experiment failed to the extent that the circulation with which these newspapers had command in the market went down to a considerable level. Since readers had developed a taste to read a national newspaper for what was happening in rest of India as also how the national media would cover the happenings in the state, they started losing the interest. This was precisely the reason The Indian Express reverted back to catering the market with Delhi edition. Even as Jammu does not have much problems with the political discourse the national media would set in, this surely would not strike a chord in politically volatile Kashmir.

The only experiment done in Kashmir so far is of QuamiAwaz, the Urdu newspaper which happened to be the mouth piece of Congress. With its good quality news presentation and lay out it was launched in 1989. It carved a space and to an extent pushed aside Aftab and Srinagar Times – the two leading Urdu dailies of that time. However, it failed the test when armed rebellion broke out in same year and could not synchronise its editorial policy with the political aspirations of the people. The result was that it was closed down only after few months of its remarkable success in the market.

Launching an edition of a national newspaper from a place like Kashmir cannot be a cakewalk. Its success is caveated with the “compromise” on a dotted  nationalistic line. Like in pre-freedom era of United India, the newspapers such as Times of India, The Statesman and Independent were ahead in technology and presentation, but they failed to make a constituency among the public for being closer to the British rule.

In that vacuum the lesser quality papers like Harijan and Hindustan Times could reach to the people in a better way as they represented their wishes. So in Kashmir, a national newspaper has to take a stand and it remains to be seen whether it can compromise on the larger “national issues”. Coverage of day to day problems of governance and daily events is not a problem for any newspapers that comes from outside but to identify its stand on political issues is the real test. Even the local newspapers face ire on account of what many people think “they are going against the dominant sentiment”.

Entry of national newspapers in Valley is not a major threat to local journalism. The way the local media would cover the happenings in Kashmir, it is not expected that a national newspaper could devote that much of space. Besides highlighting the government activities there is not much scope for the issues thrown up as a consequence of the conflict. But their arrival in the market would definitely help them reach to their existing readers early in the morning. By any stretch of imagination the local advertisement market cannot shift to higher rate structure of national newspapers so easily. It will, however, open space for more young journalists to get better salaries, which in any case is good for the growth of the institution.
Shujaat Bukhari is editor of the Daily Rising Kashmir

Kashmir’s print media marches on!

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

Talking Point: Dr Javid Iqbal

Shujaat Bukhari in his article ‘A successes story amid all odds’ while relating the ‘Rising Kashmir’ tale lays down a matter of fact…starting a newspaper in Kashmir is not an easy job.  Multiple publications in the print media belie his claim. However an assessment of how many sustained to stay afloat indicates what he is trying to make out.  The pulls, the pressures of any conflict zone could be forbidding. Kashmir is no exception.

The journalists could get into the crossfire…literally, proverbially too! It has never been easy in Kashmir, even before militancy. Militancy made it tougher. Added to over-ground contenders were the underground militants engaging security forces. Post 1989 scenario stands painted by Shujaat Bukhari with the desired shades; a time phase in which he was one of the media actors. We may assess the growth of media in Indian subcontinent, and thence J&K State, so that a holistic picture emerges.
British Raj in India allowed a measure of press freedom, as ‘Times of India’ of ‘Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd’ came-up in 1838 AD in Bombay, and ‘Statesman’ in Calcutta. These English language newspapers reflected the day to day life of Britishers in India, and later on Congress party initiated by British liberals like Lord Hume and Annie Beasent. Those were the days when Congress was asking for favours, rather than rights. And favours only for people of British Indian territory, Indian States were a category apart with despotic autocratic rule.
Jammu and Kashmir State like other Indian States had not even the small measure of freedom which British India enjoyed. In late 20’s of 20th century ‘Ranbir’ was published in Jammu. Kashmir valley didn’t have media publication worth the name even though the movement for political rights was on from 1931. In late 30’s and early 40’s that papers like ‘Hamdard’ and Khidmat’ came-up, with phases of intense censorship varying with relative freedom, which however had a limited extent. Moreover there was bitter rivalry between the publishers.
Khidmat-Hamdard rivalry had a political rather than a journalistic basis. Khidmat was National Conference’s media face, whileas Hamdard edited by Prem Nath Bazaz was NC contender. Bazaz initially Sheikh Abdullah supporter turned into a bitter rival espousing any anti-Abdullah voice, be it the one of Mirwaiz Yousuf Shah or Ram Chand Kak—JK Premier 1946/47. Bazaz had a political party of sorts representing the peasant [Kisan] and labour [Mazdoor] though it didn’t make much headway, as Abdullah dominated the scene. With Kak, he also had a hand in organising ‘State Peoples Conference’ an anti-Abdullah front. For any student of growth of Kashmir journalism, any research scholar, this could form a part of study. ‘Khidmat’ archives are a good source, where I got a chance to study the events and happenings of those early days of Kashmir journalism.
Whileas in the wider avenues of subcontinent, English press made an early appearance, there were some Hindi publications too in the later half of 19th century. ‘Kavi Vachan Sudha’ of Harish Chandar and ‘Brahmin’ of Narain Mishra were publication meant to undercut the Persian influence of Mughal era, and its offshoot ‘Urdu’. Though Gandhi propagated Hindustani as an assimilative linguistic process, Hindi media was vociferously propagating Hindi. ‘Al-Balag’ and ‘Al-Hilal’ of Maulana Azad made a huge impact on survival and growth of Urdu journalism in the subcontinent. Urdu was the predominant linguistic form of Kashmir journalism, until as Shujaat Bukhari makes out the spreading literacy with English as the predominant medium, being the international link language necessitated initiation of English press. Of that later, first the post-1947 scenario in Kashmir, an assessment of how it affected the media in Kashmir, which could be a prelude to post-1989 scenario painted by Shujaat Bukhari.
1947! Kashmir became bone of contention between two of South Asia’s most powerful states-India and Pakistan. The political dispensing in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, two-third of which became the ‘Indian Administered Kashmir’ had soon contenders of various hues, and of varying intensity. The print media felt the pressure and hardly anything that the ruling regime of the day would not relish got printed. The print media insignificant though in those days, mostly vernacular felt the pressure and self-censorship became the rule before the state would get into the act. Khidmat continued to project NC viewpoint, Hamdard continued though under differing ownership and editorship. A welcome addition was ‘Aftab’ Urdu daily edited by Kh. Sonaullah Aftab—an old hand in journalism, who had tried his hand across the line in ‘Pakistan Administered Kashmir’ only to face challenges. Switching back to vale, the challenges did not cease. His satire ‘Khazar Suchta Hai Wular Kay Kinaray’ conveyed what he could not say directly, given the constraints that press was experiencing.
As 50’s turned to 60’s ‘Srinagar Times’ came-up with its trademark cartoon—Bashir Ahmad Bashir [BAB] made many a morning. His cartoons were as telling as Kh. Sonaullah’s ‘Khazar Suchta Hai Wular Kay Kinaray’. A serious attempt to convey the views behind news was initiated by Shamim Ahmad Shamim’s [SAS]’s ‘Aina’ a landmark in Kashmir journalism. SAS had linguistic as well as oratorical fluidity in Urdu and he used it with telling effect. However he too had to take a measure of political cover, before he could say what he wanted to. The political cover was provided by the political skills that he acquired by his acumen. SAS combined journalistic and political roles, changing garbs with effortless ease. He departed as quickly as he came within approximately a decade and a half, succumbing to dreadful cancer in 1980 AD, aged just 43 years. It was a tragic loss.
Post 1989! There is hardly any aspect of post-1989 which Shujaat Bukhari has left unexplored right from the days when Al-Safa made a mark. The tale and trail continued in vernacular press, though the role of English medium ‘Kashmir Times’ cannot be ignored. Jammu based initially, with a fair readership in the valley, for the bi-lingual lot, it remained an evening read after a morning look at the vernacular. In nineties with ‘Greater Kashmir’ taking on the daily garb from a weekly one, valley had a Standard English daily every morning. With the advent of 21st century and a continuing militancy confronting the state, media was working under all the strains imaginable in conflict zone. State, as Shujaat Bukhari makes out has enough in hand to squeeze the media, though censorship is unacceptable, understandably useless with ever widening panorama of information technology. The state squeeze is visible for conscious and knowledgeable readership. Hence the ones who desire to stay afloat with a readership to boost of need to remain vigilant not to succumb to squeeze. With ‘RK’ coming to fore in 2008, ‘KT’ hitting stands early morning in the valley for the last few years and ‘GK’ looming large, increasing and avid readers have a variety to pick from. There is a healthy competition, no acrimony. I could vouch for it, being privileged to work with all. Never ever have I heard a bitter word or seen an undesirable gesture against each other by the main players in Kashmir media. Instead there is realisation that they need to take care of each other, stand by and for each other!
When the going gets tough, the tough get going…heavier the odds stronger the march!
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival] Feedback on: iqbal.javid46@gmail.com  

(courtesy: Rising Kashmir & Dr Javid Iqbal)