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A newspaper in Kashmiri

To give Kashmiri language the place it deserves is not the concern of the intelligentsia only but demand comes form almost every section of the society. Of late the majority of those who speak and understand Kashmiri but unfortunately cannot read and write it have given vent to their demand that their mother tongue be given the status it deserves.

It is now evident enough that different cultural and literary organizations have emerged and those already existing have revived their activities with the sole aim of restoring the status of Kashmiri language. The masses welcome these activities from the depth of their heart. One could see largely attended seminars, symposia, meetings where the problems overwhelming Kashmiri language are being discussed. The fundamental objective of such activities is to preserve cultural heritage of Kashmir. But this preservation is possible through the medium of language and literature.

In electronic media Kashmiri has been able to find a place of respect. Different programmes are being presented. Problems of the language are being discussed. Most of these programmes give an insight to what a common man as well as an intellectual feels about the language.

In print media Kashmiri has no berth. We see new dailies and weeklies in Urdu and English are being brought out. We see plethora of such publications flood news stands. We harbour no antipathy to this development. It is a healthy symptom indeed! The intellectual horizon of our society seems to have greatly broadened.

The graph of readership is on a high. It is desirably high in urban areas but it may be deplorably low in rural areas. But why aren’t we in a position to bring out a Kashmiri newspaper? What difficulties are there which can not be solved?

Is it lack of initiative? Is it government indifference? Or, is it meager readership? Taking the entire situation into consideration, we think, it is a syndrome, which is inflicted upon us. All sections of society - journalists, writers, poets, protagonists of Kashmiri language, institutions, organizations, government coterie-all are responsible for this lacuna. We have always been passing the buck.

Kashmiri language suffers a great deal. When anything of practical nature comes to be discussed everyone shrugs shoulders. Let us come forward. Let several businessmen constitute a consortium, invest a small amount of money, utilize the services of Kashmiri writers and poets and bring out a Kashmiri newspaper of a good standard and excellence. It will be a great service to the language itself for its preservation promotion and progress and also it will give a boost to the business of the investors.

Journalists, writers, poets, intellectuals and sympathizers of Kashmiri language should have framed a syndicate to start a paper. We have been observing that in print and electronic media as also in literary gatherings an unimaginable number of Kashmiris show great interest in the promotion and uplift of Kashmiri language. Intellectuals throng these gatherings. They shall feel pleasure in extending their cooperation to this publication.

There is every possibility of its success and it seems that the time we are passing through is much more conducive than it had been before. Such literary gatherings can be interpreted as a struggle — a mass movement. Everybody talks about the language, a language which is rich and colourful, a language which needs our attention, a language which is on the decline and faces apathy from all quarters. It is understandable that bringing out a paper in our native tongue is practically a spadework but it can be done only if we forget our differences and join our hands for a common cause.

It is unfortunate that Kashmiri journalism has made no history. However, the first attempt has been done by late Shair-e-Kashmir Ghulam Ahmad Mehjoor. In August 1940 he published the first ever Kashmiri newspaper Ghash. Since it was a period of chaos and confusion, political instability and economic adversity had left the people of J&K in a situation of turmoil. Illiteracy was rampant. Mehjoor’s Ghash highlighted the issues and brought them out of the obscurity.

Then came Post- 1947 era. Jenab Ghulam Nabi Khayal an eminent writer and a capable journalist brought out an 8-page tabloid newspaper Watan in April 1965. It ran for more than three years and went into oblivion after its last issue in June 1968. It was a period when India and Pakistan were at loggerheads. Vietnam War was going on. There was turmoil in Palestine and peace was in jeopardy the world over. Khayal brought out (Aman) peace number of Watan.

It was acknowledge by great personalities like Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British philosopher and 1950- Nobel Laureate, U Thant, UN Secretary General, Smt. Indira Gandhi the former PM of India and many other great personalities. It was really a great service to the mother tongue of Kashmiris. Khayal’s attempt on Kashmiri Journalism was really praise worthy which was widely acknowledged.

Watan was recognized by all elite as well as common reader but unfortunately it disappeared in its infancy. After Khayal, Ghulam Nabi Gowhar also brought out a Kashmiri publication with a host of companions. And then appeared Meeras. In ilk publication Ateeqa Banu then joint Director Education was the forerunner. After Khayal’s Watan, Ateeqa’s Meeras was a serious endeavour in Kashmiri Journalism but it met the same fate as its precursors. Only thirty issues saw the light of the day.

There are numerous organizations, which work on Kashmiri language in one way or the other. They bring out anthologies and periodicals but they hesitate to bring out a Kashmiri newspaper.

If they could assert a little it could not be impossible for them to do it. Even Kashmiri faculty of Kashmir University, Department of Information, Cultural Academy can also extend co-operation in getting a Kashmiri newspaper published.

It is a matter of pleasure that The Srinagar Times is now bringing out an eight-page fortnightly supplement. It is a tabloid printed in colour with BAB’s cartoon and attractive get-up. This is really a praiseworthy step and an attempt to fill up the lacuna. At least once in a fortnight the ardent readers find a paper in their mother tongue.

Albeit this stepping forward of Janab Sofi Sahib is highly applauded by literary circles and lovers of Kashmiri language its contents need to conform to the aspirations of a common Kashmiri and it is yet to be seen how the supplement gains recognition from the common readers and how it sails smoothly in a vast sea of tempest.

Date posted: October 7, 2005 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 379