Thursday, May 15, 2014



A Shikara in Dal lake of kashmir .
Photo Autar Mota .

To this Photo i am adding a brief story on News Paper publication in Kashmir During Maharaja's rule .

Ahle  Toofaan  Aao  Dil Waalon   ka   Afsaanaa   kahein,
Mauj ko Gaisu Bhanwar ko Chashme Janaanan Kahein...
( Majrooh Sultanpuri )


" During MAHARAJA's rule , KASHMIRIS remained generally ignorant about rest of the world due to peculiar geographical conditions of the valley coupled with poor and sluggish means of communication. Another reason could be the absence of Radio or Newspaper . First Radio set that was seen in kashmir was sometime around 1935. . It was Stewart-Warner brand that had valves and not transistors. It had big sized speakers. It was sold from a newly opened shop in Ganda Singh Building Lal Chowk Srinagar  .. .

And Maharaja’s rule did not allow publication of Newspapers . Even if permission was granted to a couple of Newspapers in the State , the subject matter so printed and stories therein were subject to thorough checking by Government Agents .

It was in 1924 that Lala Mulk Raj Saraf  (1894-1989 ) started RANBIR as the first News paper ( Urdu ) from Jammu .It was the first News Paper published from Jammu and kashmir. Started on 24th June 1924, the paper was finally closed down on 18th May 1950. Lala Mulk Raj saraf also edited an Urdu Journal named RATTAN during this period .  The paper gained a wide readership in the entire state of Jammu And Kashmir. Lalaji is also known as the  father of  Journalism in J&K state .

Copies of this Ranbir   would also reach Srinagar on third day of its publication .Shri. Saraf worked as sub editor of Lala Lajpat Rai's nationalist organ Bande Mataram. In May 1930 Maharaja Hari Singh issued a ban on Ranbir accusing it of 'subversive propaganda', following an article about an agitation in Jammu that related to the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi .This ban was lifted in 1931 but was imposed again in June 1947 when the paper demanded that Maharaja should immediately Accede to India, release Sheikh Mohd Abdullah unconditionally and help in the formation of a responsible Government . During those turbulent days , it became a widely read News paper in the state .

Lala Mulk Raj saraf also wrote some Books and his Book  "MERI  PAKISTAN  YATRA "  published in 1980 became quite popular .He died at  Mumbai in 1989   where he had shifted to live with his son  and well known Film director Ved Rahi.

Some Newspapers were allowed publication in 1932. Vitasta edited by Prem Nath Bazaz ,Sadaaqat edited by M A Sabir,Martand edited by kashyap Bandhu  and Haqeeqat edited by Qutubud din Qalandhar started publication same year. Sadaaqat became official organ of Muslim Conference. Molvi Abdul Rahim joined editor of Sadaaqat in 1934 and made it a daily newspaper. Another newspaper Jahangir was also started in 1932 but after some editions ,it was closed down. REHBAR  was another urdu newspaper started in 1933.

AKHBAR E KASHMIRI LAHORE , a Lahore based Newspaper published by Munshi Mohmmed Din Fauq ( 1877 -1945 ) was also available in Kashmir . Fauq was a Kashmiri  scholar , poet and Historian based in Lahore to whom Allama Iqbal gave the title ‘Mujadid e Kashamara’ (reformist of Kashmir and its people. )  .

Fauq belonged to Dar family (Originally from Soebug in Kashmir ) that had settled in Sopore Town. This newspaper along with some other urdu newspapers like SIYASAT etc. published from lahore carried Anti Establishment articles and stories about Poverty and plight of kashmiris during Maharaja’s rule. AKHBAR E KASHMIRI LAHORE also wrote on the historical, political and social issues of Kashmir. AKHBAR E KASHMIRI LAHORE would also publish articles and write ups of KASHYAP BANDHU ( Tara Chand kaul from Noor pur village in kashmir ) who lived in Lahore for sometime during Maharaja Hari singh's rule. In Lahore , Kashyap Bandhu also edited a paper ARYA GAZZETTE for Arya Samaj before returning to kashmir in 1931.He also wrote articles in various newspapers of lahore wherein he highlighted the miserable plight of kashmiri labourers in Punjab. .Bandhu ji organised these poor labourers and started KASHMIRI MAZDOOR BOARD ( lahore ) of which he himself became the Secretary.

                                               ( MUNSHI MUHHAMED DIN FAUQ )

In 1905, Fauq had ought permission from Maharaja  Partap singh's government to publish a newspaper  from sringasr but the same was denied. 

 Fauq   in his book 'Aqwami Mardam Kashmir' , did a    a scholarly analysis of kashmiri surnames and nicknames. The book reflects his grip on kashmir history and culture.

It is pertinent to mention that prior to publishing of AKHABAR E KASHMIRI LAHORE , Fauq had successfully published a weekly named KASHMIRI MAGAZINE . KASHMIRI MAGAZINE had a wide readership and was subscribed by Maharaja Partap singh and Maharaja Hari Singh as well. Lala Mulk Raj Saraf (Fauq's personal friend and editor of RANBIR )also wrote some articles for KASHMIRI MAGAZINE. ..

All the News papers published from Lahore that wrote against Maharaja's rule were smuggled into kashmir and sold by some Local Booksellers in Zaina Kadal and Maharaj Ganj Srinagar .

Other regular papers that arrived from Lahore included TRIBUNE ,STATESMAN, CIVIL AND MILITARY GAZETTE in English and ZAMINDAAR , INQUILAAB , MILAP , VEER ARJUN and PARTAP in Urdu . LAHORE was the centre of Urdu Journalism at that point of time.

In 1934 , Pandit Gwasha lal kaul ( correspondent API and Reuters ) started publishing “The Kashmir Times” and later in 1939 “ The Kashmir chronicle ” . These two papers were first English Newspapers to be published from Kashmir. Kashmir Chronicle had to be closed down when its editor joined Director of News Radio Kashmir Srinagar in 1948.

Urdu Newspaper publishing in Kashmir emerged on the Scene only after Sheikh Mohd Abdullah launched Quit Kashmir Movement .During this period , Maulana Masoodi started powerful KHIDMAT for Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah's National Conference party . The paper projected political philosophy , Aims and objectives of National Conference apart from other stories and write ups .

Kashyap Bandhu also Launched WEEKLY DESH ( Urdu ) after he joined National Conference . Desh became quite popular throughout the state as it wrote about common kashmiri and had forceful editorials against Bureaucracy and Feudal rulers.Prem Nath Bazaz’s urdu weekly HAMDARD (This weekly had many pages and was later converted to Daily ) was another popular newspaper in kashmir .ROSHINI was also launched by Sadar Ud Din Mujahid . Another Urdu daily VAKIL also appeared during this period . It was published by one Saligram koul.

.                                                            ( KASHYAP BANDHU )

Prior to 1940, Some community specific news papers like MARTAND , MILLAT AND REHBAR had also arrived on the scene . MARTAND had a wider circulation.This paper also carried a literary supplement. Poetry of Mehjoor also appeared in these literary supplements.Started in 1931, Kashyap Bandhu was the first Editor of this Newspaper. These papers tried to educate respective communities about some wrong practices and social evils prevailing in Hindu and Muslim society in kashmir at that point of time.Sometimes these papers carried anti Establishment stories in a moderate tone. These papers also championed the cause of Modern education for kashmiris . After leaving MARTAND Newspaper ,kashyap Bandhu had also started Urdu Newspaper KESRI but it was confiscated by Maharaja as it openly wrote anti establishment stories .

                                                   ( Times of India news paper old issue 1947 )
 All the Newspapers published from Srinagar , Jammu and Lahore were sold by one Batra family ( from Punjab ) . Mr Batra had his shop adjacent to the shop of Dr Jaswant Singh near Amira Kadal Gurudwara . He did not have home delivery system . One had to go to his shop to buy newspapers .

Shri  Janki Nath Tikoo  ( Journalist) also ran a Newspaper Agency in kashmir prior to 1947. He   would  also Import many journals , Newspapers and periodicals  for distribution in Kashmir valley . Incidentally he happened to be grand father of  Aarti Tikoo Singh (An  accomplished Journalist  from J&K  State  based at New Delhi    ).

Papers from Lahore would be fully sold within two hours of arrival in Srinagar ........ "

( Autar Mota 15.05.2014 ).

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  2. Interesting review of journalism in Kashmir

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