Monthly Archives: April 2014

About some rare Books and Manuscripts

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About some rare books and manuscripts

It was a great experience to attend the seminar organized by The Anjuman-i-Himayatul Islam & Gulshan Books Publishers jointly on “The history of publishing books in Kashmir and the responsibility of media in the present scenario”; also suggestions were invited for “planning the publication of rare manuscripts that are falling victim to moths and are lying in different homes/ libraries” in the valley.

Since the topic was of my interest as with the same objective in mind, I have recently submitted to Allama Iqbal Library KU, about 300 printed books of past about two centuries, besides about 6800 pages of handwritten manuscripts in Arabic and Persian languages; out of which they selected only those that were in a complete form from start to end. These books had been published in Lahore, Luknow, Kanpur, Delhi, Deoband, Bombay and Allahabad etc., when there was no press here. These books included Tafsir-i-Husaini (the first ever Persian commentary on Holy Quran), Masnavi Moulana Rum, Asrar-i-Sura Fatiha-all of voluminous size; Shams-ut-Tawarikh, Hasn-i-Hasin (with translation), Bahr-ul-Irfan, Takshif-ul Hikmah, Ruqat-i-Alamgiri, Qisas-ul-Anbia Farsi, Mukhtasar Waqaya etc. Among handwritten manuscripts were some handwritten pamphlets of Mir Sayid Ali Hamadani(RA) dated 1136 AH,  Tajwid-ul-Qirat, Diwan-i-Faizi,  Persian travelogue of Central Asia –the author seems to be a contemporary of Hazrat Jami (RA) having common Murshid. There are some rare manuscripts worth conducting research like: (a) Description of the burial of Sayid Baqir at Thune village near Kangan in 655 AH, who had come from Iran along with 1200 Sayids; ie about 100 years earlier than the arrival of Hazrat Bulbul Shah (RA); (b) A page on the commentary of Sura Fatah with a pamphlet in Arabic language prohibiting smoking hand written by Sadr-ud-Din Mohammad Ibni Abil Safa AlHusaini in 691 AH-again about half a century earlier than arrival of Hazrat Bulbul Shah (RA); (c) Awrad of Hazrat Baha-ud-Din Zakaria Multani (RA) (d.666AH)-about 300 pages, (d) Qawaid-ul-Mashaikh written by Kh. Azam Dedamari (Historian)(d.1165 AH); (E) Shajra Mubaraka of Mohammad Murad Naqshbandi in five silsilas written by Kh. Azam Dedamari; (e) Shajra Mubaraka in five silsilas written by Shaikh Abdul Haq Muhaddis Dehlavi (d. 1052 AH)for his disciple Allama Haidar bin Feroz Kashmiri (d. 1057 AH). The library has taken up the digitization of these books under Central scheme and hope that these will get preserved for posterity as our heritage lies buried in such rare books/manuscripts lying in many homes for deterioration.

It is one of such manuscripts that I found getting moth eaten in the home of Jenab Mohammad Afzal Fazili of Gamroo village, from whom after great persuasion, I obtained it, got copied, translated from Persian verse to Urdu language and got published its first edition in 2007 under the title “Majmooa Maktoobat se mustafid kitabHamare Aslaf aur Mashaikh-i-Kashmir” with addition of Volume 1 describing the introduction of Islam and various Sufi orders in Kashmir and Vol. 3 describing the biographies of the saints mentioned in the book proper Vol 2, named Majmooa Masmooa authored by Pirzada Ghulam Rasool Shaiva (Zunimari) (d.1288 AH) -father of Pir Hasan Shah Fazili Khoihami (historian).The book found a great appreciation among the readers and researchers and on their persistence a second updated edition is under publication titled “Salikin-i-Kashmir” all in one volume, with M/s Gulshan Books and shall be available shortly. Besides, its English translation is also in process.

In short what is needed is, as rightly said by Mr Fida Hasnain in the seminar that there is plenty of material available in our Archives Deptt and University Libraries for conducting research. We need to get preserved whatever written material of the past is lying in various homes. Besides we need to develop patience to hear others point of view/ criticism, which is lacking as stated by Justice Kirmani.  However despite all tall claims, there appears to be a conflict between our word and action, which is the main cause of our present scenario.

 

 

Water and Energy (Seminar on World Water Day-2014)

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  The Institution of Engineers India, J&K State Centre Srinagar

 

              WORLD WATER DAY-2014

 

                   WATER AND ENERGY

                           By

               Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili FIE

It is an established fact that the origin of life is aquatic and we are here because of water, otherwise we would be nonexistent. Water is the elixir of life and the fuel or the energy that sets us in motion. It is the water that has made earth the only so far known living planet in the universe. Water exists here in three forms: solid, liquid & vapor. The global interchange system of glacier-ocean-atmosphere maintains a comfortable environment that supports life forms, from the polar-bear to tropical orchids. Nature is so benevolent that 72 % of the surface area of the globe is covered with water. We have held many seminars in this centre deliberating on water as the subject and recently I got a book published namely “Environment in Jammu & Kashmir” from Gulshan Publishers Srinagar having 35 chapters mostly dealing with water.

Ancient people regarded four elements as basis for sustenance of life; these were: water, soil, fire and air (Aab-o-Khak-o-Atash-o-Bad-yehi char anasir hain jin se hay jahan abad) but on analysis we find that the other three basic elements are also subservient to water.

As we observe, water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.

In 2014, the UN System – working closely with its Member States and other relevant stakeholders – is collectively bringing its attention to the water-energy nexus, particularly addressing inequities, especially for the ‘bottom billion’ who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services. It also aims to facilitate the development of policies and crosscutting frameworks that bridge ministries and sectors, leading the way to energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy. Particular attention will be paid to identifying best practices that can make a water- and energy-efficient ‘Green Industry’ a reality.

Objectives of World Water Day in 2014

Raise awareness of the inter-linkages between water and energy

Contribute to a policy dialogue that focuses on the broad range of issues related to the nexus of water and energy

Demonstrate, through case studies, to decision makers in the energy sector and the water domain that integrated approaches and solutions to water-energy issues can achieve greater economic and social impacts

Identify policy formulation and capacity development issues in which the UN system, in particular UN-Water and UN-Energy, can offer significant contributions

Identify key stakeholders in the water-energy nexus and actively engaging them in further developing the water-energy linkages

Contribute as relevant to the post-2015 discussions in relation to the water-energy nexus

Facts and figures

The Facts and Figures in this section are drawn from the edition of the World Water Development Report on Water and Energy that has been published in March 2014 and launched on the occasion of World Water Day celebrations in Tokyo, Japan.

Hydroelectricity

Hydroelectricity is the largest renewable source for power generation and its share in total electricity generation is expected to remain around 16% through 2035. (Our J&K State has a potential of generating about 16,000 MW, the surplus power could be exported to earn revenue for the State.)

 

Hydropower and water use

Most of the water used for hydropower generation is returned to the river though some evaporates and there are important impacts on timing and quality of stream flows. (After over six decades J&K State has woken up to charge water-usage charges from Hydropower generating agencies. Better late than never.)

Industrial water use

Roughly 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production.

Financing water

For developing countries alone $103 billion per year are required to finance water, sanitation and wastewater treatment through 2015.

Energy for water

Energy is required for two components of water provision: pumping and treatment (before and after use).

 Waterborne transportation

Waterborne transit is one of the most energy efficient. Inland towing barges are more than 3 times more energy efficient than road trucks and 40% more efficient than rail. ( Here I must admit that It is unfortunate that our Inland water transport project on river Jhelum, framed by SDA with M/S Rites, at a cost of Rs.25.00 Lakhs has run in fiasco.)

 Biogas produced from sewage

In Stockholm, public buses, waste collection trucks and taxis run on biogas produced from sewage treatment plants. ( I have seen Sulabh International having electrified Patna streets with biogas from a community type latrine in eighties. In J&K UEED initiated introduction of biogas plants in eighties in individual houses in certain rural areas and survey of certain areas was also got conducted. However the programme was later taken up by Rural Development Department.)

 

Access to water and sanitation

In 2011, 768 million people did not use an improved source of drinking-water and 2.5 billion people did not use improved sanitation. (Kashmir was once known for its purest form of water, but today we are importing drinking water from outside. The water quality of our lakes & rivers is deteriorating with the passage of time. Most homes have installed water purifiers. Regarding sewerage schemes for the capital city of Srinagar, no substantial achievement has been visible so far. Most of the wetlands like Bemina, Hyderpora (lately even Dood Ganga Channel has overflowed due to blockage by its filling) ;serving as absorption basins  have been filled up & urbanized; whave lost over thirty wetlands in past half a century, and water bodies are shrinking, hence we have witnessed worst kind of flooding of the city roads in this March & April due to excessive rains, attributed to the global warming.)

Access to electricity

More than 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity, and roughly 2.6 billion use solid fuels (mainly biomass) for cooking. (Again I like to draw your attention to the fact that despite an estimated hydro-potential of about 16000 MW in J&K State, we have exploited so far only about 2300 MW, the rights of ownership of the most of which have been sold permanently to NHPCC against the normal practice of other states and this very power is sold back to us at a much higher cost. )

Wind power

Wind power is the most sustainable source of renewable energy, mainly because of its low greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. (We need to explore this source, besides the solar energy. I have witnessed Masdar City in Abu Dhabi being built where solar energy shall be used for generating electricity, heating, driving vehicles and absolutely no petroleum products or biofuels. shall be used.)

Theme, Key Facts and Events around the World

World Water Day 2014 was observed on 22 March, which we are celebrating today the 26th April.  (Der ayad drust ayad) The United Nations, which instituted the practice in 1993, has said this year’s theme is “energy and water”.

 

World Water Day 2014 theme

According to the UN, energy and water are interdependent. Generation and transmission of major energy sources such as hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal power require water resources. Conversely, about 8% of global energy is used for pumping, treating and transporting water.

The 2014 theme addresses inequalities in this water-energy nexus, the UN said.

The focus is especially on the “bottom billion who live in slums and impoverished rural areas and survive without access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services,” it said in a statement.

With this year’s theme, the UN also aims to facilitate the development of policies in water and energy sectors that “can achieve greater economic and social impact.”

Observances

Several events were/are being held around the world to mark the UN World Water Day and highlight the theme that water and energy are interlinked.

An annual conference was held in Zaragoza, Spain, in January to discuss the role of both the sectors in the conceptualization of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after 2015.

The main UN event marking the World Water Day 2014 was held on 20 and 21 March in Tokyo, Japan. The World Water Development Report 2014 on Water and Energy was released there.

Besides, this year’s World Water Week is scheduled to take place in Stockholm, Sweden, from 31 August to 5 September, and it will be held under the same theme as that of the World Water Day.

Water and Energy: Key facts and figures

Marking the World Water Day, the UN has released some key facts and figures based on this year’s theme. They are below:

  • Roughly 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production
  • By 2035, the global energy demand is projected to grow by more than one-third
  • 600 million Africans do not have access to energy
  • 2.5 billion people have unreliable or no access to electricity
  • In Stockholm, public buses, waste collection trucks and taxis run on biogas produced from sewage treatment plants.
  • In 2011, 768 million people did not use an improved source of drinking-water and 2.5 billion people did not use improved sanitation.
  • More than 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity, and roughly 2.6 billion use solid fuels (mainly biomass) for cooking.
  • Approximately 15–18 billion m3 of freshwater resources are contaminated by fossil fuel production every year.

 

       WORLD WATER DEVELOPMENT REPORT (WWDR)-2014

 

Water and energy are closely interconnected and highly interdependent. Choices made and actions taken in one domain can greatly affect the other, positively or negatively. Trade-offs need to be managed to limit negative impacts and foster opportunities for synergy. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation both directly, as a number of the Millennium Development Goals depend on major improvements in access to water, sanitation, power and energy sources, and indirectly, as water and energy can be binding constraints on economic growth – the ultimate hope for widespread poverty reduction.

The Report provides a comprehensive overview of major and emerging trends from around the world, with examples of how some of the trend-related challenges have been addressed, their implications for policy-makers, and further actions that can be taken by stakeholders and the international community.

 

The WWDR 2014 on Water and Energy is the first that follows the new “formula” agreed by UN-Water in 2012. Indeed, the WWDR is now an annual and thematic report with a focus on different strategic water issues each year. It is shorter – in the order of 100 pages – with a standardized structure and data and case studies annexes related to the theme.

Starting in 2014, the theme of the World Water Development Report and that of World Water Day will be harmonized in order to provide a deeper focus and in-depth analysis of a specific water-related issue every year.

 

 

 

 

 Highlights of the World Water Development Report (WWDR-2014):

 

Part I. STATUS, TRENDS & CHALLENGES

 

The Water-Energy nexus:

  • Whereas energy is required mainly for the provision of water services, water resources are required in the production of energy.

 

Water: Demands, Energy requirements & availability:

  • Consumer demand and increasing standards of living are driving increased demand for water, most notably by middle income households in developing and emerging economies through their greater demand for food, energy and other goods, the production of which can require significant quantities of water.
  • The global demand for water is expected to grow significantly for all major water use sectors, with the largest proportion of this growth occurring in countries with developing or emerging economies.
  • An interesting and notable flip side of the water–energy nexus is that wastewater is becoming recognized as a potential source of energy rather than as a mere waste stream. In several countries, water supply companies are working towards becoming energy neutral.

 

Energy’s thirst for water:

  • There is clear evidence that groundwater supplies are diminishing, with an estimated 20% of the world’s aquifers being over-exploited, some massively so. Globally, the rate of groundwater abstraction is increasing by 1% to 2% per year. There is evidence that demand for all types of primary energy will increase over the period 2010–2035
  • Approximately 90% of global power generation is water intensive. Water is used directly for hydropower generation as well as for all forms of thermal power generation schemes.
  • Globally, electricity demand is expected to grow by roughly 70% by 2035. This growth will be almost entirely in non-OECD countries.
  • Wind and solar PV consume negligible amounts of water, yet they provide an intermittent service that needs to be compensated for by other sources of power (which do require water) to maintain load balances on larger grids.
  • In the transportation fuels sector, much of the world is moving away from conventional petroleum based fuels (petrol and diesel, relatively water-lean to produce). Many nations are selecting more water intensive options, such as unconventional fossil fuels (from hydraulic fracturing, coal-to-liquids or oil sands), biofuels and electricity. Even electric powered transportation is water intensive because of water requirements at the power plant.

 

Data challenges & opportunities:

  • For water resources, monitoring availability and use represents an immense and on going challenge, especially given their variable distribution over time and space.
  • Top-level annual estimates for energy consumption by fuel exist at the national level for most countries, allowing for informed decision-making in terms of energy policy.
  • Lack of data puts water resources management at a political disadvantage in terms of priority decision-making.

 

Part II. THEMATIC FOCUS

 

Infrastructure:

  • Funding gaps threaten economic growth and could lead to an increase in the number of people living in poverty. Regarding energy infrastructure, the IEA has estimated that nearly $1 trillion in cumulative investment ($49 billion per year) will be needed to achieve universal energy access by 2030. It also concludes that in a business as- usual scenario, one billion people will remain without access to electricity by 2030.
  • Investment requirements for water infrastructure are even higher [than for energy infrastructure. For developing countries alone, it has been estimated that $103 billion per year are required to finance water, sanitation and wastewater treatment through 2015.
  • When assessing the needs of the energy sector, water planners and decision-makers must fully understand the requirements of electricity generation and fuel extraction technologies and their potential impact on the resource. Similarly, energy planners and investors must take into account the complexities of the hydrological cycle and other competing uses when assessing plans and investments.

 

Food & Agriculture:

  • As groundwater irrigation, in general, provides greater flexibility than other types in responding to fluctuating water demands, its relative importance is likely to increase in the future.
  • For both large and small systems, any means of avoiding food wastage should be encouraged and can result in considerable savings in the energy, land and water used to produce this food that no one consumes.
  • Market trends, technological innovations and the availability of cheap (but not necessarily energy efficient) equipment can increase the use of energy in agriculture.

 

Cities:

  • Many experts agree that abstracting freshwater from a surface or groundwater source, using it, and disposing of it – known as a ‘linear approach’ – is not sustainable. Future urban development requires approaches that minimize resource consumption and focus on resource recovery.

 

Industry:

  • In developed countries, industrial water use may be stabilizing due to increased efficiency and the move of some manufacturing plants to low income countries yet, at the same time, lack of access to water may hinder such moves, especially for water-dependent industries
  • As industry is primarily focused on production, its interest is to secure water and energy at the lowest prices and not necessarily within a programme of water and energy efficiency. This provides an opportunity for policy intervention.
  • Enforcement of regulation can be a challenge, especially in countries with limited resources. The goal is that regulations must be clear and based on the latest information and science.
  • In the short term, investments may be perceived as a high and risky cost in the light of longer term gains such as lower operation and maintenance costs. But many investments in water productivity have shown positive returns in as little as three years.

 

Ecosystems:

  • Ongoing degradation of water and land resources in river basins threatens energy provision. It could be reversed through protection and restoration initiatives.

 

Part III REGIONAL ASPECTS

 

Europe & North America:

  • Improved energy and water planning will require better coordination among national/ federal agencies and other stakeholders as well as consideration of impacts to both resources

 

The Asia & the Pacific:

  • Coal is the most prevalent energy product within the region, with China and India together extracting more than half of the world’s total output. There is also a growing market for renewable sources such as biofuel, with China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand among the leading regional producers. Both coal and biofuel require vast amounts of freshwater, and some areas within the region are already deemed water-scarce.

 

The Arab region:

  • With the exception of Iraq and Lebanon, the low to middle income countries in the region have an annual per capita share of renewable water resources that falls below the water poverty line and are struggling to achieve energy security; many are seeking to reorient their energy mix towards renewable energy sources to meet growing demand for water and energy services.

 

Latin America & the Caribbean:

  • Given intense competition for limited water supplies and the predominant role of hydropower in river basins, conflicts increasingly arise between hydropower and consumptive uses

 

Africa:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in which the absolute number of people without access to electricity is increasing.

 

Part IV RESPONSES: FOSTERING SYNERGIES & MANAGING TRADE-OFFS

 

Creating an enabling environment for change:

  • National energy and water policies need to be compatible and coherent.
  • Research into how much of a reduction in energy demand can be achieved from increased water efficiency and vice versa would support policy-makers and investors in making more resource efficient strategies and investment choices.
  • Each domain has been traditionally expected to focus on a narrow mandate in meeting its own aims and fulfilling its own targeted responsibilities. As a result, there is often little or no incentive to initiate and pursue coordination or integration of policies across sectoral institutions.
  • Although there is scope for synergies and win–win results, there is also an array of situations where competition for resources or genuine conflict between water and energy aims can arise, requiring some degree of trade-off
  • Economic pricing of energy and water services can more closely reflect the economic cost of their provision; provide sufficient revenues for continued operation and maintenance; and avoid waste and distortions due to under-pricing

 

Response & Practices:

  • Energy audits to identify and reduce water and energy losses and enhance energy efficiency can result in substantial energy and financial savings, with savings of between 10% and 40% reported.
  • Chemically bound energy in wastewater … can be used for domestic cooking and heating, as fuel  for vehicles and power plants, or for operating the treatment plant itself.
  • In terms of manufactured goods, considerable achievements have been made in the design and formulation of products specifically aimed at reducing the water and energy content or consumption of products and appliances.
  • Thermal power generation development involves the increasing potential for serious conflict between power, other water users and environmental considerations
  • Support for the development of renewable energy will need to increase dramatically in comparison to support for fossil fuels in order to make a significant change in the global energy mix and by association, to water demand.

 

 A poet has said about water as:

Element – Water                                                    

Water an elemental

Water a fundamental

Building block of life
Water of Life
Water of Death

Water in all religions
Water in all living things
Water in all countries
Water also used for barter

No life without water
No rife with water
No respect for water
Willful neglect of water

Water, for cooking
Water, for cleaning
Water, for drinking
Water, for living
Water, for dying

Water is the same
In all languages
Water is the same
To all living beings 

Anand Dixit

 

Life Is Like Flowing Water

If It Stops, It Gets Stagnated,

If It Flows It Turns Into A Waterfall,

A Stream,A River And Ocean

Similarly Life Has Joys And Worries,

But It’s Like Sunrise After Night

So After Each Sad Event There Is A Happy Event

So Live Life To Its Fullest

Enjoy Each Second Of Life

Life Is Precious , Respect It

Thank Thou For It

Development of Press in Srinagar

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It is in the news that Govt. is upgrading the Jammu Press Club and swtting up another one in Srinagar, which is a welcome step in the history of the development of Press in J&K State. Recently a seminar was held at Srinagar on “The History of publishing books in Kashmir and the responsibility of the media in the present scenario”. Many scholars presented their points of view. It urged me too to delve in to the subject of ‘development of press in Srinagar in thirties and forties’.  As rightly quoted by the historian late Dr. M Ishaq Khan that there was not a single newspaper printed or published in the J&K State as late as 1924. Only Government Gazette was the official weekly with a circulation of 900. The newspapers that were read by a limited number of people came from the neighboring province of the Punjab. The people of the state had thus no paper of theirs through which they could express their views on various social and political problems.

However the papers imported from Lahore into the dominion of Maharaja covered a substantial information regarding Kashmir affairs. Their influence on the educated class of Kashmiris was plenty. The newspapers after a couple of fitful starts took roots in the capital city of Kashmir drawing its strength from the power of Press in the Punjab, besides a more serious note was gradually introducing into discussion. The implications of these changes were felt by the Government. The most important recommendation of Galancy Commission provided for the freedom of the press and platform a free association of the people for political activity.

The first person to start in Srinagar an Urdu weekly Vitasta was Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz in 1932. This was followed by the Martand, the Sadaqat, the Haqiqat, the Kashmir-i-Jadid, the Al-Barq, the Bekar, the Khalid, the Hidayat, the Kesri, the Desh, the Rahbar, the daily Hamdard, the daily Khidmat, the Paigam, the Kashmir Guardian, the Islah, the Vakil, the Hurriyat, the Nur and the Muslim.

Thus the newspaper in Srinagar turned to be a real power in the public life. The strength of press in Srinagar arose from the organization of the liberal opinion against corruption and misrule. The Vitasta served the cause of social reform in Kashmir. It held Maharaja’s rule responsible for inaction against those who indulged in bad habits and other social evils like child marriages and juvenile smoking etc. The weekly Hamdard was started by Pandit Prem Nath Bazaz with the collaboration of Shaikh Mohammad Abdullah on August 1, 1935, with the purpose of laying foundation of “the progressive nationalism in the J&K State.” Its editorials often advocated political reform and public awakening of the people of the State. The conversion of Muslim Conference to National Conference is attributed mainly to the active writings of this weekly, though the former continued to function even after the founding of the nationalist party in the State.

When Mr. Bazaz disassociated from Shaikh Sahib, the Hamdard became a daily, when it gathered some courage to discus political, social and economic issues. It tried to reveal official secrets, rough up the administration and thereby earn their antipathy.

The Sadaqat, the Haqiqat, the New Yug and the Khalid supported the political movement started by Shaikh Saheb and his associates. The daily Khidmat initially edited by Moulana Masudi was the organ of All J&K National Conference. The Nur was brought out by Mohi-ud-Din Nur, championing the cause of the nationalists and also wrote a great deal about the distress of the laborers and cultivators. The paper boldly took the administration to task and highlighted the corrupt practices of some high officials.

Leftist ideas were advocated by the Desh of Pt. Kashyap Bandhu. The Islah was a Qadyani inspired paper, which supported the two nation theory. The Khidmat and the Muslim covered mostly the religious issues of the Muslims of the State. The Hurriyat published by Moulana Yousuf Shah advocated the cause of a separate Muslim State. The Martand belonged to Sanatan Dharam Yuvak Sabha & represented the political views of the minority of the State. It was the first paper of the state published daily. It had a circulation of 1900 in the beginning. It dwelled on the backwardness of the Pandit community & attacked social evils like child marriage, dowry and maltreatment of Hindu daughters-in-law by their mothers-in-law.

Among the English weeklies, Kashmir Times was a standard one & advocated independent views in public affairs. Pandit Gwashalal Koul was one of the founders of English weekly in Srinagar. He edited his weekly in 1934. Later in 1939 he started the Kashmir Chronicle.

With this account it is evident that the press in Srinagar made a rapid progress during 1931 and 1947. By the year 1946 three dailies were published from the city. On a number of occasions, the Government managed to counter popular journalistic opinions by issuing a stream of counter statements through the columns of the favoured section of the Press. Thus in 1946, the Press in Srinagar was emerging as an effective organ of public opinion. From the editorial comments, it was evident that the standard of journalism was improving.

Before 1947, the Legislative Assembly in J&K State, afforded little scope for the ventilation of the grievances of the people. Under these conditions, the press was unrivalled as a vehicle of popular will and opinion. The journalists of the time were drawn from the common people. Any enterprising person from the middle class could bring out a paper, be his own editor, publisher & proprietor. It is noteworthy that the freedom of press granted in 1932 coincided with the significant developments on the political plane in the sub-continent. The press offered unprecedented opportunity for the dissemination of the ideas and the popular leaders like Shaikh Abdullah, Prem Nath Bazaz, Maulana Masudi, Kashyap Bandhu many others were naturally attracted to journalism. The Association of the people from the different strata and sections of Kashmiri society made the press the best media of public opinion.

In providing momentum and leadership to political discussions, the role of press has been significant. Though the editors of the papers of Srinagar were devoid of a degree or diploma in journalism, yet they were gifted with commonsense and courage in discussing the social, economic and political problems. They were realistic and relentless in their criticism of the rulers. Thus the press during the period 1932-47 was responsible for creating a forceful public opinion and political consciousness and presenting the public point of view on important matters to the Government of Maharaja.

The press has gone a sea change after 1947 and with the increase of education and readership, besides turmoil of events; the demand of newspapers too has multiplied, with the result that presently we have more than forty local dailies and online news services available in J&K State. In spite of the availability of online news services, the thirst for the printed news papers cannot be quenched. The press continues to influence and shape the public opinion as before. In this connection some of the leading English dailies like Greater Kashmir, Kashmir Times, Rising Kashmir, Kashmir Images, Kashmir Reader, Kashmir Observer etc; and in Urdu The Daily Aftab, Kashmir Uzma,The Srinagar Times, The Chattan, The Uddan etc. are the few among the long list of the popular dailies.

With the development of publishing of newspapers, the publishing of books by the publishers in the local printing presses also received a boost. The early printing presses that came into existence here were Government printing press, Kohinoor printing press, Noor Mohammadi press, Falah-i-Aam press, Vasanta printing press, Shalimar Art printing press, Broca’s press, National printing press etc. Before their existence, most of the Persian and Arabic books were published outside J&K State particularly by Munshi Nolkishore press and other presses at Lahore, Amritsar, Kanpur, Lucknow, Agra, Bombay, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Karachi etc. However now there is a mushroom growth of printing presses here, but quality printing is still preferred by the book publishers from outside the state.

With the modern electronic printing, it has become now possible to print a book in a matter of days both in color and black & white. The whole process of printing and publishing has got exceedingly revolutionized. At the same time with the availability of the books on internet, the habit of reading books is dwindling, but in spite of all this development, a book continues to be one’s best friend and has its own charm against the advanced internet facility.