A news stand in downtown Srinagar - not all that much news, but no shortage of newspapers. Count them! I don't imagine there's any similarly sized city in South Asia which has anything like as vibrant an English language press.
I have had the privilege of spending a few days back in the Kashmir valley in the past week, my first time there for some years. In this blog in coming days, I am going to reflect on what I saw and heard. Not about the Kashmir issue, status, insurgency ... all those issues matter, a lot, but that's for another place, and my colleague Owen Bennett-Jones has written sparklingly on these themes here - these are simply some personal observations about the valley, and Srinagar in particular.
As you can see, the news stands are heaving with local English language (and in other stalls Urdu language, and indeed a few Kashmiri language) papers. The Greater Kashmir is probably the brand leader, a well produced and independently minded newspaper. People also spoke highly of Rising Kashmir and Kashmir Images in particular. There are a few good magazines, and the digital landscape is also well served. Throughout the insurgency and Indian military response to it (oh dear, and I had said I wasn't going to talk about the status issue and the militancy) the journalists of the valley pursued their profession with courage and resolve. The papers kept publishing as best they could. In a slightly more relaxed environment, they appear to be thriving.
Nothing brought me pleasure during this visit to Srinagar so much as the well-stocked newspaper stalls.
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