J&K: Lack of internet encourages book-reading culture

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With internet services remaining shut for the past more than two months in Kashmir, the book and newspaper reading culture is picking up in Kashmir with hard copies only source of information left in the Valley.

“I would spent hours together daily to find material for reading on Internet. However, all this changed after August 5 as internet became unavailable. I have purchased good collection of books and find it interesting to read these,” Mohammad Ashraf, who is preparing for civil services exam, told DH.

He said for first few weeks of internet blockade, he was clueless how to utilize time. “Sitting idle at home was killing me, and there was no other activity to engage during the day and night. Then I purchased books which have become my companions in tough times,” Ashraf said.

Tariq Rather, another youth said he got curious to read about the history of Kashmir after revocation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. “As Internet was snapped, some friend gave me a list of history books on Kashmir which I purchased in last week of August when shops started reopening during morning times,” he said.

Rather who used to read newspapers online before communication gag hit Kashmir, said, now he purchases hard copies of newspaper regularly. “Not only local papers, but I buy most of the national dailies to keep updated about happenings around the world. It seems older times have revisited Kashmir,” he added.

Hilal Ahmad of Khan News Agency at Regal Chowk near city center said there has been good demand for books about Kashmir in the past two months. “Youngsters, who would usually read everything from internet are now asking about books on Kashmir history and politics,” Ahmad said, adding, he was sometimes shocked to see teenagers asking for books on Article 370 and political developments of the past seven decades in Kashmir.

Some people ask for fiction, however, most of the customers’ demanded books written by Kashmiri authors, he added.

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