The Kashmir despatch before a Internet

On Oct 31 final year, after many years we waited in reserve to email a news story to The Hindu. The place was a government-designated media centre in Srinagar and it was on a day a State of Jammu and Kashmir was rigourously reduced to a Union Territory.

Scores of reporters alive a Information Department’s media centre on Residency Road, anticipating that one of a dozen-odd computers would be free. It had roughly turn a robe given that scarcely 3 months had upheld given Internet services had been snapped in a Valley.

For me, there was a clarity of déjà vu with a twist. It took me behind to a frightful days of Dec 1989, when we initial trafficked to a Kashmir Valley to cover a misunderstanding and assault in a segment as a immature contributor for The Hindu and Frontline.

In those days, a fax appurtenance was flattering insubordinate technology. You even got a ‘transmission’ news once a pages were perceived on a other side. But it was a tough pursuit to dial and bond to Madras, as Chennai was called then, or to Delhi.

The telex appurtenance was some-more arguable and, when all else failed, there were warning ‘teleprinter operators’ of a journal who would take down a stories on a telephone. It was partial of their job.

Most of my visits (1989-1995) to Srinagar began with navigating a curfew and employing a car to pierce around, a charge in itself. The usually good thing was that Kashmiri leaders not in apprehension were always to be found during home.

After a day of newsgathering, we would go to a Central Telegraph Office and start a strenuous charge of promulgation my story for a day, that was created on a typewriter possibly during Ahdoos Hotel or a Broadway Hotel when they were open during a early days of militancy.

One day is etched in my memory. we entered a Central Telegraph Office, pronounced hello to a heavily armed BSF guards outside, managed to fax my story, and afterwards listened a shrill crash outside. One of a BSF group we had oral to had been strike by a belligerent bullet. It was comfortless and surreal.

There were days when one page went by fax, a other on telex, and a third by telephone. Every day was an knowledge and, post-transmission, we would make a landline call to my News Editor, K. Narayanan, or Mr. KN, to endorse that a story had reached his desk.

There were other occasions when we went to a accessible military officer’s residence to record duplicate if there was a large rush during a Central Telegraph Office. we am ever beholden to those accessible polite servants. The day usually finished when we was means to send my story.

Even in a misfortune days of militancy and curfew, a Central Telegraph Office was open to all reporters who could entrance it. The administration never close it down; it was one mode of communication accessible to all. Landline services were not close down either, in Srinagar or a rest of a Valley. The fact that in a misfortune duration of militancy communication links were open is testimony to a joining of prior governments to a leisure of press. Today’s visit Internet shutdowns are a peck on a democracy.

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