In February 2009, in an internet cafe in Delhi (India), Fahad Shah, then 19-year-old, started a blog titled The Kashmir Walla with an aim to write about his homeland, Indian-controlled Kashmir. He was in the city to study Engineering (which he never studied and later shifted to writing, instead). The reason to start the blog came after he realised, in India, that the young people have very less knowledge of Kashmir’s ground situation and the history, other than what the television and national newspapers were feeding them. It started from his interview, which came in Hindustan Times newspaper’s website, where the readers posted dozens of comments, addressed to him. The comments, as two of them quoted below, were like:
“…bloody hell, when you yourself aren’t being a part of the country as a whole, why should the country give a damn to you?”
“Go back to Kashmir then, and join the likes of ‘Rage boy’ and others who are voicing support in favor of Azaadi. Make no mistakes; you will not get independence from the Union of India, not now, not in a million years.”
In his interview to the newspaper, he had talked about his experiences, his childhood, being Kashmiri under the Indian rule. The reaction of the people, who mostly seem young, disturbed him and that disturbance took shape of The Kashmir Walla. The blog, run by Shah, published stories, opinions and photos by him and also the contributions from other bloggers, who were mostly his friends.
Later, in 2009 summer, Shah joined a journalism college to learn the craft of writing and telling stories. In june 2009, just a few month later after joining the college he joined the leading local daily newspaper as intern. He continued to work as a reporter till 2010 and also the blog was converted into a full fledged website (www.thekashmirwalla.com) in which videos, fiction, poetry and paintings were added to the existing features. The website with all its features received a good response from readers throughout the globe.
In late 2010, Shah stopped working for newspapers or magazines in his hometown and started writing for other national and international publications about Kashmir. After many months of running The Kashmir Walla as a website, in 2011 February he told his friends that he is converting the website into a digital magazine with monthly theme based issue. With the help of his friends who were first staffers of the magazine, the first issue came out on 7 May 2011 and since then it has been working. The magazine has earned its position for being the best and credible source of reportage from Kashmir during which its founder and other voluntary staff members faced anonymous threats and state coercion. Despite such conditions the magazine continued to work and has been working, giving voice to the voiceless stories. With time, the magazine has now expanded to other parts of the world and focuses on other regions also, not only Kashmir.