It is almost a month since social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp have been banned in Jammu and Kashmir. At this time when social media services and forms of online communication are unavailable for people in the Kashmir valley, a boy from Anantnag has developed an app to keep the state connected.
According to a report in Times of India, Kashmir's Zeyan Shafiq along with friend Uzair Jan developed KashBook for the people of Kashmir valley. Zeyan Shafiq, a class 10 student, launched the social networking site way back in 2013 and then re-launched KashBook again on May 2, 2017, after the social media ban was announced.
KashBook is very similar to Facebook and has similar features like adding people, putting up status updates, and chatting. One of the most striking features of this networking site is that it allows communication in Kashmiri language. Within a week of the site's re-launch, it has attracted more than thousands of people from the valley.
"The government has blocked access to all the social networks and they are blocking VPNs too. So, when they will block the whole access to social media then how will people from valley stay connected with each other? KashBook is the answer to social media gag," Zeyan was reported as saying to the website.
To defy the ban of social media in Kashmir, people have shifted to virtual private network (VPN). "Besides, many young people can learn from this initiative and take this as a challenge and invent and develop new things which can serve as tools for betterment of Kashmir and Kashmiris," the website quoted Zeyan as saying.
Zeyan started learning HTML all by him at the age of 11 and gradually shifted to more advanced programming languages like C++ and Java.
While many locals of the 'Paradise on Earth' are finding it hard to stay connected with each other, this young boy has created KashBook, Kashmir's answer to Facebook, to ensure that people stay connected.