Srinagar: The ban on Short Messaging
Service (SMS) in Jammu and Kashmir has turned out to be a boon
for the few greeting card outlets in the city, as their sale
has risen sharply ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
The tradition of exchanging greeting cards on festivals
and important occasions had gone out of vogue with people
preferring an SMS instead.
However, there seems to be a change in the mindset after
the SMS ban by the government, in the wake of the fresh unrest
in the valley which began on June 11 with the killing of a
17-year-old youth at Rajouri Kadal in old city.
"My business has been generally good as there were
only few shops left in gift and greeting card business after
mobile phone services were introduced in 2003 but this year it
has been better," Bashir Ahmad, a gift shop owner in Lal
Despite frequent shutdowns, Ahmad`s shop is almost now
out of cards suitable for Eid-ul-Fitr.
Many customers, Ahmad said, are returning disappointed
as they are not able to find the greeting cards of their
"I bought cards yesterday for all my friends and
relatives whom I want to wish Eid Mubarak but there was a late
addition to the list and I am not able to find a good one,"
Mohammad Shahid, a student said.
Ahmad said he could not replenish his stocks due to
continuous strikes and curfews in the valley over the past
"I did not place any fresh orders from my supplier in
Delhi as I was not sure how the situation is going to pan
out," he added.
Ahmad said most of the gift shops and greeting card
dealers changed their line of business as the sale had
dropped dramatically over the past three to four years.
Adnan Bakshi is one of those businessmen who said
goodbye to greeting cards and took on readymade garment
"Before the mobile phones were introduced and Internet
became a necessity rather than luxury, I was happy with
selling gifts and greeting cards. However, it became difficult
to fulfill my needs as the earnings dropped," Bakhsi said.