Afghanistan through my eyes
There were many a things which exasperated me, as well as things which I fell in love with! The lofty mountains surrounding Kabul is something which heightened the tension and at the same time gave me pleasure. The kind of hospitality I received captivated me and left me speechless. We Indians believe in the concept of ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ (Guest is equal to God) but Afghans literally practice it! I am not trying to exaggerate; I got so much love from Afghans that the precarious image of the country faded away like ripples in the river.
Well, the Afghans’ obsession with Indian soaps and movies is really interesting. [I bet every Afghani knows ‘Kyun ki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi’] It’s also something which connects both the countries culturally. I was quite delighted to know that even Afghan men used to watch Kyun Ki as much as women! The hospitality, Indian soaps and the presence of Sikhs in Afghanistan convinced me with the fact that Afghanistan and India share much more than a good diplomatic relationship. We share the culture, the culture which holds us together and assures a beautiful future.
Afghanistan has a haunting history and the wounds are still widely visible. A lady in my office said, ‘Why do you think our men in the street are so uncultured? No, don’t blame them. Blame the ones who inflicted pain on their body and minds. What happens when you are caged for 30 years? You forget that there’s a life outside the cage. You don’t understand what’s happening around you. It’s the same thing with our men here. They see a woman in the street and all they know is she is JUST A woman. They still believe women are the property of men and can be treated the way they want. I think it’s a mental problem and needs to be treated. Our people need psychological support in order to get out of the trauma that we have faced from passed 3 decades’.
She obviously has a point but that’s not wholly true. Crying over the spilt milk doesn’t help. Afghanistan is being viewed as one of the most dangerous countries and the reasons are very much apparent. Deliberate poisoning of the food in girls schools from May 2009 to July 2012 in different provinces of Afghanistan has affected more than a 1000 girls. Clicking pictures in the street is still seen with suspicious eyes. A person living in Kabul doesn’t know if he is going to see the sun next morning which is why most of them use this phrase, ‘By the grace of Allah if tomorrow comes, I will see you!’ and they are well aware of the fact that tomorrow might never come.
People who end others life in the name of Islam continue to be the folklore of Taliban. For an outsider the notoriety of Afghanistan seems to be incessant. The place which once used to be prosperous is now in pieces. Everything’s said about restoration and not in essence done. But there is hope. I have always believed that ruin is a gift. Sorrow and pain makes a person stronger and invincible. Afghanistan has a special place in my heart and I know that it will soon be a promised land and there will be glory!
‘That girl in the white scarf’
O little girl,
May you blossom under the sun,
May you see the sky,
May you shine and grow above bounds,
May you be loved,
May you keep your innocence,
May the best happen to you,
Let not the demons defeat you,
Let not the darkness conquer you,
May not the barriers stop you,
O little girl,
May there be peace upon you!
(A poem on the school going Afghan girls)