I am the alpha and the omega
January 02, 2004
Bernstein's First Law
Buttered bread tends to fall with the buttered side down.

Bernstein's Second Law
A falling body always rolls to the most inaccessible spot.

And now, without undue interruptions, to the last part of the trilogy....

The Afghanistan Saga Part III
The climate of Afghanistan is the extreme. Remember that is higher in latitude that Delhi and is surrounded by a lot of mountains. Summer is pleasant, but the winter is the extreme. During winter, the sun hardly goes above 45 degrees elevation in the sky, always casting slanting rays on the land.

January is the coldest month. But right from Novemeber, temperatures start dropping. It is difficult to go outside without wearing five layers of protective clothing, and is difficult to survive inside a house, any house for that matter, without the warmth of a heater or a fire, especially during the nite. Any water left outside freezes overnite. And it starts snowing in around Mid - December... Us south Indians will find it difficult to survive there.

The people of Afghanistan, are quite the normal people that you and I would expect, except that they are a bit more hardened to the cold, just like north Indians. (Note that I am not trying to segregate people based on spatial locality.. I am all hearts for the Unity in Diversity thing.) They did suffer a lot during the bombing period. Many migrated to Pakistan during that period, So you can find Urdu being understood there, but the main language spoken there is called dhari, a form of Arabic language.

Food is not a problem; and it is not difficult to be a Vegetarian there. You get almost all the vegetables - they come from Pakistan and Iran. Most of the other provision stuff come from Pakistan mainly. Rice is available, looks like basmati but does not smell the same. For the NV's there is beef (local) and chicken legs (arrive frozen from US), river fish etc. Bread is available in plenty. They make a kindof roti that is diamond shaped, two feet long and very thick, which is bought, taken home and eaten with Sabji;pretty cheap too. There are also good kababs available; I dont know how they are or what they taste like. To get your hands on Indian food, there are a couple of Indian restaurants, serving Tandoori and other north Indian food. It is famous for fruits and nuts. My dad brought back seven kilograms of Badam, Pista, and a kilogram each of raisins and walnut; it is cheaper than in India.

Another thing that you mite want to look out for in Afghanistan are carpets. Pretty good too are the exquisite silk ones that arrive from Iran and Turkey, the older the costlier. There are some sites to go and see in Afghanistan - the Balmiyan Buddhist temples, (though part of it was destroyed by the Taliban), a couple of beautiful lakes still furthur. You mite want to check Afghanistan's official website and that of Lonely Planet's to get more details.

But before you start packing your bags to go there... STOP, its not a cats world out there. There are lots of things that you should remember: the Indian Embassy doesnt allow people to go as tourists there, only aid workers, and even there, you have to get special permission to leave the city of Kabul, as it is quite dangerous outside, SERIOUSLY

The people there are of either extremes, very few of the middle class that dominates our country's urban arena. Those at the highest rung of the ladder live in palatial mansions, have lots of cars and security, you can guess how the poorest live. The country, rather the richest people were made rich due to poppy cultivation - leading to the drug heroin, mainly exported (read smuggled) to the European countries, for a heck a lot of money; this being the main source of income to money for many, and it still prevails...

Education suffered a lot during the Taliban period - women were not allowed to study. All that has changed now, for the time being. You can see brite little children going to schools run by many countries; in Kabul, there is a big French aided school being run, and the teachers are trying to squeeze two years of educations into one year, to make up for lost time.

The people of Afghanistan have the earnest desire to change, they do seem to be working hard for it. They need finances, they need infrastructure, they need education. Just read this un-edited excerpt from an email which was recieved recently. (Name removed to protect privacy)

...i want to know about distance study in one of India's universities so please collect me information in this case and also the Indian governoment had a contract with Afghanistan governoment about distance study of afghan students so please collect informatin about this too i wana have distance study in one of India's University.

Such is their determination; As people evolved from a single cell millions of years ago, it is our bound duty to help our brethren. Anybody listening?

Without the help and support of the world, this rich and beautiful country will just degenerate into another country lost in nothingness; it will just get imploded by the various factions fighting among themselves; it will just become something that we would read about in our 'history of the world' books....

Posted by satosphere at 8:40 AM


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