by Ravi Nitesh
Sitting at home, surfing TV channels here in India curiously for international issues, the only news about Afghanistan, we are now bound to watch is about Taliban. The only scene, we are now used to seeing, is the vast desert with jeeps carrying rifles. Is this the real situation of Afghanistan? Is this the ‘natural’ order in Afghanistan? Is it only Taliban that reflects the culture of Afghanistan? Is Afghanistan is bound to live in this situation forever? Is this the only reality of Afghanistan or is it deformed news? Is this the part of their life or is it imposed on them… Many such unanswered questions remain with us, while we, in India, try exploring the facts and the values of our neighbour country.
This situation cannot be said to be nice, because no culture, no religion and no values permits you to behave with cruelty. Moreover, if Afghanistan is bound to live in this situation, since many years, then the real Afghanistan should emerge out to gather support. Everyone should know that this land was once famous for its rich culture, quality education and politeness. Many people travelled to this land to get knowledge and many other went out to spread message of peace and harmony among other parts of the world. And even after all these positiveness, people of this land are facing war at every moment, and the pity situation is that, the war is not limited to geographical borders, but it has also entered inside them to rebuild their identity, an identity reflecting the values that their land has been once famous for.
The land of Gaffar that means ‘merciful’ reflects the real culture of this land. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan of this land had started a people’s movement, with the name of Khudai Khidmatgar. Khudai Khidmatgar literally means “the servants of God”. The movement had spread as a fire across the region and beyond. It was a movement of peace, harmony, progress and hope. It was Gaffar Khan who made Afghanistan famous through this initiative and sent a message to the world.
During Afghan war, both sides(Russia and Afghanistan) announced ceasefire to allow burial of Badshah Khan (people called him by this name). The message of Afghanistan was not just welfare of their own; instead it crossed the boundaries and also supported the Indian independent struggle. Bonding between India and Afghanistan, through Badshah Khan can be seen in such a way that on one side he was famous as Fakhri Afghan, while on other side, he also received the highest award of India ‘ Bharat Ratna’. Who will not be impressed by such an example, where you can see a life dedicated towards the people?
India is also known as the land of Gandhi. During the independence struggle, Gandhi developed and propagated his non violent and peaceful methods. Thus the two persons made history by not just recognizing the need of the hour, but to set an example, an example to work for humanity and non-violence, an example to work on the path of truth and to give recognition, value and love without recognizing the geographical boundaries and religions.
Was this message not enough to tell that Afghan people have every right to be recognized as peaceful? Has the term Taliban become so powerful that it is overshadowing the values of Afghan? People of any country are just people, a human being and hence, it cannot be believed that they belong to certain type of nature. If their nature is different, it is mainly because of the external factors. Afghanistan, in this context, is situated at a very strategic location. It is affected by neighbouring politics and the global strategy of political polarization. The extremism, the internal conflicts, external attacks, and neighbour’s actions, all these all made this land, a land of suffering.
Though, it is true that we cannot change the scenario in a night, but it should be noted that the change is required and it is required from the side of people. Initiatives of political platforms are many times restricted due to their limits, but it is the common people who can contribute a lot towards the change. Afghanistan is already a member of SAARC, it also has a record of good relations with India and so now the need of the hour is to establish and to promote the people’s association. The objective should be to spread message of love and peace among people on the grounds of humanity and if this objective will be done by heart, relations between countries will become better automatically.
Some initiatives are already running with Social Activist, Faisal Khan’s revival of Khudai Khidmatgar in India, symbolizing the contribution of Afghanistan towards humanity. We know now that Afghanistan was the land of Gaffar. Being a part of the initiative, i know now the emotions of a common Indian. He does not hate Afghans, instead he wants to establish communication to know more about Afghan and their culture which has some parallels with Indian culture. Today, many individuals and organizations in India are ready to collaborate with Afghan people and organizations, for a common cause of spreading the message of friendship and peace. Some of the initiatives are still running while many such moves are required, especially the one to join the hearts of the common people on both sides. Political restrictions will be there, but still each step taken together can become the stepping stones of this bonding.
I see the Talibanism as a temporary and less important phenomenon in Afghanistan and hope that we all (people of India and Afghanistan) will move together towards establishing a new phase of relationship. The land of Gaffar will get its real glory by the message of humanity and to achieve this, a collective effort is required, by the hearts of the people of both countries.
Ravi Nitesh is an Indian social activist. He is a member of Khudai Khidmatgar. He is also pursuing a PG Diploma in Human Rights at Indian Institute of Human Rights, New Delhi. This article was originally published in an Afghanistani Newspaper, Outlook Afghanistan http://outlookafghanistan.net/topics.php?post_id=4383