Kabul and its Kabuliwala…where have the bombs blown them? by Sandeep Silas

In my childhood, a Kabuliwala used to come every season with a bag full of dry fruits and saffron. He was a trans-nation hawker, who brought not only dry fruits of the best quality but also goodwill from a neighbouring nation.

I remember, the Kabuliwala character was so glorified that it found itself in poetry and Bollywood songs too ! In fact, Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore wrote a short story on the Kabuliwala. The link to the story on the internet is given below:


The story was adapted to a Hindi Movie titled Kabuliwallah in 1961 and the famous song. which equals a lullaby in its melody and rhythm became a household favourite. You can access the title song from the link:



Such was the Kabul of those days which used to live in our hearts and in our literature. Afghanistan used to be a Kingdom then, and from the little we knew of it, it was considered a progressive society. And then its bad luck phase started, which has continued to this day.

To recapitulate the history of Afghanistan, it was a kingdom state established by the returning soldiers of Nadir Shah after his death in 1747. Ahmad Shah Durrani became an elected King through the Assembly of Tribes and ruled Afghanistan till the occupation of Kabul by Dost Mohammad in 1818. The eyeing of Afghanistan by Russia made the English ambitious and they crowned Shah Shuja in a mosque as the new ruler of the kingdom. The Anglo-Afghan wars of the 19th century brought British soldiers on the turf and their interference in the affairs of the kingdom. They installed a puppet King and Kabul saw many wars and skirmishes. In 1880 Abdurrahman became King and three generations of his rule saw the advent of technology and modernization. King Amanullah also accelerated the modernization of the Kingdom on European patterns but the Old Guard forced him to exile. Zahir Khan rules, then Daud Khan converts himself to PM and then President but that too does not last long and Afghanistan passed into Russian occupation from 1979 to 1989. In 1994 emerged Taliban and Afghanistan’s history was plunged in unparalleled war of terror based on religious fundamentalism. What happened later is not the objective of this article and is also well known to the world through Hollywood movies, newspapers and TV Channels.

My lament today is the truck bomb that killed 90, and wounded hundreds on Wednesday the 31st May. The scene of this horrible crime towards humanity was the diplomatic area of Kabul. A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed truck in Zanbaq Square at about 8.30 am when life was beginning to start on the day little realising that a bloody fate awaited people in that area.

Millenium Post June 1, 2017 Millennium Post June 1, 2017

Times Of India June 1, 2017Photo in Times of India June 1, 2017

(Image by The Guardian on the Internet)

A TV Channel has brought to the viewers the explosion in the truck:



The Site

(Image by Agence France Presse on the internet)

The Wounded

(Image by Reuters on the internet)

Alas, the garden city of the Mughals is now in ruins! Gone are the days when Badshah Jahangir used to enjoy the gardens of Kabul.

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(Images of Mughal days in Kabul from the internet)

Today, the Bamiyan Buddhas have become two tears of stone in Afghanistan, which bleed constantly. Issues have been lost under layers and layers of politics and terrorism. Fundamentalism of religion and belief is bad and that is what Afghanistan has become symbolic of today.

My friend Hekmatullah Foushanji, (we studied together in Maxwell School of Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY), I remember the lovely Bollywood songs you and I used to sing in corridors and parties, you the first half in Dari, I the second half in Hindi. I pray for peace in your country and the lives of the innocent to be safeguarded from such dastardly attacks. You have a big responsibility as Director, Foreign Affairs of your country’s National Security Council.

May the Creator bring back the days of goodwill and peace as existed in the days of the Kabuliwala !

I send to the city of Kabul and the citizens of Afghanistan, the peace and prayers felt in millions of hearts across the globe!