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By Mahua Venkatesh
Afghanistan, especially its social hue, in the last two decades has dramatically changed, something that the Taliban or even Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) that played a key role in government formation in the country after the US troops withdrawal, may not have accounted for.
Foreign policy watchers told India Narrative that the young Afghans – typically those who are in their 20s and 30s-- are now used to a different life which has been free, democratic and open.
"For the Taliban, the biggest challenge is to gain acceptability of the people of Afghanistan, who are now used to their freedom and are quite conscious of their rights—men and women both," one of them said, adding that it may not be easy for the hardline government to manage them even in the medium term.
Women at a cycling rally in Kabul, 2018. wikimedia
As the Taliban took control of Kabul, the prominent faces of the outfit including the that of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai among others had portrayed that the second innings of their regime would be a moderate and inclusive one. However, the relatively moderate faces of the Taliban have been conveniently sidelined. Essentially Taliban 2.0 is just a repeat of Taliban 1.0 which is austere and anti-modern. Paksitan's ultra-conservative Inter Services Intelligence which cut its teeth after former President Zia Ul Haq had instituionalised Islamisation of the military, played a seminal role in yanking back the Taliban into its ultra-orthodox roots. ISI chief Faiz Hameed camped in Kabul to form a "caretaker" government which had the terror tainted and criminalised Haqqani network at its core.
The UN blacklisted Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund-led government has already passed a diktat, asking women to stay at home.
Afghanistan traditionally known for its progressive thinking had granted equality to its women in 1964. Though under the Taliban rule in the 1990s, these rights were snatched away, they were restored in 2004.
Afghan women in 1927, during the reform period of Amanullah Khan. wikimedia
"This is a turning point…sooner or later the country will break into a serious civil war…that apart men and women of the country are unlikely to accept the Taliban rule," the analyst pointed out.
Afghanistan and Afghan women changed over the past two decades, said Ramzia Abdekhil, a university student told Hurriyet Daily News.
"The Taliban should understand this: Today's Afghanistan is not like the one they ruled 20 years ago. Back then, they did whatever they wanted to do, and we kept silent. Not anymore, we'll not remain silent. We won't accept whatever they say, we won't wear burqas and sit at home," the newspaper quoted Adbekhil as saying.
Notably, women from across the country have been spearheading protests.
That apart, the world community is closely watching the developments in Afghanistan. Apart from China and Pakistan and a few others, the world community has not come forth in showing their willingness to work with the Taliban.
Several countries in the Middle East that gave immediate recognition to the Taliban last time have also maintained stoic silence. Not just that. Several of them, including India have made a clear distinction between the people of the country and the Taliban regime.
"In today's context the Taliban's calculation may have gone wrong, we will have to carefully watch the situation that unfolds in the next few months," the analyst said.
(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)(IANS/HP)
keywords: Taliban, Afghanistan, Afghans, Afghan women
Afghan women around the world are protesting the Taliban's new hijab diktat in schools by posting photos of themselves wearing colorful traditional dresses on social media, CNN reported.
The Taliban have mandated the segregation of genders in classrooms and said that female students, lecturers and employees must wear hijabs in accordance with the group's interpretation of Sharia law. Photos have emerged of a group of female students wearing head-to-toe black robes and waving Taliban flags in the lecture hall of a government-run university in Kabul. Other Afghan women responded by posting pictures of themselves in bright and colorful traditional Afghan dresses -- a stark contrast to the black hijab mandate outlined by the Taliban.
Afghan women protest Taliban's hijab diktat by sharing photos in colourful dresses. by ians
Bahar Jalali, a former faculty member of the American University of Afghanistan according to her LinkedIn profile, helped kick off the picture posting campaign, according to other women who shared photos on Twitter., CNN reported.
Jalali tweeted a picture of a woman in a full black dress and veil and said: "No woman has ever dressed like this in the history of Afghanistan. This is utterly foreign and alien to Afghan culture. I posted my pic in the traditional Afghan dress to inform, educate and dispel the misinformation that is being propagated by Taliban." Other Afghan women soon followed her lead on social media, the report added.
Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi, head of the Afghan service at DW News, tweeted a picture of herself in traditional Afghan dress and headdress with the comment: "This is Afghan culture and this is how Afghan women dress."
Shekiba Teimori, an Afghan singer and activist who fled Kabul last month, told CNN that the "hijab existed before Kabul's fall. We could see Hijabi women, but this was based on family decisions and not the government." She said before the Taliban came to Afghanistan, her ancestors were "wearing the same colorful Afghan dresses you see in my pictures".(IANS/HP)
Keywords: Afghan Women, Afghanistan, Sharia law, Taliban, Hijab Diktat, Afghan dresses
Nursery rhymes are a tool used by education institutions to teach language, stories, composition, and imaginations. Little children are often found crooning these little verses at random occasions. At first glance, these rhymes certainly appear quite random, but there is a rather dark history to their origin.
'Baa Baa Black Sheep' was written in the time of the Trans-Atlantic Slave , at the time when colonization was a fully established movement in many parts of the world. Children in Britain began to sing it in 1879, interestingly, to the same tune as 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and 'Alphabet Song'.
File photo of slave trade during colonisation in Africa Image source: wikimedia commons
If one pays close attention to the rhyme, it addresses a black sheep, which politically is ascribed as a reference to the black man in a white country. Slaves were usually placed on farms and plantations, where they had to work in harsh conditions. Harvesting crops, working with dairy, and shearing sheep would have been the tasks they regularly carried out. calling out to the little black sheep, asking for wool seems likely on the part of the white men and women.
Woolen garments made from black and grey wool, popular in Britain Image source: Photo by Guilia Bertelli on Unsplash
Another possible allusion this rhyme could have been to the Great Custom. During the medieval age in Europe, when England was at the heyday of her wool trade. Again, in the backdrop of colonialism, wool was being exported and imported for cloth. When the Crusades began, Edward I imposed a heavy tax on the people for using wool, to generate extra money to fund the war. The reference to master and dame in the rhyme are possibly to the nobility who might have been able to buy the wool at such exorbitant prices as opposed to the common man ("little boy down the lane").
Today, while little ones sing this rhyme, they know nothing about the history that might have inspired it. It is sung in right earnest about sheep and wool, and many versions have evolved that are far removed from the dark history of the rhyme.
Keywords: Rhymes, Wool, Sheep, Slave Trade, Britain, Great Custom
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Myanmar troops killed several members of a local "defense force" in a day of clashes, the junta said Friday, with local residents and media reporting at least 10 dead.
The country has been in turmoil since a February coup and a military crackdown on dissent that has killed more than 1,000 people, according to a local monitoring group.
In some areas, locals -- often using hunting rifles or homemade weapons -- have formed "defense forces" to fight back.
Junta troops were attacked with "small arms and homemade guns" as they entered Myin Thar village in the western Magway region on Thursday, army spokesman Zaw Min Tun told state-backed People Media.
The soldiers, who were searching for members of a local "Peoples' Defense Force" had killed a number of fighters, he said, without giving an exact figure, adding they had seized 23 guns.
"More than 10 people from my village were shot and killed," one Myin Thar resident said on condition of anonymity.
Soldiers set fire to several houses after the clash, they said.
A resident of neighboring Thar Lin village said locals fled at the sounds of the fighting and were now sheltering in a local monastery or in the jungle.
Local media reported between 10 and 15 locals had been killed.
Clashes involving civilian militias and the military have largely been restricted to rural areas but in June at least six people died in a gun battle in the country's second city of Mandalay.
On Tuesday around a dozen military-owned communications towers were destroyed, the same day a shadow government working to reverse the coup called for a "people's defensive war against the junta."
The "National Unity Government" which claims to be the country's legitimate government, is made up of dissident lawmakers in hiding or exile, many of them from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party.
The junta has defended its power grab by alleging massive fraud during elections in late 2020 which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won by a landslide. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Myanmar, Self-Defense, Junta troops, Pauk Township