“There are 56 television channels and 125 radio channels in Afghanistan,” said an Afghan student, who was explaining what his countrymen do for entertainment. His Malayali counterparts stared at him in surprise.
“I did not even know there were televisions,” confided one of them to his friend.
Many such false myths were busted at the ‘Genuine Afghanistan’, a programme conducted by Afghani students from various colleges at the Farooq College, Kozhikode, on Wednesday.
The programme was organised by about 85 Afghani students from across the state and they were joined by more than 100 students from various colleges in Kozhikode. It was conducted with the aim of giving an accurate picture of Afghanistan to the people here and it certainly looks like it accomplished its aim.
“The applauds that we have received for the programme has been very good and those in the audience have been very receptive of the information that we had given to them regarding our country. We have tried to make it as funny as possible and I think they have enjoyed it very much,” said Atal Khan Gerdiwal who is one of the organisers.
The inaugural function gave a taste of what was to come as the guests found no tables or chairs on the dais, but rather traditional Afghan carpets.
“We prepared a traditional ‘hujra’ which is the Afghan term for the room where we receive our guests. They sat on the specially prepared carpets on the floor and we treated them with water and dry fruits like we treat guests back home,” said Gerdiwal.
The second session saw a number of talks which introduced various aspects of the country to the audience including presentation on the state of their education, agriculture, economic, media, IT, transport and sports sectors.
The afternoon session dealt with Afghan culture and was highlighted by a fashion show of traditional Afghan costumes and a performance of ‘Attan’, their national dance.
The programme may have been all fun and entertainment but behind its conception lay a genuine gripe.
“Most of the people here have been very nice to us but we have faced discrimination from some quarters just because we are Afghanis. Reports coming in the media have painted a very violent picture of our country and have caused some people to distrust us. Many of us have been denied rooms and told to get out of hotels despite having valid passports, visas and papers. We just want to let everyone know that we are human beings just like everyone else and our blood is just as red,” said Gerdiwal.