Pajhwok Afghan News, October 23, 2006

Stone Age still lingers on in Bamyan

Of the total 3,000 caves at sides of Buddha statue, about 300 of the families are living in the caves.

Hadi Ghafari

People in Bamyan still live in caves in poverty.
People of Bamyan still live in caves in poverty.

BAMYAN CITY, Oct 23 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Those living in caves near Buddha statue ( ) in the central Bamyan province have not enough stuff to offer to their honourable guests at this special day of the year, contrary to people serving their guests with dry fruit and sweets in other parts of the country.

Witnessing the living standard of the poor dwellers, one may recall the Stone Age when human beings could not enjoy the rudimentary needs of life. Of the total 3,000 caves at sides of Buddha statue, about 300 of the families live in dark. Obviously, the residents cannot enjoy Eid as the people can do in other parts of the country.

The poorer dwellers told Pajhwok Afghan News due to pressing problems they had almost forgotten taste of prosper life. Unemployment, poverty and poor residences have aggrandized the hurdles of these people, and it seemed Eid will pass without brining any happiness to them.

Their houses were crumbled during Taliban regime, the dwellers said, adding with migration of some people from Iran and Pakistan the residents became strangers to each other. Seeing these caves, one may hardly think living of any human here, surprisingly, Dahan-e-Surkh Qul is a home of eight family members. In this cave, five children are sitting around their mother dressed in ragged clothes.

60-year-old Mohammad Azim, head of the family, told this news agency: "We have no Eid at all, as we have nothing to serve our guests, the only thing we can offer them is tea." To avoid other people visiting my home, I will not visit anyone home, this may save my honour.

Like elders, the children also cannot enjoy the zeal of the religious festival, as 12-year-old Muhsin resident of Jagrakhel, said: "I will go to neighbouring village of Pito-Laghman to have soup in strangers' house."

He said perhaps today his desire of enjoying soup would be fulfilled, if not in his in the strangers' house. 45-year-old Kubra said: "We have no new clothes and have washed old clothes to wear today." She said she would avoid meeting other women due to her poverty and shabby dress. In this world of internet and technology, these people are compelled to live in caves due to sheer poverty. Provincial Governor Dr Habiba Sarabi said she wanted to build houses for these people in Shash-Pul to cut their agonies.

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