Several graduate and postgraduate students at Bangalore University are writing their exams amid tragic news from back home—Afghanistan. With the Taliban capturing Kabul, these students are holding onto just hope.
“We are very worried and scared. All these years your parents gave you all the freedom and now somebody else tells you what to do and what not, or that’s what we think. I am worried. All of us are. We cannot say anything or do anything because we have to go back to somebody. We have to return home someday," said a student doing her postgraduation at the university. She met her family about six months ago.
“There’s change. But we don’t know what kind of change. We hope that it will be good change. We don’t know but change is there. We know that much. We are hoping and we can’t discuss right now what’s the situation. It’s different. We only know about the previous Taliban. Which was the worst time. We are hoping for the best," she added.
“I spoke to my family just yesterday. They are safe for now. But because the Taliban asked everyone to stay at home, they won’t go outside until the situation gets better. Right now the situation is uncertain. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We are just hoping for the best for Afghanistan," said another student.
“I came here to study for the future of our country. I hope and wish that Afghanistan goes back to its good and safe times. I wish that as the Taliban gave a commitment that they will allow women to study and work, hopefully, they will be honest about the future and allow women to work. Women have sacrificed a lot and lost many things to get here. Like I have. My mother sacrificed a lot for me to get here. Women of Afghanistan don’t want to go back twenty years. People of Afghanistan want humanity and peace. It doesn’t matter who leads Afghanistan. We need to be led in a proper way. We want justice in Afghanistan," said Ruksana, another student.
“I am scared because we don’t have a better image of the Taliban. We were too young when they last came. We have only heard. Today they asked everyone to come and work. But everyone was scared of the Taliban twenty years ago," she added.
All these students are in their second semester at the university and the visas are set to expire in February next year.
“I was young when there was war in Afghanistan. There was bombing, explosions. We were moving from one place to another. I hope now the new situation is peaceful. I have spoken to my family, they are at home but we don’t know about the future," said Shahid, a student.All of them are residents of different areas in Kabul.
Another student said he was worried about what would happen when they return."Some of our friends must return in three months. We request the government of India to extend the visa. In this situation, we don’t want to go back. But we want to go back. We came here to study and go back to work for our country, our people, our family. In this situation, we are worried about everything. Everyone knows the Taliban don’t want democracy," he said.
“My family is safe but they aren’t stepping out. People want to leave because they all have a bad image of the Taliban. Most importantly, we are losing everything we earned in the last twenty years. Most of the refugees are those who don’t have money, food and have a large family to support. Some homes have been burnt, lives lost. The situation is so bad that they are trying to leave by hanging on to the wheels of the planes. We don’t know what kind of rules they will bring, what rules they will impose," said Musafir, a postgraduate student.
“We are seeing a dark future. Dark or bright, we don’t know. It’s an uncertain future. The whole world is silent. The UN, the rest of the world have left us in such a bad situation. There are so many people who have no choice to go anywhere. They don’t have money or any other home. We are hoping for the best but are hopeless at the same time," he added.
(All names changed to protect identity.)