"It was paradise!"
That's what an erudite professor - a friend of mine - had to say when the topic turned to how beautiful Afghanistan was back in the 1960s. "Whatever 'they' did to it", pointing towards the sky, "was ghastly", he said, as tears rolled down his cheeks.
I decided to do an image search at his behest and what I saw, shocked me. Afghanistan was, indeed, heaven on earth. A blend of modernity, yet firmly rooted to tradition, the country was everything one could ask for back then.
This was the Afghanistan that he was talking about:
Happy faces thronged the streets, women were free to wear western outfits, schools and colleges imparted education that aimed at progress! But that, was soon to change. Afghanistan, today, is tattered and torn by the epoch that ensued post the Russian invasion and subsequently the US intervention. The war on terror post 9/11 brought further grief to the country that once boasted of the Gandhara School of Art.
This is the dismal state of Afghanistan today.
The Bamyan Buddha was a prime example of the Gandhara School of Art that flourished in the ancient times. Even that wasn't spared!
Left: before; Right: after