There was a kid named Sharad in my kindergarten. He was the definition of a naughty kid, jumping and breaking stuff, screaming at the top of his lungs around the school. He does not go out of breath, he does not get tired, and he does not know when to stop. You cannot reason with him. His demands do not make sense. Training or punishment does not work on him. They even seem to encourage him to do more chaos. The teachers and his classmates are terrified of him. He was the same till he joined the primary school. But by the time we were on the fifth standard, he started looking a lot calmer and focused. I will share what his parents did in some time. Now, let’s talk about Afghanistan.
Perhaps the most mountainous country in the World, Afghanistan also has some great rivers coming out of the Hindukush Mountains. The landlocked country is politically surrounded by Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan. Strategically it comes in between Persian/ Iranian civilization, Arab civilization, and Indian civilization. If you come from Central Asia, Afghanistan is the gateway to India. If you come from Europe or Arab or Persia, you have to cross Afghanistan to reach India. Basically, the valleys of Afghanistan are the only way to prosperous India by land. But this strategic location has become something more of a curse than a blessing.
Continuous attempts of invasion from Persia to Mongols, Arabs, and Greeks destroyed any possibility of political stability. Even they hampered their religious and cultural course. A Buddhist and Hindu population has turned towards Islam. In 2001, they destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, two 38 and 55-meter status, which were carbon-dated to 544-595 AD and 591-644 AD respectively, indicating that they are moving towards religious intolerance. They don’t even have a history. Kabul’s existence is not very clear before 1200 AC. Lately, Russians and Americans have tried to invade Afghanistan.
But this endless war gave Afghanistan a great sense of independence. The mighty British, Soviets, and Americans, with all their blazing guns and artillery, have failed miserably trying to control the Afghans. No matter what the history book says, I strongly believe that no one had absolute control over the entire Afghanistan. There are groups like the Pashtuns, the Tajiks, the Hazaras, etc. who control different areas of the country. And these groups fight among themselves, continuously. When some outsiders try to control them, they unite and fight against them. But after that, they again start fighting among themselves. Controlling Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan might give you global recognition of the Afghan ruler but you have a complicated and very little control over the tribes. Imagine a group of farmers aged between 15 to 55 who has been fighting all their lives, like the last 3-4 generations of their family. They do not fear war, they do not face mental breakdowns like soldiers from other countries, they do not care about outdated equipment, they just fight. Life in most of the areas in Afghanistan is so tough that they welcome what they have been told about the afterlife. They fight for water, land, sheep, trade routes, religious reasons, and anything you can remotely imagine. Continuous political instability resulted in an extremely low literacy rate. Now they have opium which has tremendous demand in the international market and the government has almost no control over the production.
Recently I was watching this documentary on the USA invasion of Afghanistan on Netflix, ‘Turning Point’. The show is about how the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center changed the course of the world, and the approach for counter-terrorism, what was the goal of that invasion, and where it turned wrong. In one of the episodes, it was shown that the USA and authorities bought special goats from Italy and distributed them among Afghan farmers so that they can grow wool and be financially independent. They poured billions in training and purchasing equipment for the Afghan military. But the outcome was laughable. Afghan farmers ate the goats. Most of the military personals were drug addicts and often found high in cocaine and have zero interest in keeping their country safe. Such a situation is strange for other countries to understand because we are not used to such life.
Different kids in the school tried to deal with Sharad differently. Some tried to bully him with their strength and ferocity but lost control over the situation very quickly. Some complained to teachers about him, but as teachers have zero control over Sharad, those kids faced his rage. Some cunning kids tried to use Sharad, bribed him, and plotted him against others. Seemed to work for the first couple of days but soon they lost control. Some tried to keep a safe distance and healthy relationship. They also sometimes face problems, but those were mostly partial impacts. Strangely I see a similarity between Afghanistan and Sharad. Can you see this too?
Now the question is how Sharad’s parents managed to calm him down over time and help him focus on productive things. To begin with, they first stopped giving reactions to his chaos. They did not encourage or discourage him by any means, simply removing the attention factor. In addition to this, they started controlling the sugar in his diet. Finally, they put him into gymnastic classes. Sharad found something to do with his energy, a purpose.