04 December, 2020

Her Tunnel Vision

Escaped twice, caught, faced a Taliban judge, lived to tell the tale

Her Tunnel Vision

Terrorised, victimised, incarcerated: an Indian woman’s story of life under the extremist regime. Six years in Afghanistan, three of these under the Big Brother scrutiny of the Taliban, has made Sushmita Banerjee a hardened woman with bitter memories. The 34-year-old Calcuttan was trapped in Sarana, a village three hours from Kabul, ever since 1989 when—after a whirlwind romance and marriage to Jaanbaaz Khan, a Pathan—she had gone to visit her in-laws’ home. Eve­ntually, she became the target of the Tal­iban. For close to three months she was placed under house arrest. And was nabbed when she tried to flee the country.

Sushmita recalls to Outlook in this 1998 piece her trials in a country where the populace, part­i­cularly women, live under severe repression:

Sarana was a picturesque village when I went there in 1989. But, for an Indian, the Muslim laws pertaining to women were hard to follow. Being a...



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