03 August, 2021

In Camp Moses

Hounded out of their country, with threats and insecurity as constant consorts and faith their solace, Afghan Christians in India are in a limbo

In Camp Moses

On a particularly sweltering summer afternoon six years ago in Shiraz, the city of wines and gardens in southwest Iran, Abeeda decided to taste freedom. And freedom to her, at age 20, was breaking out of the icy clutches of a ‘Talib’ home, defying orthodox strictures and the heavy weight of her burqa. Along with her sister Ayesha, who had been married off to a Taliban chief settled in Iran, Abeeda boarded a bus that was taking the dirt-road back to Mazar-e-Sharif, their home for 19 years. But their euphoria was short-lived. Upon reaching the city of the blue mosque nestled amidst the low, rugged hills of Balkh, fears of a punitive Taliban caught up with the two girls, who were then advised by their uncle to migrate to safer shores. “We had little money, no hope and almost felt like runaway prisoners,” says Abeeda, now 27, as she recounts her flight to freedom.

In New Delhi, which has been home for over six years now, in the warren of ill-lit lanes that makes up their neighbourhood, a narrow one takes us past small shops, vegetable and fruit...

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