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I recently traveled for ten days with my colleagues to India, visiting Delhi and Agra. I love traveling and India did not disappoint me. The colors were amazing. There is every bright color you can imagine and the colors seemed to show the happiness of the people. Unlike in Afghanistan, where we may only see browns, blacks and silver, Delhi is a city of color.

I visited many historic places in Delhi and the Indian people whom I met were kind, sympathetic, hardworking and patient. I was happy to see many women working as city employees, sweeping roads, cleaning houses, doing the kinds of work that men in Afghanistan usually do. These women are not ashamed. They work alongside men and they don’t hide behind scarves or chadors. They don’t sit inside their homes so that no men can see them. Women in India want equal pay and other rights—this is similar to the women of Afghanistan.

It was interesting to see how in India, people respect the traffic lights, whether they are on foot or in cars. In Afghanistan drivers often ignore traffic lights. But drivers in India, like Afghan drivers, love to use their vehicles’ horns–too much!  Even bicycles made this noise. Like a habit, the horn is honked sometimes for no reason at all.

Another good point in India was how the Hindu temple was located next to a mosque with no problem.  I could visit the Hindu temples and see the gods that they pray to. Indians don’t care whether you are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or another religion. In Afghanistan, in bothers me that the Sikhs are excluded and often treated like they’re not citizens. This is unfair. They should be able to receive the same rights and treatment as Muslims in Afghanistan.

Other aspects of India were not so different from Afghanistan. I saw poverty as well as roads and highways filled with garbage similar to Afghanistan. I saw families and children living on the streets. I saw children begging.  I saw women selling flowers to make a small amount of money. It was unpleasant to see this poverty alongside the wealth and to learn that the rich with the finest cars shopped at malls despite all the poor people beside them.

India, I learned, has developed a good tourism business. Many of the historic places are open for tourists as well as the mosques and Hindu temples. It was interesting to see that almost every place you go, including places of worship, there are bazaars with items for sale. This is good because it brings income for the people and the government.

Afghanistan at one time had many tourist places. But so many have been destroyed. As I traveled around the cities of Delhi and Agra, it seemed that in India the government works for its people because cars and trucks all were moving, but in Afghanistan we stay struck for hours in traffic.

By Arifa H.

Photo: Facebook employees in Hyderabad, India.