The thing I can never forget about Kabul is walking without fear and going to eat chainaki—a special kind of soup cooked in the small teapots made out of sheep meat, along with my Hero-Dad who is not alive now, at Pul-e Khishti, the famous old area in Kabul city.
It is not safe to walk there now. But back then I remember crossing the Kabul River and asking my father to pick me up so that I could see the river flowing. It was spring and that small river looked so big to me with so much water from the rain. I gave the title of Hero-Dad to my father because he was a soldier and serving my country and the nation, at Pul-e Khishti.
Kabul has a history of more than 4,000 years. When I think back about it, old Kabul used to be called “Ka-pul.” At that time there were no bank notes or money. People did their purchasing needs by exchanging things. Most of the business was in livestock and agriculture so people with a lot of pasture would bring the straw to market to exchange for other things, like cows or sheep. Kabul at that time was a small town with a very small population. Eventually it became known as Ka-Pul, which means “straw money,” and then later on it became known as Kabul and Kabul became the capital.
The other beautiful thing I can remember about my city is its old walls, monuments, old shrines, historical palaces, and minaret. Although most of these sections have been damaged or demolished, they still have their own natural beauty and the ancient look that adds so much value and richness to the ancestry and culture of this city.
As much as these three decades of war have made the city insecure, the pureness about these heritage sights remains. The crucial point is that the war totally washed away the feeling of people about loving our country. It changed the mindsets of the people across the country. Today most people do not think about the betterment of the country and our city, and this can become an element that feeds the rise of insecurity in Afghanistan. Unfortunately these days due to a variety of reasons, it is not safe for a girl to walk fearless into the city.
Photo of Pul-e Khishti Mosque by Casimiri
I love your memories of a Kabul untouched my violence. It is so important to keep the purity of these memories alive. Maintain them and cherish them so that they may live within you and inspire a return to a cherished way of living.
Thank you for sharing, Fahima.
Fahima — I loved imagining the Kabul that you described from memory — such a beautiful, peaceful place. I hope you will continue to share these memories with us and others in Afghanistan so we can all see the vision of how it can — and should be — again. All best wishes, Nancy
Great memories of pre war Kabul, thanks for sharing.
Could you please tell me where did you get the story about the name of Kabul to have been “ka pul”?
The reference please?