Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Afghan Girl.


'The Afghan Girl' - Sharbat Gula

this is not just any afghan girl. this is the picture of the most famous afghan girl ever. dont believe me? find out for yourself!
if you search the internet for, say 'american girl', you'll probably end up finding a bunch of blondes, spoilt teanage girls in their stupid 'sweet 16' parties or something. and if you search for 'Indian girl', you'll probably find girls in salwar, DPS or lady sriram college girls, or worst case, some celebrities... dont even think of searching for 'french girl'! the results are quiet obvious... but 90 out of 100 search results for a 'afghan girl' will the that of 'Sharbat Gula' - The Afghan Girl! what makes this girl special?

It was 4am in the morning, and I was alone in my room... i came accross this photograph (not that I was searching for pictures of girls or something :-), it came as a mail forward!) 
Trust me, I could'nt look at it for more than 5 seconds!!! the very moment I thought I need to see or be with another living Human being that instance. Can you believe it? I am a 25 yr old Male, weighing 85 Kgs (187lbs) and who can knock down anyone else of equal or lesser weight, in a street fight or a bar fight, but was scared to see a simple photograph of a 12 year old girl!!!

Now I know I have to justify the above statement, or else the readers are never gonna come back to read a 'chicken's' blog ever again...

Jokes apart, the look on her face and the piercing green eyes makes the difference. It's as if she's communicating through the picture...

Sharbat Gula, the afghan girl (a woman now) in the picture, was photographed in 1984, when she was 12, by a jounalist named Steve McCurry for the National Geographic Magazine. The Photograph was put on the cover of the magazine in 1985, and very soon became one of world's most popular and wanted pictures. The image itself was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the magazine. It became a symbol both of the 1980s Afghan conflict and of the refugee situation worldwide.
She was forced to leave her home in Afghanistan during the Soviet war for a refugee camp in Pakistan where she was photographed. The Soviet strike killed her parents - forcing her, her siblings and grandmother to hike over the mountains to the refugee camp.

When you look into her eyes, it's as if she's asking/telling you - "what the hell are you looking at? sitting in front of your laptop/computer in your safe home after having your 3rd or 4th meal of the day. what do u know about suffering? what do you even care about? all you want is to have more and more, but all I want is to live"... Now no one knows if this is what she really meant, when she posed for the pic, but with that gaze she gives in the photo, i would say this is exactly what she meant...

The identity of the Afghan Girl remained unknown for over 17 years. Afghanistan remained largely closed to  media until after the removal of the Taliban government by foreign troops and local allies in 2001. Although McCurry made several attempts to locate her, he was unsuccessful.
In January 2002, a National Geographic team traveled to Afghanistan to locate the subject of the now-famous photograph. However, there were a number of women who came forward and identified themselves erroneously as the famous Afghan Girl. Now, who does'nt like some publicity!!!
The team finally located Gula, then around the age of 30, in a remote region of Afghanistan; she had returned to her native country from the refugee camp in 1992. Her identity was confirmed using biometric technology which matched her iris patterns to those of the photograph with almost full certainty. She vividly recalled being photographed—she has been photographed on only two occasions: in 1984 and at the reunion with Steve McCurry. She had never seen her famous portrait before it was shown to her in January 2003.

The Afghan Girl Before and After, 1984 (left) and 2002 (right)!!!

Click here for The Picture in Optical Illusion Form, but dont stare at it for too long, or you'll get a headache!



Navin said...

haha.. searching for 'indian girl' never returned one for Yogi B Natchatra's song.. it was all matter! anyways, nice post.

P.S: link to the wikipedia page u quoted!

PUNNU said...

the way u depicted her inner sense whn klicked for the first time(i mean wht she would hav been thinkin durin tht klick) ws really commendable.although i really liked it as a whole.keep it up........

Sasikumar said...

thanks u guys!

@ navin: dude... thats one messed up song! I dint like it!

Neha said...

as i was reading, i was thinking that u better have a source at the end of the post otherwise u'd be screwed!...but u did! :)

good post! :)

Sasikumar said...

@ neha

I am very ethical! :)

Neha said...

i noticed :)

Evil Chicken said...

That is a haunting picture. I didn’t know that she was only 12 when that shot was taken. She looks much older; probably because she had seen so much through those eyes of hers.

I also thought it was interesting that she didn’t know that she was on the cover of National Geographic until she was 30. Amazing.

Good stuff… Thanks!

Sasikumar said...

@ evil chicken:

thank you. the picture is indeed haunting... 8-|

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