Monday, 4 January 2010

NYT/Adam Ferguson: The Hazaras

Photo © Adam Ferguson /NYTimes-All Rights Reserved

Today's The New York Times features a photo essay of Adam Ferguson's photographs titled The Resurgence of the Hazaras. Those who have seen the movie The Kite Runner (and/or read the book) will remember that the Hazara (Shi'a) minority of Afghanistan were historically dominated and discriminated against by the Pashtun (Sunni) majority. It's the same old and sad story of religious discrimination and divisiveness that has (and continues to) plague our world.

However, it appears that after the US invasion in 2001, the Hazaras have swiftly remade their circumstances, and in some provinces are overtaking the Pashtuns in many areas. The resurgence is largely built on education, as the Hazaras emphasize educating girls as much as boys, and adopt a stronger belief in gender equality.

I chose the above photograph because it shows a Hazara classroom where a poster of Immanuel Kant, the 18th century influential German philosopher, is displayed on its wall. Among other thoughts, Kant criticized the practices of Christianity and its rituals, as well as its hierarchical church order. I wonder what these young students know of him, and what is taught about his philosophies.

Adam Ferguson is an Australian photographer who trained with Gary Knight of VII, and is now based in Delhi. He has been recognized as a PDN's 30 Emerging Photographers To Watch 2009.

Previous posts on Adam Ferguson's work appeared on TTP here.