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The Kite Runner: Historical, Political and Cultural Contexts By Hamed Madani The Kite Runner: Introduction INTRODUCTION ►First novel to be written in English ►Title is derived from an old Afghan hobby Gudiparan Bazi or Kite Flying ►It is a unique Afghan pastime

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the kite runner introduction
The Kite Runner: Introduction


►First novel to be written in English

►Title is derived from an old Afghan

hobbyGudiparan Bazi or Kite


►It is a unique Afghan pastime

during windy spring season

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Khalid Husseini

►Born in 1965 in Kabul, Afghanistan

►Moved to the States in 1980

about the author
About the Author

►Attended Santa Clara University, Cal.

►Graduated from UC San Diego School

of Medicine in 1996.

►His specialty is internal medicine.


►The novel maps the journey of the

Amir, the narrator

►The story takes place in Afghanistan,

Pakistan, and the United States from 1975

to 2003.


►Hazaras consists of about10 to 15 percent

►Uzbaks consists of about 9 percent

►Others (Turkmen, Aimaq, Baluch, Nuristani) 13









religious diversity
Religious Diversity

►Afghanistan has two dominant religious groups, the Sunni,

or the so-called orthodox Islam, and Shi’ite or the

so-called heterodox.

►Sunni constitutes 85 percent of the population and

Shi’ite consists of 15 percent of Afghan population

►Shi’ites split from the Sunni’s in the seventh century over

who the Prohet Mohammad’s legitimate successors were

►Shi’ites consider Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the

Prophet, the legitimate successor

►Shi’ites developed their own conception of Islamic law

and practices.

►In the past Shi’ites had been persecuted in Afghanistan.


Amir belongs to:

► a wealthy family whose father is a businessman

►the dominant Pashtun ethnic group

►the dominant Sunni religious group

Amir tells the story of his friendship with Hassan.

►Hassan and his father, Ali, are Amir’s servants

►He is a low-caste ethnic Hazara

►He belongs to the minority Shi’it religious


►He is the victim of discrimination due to his religious

and ethnic identity


►The Kite Runner leaves one feeling a terrible

Sadness for the Afghan people

►Afghans have suffered at the hands of foreign

invaders and their own people throughout the

history of Afghanistan and particularly in the

past 30 years.

►In The Kite Runner, Khalid Husseini

brilliantly tells their story within a story.

background to the kite runner
Background to The Kite Runner

To better understand an appreciate the context of The

Kite Runner, basic understand of Afghan history,

politics, and culture is necessary.


►For majority of its history, Afghanistan was at a crossroad

of many civilizations and empires and a cockpit for

contests between rivals

►These rivals and empires included Achaemenid, Ancient

Greece, Mauryan, Sassanian, Aabs, Mongol, Mogul, and


►The Safawids ruled in western Afghanistan and the Moguls

the abdali or durrani rulers
The Abdali or Durrani Rulers

►President Mohammad Daoud was the last


►He was the Prime Minister from 1953-1963

►Took power from the last Afghan king in

1973 in a coup with the help of Afghan

communists and changed Afghanistan to a

Republic, 1973-1978

►Deposed by the Afghan communists in a

bloody coup in April 1978

►King Zaher Shah is still alive at the age of


►He is given the title of “Baba.”


King Zaher

a new game the cold war
A New Game: The Cold War

►The Soviet Union and United States became the dominant

powers after World War II.

►The two world powers sought influence around the world,

including Afghanistan

►Afghanistan regained its status as a pawn of superpowers

►This superpower rivalries during the Cold War led to

further disintegration of the Afghan state.


►Afghan government needed to modernize its armed

forces to:

►Maintain internal security

►Gain control of independent tribes

► Strengthen central government to foster

political and economic development

a new game the cold war12
A New Game: the Cold War

►When the U.S. government rejected Afghan request for

arms, Afghans turned to the Soviet Union

►The Soviet Union not only provided Afghanistan military

hardware, but also built several airports and thousands of

Afghans went the Soviet Union for military training.

►Most of the officers either joined the Afghan Communist

Party or became sympathetic to it.


►The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA)

was formed in 1965

►The PDPA split and remained divided until July 1977

the people s democratic party
The People’s Democratic Party

►The Soviets concluded that Daoud had become too

independent to be tolerated.


►The Soviet KGB reunited the two factions of the PDPA

►A prominent PDPA leader, Mir A. Khyber, was

assassinated in April, 1978.

►His murder led to a bloody coup on April 27, 1978.

►The coup leaders renamed the country the Democratic

Republic of Afghanistan.

►Taraki became the Prime Minister

►Karmal and Amin became Deputy Prime Minister and

Foreign Minister, respectively.

amin s social reforms
Amin’s Social Reforms


►Land reform: limited land ownership by a family to

14.3 acres of land.

►Reducing bride-prices or dowry to 300 Afghani or $6.00

►Prohibiting arranged marriages

►Prohibiting marriage for women under 16 years and for men

under 18 years of age.

►Outlawed usury


►These reforms challenged the prevailing traditional and

Islamic values and sentiments of Afghans.

►The regime encountered bitter resistance.

resistance movement


Resistance Movement

►Opposition took the form of a religious jihad or holy war,

a war in defense of Islam against th atheist regime of kabul.

►The oppositions established their headquarters and bases

in Peshawar, Pakistan.

►They were made up of seven military-political groups.

►Here are the pictures of some of the leaders:










the cia and the arabs
The CIA and the Arabs

►The CIA launched a major covert operation to help the

Mujahideen defeat communism.

►The CIA placed ads in Arab newspapers to recruit young

Muslims to join the Afghan “holy war.”

►The CIA eventually provided the Mujahideen with the

decisive weapon of the war, the Stinger missiles in 1986.

►Eventually the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from

Afghanistan on February 15, 1989.

►The last Afghan Communist ruled several more


the taliban
The Taliban

►The world Taliban is the plural of and Arabic word, Talib

or someone who seeks religious knowledge before he

becomes a preacher in a mosque.

►They were the sons of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and

attended Pakistani schools of theology

►Became active in October 1994 in Qandahar and

continued there advances in the country with help of


►By 1997 they held about 90 percent of the Afghan

territory, including Kabul.


►They brought relative peace and security in the country

the taliban s achievement
The Taliban’s Achievement

►The banished the warlords and forced to the northeastern

corner the country and formed the Northern Alliance

►Restored law and order but through rigorous enforcement

of Islamic punishment: public beating, flogging,

amputation of hands, and stoning to death.

►The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Suppression

of Vice was the powerful arm of the Taliban government.

►The ministry issued strict religious decrees that denied

people the right to freedom of expression, association,

the right to work, and the right to education

►They prohibited games such as kite flying, chess, music,


the taliban and the world reaction
The Taliban and the World Reaction

►Only three countries recognized the Taliban government:

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan

►Initially, America gave a lukewarm support to the Taliban

►We hoped the regime would be a partner in oil-pipeline

UNOCAL or Union Oil Company of California


►The new game, Cold War, between the U.S.A. and the

former Soviet Union brought death and utter destruction to

the country.

►Over 5 million Afghans abandoned their homes and went

into exile in other countries.

►Close to 1.5 million lost their lives

►Many left their homes for secured areas of the country.

other factors the contributed to a failed state in afghanistan
Other Factors the Contributed to a Failed State in Afghanistan


►Afghanistan is nation of groups with disparate ethnic,

religious, and tribal traditions.


►Over 30 different ethnic groups. They are not contained

within Afghanistan.

►Pashtuns are the dominant ethnic groups, who account for

about 38 percent of the population and ruled Afghanistan

for most of the history of Afghanistan.

►Tajiks are the second largest ethnic groups with about 25

percent of the population.