In pursuit of communication
Journalist, political analyst and lecturer, Dr Abdul Qahar Sarwari, thinks about relations and communications of individuals to tribal communities and groups. He has made it his life's mission to improve communications in multi-ethnic Afghanistan. A testimony.
A much-published author, he says of his writing, "Many defects exist in field of journalism and academic researches, I don't want to just criticise rather I have written many books to guide."
Dr Sarwari's book titled Political Communications is just that: ways of ensuring communication among the societies, political circles and government. Other books by him include Human Communication which dwells on relations between people of different cultures whether social or professional; The Professional and Public Journalism for the media; Afghanistan, the Chronic Crisis and Solution argues for a way out of the current crisis; and, Writing Magazine, which is used as a textbook in academia.
Dr Sarwari did his doctorate in communications' sciences from Universiti Malaysia Pahang. His thesis challenges the assumption that western theories can be applied universally; he argues these are not applicable in eastern cultures specifically in field of inter-individual communications and inter-cultural communications. He has found that practically all communication theories are related to western societies and they are not concordant with eastern societies. He believes that as western societies are individualistic, their theories cannot be applied in eastern societies. He has propounded a new theory that he calls "the theory of contact and solidarity". "The University of Petra (in Amman, Jordan) has confirmed it," he says. "It has been published in the academic journal too," he adds.
Dr Sarwari thinks the theory can be applied to Afghan society, and it would be "very constructive" since "real relations have not been established among people". Here the tribe is the "pivot", he points out, and only a "limited number" of individuals can reap the benefit. He cites his own experience to prove the point. "I filed my own nomination to run for parliament. Some powerful individuals attacked me, my car was burned and I also got seriously injured."
Born in 1976 in Tajikan district, Badakhshan province, he studied two years at the Arghandkan primary school when his family migrated to Pakistan in the midst of war. He was enrolled in refugee schools in Peshawar where he studied up to class eight when under the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani his family returned to the country and he with them.
He was enrolled in Habibia High School but after half a year he was shifted to Amani High School and then to Parwareshgah located in Mecroyan but since the situation was not secure he was moved back to Habibia from where he graduated.
One of five students who scored top marks for the entrance exam to Kabul University in 1995, he joined the faculty of engineering, but in 1996 the Taleban took over Kabul and "I could not continue my studies," he says.
He, like thousands of other youth, went north to join the "jihadist structures", taking up the pen instead of the gun to counter the Taleban. "I worked in government of Burhanuddin Rabbani but as I saw the place of media was empty so I went across to Kokcha (an area in Takhar) and started a daily news publication called Payam e Milat (message of the nation)," he says.
He set up a radio station, Radio Afghanistan. "The Tajik refugees had brought a small station to Taluqan. We got help from the station but it was very weak. Then we found a Russian wireless plant, R-141 that one of the Tajik engineers hooked to the radio station. We had four hour daily programmes. Then the Taleban captured Taluqan and we escaped to Dasht Qala area and continued our publication called Payam e Milat there."
Back to studies
When the Taleban was ousted, he returned to Kabul and thought he would continue with his half completed studies at the faculty of engineering. But because he was away for a long time from the engineering field and the media activities had already attracted him he switched from the field of engineering to journalism. He went from the third year of engineering to first in journalism in 2003 at Kabul University.
As well as studying journalism, he also continued his media activity, restarting Payam e Milat in Kabul. He says that Payam e Milat was the first publication that was registered with the Ministry of Culture and Information after the fall of the Taleban.
He graduated in 2006 from faculty of journalism and became a lecturer in university of Aboraihan Albironi in Parwan province while continuing to produce Payam e Milat. The publication was wound up in 2011 "due to financial problems".
While working with the publication, he also worked for Cheragh (light) daily and other media, both Afghan and foreign, and was chief editor of Sadaye e Democracy (voice of democracy) for some months. He had to learn to withstand frequent pressure from jihadist commanders and others.
At the end of 2011, he won a scholarship to do his masters in communication at Universiti Malaysia. On completion he was persuaded to enroll for a Ph.D. The rest we know.