“We’re still a far cry from being safe”

Duniya Mohsini is a university lecturer. She has been teaching for the last 12 years and is much liked by her students. Currently, she is doing a Ph.D. course in literature at a university in Tajikistan. She has been a frequent contributor to Rah-e Madaniyat Daily.

Ms. Duniya, how would you describe yourself?

I am person with deep-seated views about life. Not only do I wish to live in a humane environment, I’m also working hard to make this become a reality.

Have you had much success in making your wishes come true?

The more ambitious one’s goals, the more confident one should be. To reach these goals you have to work hard, put in a lot of effort. I’ve always tried to live a better life. When I look back at my career, I find myself satisfied with what I’ve achieved. 

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How important is it to work hard?

Mere daydreaming will not help us reach our goals – you need to take practical steps. This is something my teachers taught me at school.

Do you think your students are satisfied with your teaching?

I like being a teacher and working at the university. In my professional career, teaching methods and the use of certain psychological approaches have helped me greatly. The result is that my students are happy.

How did you decide to become a teacher?

Even when I was still very young my family encouraged me in this. However, I only really became interested in teaching after I began to study literature.

At which university did you study – and up to what level?

I graduated from Balkh University and then got my master’s degree from Kabul University. Currently, I’m doing a Ph.D. at a university in Tajikistan.

Do you find yourself comfortable as a woman in the university environment?

A university is a distinct place for learning and improving one’s skills. Still, there are people with a negative attitude towards others – often because of poverty, violence, and other such problems. You have to be self-confident in order to feel comfortable in such a working environment.

What is the greatest problem you had to deal with at university?

Some ignorant individuals will behave improperly and this can inconvenience others.

How do you view the developments over the past 13 years?

Life is always beautiful. Everything tends to move forward, yet we need to feel this and go along with it. The level of education has certainly improved. Today students are more civilised and they have greater confidence in themselves. Although the progress made hasn’t been great, it is still significant.

What has changed for you?

There have been efforts to train teachers and enable them to complete their master’s degree and Ph.D. I have been fortunate because I was able to do my master’s degree and very soon I will have my Ph.D.

Are women save in today’s Afghanistan?

Women rights are a hotly debated issue in this country. We urgently need a safe environment for women to live in. However, this is only possible, if it is supported by the large majority. Unfortunately, we are still a far cry from being safe.

What is the role of women in bringing about peace?

In traditional societies, there is no such thing as individual security for women. First, the security forces and other social organisations have to create a safe environment. Once this is the case, it may lead to development, to greater social justice, and to appointments based on merit. Only then will women – and everyone else in society – be able to participate on an equal footing.

Can a university teacher also be a politician?

Yes. Politics is a human social activity based on theory and practice.

Do you think every citizen should have the right to be politically active?

Yes – provided that being political means to combine personal interests with the wider interests of society.

Have you been able to exert your right to be actively involved in politics?

I favour a political approach that can help us overcome the miseries we’re facing. Such politics will have to be modern and based on reason. I have tried to exert my political rights to the extent currently possible in our country.

How do you define “modern politics”?

The basis is that everyone has to perform their duties in ways that strenghten the system. A resilient social system is a prerequisite for a modern society. Justice, meritocracy, and democracy are other important pillars of modern politics.

Has the political environment of the past decade been helpful for young female politicians?

Over the past ten years or so, young people got greater access to media, technology, websites, and social media. This raises my hopes. However, Afghan women are still facing various forms of violence because of traditional practices.

How do you think Afghan politics will develop?

Afghanistan is still one of the most backward countries in the world. The reason for this is that we have improper governance and that neighbouring countries are meddling in our affairs. However, I believe that a new generation will gradually take over the running of the country – and that this will bring prosperity and stability to Afghanistan.

Would you like to become Minister of Higher Education one day?

I’m not power-hungry. Nevertheless, if I were asked to play such a role, I would definitely accept the responsibility.

How would you describe yourself?

I would like others to have the things I am wishing for. I respect all people. I don’t expect anything from others, yet I am optimistic.

You are a beautiful woman. Do you spent much time on your appearance?

One should try to become a complete human being. I believe in physical beauty and inner goodness.

Any final words to our readers?

We are waves,
comfort is our demise.
We do not live to be calm.
In the course of their lives, humans will face countless problems, yet one should never forget what a bliss it is to be alive.