January 21, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

India: The Kabuliwalas of Tagore’s story still live in Kolkata

1 min read

A community of 5,000 Afghans has found a home in the city for over a century: Scroll.in

One of the lasting images of Afghans in India comes from Rabindranath Tagore’s famous bittersweet story of a Kabuliwala, a dried fruit seller from Kabul, who strikes up a touching friendship with a  little girl in Calcutta.

But the story of real Kabuliwalas does not begin(or end) with Tagore. Afghans had been coming as salesmen to India for decades before and after the 1892 story. A closely knit community of around 5,000 Afghans lives in Kolkata even today, though they might no longer be vendors of odds and ends.

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