Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Characteristics of Social Change in Afghanistan

The course of history in different societies and states has been dominantly guided by social and political changes. These changes have been able to attract the attentions of social and political scientists to a large extent as they are responsible for the evolution of society and states. Social scientists mostly strive to find out the trends in these changes so that they should be able to understand the patterns of change and should be able to prognosticate them. But unlike the material and exact sciences, prognostications are difficult to be made in social sciences.
As they involve many variables which cannot be controlled by the social scientists as per their will. Moreover, they involve human behavior, values, norms and attitudes that different from place to place and are mostly subjective phenomena.
Moreover, it is always not true that there are particular patterns of change, that once discovered can retain for the future circumstances. Most of the scientists believe that there are paradigmatic changes in societies; therefore, they seem more certain in their prognostications about the future changes, but most of the times the changes do not seem much interested in what they think about them, and follow their own rules. Another aspect of social change is its normative aspect.
Mostly, the social changes are related to the evolutionary process, therefore they are concluded to be positive as the term “evolution” is considered positive; and are expected to take the society towards betterment, but that is not always the case. The changes can be negative as well. Sometimes they are negative for the entire society, sometimes for majority of the people and on most of the other occasions for the minorities.
Further, the social scientists feel more comfortable while studying the changes in the societies that are comparatively more ordered societies. Such societies are marked with political and economic stability and cultural integrity. The paradigmatic approaches can be very helpful in such societies, wherein the course of the changes can be easily traced as they are not marked with frequent fluctuations. Nevertheless, the societies that are marked with instable socio-political and socio-economic setups are difficult to be comprehended and the changes are not traceable even after much struggle.
Another important aspect of the social and political changes is their scope of influence. Some of these changes are not very intense, therefore, they cannot cast much effect on the surroundings, but others may be greater in magnitude with far reaching consequences. The scope of these changes have to be seen in relation with time and space, a particular change at a particular intersection of time and space may prove to be very much meager, while at yet another, it can be of immense impression and importance.
Further, there are periods in the evolution of societies, wherein the changes become frequent and vital. Such periods may be the periods of social and political disorder or the transition periods. Similar to the transition period in elements, which marks the change of one state to another; the societies also move from one phase to another. Like, the Feudalism in Europe changed to Capitalism. And while moving from Feudalism to Capitalism, Europe had to go through a transition period which was marked with frequent and fluctuating changes.
But, unlike in elements, the transitional changes in societies take much longer period of time.
The social and political changes have always bothered human beings. They have been in constant struggle to comprehend their nature and have control over them.
In this regard there are researches, studies and mechanisms in societies, with the objective of curbing them appropriately. One of the basic reasons of the formation of a political system was to introduce control within states. This control mechanism is guaranteed by the government in a political system along with other pillars of state.
A part from that, the political parties and institutions also play a major role in addressing these changes. Controlling here does not necessarily mean stopping the changes; rather it refers to guiding the changes towards the wellbeing of most of the people living in the state. If on certain occasions changes are blocked on many other occasions changes are promulgated by the government or political parties.
At the present scenario our country Afghanistan is going through a transition period. Transition period here does not mean the transition of the security responsibilities going on in the country; rather here transition is mentioned with much broader perspective. Afghanistan is moving, though to a very limited extent, from a tribal society to a democratic one. Though the real democratic signs are yet to be found in most parts of the country, there have been movement in that direction to a certain extent.
Unfortunately, this transition period is facing myriads of hurdles. The instable political and social setups have further made this period uncertain. The control mechanism itself seems to have lost the focus and devotion. It seems perplexed in the interwoven web of frequent social changes and has been contaminated with intense corruption. It lacks clear vision itself, so how it is possible for it to guide the social and political changes towards a definite goal. The country at the moment is marked with swelling wave of terrorism.
Even the securest of all the people are insecure, the international forces are withdrawing, the national forces are not completely ready to shoulder the security responsibility, the political system is marked with certain incapacities to deal with the diverse political requirements and all these changes have been magnified because of their occurrence during a transition. So, the economic future is clearly uncertain and the most tragic fact is that we are completely unprepared.
This transition period has to be over one day, as happens with every transition period; but what could this period lead to is of immense importance. This period can either lead us to another chaotic state of affairs wherein we have to wait for a couple of more decades for the same transition or it can lead us to position from where we can move towards a successful democratic state. Definitely, the second option is what most of Afghan people desire for, but that is achievable only after prudent, agile and above all sincere efforts on the part of the control mechanism.