Shimla, Jan 28 : Following in footsteps of President Hamid Karzai, a former student of Himachal Pradesh University, many students from Afghanistan are approaching the institution for various post-graduate courses.
Karzai completed a post graduate course in political science at the university from 1979 to 1983. He is today leading the war-ravaged nation on the path of peace and prosperity.
At the time when his native land was invaded and occupied by the Soviet Union in 1979, Karzai was leading a student's life in Shimla.
Home to many convent schools, Shimla has a lone university - the Himachal Pradesh University. Established in 1970, the university has given notable alumni today holding important positions world over.
Many Afghan students have sought admission in Himachal University. Education in India is suitable to Afghan students as it helps them build educational infrastructure in their home country.
Riyazullah Mateen, an Afghan student, said he was being offered higher education in England by the government, but he preferred to study in Shimla.
"I rejected it (to go to England) because I had good experience of education in India. Himachal Pradesh is the best place. People are very nice and helpful. So, I am back here to complete Masters from this university," said Mateen.
Mohammad Nawid, another Afghan student, said: "We are proud that our president Karzai has graduated from this university. That is why I have came here to pursue my education."
Many of Karzai's friends in Shimla still cherish memories of the moments spent with him.
Prof. A R Khan was a history professor at Himachal University when Karzai was a student of political science.
"One day I was sitting in the university coffee house and discussing with some students about Afghan politics. On over-hearing our conversation, although he was not sharing the table with us, he walked up to me and appreciated my knowledge about Afghan clans," said Khan.
Shyam Khanna, a businessman, who shares a three-decade-old friendship with Karzai, is confident of a bright future for Afghanistan.
Khanna said: "My friendship with President Hamid Karzai goes back to 1980s. As far as I remember, we became friends sitting in a restaurant. And I must say that a kind of person that he was at that time, his humility and vitality, is still the same. As a person he has not changed even after he has become a President."
During his visit to Shimla in March 2003, Karzai said, "I have not come as the president of Afghanistan, but as a former student of the university, and as one who continues to love Shimla".