An Afghan royal who returned home to Kabul after more than 30 years in exile says what he remembers most -- and misses most -- is his sitar.
Prince Nadir Zahir (61), the second son of ex-king Zahir Shah, told rediff.com that the sitar has been his passion since the age of 10.
"There were two sitars lying in the palace and I remember asking my father if I could try to play them. At first he refused, but when he realised I was serious, he arranged for a tutor from India to teach me how to play."
"I can play 'Malkauns'" he said, before reeling off the names of the other ragas with which he is familiar.
The Afghan aristocrat revealed that he had been a pupil of Ustad Vilayat Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar.
"Vilayat Khan was one of my teachers and I also had lessons from Ravi Shankar. Of course, all that was a long time ago."
Nadir was 32 years old when his cousin Daoud Khan ousted his father in a coup.
Like the rest of the royals, Nadir settled in Rome in order to be close to his father. He also lived in Canada where he brought up his son, Mostapha Zahir, who was recently appointed Afghanistan's ambassador to Italy.
Nadir and his three brothers, Ahmed Shah, Mirwaiz and Shah Mahmoud, accompanied Zahir Shah when he returned to Kabul earlier this year.
Out of the four brothers, Nadir is the closest to his father and has been given a set of rooms in the principal royal villa in Kabul's fashionable Wazir Akbar Khan district. The government has assigned the villa -- known as Palace 8 - to members of the royal family.
Although he described himself as a businessman with interests in the computer industry, Nadir said his main job is to provide his father with the moral and psychological support he needs in his elected role as 'Baba-e-Milli', or Father of the Nation.
Nadir added that his father is in excellent health. "He is as strong as the mountains of Afghanistan. He loves and respects the Afghan people and they trust him."
"We all hope he lives for many, many years to come so that he can help to restore the country to peace and stability."
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