In "The Devil's Wind" Indian director, Iqbal Malhotra, follows in the footsteps of Kipling's Great Gamers and tries to juxtapose the lessons of the past with the reality op the present. The result is a fascinating and unusual travelogue about Central Asia set in the backdrop of history and modern politics - the Old and New Great Game. This film captures unusual images of this region that are interconnected to one another and transcends the boundaries of time.
With the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, the United States displaced Britain as the global power, asserting its influence in the Middle East in pursuit of oil, containment of the Soviet Union, and access to other resources. This period is sometimes referred to as "The New Great Game" by commentators, and there are references in the military, security and diplomatic communities to "The Great Game" as an analogy or framework for events involving India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and more recently, the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia.
The British became the major power in the Indian sub-continent after the Treaty of Paris (1763) and had begun to show interest in Afghanistan as early as their 1809 treaty with Shuja Shah. It was the threat of the expanding Russian Empire beginning to push for an advantage in the Afghanistan region that placed pressure on British India, in what became known as the "Great Game". The British were well aware of the many times in history Afghanistan had been employed as the invasion route to India.
The Great Game today
Western military presence in Afghanistan today is a sensitive issue which may locally be regarded as a continuation of two hundred years of Great Game politics. Two centuries ago The Great Game involved Britain's repeated attempts to impose a puppet government in Kabul. The remainder of the nineteenth century saw greater European involvement in Afghanistan and her surrounding territories and heightened conflict among the ambitious local rulers as Afghanistan's fate played out globally (further reading).