An Indian Narrator’s Narration

November 27, 2018 India , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Adam Cohn photo

 

By

Thriveni C Mysore

 

 

“I am an uneducated farmer from an Indian village. I have a 5 acre dry land for my living. My land is near the famous Bandipur forest in Karnataka state. I grow, rather, try to grow season crops like jowar, ragi and til. For quick bucks, I grow crops like onion, tomatoes and sunflower. Being just a traditional farmer, I don’t know marketing strategies. I just take them to merchant yards, contact some middleman and dump my harvested crops for their offered price. Whatever the middleman pays is god sent money for me. Just because I get cheated of my money has so far never dampened my spirits to continue to cultivate my lands. I worship it. My neighboring farmers laugh at me for my traditional way of thinking. Well, they are educated! They never think of the people who buy the crops. They go for all artificial means to keep their crop as healthy looking as if made of plastic. They spray fertilizers and chemical fumes to keep away the rodents, birds and other small animals. They have their lands surrounded by electric meshes so that animals from hogs to elephants won’t come straying from the nearby forest. No animal can trick them. Even if a leopard comes a-visiting, they have a simple solution. They just kill one of their sheep, fill its gut with highly toxic pesticide and leave it. The hungry leopard, feeling lucky to have such easy food will have its last ever meal. I have seen them kill five tigers with the same manner. It remains as an intelligent untraced murder mystery, for so called forest keepers.

 

My neighboring farmers are so educated, that they have solution for all agricultural problems. They have perfect fields with no earthworms, no worms, no ants, no sparrows, no small birds, no crows, no snakes, no cows, no leopards and no elephants. It is like a fortress. They call it as Scientific farming, it seems. I just think, if we master the art of such farming, where will all these other nature creatures go? Don’t they have any rights to live in this planet? Bandipur, a forest just 3 km away from my land, is now just a patch of protected area. Oh! It is a best kept secret in our villages of what happens inside the forests. When it is called a protected area, it must be a protected area. We must forget small things like poaching, smuggling, stealing, a little joy we get in killing tigers, of course accidently. So much for forest conservation, I say.

 

An aged tiger strayed into my village the other day. It killed a sheep. One sheep. It was too old to even drag its prey. As it was slowly munching over the meat, the cows in the shed raised the alarm. Oh! The villagers gathered and pelted stones at the tiger. The tiger walked away, it did not even have the energy to sprint. The next morning, the villagers staged a demonstration. Keeping the half-eaten carcass of the sheep, they demanded the government to officially put down the tiger. It had strayed into the village, so it must be a man-eater! The ever friendly government called in a forest guard, and the tiger was put down. Yes, it was a celebration time in the village. They had just done something for the good of human society. So, five sheep were killed and there was mass feeding in the village. It was a very tasty meal for the villagers that day. I, being very orthodox and slow witted was not invited for the party. I cried piteously, not for having missed the party, but for the old tiger that died. So callous is man.

 

When it is time for cultivation, when clouds bearing water is nowhere in sight, oh-so usual drought, life becomes difficult. There is shortage of drinking water, forget about growing anything. My neighbors secretly bring water in cans during night from the small ponds inside Bandipur forest. Stealing for living is not at all a bad idea for them. When there is drought-situation, they protest against the government and claim for some compensation. When there is too much rain flooding the crops, they protest against the government and claim for some compensation. Politics is a nice game for them, they all love the game.

 

My neighbors were talking about some pollution problem. They said it was from some industries. I asked what industries? They said many industries, like fertilizer, pesticide, sugar, steel, coal, paint, cement everything, you name it, they have an industry or factory for that. Vehicles, too many people and too much plastic waste were also a problem. All man made things are a problem I think.

 

Our engineer who is expert in marking a point for water in the fields said that his job was difficult. He says the water levels inside the ground were getting low. The reason again is too many bore-wells, drilling, some sort of fracturing, drying up of river beds, mining, and so on. Here too man made problems.

 

With such uncalled for problems, my uncommon neighboring farmers thought of a plan. They all made a pact. Bringing in eight fields in one single plot, they sold it to some builder. They are also called as land developers. Oh! Goodness, it was sold for 10,000 thousand rupees! Eight farmers shared the money and gave a little share to the dealer too.

 

If every farmer sold their agricultural land to land developers, farmers can become rich, they say. Even if I grow crops and be paid generously, I will not earn that kind of money in my lifetime they say. But, slow witted as I am, I kept thinking. Land developing means to put up an industry or township or such like, then where will they grow crops? Do they develop that in labs too?

 

In my total understanding, there are only three levels. They are land surface, below land surface and above land surface.

 

Land surface is spoiled-by man.

 

Below land surface is spoiled-by man.

 

Above land surface is spoiled-by man.

 

Water and air, the two essentials are spoiled to the core by man.

 

The bees (all natural living things excluding man) courts the flower (the nature) in Nature’s way.

 

But Man, though a natural creature violates Mother Earth (the boon of Nature), in all possible unnatural ways. Can any Man find a solution for the problems created by Man? I have no such hopes. If others have hope, it is just positive thinking, a deceptive thinking. Why the lies?

 

This earth was not created in a day or in days, once said my grandpa. He said that it took millions and millions of years for the Nature to create such diversity, with correct composition of air, soil and water. I am so ashamed to say, that a creature like myself, a man, took just decades to damage the very constitution of Mother Nature.

 

My little son, slow witted like myself, asked me once:

 

Daddy, if smoking is so bad for people, why not just stop making it!

 

I have no answer for that!

 

If Man is so bad for Nature, why not stop making Man? Just as impossible and foolish question like my little son, I laugh at myself.

 

Planet Earth is God’s ornament I say. Each and every single creature (except Man) is the carvings and jewels in that ornament. Unfortunately Man envies that Ornament. Man wants to own that divine Ornament.

 

The only way out of this sticky situation for God is, either to create another living thing effective enough to tame Man or curb the evil desire of possession and envy in Man.

 

No rules made by the man, for the man and to the man can ever protect the planet from the man.

 

This is my understanding. I am but a slow-witted meager farmer. As my forefather said, ‘Son, as you sow, so you reap’. The great Buddha said, desire begets sorrow, the thought is high for my understanding, but I know yearning for more loot our peace of mind. So I decided not to send my slow-witted son to school. I want him to be a farmer like myself. There remains peace. There remains closeness to Mother Nature.

 

At heart I very well know that there is no future for Mother Nature.”

 

Period.

 

Nodding my perplexed head, I gently bowed to the villager for sharing his thoughts and walked unhurriedly towards the cabin. I missed the evening safari. As I was to stay in Bandipur for over a week’s time, I didn’t mind the two hours’ conversation with the enthusiastic narrator.

 

My excited pupils shrank naturally and I kept gazing at the silent forest, thinking nothing.

 

 

 

 

Thriveni C Mysore

Thriveni C Mysore is a science teacher from Karnataka, India. She is locally acknowledged for her writings on Philosophy and Education in regional language. She loves naturewriting and ecopoetry.

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