Saturday, February 24, 2024

Professional Journeys’ Narrative – 6

People of Tharparker are conventional breeders of Camels, Cows, Sheep and Goats. Quite a number of them posses sizeably large herds. Owners of some herds do not know the actual count of their animals. Every owner of the large herd keeps close eye on his animals and with the team of guarding members moves along with the herd in search of grazing stuff. Bushes locally known as ‘Lana’ and ‘Khabbal’ are special diet for camels. Other animals live on anything available in the desert. The herd owner and his team mostly live on milk for diet. They do carry some flour and spices for a change as and when desired, there is third eating material which I observed being taken by a herd owner of about sixty years of age. It was a collection of seasonal locust, dried and packed in bags. This special material rich in protein is also a source of sound good health for the whole team of persons responsible for looking after animals. The way of eating this special material is very simple. Simply taking it from the container bag and chewing and devouring it straight away followed by intake of water

People of Tharparkar very much love their desert. They never even think of going out of the area. Most of them do not know abut the green plains and hills of Sindh and Punjab with canals and channels of sweet water. If at all they are informed about the beauty and availability of all that, they neither get stunned nor show any degree of interest in that. They deeply love their desert, their animals and their very mode of living. They do not have any interest in agriculture lands, canals, railways, roads, aeroplans etc. I informed a herd owner about villages and cities of other part of Sindh and asked him ‘why you don’t try to settle down somewhere there’. To collect a few words that could be understood by me, he held five fingers of his hand together in the upward direction and after a few silent moments, replied, “Sahib! Akk jo kero amb ma nahen reh sakt hai: (Sir, insect born and surviving in bitter bush, cannot survive on mango tree).

International border is in no way any obstruction for them. It is usual with them to cross and re-cross the border anytime and any number of times they like. Their cigarettes, tea, sugar and other victuals are brought from the Indian side nearest shops. Their marriages are sometimes arranged on the Indian side. They are absolutely peaceful and harmless Pakistanis. Up to our r stay there, we never heard of any activity against the interest of the state. They neither steal nor usurp. Nothing criminal had been heard about them.

My section for demarcation of International Boundary was extreme North and extreme difficult. Southern sections were quite populated and approachable by vehicle. Our colleagues of southern sections enjoyed vegetables and watermelons daily. Above all they enjoyed meat almost daily. Mr. Mansoor Ahsan especially enjoyed meat free of cost twice daily. He had a sweet water well in his sector which was dwelled by countless grey pigeons. Early in the morning when the pigeons were still in, he used to cover the top of well by a cloth with the help of his team members. Then he used to down a piece of wood into the well disturbing the pigeons to fly out. Tactfully the men will slightly raise the cloth catching quite a number of birds. When the catch was consumed by the team, the operation was repeated. Too much of everything is bad. Mr. Mansoor suffered from bleedy piles and for rest of the period he did not disturbed the birds anymore.

desertcanal During a movement on duty we had been camping at right bank of Nara canal, an ancient branch of Indus River. Weather was a bit hot. We did not have any assignment to do as the field programs were under planning. During a hot noon I suggested to Mr. Manssor for having a bathing in cold water of Nara canal. He readily agreed and carrying a strong long rope, we reached the active bank of the canal. Estimated depth of water was 18 feet. I proposed that I should be the first to start jumping and bathing. In view of the depth of water, Mr. Mansoor tied the rope tightly around my waist as precaution against any mishap. I enjoyed three jumps up to the maximum depth. Then came the turn of Mr. Mansoor, I tied the rope around his waist and he freely jumped into the water. After coming to the bank, he was about to jump second time when we were alerted by a loud shouting of a local man who was running towards us at full speed. Astonished we waited for moments to let him reach us. On reaching us what he told us was horrible. He said “Although the whole of Nara contains killer alligators, but this particular reach is well known for abundance of these creatures. So many people crossing Nara canal have been devoured by these creatures. So many dead bodies of sinking boats have never been found inspite of rigorous search. I am very astonished to see you alive after jumping so many times. You must have been vanished at the very first jump into the water. It is an extra ordinary miracle that you both are alive”. We both deeply felt that it is God’s special power that we are still alive. We thanked God.

Nara canal or Nara river otherwise looks extremely charming running through sandy desert. Desert sand takes away sizeable volume of water out of its flow, still its flow is perennial. Its right bank was motor able along which journey will always remain a pleasure.———– To be continued…..

Source: Part from a book in process.
Copyright: Reserved


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Category: Travel

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