Skip to main content

The Deprived Geog in Transition for Good

One spring month, just before the leeches came alive, I responded to the call of my duty to tune my direction to Metakha, one remote geog under Chukha Dzongkhag. I have had the enough strength to travel to the destination conquering mountains and vales, negotiating the burgeoning rivers and following the trails passing by the mountain waist, some just bare enough to adjust your feet on ground. All these didn’t allow any room for mistakes in your steps. Yet, the inner adamancy and determination that I must faithfully heed the obligations of my job took me safely to that virgin geog, away from all those urban nuisances.
Virgin, unexplored and raw geog it was, that development has hardly found its way into the Geog. Located on the lap of mountain, fenced by the thick broadleaved forest, 4 days strenuous foot-walk from the nearest motorable road, everything refused to go there, needless to mention the road.
The then, people I met looked most barbaric and orthodox. The village wore the look of those neglected and surviving in its own destiny. The minimal infrastructures present were the only Community School with a teacher who is a boss and a subordinate himself and the newly constructed RNR-Extension Centre with ever expectant of occupants. My arrival did not only relieve the teacher but the farmers too when they finally saw government personnel slowly penetrating into their geog. More and more of people representing government can be interpreted as development in their definition.
People reared large numbers of local cattle, which are not only unproductive but puts up very immense pressure to the forest and vegetations. These cattle were let out free into the jungles on their own with the owner’s taking care of only those milking one. The pigs could be seen tethered in the middle of the fields with few lucky ones sharing the shed under the house. Chicken went on spoiling every freshly sown field and laid eggs in the bushes, which fed the snakes and other creatures instead of the owner.
The same variety of local crops, which yielded not even enough to compensate the intensive labour input, grew in the fields. They resorted to buy imported rice because the stock never lasted them for the year round. Every house is seen with a tree nearby engulfed completely by scauce climbers, some escaped onto rooftop, making the curry preparation not a big deal when they could easily pluck scauce fruit hanging loosely from the rooftop in galore.
Access to forest resources wasn’t a big problem since they had enough. But for those elder villagers, they have felt the pinch when the forest boundaries started running away from the village. The time taken to fetch the firewood has certainly prolonged when the resources started depleting. But most of all they failed to understand that the nature conservation is mandatory for smooth water supply, which their only water source for the village depended. The tseri cultivation (shifting cultivation) posed one big threat to sustainable land management in the geog through my spectacle.
One autumn month, I found myself heading for the same destination but for short official tour. I found myself treading the same path, same ascents and descents. I thought if nothing has changed but a day after I reached the geog, my skepticism got overruled. I was startled at the first instant I made a visit, those thousand visits I have made earlier.
It is too exaggerating to say everyone but for no doubt few have taken up the piggery backyard farming. The jersey bull has come to their village and breeding of cattle is done with him. The RNR-Extension Centre houses many models of pigsty, poultry house and diary shed. One Mr. Kabjib Tshering found it too good and adopted the idea in his own house and few are already planning to follow him.
With numerous promotion programmes, farmers training and free supply of improved crop seeds, many adopted the improved seeds when it promised outturn yields. The cropcut provided them hands-on proof. The kitchen garden sprouted like the fresh mushroom after the rain and they have almost forgotten the sweet taste of scauce.
The dense growth of seedlings planted at the water source and most of all the protection of the area from grazing pressure have immensely helped the quality and volume of water supply to the village. Few have come forward for the Private forest establishment foreseeing the great benefit it will generate. The areas of land under shifting cultivation have certainly dwindled with numerous awareness and education on negative impact of it.
The tone of telephone rings no more scares the people, with telephone having installed in most houses. The bulldozer constructing farm road from Kungkha will soon reach to Metakha. The eye blinding shinning from the CGI roofs in clear autumn sun reflects the radical transition the geog have undergone.

The geog in destitute is more promisingly en route to prosperous future.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thinley Dorji out for hunting ‘Buddha Mushroom’ in Blue pine Forests

Bumthanps in droves collects magic mushroom helping mint lots of money  All thanks to income he generates from selling Matsutake mushroom which Blue pine forests in Ura, Bumthang is endowed with, Thinley Dorji, 36 was able to put up decent roof over his head. This is in addition to the steady follow of money for educational expenses of his three school-going kids. But it is easier to be envious of such benefits than having to hear the whole lot of story behind the facade. It simply takes someone a whole lot of determinations and sacrifices in collecting the marvelous Matsutake mushroom. Thinley wakes up early, from the shed he spent his other night guarding his potato crops from wild animals. Believing that “early bird catches most worms,” he needs to be in the forests ahead of all other folks. Otherwise, what is grown will have to be shared among the parade of collectors. "Lucky for him, there was a light drizzle, the other night and Thinley heads out optimistic of the good

An unending war in Wangling battlefield

It is mid-summer and Goshing Wangling, a remote village in Zhemgang has transformed into an extraordinarily beautiful hamlet. The quaint little hamlet has turned extravagantly lush with tropical vegetation fencing the village while the inside is chock-full with different varieties of agriculture crops growing green and fresh. It is possible to literally hear the butterfly wing beat and feel the soft seasonal breeze transport to some magical land of peace and plenty far away from the crowd of modern settlements. The vista stretches far beyond the little settlements. One wonders that if Wangling can contain and give so much, what amazing wealth of floral and faunal beauty could exist between the tall, splendid mountains faraway and the vast spotless azure sky behind them.  Peace that appears to reign so abundantly in this small village, however is not absolute. Hidden behind the façade lies a chronic problem. "The Wangling farmers have to constantly face rampaging wild animals tha

An honour of delivering His Majesty’s 'Soelra'

Have you ever tried, even once, to stand outside in winter for few hours? Ok, let me be more lenient. Let’s keep it for few minutes? I’m pretty sure that a minute or two out in cold would send anyone rushing back to heater or Bukhari. "Concerned that Desuups have to brace the unforgiving winter cold, His Majesty's Soelra was bestowed with supply of firewood" It so happened that when lockdown 2.0 in Bhutan was imposed due to community outbreak in December last year, the temperature was plummeting especially in Thimphu. During such time, Desuups came forward in large number in spirit of volunteerism to ensure lockdown protocols are adhered by general public. "When many people got bored locked inside their home, we were daily engaged in such tiring work" The nature of duty during such time entailed carrying out patrolling, guarding certain area, unloading of essentials, to name few. But the guarding of ‘red buildings’ I personally noticed was really challenging.