By Zubair Nazeer
A man from plains has come to the hills again
He may fail to notice I live here yet again.
Preoccupied he seems with the issues of the plains
Tribal problems will not cross his mind again.
I would not look at him, surprised and suspiciously
The way he does when I move into the plains briskly.
I wouldn’t ask my friend ‘nature’ to ignore him
Rather, it should honour and welcome him happily.
Neither am I uncivilized nor ‘reservation’ my need
My subjugation and oppression has been his deed.
I have never questioned his right to live in his land
I also have right to live why doesn’t he just pay heed.
I neither desire his resources, nor hate his culture
He knows all my resources, but not my culture.
Barring material things, the rest of mine, he disdains
If not me, at least, he should notice my culture.
‘Though I wish, but let these words, not reach him
He has come here, comfortable, we should make him
Let him notice everything in the hills except for me
He is our guest, a blessing from God, let us honour him.’
The Man from the plains has come to the hills again
I am so happy to see him in the hills yet again.
He would be blessed by tribal gods and nature
And he would come to seek the same pleasure again.
Some day he may eventually end up noticing me
Understand tribal culture, issues and befriend me.
I will pray for a better life and prosperity in the plains
He would aid in conserving the hills and support me.
I believe the hills would be soon close to the plains
And I would visit and enjoy without fear in the plains.
My friend would instantly recognize me and say aloud
‘A Man from the Hills has come to the Plains’
(Note: This poem is based on interactions with Tribal community of Jammu and Kashmir)
(Zubair Nazeer is a Junior Research Fellow in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He has also taught in the Department.)