Kallar Kahar recalls
February 22, 2013 61 Comments
I sit here now in Kallar Kahar and today the cars speed by on the M2, going to their busy destination. But I have seen different times also, when the plains in front were all forest and Babur came by with his armies for a tryst with greatness at Panipat. He sat in my bosom for months on the Takht-e-Babri, loving the local loquats, while his army rejuvenated and prepared to meet Ibrahim Lodhi and change history.
Down the plains, long ago in the age of man, the civilizations of Indus lived in peace. The Indus was mighty then and raged like a torrent and in monsoon season you could not see one bank from the other. I remember a young lad who landed at Debal on the Arabian Sea with his army to take on Dahir Sen. He came with vision and inspiration and conquered too. But this land is all enduring and either it conquers you or you depart. Muhammad bin Qasim went and never returned. But like most he left a legacy for this land to absorb and even today they remember him.
Up north, I vividly recall the sunlit day when Alexander crept across the Torkham and sneaked into the pass of Khyber. Then when his armies had crossed and strong in numbers, he rushed down to the Jhelum, just next door to me. Was that a battle and Porus stood proud in defeat and Alexander was suddenly tired. The battle lust gone; he turned away. But some others were tired too and they did not go with him. Instead they wandered by, went into Hunza, and were relieved to find a land to settle near the Kailash. For two millennia I saw them live a life of peace, unadulterated, lost to civilization. Now …well they are being assimilated into this advanced world.
In the beginning when the land came and hit the Asian tectonic plate, I was formed and for hundreds of millions of years kept rising. Great pressure was applied on me and salt formed and it was a painful period. But I too endured, now am upstanding and watch the comings and goings of man in this plain, which spreads from the Himalayas and Karakorum down to the sea. I have seen great upheavals and changes and then at the tail end man, self important, small, and very potent. He changes things at bewildering speed and has no consideration for others.
In a miniscule amount of time, man took away the forests. Those lovely, friendly trees, who would converse during the day, waving away. We would talk about the dinosaurs, ice age and the animals. Then one day in some corner there was a strange busy creature and he had a new item called fire. It caused wonder, but it scared everyone. We learned that he called himself man and was like no other. Selfish and totally at one, with his own needs. Such was his outlook! We saw him grow and then history formed. His history; not ours! He was a predator par excellence, because he could think and he could talk. But he had a weakness too. He differentiated within himself. First, against his own mother and then against his older people. Later he exploited his weak ones and formed into tribes and hunted and killed his own kind. As I said selfish and at one with his own needs.
Some decades ago these local tribes drove away the light colored ones. They were a species like Alexander’s people, but colder and more calculating. With a few thousand people they ruled over this land for centuries and used the local ones against themselves. They stripped the place and caused starvation and poverty; took away the culture and language. It was painful to watch such evil visited on this local civilization, which were in my sight for 8000 years.*
Then the local ones got wise and drove away the farangi. But I knew what was coming! They came in their hordes from all over exchanging lands to be together and they had one passion only…to populate and make this land the land of the righteous. But they should have asked me. I know the land and I know its inhabitants. For eight millennia in the plains below me, the same drama has been played out. There have always been the ruling ones. From the time of Harappa, then Chandragupta Maurya, Prithvi Raj, Akbar and Ranjeet Singh. They all ruled and ruled for their own pleasure and preferences. The people were there to serve and the ruling ones lived in luxury. Their land, their crops, their livestock. The gold was theirs too and so were the women. In the end all belonged to them! The populace lived in submission, to serve and to be at beck and call. So why should this change with ideology? The DNA and genes are the same. They think and speak in terms of the ruler and man oppressed.
One day the sea will sweep back the land and reclaim it, the humans will be gone and equal in destruction. Till then the lands call is to serve its rulers and to subjugate its people. I…well I have patience eternal and I watch this drama and wait for the inevitable end.
*the Indus civilization circa 8000 years, not the first entry of man some 195000 years ago into India.