In this essay, M. Lilla and Bishop Barry presents the adventurous experience of the writers when they explore western Nepal on foot for 15 months. In the passage they present their research on the economic relationship between the Hills of Karnali and the plains of the South. At the same time, they present clearly the difficult life and the ignorance of people living in Karnali region.
During their journey, they came across many weird and unusual events. One Chettri Women asked them to search her husband who had left the home in search of job 15 years before. This shows how illiterate and ignorant some people living there were. They could not process ‘Silajit’ at Sinja due to the fear of the influence of a bad star. This shows the blind belief and superstition of the people living in Karnali region. When they request people not to cut down trees, people replied green leaves of trees must be feed to their cattles. This shows that the people living there were unaware about the future impacts of deforestation.
In this way the essay presents the lifestyle of the people living in Karnali region. Due to absence of roads, people have no choice but to walk when they want to go from one place to another. In order to survive, they do farming and also other things like- bee keeping, raring animals, knitting sweaters and blankets, collecting medicinal herbs and even growing up hashish. They carry all these goods to the Terai and sell them there and buy even food items and carry them back home. This is extremely difficult job but they do it for mere survival.
Important questions and answers:
1. Give a short account of life of people of Karnali.
Ans: The chapter written by two American Geographers during their fifteen months of exploration upholds the pitiable socio economic condition of the Karnali inhabitants. The people of Karnali region are not only economically educationally poor and also guided by superstitious belief. Most of the people in the community brew wine and sell in the market banned by the authority. Out of this income they enjoy maintaining their family. Some of the people struggle with steep and precipitating mountains to collect “Silajeet” and sell them in the town of Nepalgunj. Then the life of the people of Karnali seems to be under poverty. Furthermore on encounter with a handsome ‘Chhetri’ woman the two geographers come to know that the women’s status is very poor and being simpleminded also guided by superstitious thought. The women proposes them to tell about her poor family condition and her husband who had gone out of the village to earn money but till then had not been back home.
2. Write a paragraph to show how Karnali is linked economically with the lowland region to the south.
Ans: The life of Karnali people is directly and indirectly linked with the lowland region to the south. According to the writers, people of Karnali carry different local products such as herbs, sweaters baskets etc. to Nepalgunj. They sell them in the market and buy clothes and other required utensils. They buy some sweets, pots and jewelries as well. From this we can understand that people of Karnali has been the consumers for the production of Terai. They go to terai in search of employment. This shows that Karnali s linked economically with the lowland region to the south.
3. What does the reply of the women “What can we do? The animals must eat it today” signify.
Ans: It indicates that the people of that place are very ignorant. The ecology and environment is destroyed by them. They have been cutting down the trees and making the earth unfit place to live in. But they do not know that massive deforestation will cause flood, landslides, soil erosion etc. Their reply signifies that are unware about their future and they don’t realize their mistake. They think like feeding the green branches to the animals is their compulsion.