Thursday, 2 February 2012

Diary of a Tibetan Nomad: the Last Page

Following is a fictitious |diary of a nomadic boy reflecting the impact of China's nomad resettlement program on the Tibetan nomadic lifestyle.


At the age of 85, my grandmother suddenly grew weak and unhappy since moving into this concrete house few months back. She gazed at the faraway vast rangeland where small herds of yaks were grazing on the hills, gasped a long breath and whispered in her final voice "Why aren't we in the summer pasture?"

The joyful days of laughter echoing from the numerous holy peaks and valleys were gone. I remember once when father playing a flute while mother singing in her eloquent voice a song in praise of nature echoing from three different peaks, I was so amused and excited listening to their songs that I actually began to sing it thereafter.

The days of my father reading Gesar Epic in his dramatic tenor with three generations of nomadic family listening and laughing under a giant black tent has suddenly become a distant past like the Gesar epic itself. The Gesar Epic is a glorious story of nomadic kingdom extending throughout the three river head regions where most nomads have been expelled in recent years.

The days of me and my friends playing with calves, riding on yaks and running on grassland have vanished somewhere. These days we do nothing but chase trucks and happily pose for pictures to Chinese tourist in return of some chocolates. I miss those days when grandparents narrate endless folk stories of how nomads and nature live in harmony, how King Gesar conquered eighteen kingdoms, how deity of one peak in war with another, how Nomads fought illegal poachers and miners destroying our mountains. For us nomads every valley, every lake, every mountain and every peak represents something sacred and their preservation is our traditional duty.

We nomads pride ourselves as the children of nature, where we respect nature and believe that nature protects us. But suddenly we are forced to become a sedentary community confined in these concrete walls, away from our home, our pastureland, our herd, our way of life and our happiness. My father fears that Chinese government would carry out extensive mining on our sacred mountains, resulting in unending natural calamities and epidemics.

"Nomads are never poor" is a nomadic saying so true until today, however first time ever in the history of a nomad's life we are faced with abject poverty.

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