(This article is the first in a two part series. The second part is published here)
As the Homo Sapiens of India was gearing up for the National Register of Citizens (NRC), it occurred to the august minds of their winged, scaly, four-legged co-inhabitants of the earth to have a similar exercise. This was especially true of the Manas National Park situated between what the Homo Sapiens called Assam and Bhutan.
With the Sapiens at each other’s throats, some like Markhor Khan, the designated national animal of the Sapiens of Pakistan, toyed with the idea of launching a coup to overthrow the Sapiens Rashtras once and for all.
“Just like the Sapiens Generals Ayub, Yahya, Pervez had done. We too shall follow their footsteps.”
“Oh, hold your horses, Khan” quacked Donald duck, who had flown all way from a piece of land called by Sapiens as United States of America (USA).
“These idiots Sapiens might just launch their nuclear toys. My grand-daddy, who lived in 1945, saw the doomsday in Hiroshima. Of course, he saw them at the television in our farm.”
“Ask me about it”- growled in Kim-Roar-Claw, the Siberian tiger friend from Sapiens land of North Korea. “I keep hearing the threats of this pot-bellied funny haircut Sapiens. God knows when he would regain his senses.”
Sorry for missing out a crucial detail- all were gathered at Manas for the World Species Conference (WSC) on National Register of Species (NRS).
As a member of the Homo Sapiens, the author was allowed to be a part of this top-secret gathering. Since none of the other members cared to tell me how they reached Manas from Sahara Desert, Grand Canyon, Masai Mara National Park, Amazon rainforest, North Pole etc. so I won’t delve into these. Now how am I able to understand animal and bird languages? Don’t know how, but they are speaking in Sapiens tongues like Urdu, Hindi, Assamese, Korean, Chinese, English- in other words the tongues of the Sapiens with whom they are familiar with. Now I shall give an account of the proceedings of the conference.
Everyone fell silent as the Chief Secretary (elected) of the WSC, His Majesty Narasingha Simba, son of late His Majesty Vishnu Mufasa, king of Masai Mara, entered the conference space. It might seem odd that a lion from Africa has a Hindu name (Narasingha, Vishnu). But they are not Sapiens. Hence the readers should dispose of nationalism, ideology, religion, gender, caste, etc. into the dustbin while reading my account. After all, as Shere Khan from Ranthambore tells me, these are “Homo Sapiens’ constructs”. To put more bluntly, Shere Khan warned me to leave behind my “Homo Sapiens baggage” while attending the conference. Going back, all the representatives, if I may say, from various parts of the world and species took their seats.
Meanwhile “our own” (again using human privilege of ownership) Rongmon, the one-horned Rhinoceros welcomed King Narasingha Simba with a gamocha (an Assamese shawl) and put betel-nut before the king. Meanwhile, Mr Jing Jing, the Giant Panda from the Homo Sapiens designated People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Speaker (elected) of WSC proclaimed, “Alright fellow species! We are all gathered here to discuss about the National Register of Species (NRS)- a great initiative and the first step towards the formation of Pashu-Pakshi Rashtra (PPR). The details will be addressed by our esteemed Chief Secretary.”
After a round of applause (trumpets, roars, bleats, screeches etc) King Narasingha Simba spoke, “Dear friends and esteemed representative (don’t know why he stared at me singly- am I not your friend?), we are gathered here for urgent discussion upon a crisis hovering over our heads and a possible solution to it. The crisis long started since the time of our ancestors like the Saber-toothed tiger, woolly mammoth, aurochs, etc. Today the crisis has resulted in global warming, burning of Amazon rain-forest, the near arrival of the Sixth Mass Extinction, the IUCN Red List- you name it. And what is the Crisis? Homo Sapiens.”
All eyes were peering at me. I gulped in my throat. King Simba continued, “Since our brethren the Homo Sapiens have arrived, our fate has been sealed. Initially, they were harmless- they hunted, foraged, and kept to their cave societies. They only took what they needed. Back then they understood the true meaning of harmony. They even worshipped us as totems and spirits. Above else, they followed the Creator. Those were the days of golden peace.”
After a sigh, King Narasingha continued,“Slowly they experienced, as the Sapiens call it, ‘cognitive development’. I really wonder whether it was really ‘cognitive development’ or ‘cognitive death-lopment’, seeing the havoc today. Because despite cognitive development, they had the most harmful, idiotic and deadly cognition- Homo Sapiens began to think of themselves as the Creators, and the masters of the universe. They reduced us from guardian spirits and equal beings to prey, royal sport, pet, farming and war equipment, ride, trophies, zoo, and menagerie inmates. Soon from cave societies they built ‘civilizations’- civilizations of the uncivilized. And later came empires and along with it- wars, expansion, exploration, etc. Although they killed and massacred each other in millions, the major brunt was borne by us.
The basis of every Homo Sapiens empire was built on the timber of trees and the blood, sweat, and bones of our ancestors. Their cruelty knew no bounds when they started killing us for sport. Oh, my old friend Cecil. May you rest in peace. They evicted us from our homes- the open grasslands, the tropical rainforests, the arid deserts, the tundra- and transformed them into hideous agricultural fields, concrete urban jungles, and metropoles. They gave us ‘left-over pieces’ or tokens of our erstwhile homes and called them ‘national parks, sanctuaries, bio-diversity hotspots etc. We have become a minority in our own home.”
I got nervous as angry growls, roars, and trumpets resonated surrounded me.
“At this stage, let us remember our shaheeds (martyrs). These were our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends who have died in circuses, slaughter-houses, game reserves, or shot at by hunters, decapitated by poachers, lynched by mobs. We shall remember Laden, our elephant brother, who died in captivity. After all who was the one who established tea-gardens and settlements in our lush, green homes. These Homo Sapiens!!! Our forests did not come in their ways of civilization. Instead, their civilization and metro lines have invaded our homes. When we venture out our corrals to proclaim our rightful space which has now been transformed into smog-filled cities, they tranquilize us or lynch us. They call us ‘wild, brute savages’.
Who are the real savages? The Homo Sapiens, the only terrorists of earth. Their diabolical intentions know no bounds. This is evident from the wars and massacres they launched against their fellow species members. We, too, fight during mating seasons or while defending our territories. But never did we produce Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), nuclear warheads, or any sort of weapons which might threaten our ecosystem. These Sapiens are foolish and their fool-hardiness would drag us all down with them into oblivion.” Again, various kinds of animal and bird voices resonated across the jungle. “To further prove my point now, we shall hear some testimonies from the representatives gathered here.”
As I raised my hand to speak, I was immediately cut short by King Simba, “You and your kind have spoken enough. Now let the others speak.” I sulked back in my position.
“Sapiens call my home ‘Paradise on Earth’,” began Mr. Hangul (Kashmiri Stag) Abdullah. “Growing up, there still makes me wonder whether this is what Paradise looks like. My mom was killed when she had gone to forage. She didn’t know that she was not foraging in her favourite grazing ground but in the Homo Sapiens designated Line of Control (LOC). Often, we were warned by the other members of our herd not to roam in those areas because of the mad activities of the Sapiens on each side. As it was bound to happen, she fell to a bullet fired from the Sapiens. Days and nights, I have spent in fright at the sound of large booms and sparks flying in the sky. Post August 5, 2019 I have heard the Sapiens want to ‘develop’ my homeland.
Their institutions, such as the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has passed orders to clear around 1727 trees in my home. We all know that I live in a fragile ecological zone. Its ramifications are not just limited to me but even to the Sapiens. Yet they continue to deploy military regiments and stir conflict in my home. Now they plan to sell my grazing grounds to Sapiens who are filled with the paper bundles called ‘money’. Is this their Paradise? Seems hell is much better than living in daily carnage.
Now they are trying to monopolize the water of Jhelum. Water is the gift from our Creator or Allah- the name of the Creator given by the Sapiens in my home. Who among the children of the Creator has the right to monopolize the gifts from the Creator? Tell me. Sapiens has been the bane of my life since birth,” Mr. Hangul Abdullah sobbed as Mr. Jigmet Snow Leopard Wangchuk from Ladakh consoled him, “I can understand your pain, brother.”
As Mr. Hangul left the dais next, it was occupied by Mr. Rongmon. Thus, began Rongmon “As I remember, I recall my childhood spending cuddled within the legs of my mother. She was the toughest rhinoceros in the herd and many times her alertness and fighting spirit had saved us from predators. But she couldn’t escape the bullet of Sapiens known as poachers. I was hidden among the tall grasses as I saw the Sapiens saw off her magnificent horn- the horn, which was my guardian.
While they were severing her horn, my mother was still alive and gasping for breath. I was not able to stare at her and tears welled down my eyes. I stood near her for weeks until I heard the voices of Sapiens again and ran for my life. As I grew up, I learned these Sapiens have the misbelief that our horns have the quality to cure diseases. Sapiens pay heavily to the poachers to purchase more horns. The poachers with that amount buy more deadly weapons to hunt us as well as other Sapiens. The Sapien poachers claim they are fighting for independence and sovereignty, and hence beings like myself are collateral damage. What do they think we are? Don’t we have families, parents and the right to joyous lives?”
Mr. Rongmon wiped a tear from his eye. “Not only horns, they are after our home and food as well. They clear our forests for setting up resorts and restaurants. They exact fun and merriment at our expense. Their agricultural fields encroach in our grasslands. While we thought of co-existing, yet at the mere sight of us, they create a ruckus and Sapiens known as ‘Forest Guards’ come to tranquilize us. At times I feel like piercing my horn into one of them. But the thought of being labelled ‘a rogue, a mad rabid animal’ and hunted down by the bullet often halted my charge. Not to speak of those idiot tourists and their bonbhuz (picnics). Those tourists howl and disturb our female-folk when they are breast-feeding their young ones or while we are grazing silently. Silence is a word not in the dictionary of these Sapiens. This becomes evident when they bring those ear-shrieking music loudspeakers during picnics. Not to mention the litter and broken wine bottles left behind by these idiots. Do they think they own us? I have no more to speak cause my heart will grow heavy if I recount every sin of these Sapiens. They christened me as ‘Rongmon’ (Assamese- one who has a happy mind). Under such circumstances, where is the Rong (happiness)? They see me as a mascot of their National Games and Tourism. I say I am a mascot of the cruelty of Homo Sapiens.”
Mr Rongmon limped back to his seat with the help of a crutch. It is said he had received a wound in his left hind leg from a Sapien. I won’t go into the testimonies of the speakers following Mr Rongmon. Because giving an account of each of these testimonies would make the story longer even than the Mahabharata- such long was the list of the crimes of Homo Sapiens. Yet I feel compelled to give snippets from some testimonies.
“After the discovery of the black oozy liquid in my arid homelands, the Sapiens went mad and destroyed themselves. They still continue to bomb each other and stockpile weapons. I can’t remember the countless family members and friends I have lost since then. Every day feels like the day of Qayamat (apocalypse),” said Mr Camel Al- Iraqi. “They say my homeland to be the ‘Lungs of the World’. But when it burns, the moronic Sapiens discard it as alarmist, conspiracy and nothing to be worried about,” began Ms Jaguar Rouseff from the Sapiens nation of Brazil and an inhabitant of the Amazon rainforest.
“My home and the lungs burn. Yet they are blinded by the smoke emanating from the tropical trees and fail to see the doom awaiting us. They only see conspiracy by Marxists, climate terrorism.” “It’s all due to the orange headed idiot Sapiens who denied climate change as Chinese conspiracy” quacked Donald duck.
“Now they are sending prospectors and loggers to my home. My home is my home. Not your timber or virgin land for ranch and farms. My ancestors walked the earth even before your Mayan ancestors Sapiens. How dare you?” roared Ms. Jaguar.
(This article is the first in a two part series. The second part is published here)
Featured Image Credits: Azra Bhagat