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The Financial Express

OPINION

How urbanity dims beside rusticity


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How urbanity dims beside rusticity

Alfred Hitchcock in his movie titled 'The Birds' has shown an unconventional face of the creature. The birds the director brings to the movie screen are vengeful and terrible. The film shows how birds unleash a reign of terror in a suburban neighbourhood. Earlier, an inhabitant unwittingly hurt a bird near his home. Presumably, the local bird community swooped down on the residential area to take revenge for wounding a member of the flock. The last few scenes of 'The Birds', showing how the small and cute starlings as well as ravens wreak havoc on a home and its residents, fill many viewers with panic. Few of them had any idea about this scale of outburst birds are capable of.

Except during the primitive times, birds have in general been known as a peaceful creature. They do destroy crop fields as they swoop down on them to eat grains. At times orchards of ripe fruits fall victim to the marauding birds. What else they can do. With naturally grown wild forests gone due to man's encroachment on them, birds nowadays have turned desperate in their hunt for feed. In such a circumstance, they find the crop fields to be an easy target. Big farmers in the past used to allow the flocks of wild birds to descend on crop fields. They knew the avian creatures' visit to paddy or corn fields occurs at long intervals. In years, they flew in to the fields just for once. Moreover, in some seasons they do not visit their areas at all. Lately, the frequency of these birds' arrival has been seen on the increase. This is viewed as a new phenomenon in the country, and to take a broad look, in the whole South Asia region.

Farmers in Bangladesh in the earlier times would set up traps to catch birds and, later, feast on them. Killing birds in order to create panic in them, and thus discourage them from returning to the spots became a common practice on the part of farmers. Those excessively annoyed with the birds would be seen using gunshots to scare the unwanted avian guests away. The guns have, evidently, replaced bows and arrows used in the distant times. Heralding a change in human nature, thanks to the advocacy campaigns to ensure a safe life for the wildlife, the farmers have turned to nets to catch these birds alive. At this point of the writing, most of the readers begin predicting about the trapped birds' fate. In accordance with the ongoing trends, they watch the birds being slaughtered with hunters' deviant delight. But no, nowadays the scenes have changed radically.

The first thing the crop growers or farmers do with the birds is freeing them from their ensnared plight. Then they free the birds into the open sky. Some birds receive injuries while in their unexpected captivity. The kind farmers apply herbal cure to the wounds, give them water to drink before letting them go. Many give them days' time to get fully cured. Some develop a kind of love for these winged creatures. They keep them as pets.

The kind of rural people's treatment meted out to the destroyers of crops or orchards taking root speaks of a remarkable shift in their attitude towards the animal kingdom.

While savageries to fellow humans constitute the lingua franca among the enlightened communities, the villagers' unalloyed love for animals comes up as something puzzling. But, in fact, there are few elements of surprise in it. Our villages have still kept the leftovers of universal love and compassion. The generally soulless life as it prevails in the urban points has yet to overrun the love-soaked folks in villages.       

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