In one of the parched hills of Kalikot District that lies in remote Karnali Region of Nepal, there is a small village called Tilagufa. The Tilagufa dwellers who live at edge of poverty are eagerly counting days to welcome a pulley system that runs through gravity. In absence of motorable roads, people are forced to walk up and down the steep hills with heavy loads in their back. Women are mostly victimised to such drudgery with only a handful of men left in the village as most of them opt for labour jobs in India and gulf nations to make ends meet. Not only women rear children alongside goats and sheep, they are also the heavily worked domestic labours. In absence of men, they solely hold the baton to grow and process food for the family.
The face of feminisation of poverty looks scary and dark. Women ascending vertical hills to collect firewood, climbing tall trees leaning towards cliffs to collect fodder, walking barefoot to the scariest woods to graze cattle and carrying loads heavier than themselves on their back, not to mention with infants in the front; these sights are not uncommon. Drudgery of various kinds have led to many miscarriages and even uterine prolapse in worst cases with stories of many giving birth to lifeless child while on field all by themselves to come back home with empty hands and empty hearts. Stories like these are common for the women of high hills of Nepal yet their valour remain unsung and undiscovered. With a hope that the gravity goods ropeway that will soon function there will make lives much better, here’s a tribute with a fringe attempt to sign their glory.
Who could sail in the lost sea
full of sunken boats of hopes and dream
on an ancient canoe of courage
in search of shore though full of debris?
Who would make way for sun ray
in darkest room of locked up speech
drilling the walls of sorrow
to let the dim light say hello?
Who would endure the pain
giving birth to the child
full of everything but life
not once, but time and again?
Who would have buried new born faith
digging two feet deep and two feet wide
telling herself a lie
in her, there never grew a life?
Who would understand lifelessness better
yet standing tall and spirited
doing everything to survive
as if nothing can upset her?
Her bruises blue and unmeasurable
Her creases rare yet youthful
Her body lean yet musical
Makes her nothing but so beautiful
So beautiful her smile
like sunshine on the Nile
May be she has borrowed
Colour from marigold for a while
And look at her fixing dear life
With nuts and bolts of undaunted valour
No complain, without any grumble
She makes an exceptional archetype
Everything that she can resist
She makes the happiest minimalist
Makes world’s pleasure look so foolish
And urban choices so childish
If you wanted to know who she is
She is the brightest star of universe
Guard of the mountains that’s adverse
Trained by the nocturnal birds
You might need to travel back a thousand years
Crossing the seas and oceans of tears
To meet her, you’d need to ride on a horseback
May be enduring some nightmares
There lies her little hamlet
Which smells like her sweat
Glowing under a zillion stars
In the woods that screams her scars
That’s where you’ll find her gleaming
Being so strong and beaming
Captivating you in her story’s hymn
She is nothing but so sublime
If her stories were ever to be told
And her songs that are so bold
Full of dignity and solemn
She is the unsung wonder women!
She is the unsung wonder women!!