A Kusunda's confession: Life in the wild was happier
DANG, Feb 8: Govinda Kusunda, who adopted the ways of civilized life renouncing nomadic hunting lifestyle five decades ago, is now more nostalgic about his life in the forest than ever.
Govinda in his early sixties still cherishes the days in the forest when they used to be called Ban Raja (king of the forest) and used to roam in the wild freely hunting animals and birds.
“My new adopted life is not good. I still long for that life when we roamed in the forest. No one cares or obeys anyone in this society,” Govinda expressed his frustration toward the modern society, which he says is growing indifferent by the day. Sexagenarian Govinda is fed up with the unnecessary intrigue, bickering and selfish attitude of the people.
“While living in the jungle, we were free and used to live amicably with others. But, this society is not a good place to live in as the people are fighting even over trivial matters,” Govinda added. Govinda, one of the members of a nomadic tribe which is on the verge of extinction, nowadays grapples with the sense of repentence for quitting forest life. He remembers the 13 years of his life in the forest before being socialized and judges that the forest life was happier than life in the society. “The forest life was better and easier than the life here in society,” said Govinda.
Remembering the 13 years of life he spent hunting and living in their forest dwellings with his father Darshan Kusunda, a nostalgic Govinda wants to recoup the bygone days full of freedom and unaffected by the rat race of modern lifestyle. “My father would always take me to his hunting trips. That life was really happy,” Govinda added.
His frustration with the so called civilized society is that he did not find any help from it as he is faced with the problems to keep the wolf from the door. “While in the forest, we were free to move anywhere or to do anything. But, here, freedom of movement is curtailed,” said Govinda.
Govinda and his father used to receive attention or honor when they came to the villages to barter the meat of game animals with foodgrain. But now, the nomad tribe is left to fend for itself. According to Govinda, people used to address them as Ban Raja and also used to greet them in the past, but none cares them now.
Govinda was born in the jungle and brought up in the forest itself. He spent his childhood learning hunting skills. While roaming in the forests from Dang to Surkhet, Govinda was already an adept hunter under the tutelage of this father.
“My father taught me with the tricks and skills for hunting wild animals and birds. I have already traversed the forest from Dang to Surkhet in the course of hunting,” Govinda informed. After his father died after being bedridden for four months due to an unknown illness, Govinda along with his mother Binu started social life in Surkhet in 1965. Later his family had migrated to Rajpur-9, Sikta in Dang.
“After father’s death, I became alone. Other members of our tribe were already adopting civilized ways of life so I also decided to leave the forest with my mother,” Govinda further informed. There are altogether 24 Kusunda people left in Rajpur now. All of them work as laborers to make both ends meet. None of Kusunda owns the land they have been living on for five decades. According to government data, the total Kusunda population in the country stands at 164.
Meanwhile, the central convention of Nepal Kusunda Development Society concluded in Dang on Saturday. The meeting elected a new working committee with Dhan Bahadur Kusunda as chair.
The meeting also demanded free education, free healthcare, and permanent settlement for the Kusunda community. Kusunda members from Dang, Pyuthan, Rolpa, Surkhet, Tanahun and Gorkha participated in the convention.