Vanishing Paddy Fields


Nature is wonderful… and the paddy fields; they are a sight, to watch. It grins, at the passers-by, if they happen to pass through Pynthormukhrah during the months of paddy cultivation at it's best. Even the background, in which it is situated, with hills covered with pine trees and the hustle bustle of human habitation, makes viewing this paddy field soothing to one's eyes.

And what is startling about these paddy fields is that it is situated in the suburbs of Shillong City itself and yet maintained it's distinct rural touch. In spite of the onslaught of development and construction of buildings and houses in and around Shillong City, Pynthor's Paddy fields remained unclogged till the other day. One could see thatched houses amidst gradual increasing modern housing system in the outskirts of the fields. With relatively low traffic then the other parts of the city, the road made one felt as if, one was in a far off place away from the city and it's commotion. More particularly if one reached a place called Christian Basti - the throbbing paddy fields sent scintillating messages that made one feel the pulsating resonance of the echoing hubbub from in and around. The ambience filled up with silence and greenery stretched all around, near and far, quietens one's tumultuous spirits.

Children playing in the street felt offended at the sight of passing vehicle, fully reflecting annoyance caused by the vehicle in the normal play. Of course one does find children in some locality or the other in and around Shillong City. But surprisingly enough, here one could gauge and feel their recalcitrant attitude- possessive about their apparent play field, so secluded and remote till the other day.

The geographical location of the paddy field made the expanse of land that it encompasses brim with surprises - with never ending tales of it's own. One would be fascinated if sensitive to myriad shades of development and transformation that both nature and man has been doing since time immemorial. After everyone kilometer, one is stirred at the site of variation in human habitation all along the road on one side and relatively the same appealing greenery on the other side.

More interesting is the flow of two rivers Wahumkhrah and Wahthangsniang , which confluence in Demseniong . These rivers have a history of not only shielding the paddy fields from relentless human incursions but an equally terrifying history of ripping the breast of the paddy fields, by habitual erosion during the monsoon. Thanks to these rivers for they have not only helped the states in generating electricity but perennially given life and vitality to the paddy fields.

Many times I have passed by the paddy fields, and each time there was something to introspect and reflect. But as years elapsed things were becoming different and distant. The paddy fields instead of soothing and reliving me from the drudgery of monotonous living depicted sad symptoms. Its plight was obvious every now and then; gradual human encroachment was becoming more visible; swallowing its outskirts and slashing its fertile lands where once green paddy fields flourished. Small articulate huts and makeshifts houses that stored rich harvest of the paddy fields gave way to big houses and square concrete structures. These developments are not only robbing the paddy fields of its intrinsic beauty but is also evoking an urgency to combat new challenges.

I do not want to cast any aspersion nor had I the intention to do so. I had to humbly accept the law of social dynamics. My mind could understand, as it saw the rational dimension. But my heart was gloomy for reasons unknown. 

But why does gloominess creep in at the sight of vanishing paddy fields…? I had no answer. Perhaps… we vacillate endlessly between mirth and melancholy at the sight of something which effects our life, until fresh thoughts comes and new focus gets highlighted. 


More by :  Khalid Khan

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