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The Plaint of Duck

Shams ud Din

A large number of migratory birds pass over the high mountains of Northern Pakistan twice a year, on their flight between Siberia and the Arabian Sea coasts. Some of these beautiful waterfowls meted out gruesome fate as they are lured and trapped into artificial ponds constructed for the purpose and mercilessly poached on the way to their destination.

Hefty sums are invested on the construction of these ponds besides decorating them with expensive animated ‘decoy ducks’ that even flutter to attract the ‘true birds’. When these birds, tired after a long journey, land in the lakes at dawn, they find stalkers in ambush, and get their whole generation exterminated by shotguns.

Mountain communities have substantive socio-cultural profile associated with hunting, which might have emanated from livelihood requirements hundreds of years back into antiquity. The feathers of hunted birds are added to caps just to showcase achievements in the field and the killed birds are presented as gift to build rapport and furthering better social images amongst friends, colleagues, relatives and wider communities.

This action of man could be conveniently categorized as ‘self-defeating’ measure that is going to erode natural ecology and deprive the earth of its valuable biodiversity. From moral and religious standpoint, too, man is ordained to be merciful and kind towards all creatures of God on earth.

‘The Plaint of Duck’, composed by Shams Uddin, attempts to highlight the issue that migratory birds face on their way to northern hemisphere for hatching.

Glanced in bird’s eye view
The patches of lakes blue
Designed to lure into trap
With stalkers, guns in lap
Siblings die a year after birth
Each year as we travel north

Lo! The decoy ducks flutter
Add to desire more butter
We are poached as we land
As gift presented to friend
Don’t wipe us from earth
Each year as we travel north

God ordains thou, be merciful
To creatures on earth, plentiful
Do halt self-defeating measures
Don’t erode ecological treasures
Do us something of any worth
Each year as we travel north

Don’t spray us with firing tool
Before ducking into the pool
Unleashing dogs—formidable
This act of you—deplorable
Please don’t trap us in firth
Each year as we travel north

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