Ecocriticism: Crossing Boundaries between Human and Non-Human Spheres in Jamil Ahmed's The Wandering Falcon
Jamil Ahmed's The Wandering Falcon envisions the ecological landscape of the tribal areas of Pakistan as the first setting of man when he primarily trod the earth. Relating that every individual contains in his or her essence a “tribal gene” , Jamil Ahmed empathises with the tribesmen of Balochistan, transforming them into everyman regardless of time and space. The brutally all-consuming natural terrain of Balochistan is highlighted through the four natural classical elements such as the wind, earth, water and fire, which according to ancient Greeks formed the basis of analysis in understanding both the natural and the material world. These non-human spheres whether it be the blistering wind of a hundred and twenty days, the wasted, barren land where the borders of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan meet, the waterhole where thirst ridden men find momentary respite or the fire and armour that the tribesmen always carry, demonstrate how the path between the natural and the human has refused to coalesce in harmony despite the struggle of the Pawindahs, these foot people, to keep it so. The dynamics of intervention are made more vividly clear through the character of Tor Baaz, whose name means the wandering falcon, and where he becomes a symbol of both human dissonance and the unforgiving nonhuman forces operating on man. Ironically enough it is through his character that Ahmed tries to provide a significant pathway where conflict and conservation of an old way of life overlap. Roaming the peripheral spaces amid tribes in the land, Tor Baaz becomes that liminal sphere within boundaries or borders that resist change to the new, adopted civilized way of life. Thus, Jamil Ahmed's ecocriticism not only endeavours to imagine a sustainable post-conflict framework but also subverts myths of barbarism regarded with tribal areas by the feigned world of civility.