The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
The next photo is of vegetables being grown in Rani Kajal Jeevan Shaala. Over the past year or so the school has gained tremendously in dynamism and one of the new projects was to grow vegetables in the one acre kitchen garden of the school. This has been immensely successful as the teachers and the students have immersed themselves in the kitchen garden as is evident from the picture below.
https://www.facebook.com/cowmeshranikajal. While Jyoti Solanki who passed out from class eight last year, which is the highest class of the school, has posted a mythical story in Hindi about how the village of Kakrana got its name, Pratap Padiyar a student of class eight has posted a translation of a play in Hindi into his mother tongue, the Palva dialect of the Bhili language, which is possibly the first ever Bhili literature on Facebook. More such creative work is afoot and will soon be available to the world at large due to the internet being operational in the school.
This is what had made us so desperately try to get internet to Kakrana and it is indeed very satisfying to see it produce such a great surge of creativity in so short a time. Digital justice and the cause of child rights have been eminently served by this endeavour.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
The curriculum has a strong link to the local society and economy. But at the end of the day we have not been able to produce many anti-establishment proteges from these schools. Primarily because we have not been able to set up a system that can challenge the mainstream in all these years of activism. We had started off with such a dream but it did not materialise because we didn't have the strength to establish an alternative socio-economic system in the face of the powerful consumerist capitalist onslaught, which through direct to home television and mobile content propagation has reached every nook and cranny of this world.
Friday, September 9, 2016
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Then the problem started. Initially we put in an old submersible pump borrowed from another farmer that was of low power and it would draw water very slowly at a rate equal to the rate at which water was flowing into the tube well and so things were alright. A tank would be filled up on top of a hill and then water would be taken by gravity for watering the plants. Then the farmer who had given us this pump decided to take it back for his own farm. So we bought another pump. This one was a high power pump. The farmer from whom we had bought the land and who takes care of the farm on a daily basis said that with a high power pump the extra drawal of water would slowly increase the flow into the well. Though we said that this is unlikely he said that there had been innumerable such instances in the area and this should be tried out. Despite our misgivings we bought a high power pump and our travails started. The farm is situated about 250 meters from the nearest electricity pole. Since the supply in the main line itself is weak from the grid, the electric line to the pump when it is in the hole about 80 meters under ground a further 330 meters results in a huge drop in power over this distance. The earthing too in the transformer on the main line was not proper. So the heavier pump that we had bought did not work. We had a pump mechanic make some changes to motor and the pump began working but it would finish off the water in the well in just a few minutes and then draw in sand and choke itself!! The farmer who was handling the pump in our absence did not understand this and kept putting on the motor to make it run and it got burnt in the process!! We got the motor repaired but once again the farmer in his pursuit of the non-existent burst of water flow tried to run the pump even after the water in the well had finished and got it burnt again!!! Finally now the farmer has reconciled himself to the fact that there is only a little water in the well and we will have to adjust to that.
This farmer looks on bemused as Subhadra practices her bio-diverse agriculture and talks of making do with only a little water and planting dry land wheat, gram and amaranth in the coming winter season with only one watering or may be no watering at all. He is crestfallen that the borewell has not yielded enough water for him to be able to sow water intensive hybrid wheat on his farm next to ours!! We have done considerable soil and water conservation work on our farm so that not even one drop of water and soil leaves it. So there is considerable soil moisture conserved and in all probability the winter crop can be sown without any initial watering and will only require some sprinkler irrigation later on if at all. The output of such dryland winter agriculture however is less than the heavily watered and chemically fertilised hybrid cultivation because that is what the soil can sustainably deliver. Farmers traditionally understood this but that understanding has now gone due to the past five decades of chemical agriculture pushed with heavy subsidies. Now chemical fertilisers, water and electricity have all become expensive and scarce and agriculture is collapsing. Farmers, are still desperate to produce the same yields and are catching at straws instead of going back to holistic and sustainable agriculture because the government is not providing subsidies for doing so.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Aap Singh on coming to know of this came rushing to Indore and on seeing his son in bad shape argued with the doctor to discharge him as he did not have any trust in his treatment. He said that even the quacks in his village could treat fever and diarrhoea better and they would do it for a few hundred rupees instead of the thousands he was charging. A heated argument ensued that continued for a few hours but eventually Aap Singh had his way and Prem Singh was released. As it was already evening, Aap Singh called me and asked whether they could spend the night at our house before going home. I told him to come home. I went through all the diagnosis, tests and prescriptions and found that apart from having a low haemoglobin level of 10 mg per litre there was not much else wrong with Prem Singh. True he had fever but it was not very high and he was going frequently to the toilet to relieve himself because of loose motion. The doctor while discharging him had given him antibiotic and antacid tablets and paracetamol. Only an anti-diarrhoeal was missing. I told him to give him these medicines and gave an anti-diarrhoeal from our stock. By next morning Prem Singh had recovered and in the afternoon Aap Singh took him home to his village on a motorcycle!!
This whole episode brings out the total disarray in which the health system is in this country. Prem Singh was most probably affected by pathogens in the drinking water in his hostel. Why was he affected while other hostelers were not? It might be because he is anaemic. Anaemia reduces the power of the immune system of the body to resist pathogens. Be that as it may, the illness was not very serious and with proper medication would have subsided within a few days. The dispensary in his college did not have the basic medication for fever and diarrhoea. The specialist doctor of the private hospital that he was taken to administered medicines through intravenous drip despite Prem Singh being fully capable of taking them through the mouth. The two days in the hospital cost him 7000 rupees and even after that he was cured. The administration of medicines through intravenous injections diluted with normal saline had become an irrational bane of treatment in this country as shown in the picture below.
Thus, the poor in this country are caught in a deadly pincers of malnutrition on the one hand which reduces the power of their immune system and makes them vulnerable to disease, an almost non-existent public health sytem, a rapacious private health system practicing irrational medicine and a lack of knowledge of basic medicine. A student of engineering who has great innovative power in his field does not know anything about basic medicine and that shows how lopsided our education sytem is. With neither health nor education we have a recipe for disaster.
Monday, August 22, 2016
- Decentralised and local community controlled development has been acknowledged as a major desideratum for tackling tribal deprivation (Sharma, 2001).
- With the award of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences to Elinor Ostrom in 2009, it has come to be acknowledged that collective action is the best option for the management of common pool resources (Ostrom, 1990).
- The benefits accruing in terms of mitigation of climate change from such communitarian natural resource management in rural areas compensates for the emissions from the urban and industrial areas which cannot be totally nullified (International Institute of Sustainable Development et al. 2003).
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Thus, for biodiverse organic agriculture to make a come back, there has to be a drastic change in agricultural policy providing support to it instead of chemical monocultures as at present.