Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

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.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Migration: Salvation or Purgatory

A permanent feature of Bhil adivasi lives now is seasonal migration. Due to the devastation of their resource bases and the increasing pressure of population their traditional agriculture, forest produce collection and animal husbandry based subsistence lifestyles do not provide them with adequate sustenance anymore. So they perforce have to migrate to the more industrially and agriculturally developed areas for work as construction labourers, cable layers, trench diggers or agricultural labourers. As a result they do come back with more money and also learn new skills and so augment their livelihood situation. However, taking advantage of their weak economic situation contractors in their areas of work exploit them greatly paying them low wages for long hours of work without any side benefits. So currently a debate is raging as to whether migration is a positive phenomenon or not. Given the fact that there is no investment in the Bhil areas and so lack of both employment and resource regeneration there is no alternative to migration. However, given the extremely exploitative conditions of work this alternative is a bad one. So the way out is for greater investment in employment generating natural resource development projects in the bhil areas as well as for greater organisation support to the migrating adivasis so that they can get a better remuneration for their labour.

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