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.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Lonely Vigil

Vania another of the redoubtable Bhil adivasi fighters against the Sardar Sarovar Dam phoned me up today and railed against Khajan and Medha for fighting a lost battle uselessly. Vania like me has moved on and taken possession of the land offered to him in Gujarat as compensation and also retained his old lands in the hills above those that have been submerged. He like some other oustees have made the best of both worlds so to speak and he has also succeeded in getting his wife elected as Sarpanch or head of the local village government. I listened to Vania quietly because my heart went out to Khajan lodged in jail yet again for a lost cause while I had abandoned it. In the back of my mind was the recent news of the massacre by the police of eight people who were part of a demonstration by the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India Marxist demanding that land reforms be implemented in Khamman district of Andhra Pradesh. Land has been and still is free for the asking for the industrialists but for the poor it is not available. They get lathis, bullets and jail instead. Even though for the present I have given up on field activism nevertheless I have always been a strong supporter and admirer of people who fight for lost causes. Bhagat Singh is the supreme example. Christopher Caudwell is another. Jatin Das yet another. And so I just cant get Khajan's latest foolhardy swipe at the state out of my head. A lonely vigil it may be but as I wrote earlier it is one that will some day save us from going to hell.

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