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.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
However the government was not prepared to relent on the larger issue of rehabilitation for the thousands of other people who had complained and so the dharna continued as well as the hunger strike. Parleys were held continuously with the officials and ministers but no agreement could be reached and ultimately the NBA had to withdraw the dharna and hunger strike without getting any concrete assurances.
The basic problem is that providing proper rehabilitation to all the thousands of oustees involves crores of rupees which will shoot up the cost of the dam so much that it will become unviable. That is why the government is not prepared to provide the oustees with their just dues and is continuously lying. The benefits in terms of electricity and irrigation are illusive and can never measure up to the costs. However these are to be given to those who are more powerful and so the powerless adivasis have to be sacrificed.
Some amount of pressure has been built up on the government and it is now trying to provide better rehabilitation than it did in ousting the people from the submergence zone of the Indira Sagar dam and it is now also restricted from using force by the orders of the High Court. But the basic problem of not having enough money to completely rehabilitate the oustees is forcing it to lie in public continuously. Ultimately it is a question of changing our resource guzzling developmental model. This is something that no one beginning with the richest of the rich is prepared to do. And so the adivasis continue to suffer.
The struggle conducted over a month cost the adivasis and other oustees lakhs of rupees. Some of it was garnered from the people and some from well wishers across India and around the world. Yet there are a lot of bills yet to be paid. So here too there is a resource crunch.
The Omkareshwar dam was inaugurated day before yesterday and it is claimed that it has been completed in record time being the first dam in the country to be finished before the target date. The future of the oustees however remains bleak.