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, July 28, 2007

Raze the Prisons

Khajan is in prison once again. The inevitable happened as the state cracked down on the latest act of rebellion of his and a posse of five hundred policemen raided the government farm land site which Khajan and his comrades along with Medha Patkar were forcibly cultivating to protest against their not being given land in compensation for the land they have lost in the reservoir of the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river. The police beat up everybody including women, children and the bullocks and arrested the protesters and carted them off to prison. They have been jailed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code which means that after their eventual release on bail they will all have to attend court cases indefinitely. So instead of getting land they are once again saddled with a new set of cases. The saddest part of the whole story is that the newspapers did not carry anything about this action by the state. Only today three days later is their something in the newspaper based on a press release of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Medha and the women are in jail in Indore while Khajan and the men are in jail in Barwani. Despite a clear order from the Supreme Court that Khajan and his clan must be rehabilitated with land for land in Madhya Pradesh the government refuses to heed it in blatant contempt and when the oustees take unilateral action they are beaten up and put in jail.
As long as the police and the prisons are there Khajan and his tribe will be forced to remain tragic heroes.
I cant help remembering that Khajan now lives on top of a high hill which is a steep climb surrounded by the reservoir of the Sardar Sarovar dam. Its a breathtaking view from on top of that hill but I doubt whether Khajan is in the mood these days to enjoy this view.

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