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 15, 2007

Till death do they serve

The desperate situation of the Bhils of Jhabua district is grotesquely pictured in the fate of those who have been forced to waste away and die due to silicosis contracted from working in the silica crusher factories of Panchmahal district in Gujarat. These men who have very little land and other livelihood resources in their native villages go and work in these crushers that crush the silica rock for use in glass making factories. The owners of these crushers do not register them as labourers and they do not provide them with any kind of protective masks to prevent the dust from entering the lungs. Consequently over a period of a few months the workers become affected by silicosis and then they gradually waste away and die. Over the past year the trade union Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath has been trying to put a stop to this by petitioning the various authorities in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh but apart from some sporadic action nothing much has been done. In fact the Government of Madhya Pradesh which should be most concerned about this problem is busy trying to brush it under the carpet by denying that the problem exists. The only solution appears to be to go to court but this too is an expensive and time consuming proposition. So the adivasis are continually dying. Such is the helplessness of these people of the earth. Justice is very difficult to get for the adivasis in this country and there comes a time when those fighting on their behalf feel forlorn

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