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.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Regardless of the clear trends in concentration of wealth in India in the post liberalisation era both the Prime Minister and the President on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of our independence held forth on the virtues of inclusive growth which like all capitalist shibboleths is a contradiction in terms. Growth can occur only through concentration of resources in the hands of a few at the expense of the many. The faster the growth, the faster is the concentration of resources. So if the adivasis and the natural resources in harmony with which they live are indeed to be included and preserved in their pristine form then we must jettison growth.
While there was a lot of hype on television about the sixtieth anniversary in stark contrast in remote adivasi villages there was no realisation of this at all. People were going about their daily chores of weeding of their fields as usual. There is in fact no feeling of nationhood among most adivasis as this concept has arisen from capitalist concentration.
The adivasis are instead at this time of the year celebrating Diwasa. This is a festival to propitiate the new crop that is in the fields and take permission from the Gods inside it to consume it. A festival that clearly recognises the paramountcy of nature over the lives of human beings and pays obeisance to it for its bounty. A sober quiet celebration in the villages as opposed to the obscene display of military power that marks the celebration of independence day in Delhi.