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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Standing for a cause

Yesterday and today thirteen of my Bhil adivasi colleagues and I stood for six hours with a break of one hour in between on each day facing trial for having allegedly attempted to attack and kill a party of police and forest officials. Once a person is accused of an offence then there is no option but to stand trial. But it is only when one does go to court as an accused does one realise how literal is that phrase. One may be innocent but once one is framed by the police then there is no way out but to stand in court. In the present case we have so stood for upwards of five hundred hours over the past four years or so. This is because the police in order to make up for the lack of quality in their chargesheet and investigation have sought to add quantity. So we have had to stand through repeated assertions of untruth by over fifty witnesses which have been clinically demolished by our lawyer.
We take solace from the fact that we have stood for a cause - the right of the adivasis in this country to fight for a human existence which has been continually denied them by the Indian state. Rarely has a case been fought with such diligence in a lower court right from the word go. We have meticulously established a case of our own against the police and the forest officials by just refuting their accusations with solid statements of fact and thus proving that it is they who are the criminals.
The law is something that is arcane to the Bhil adivasis and so they have continually been "outlawed". If I can take pride over anything it is this that I have helped my Bhil adivasi friends use the law for their own benefit. I have fought innumerable cases right from the lowest to the highest court of the land and always won. Justice ultimately is to be had only if one fights cases in court. If we have had to stand and wait indefinitely to do so then that too is a service to the Bhils.


Anonymous said...

It is good your Bhil friends have an educated friend in you willing to go through the legal grind with technical and non-technical support as you were party to the case. Many languish in Jails unable to even reach the trail. While one understands your 'pride', is this what the Bhils and other adivasis left with...find a friend to fight a case. How can justice reach those who face unjust charges?

Rahul Banerjee said...

At least since the 1970s when public interest litigation became possible and also non-adivasi activists began fighting alongside the Bhils there is some hope of justice though not much. Today if nothing else the sufferings of the Bhils are challenged and that provides some sort of a brake on the impunity with which the state in this country tends to go about obliterating the adivasis