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, August 19, 2007

Sylvan setting to Urban Margin

Many years ago a dam was built in Jobat tehsil of Jhabua district and the Bhil adivasis residing there were displaced with a pittance offered in compensation. After paying off their debts a few of these families migrated to Indore and became bonded labourers of a big farmer on its outskirts. After many years as bonded labourers they settled down on government land on the boundary of the village bordering the land of the government agricultural research station and became free labourers. They began working as daily wagers on the government farm. Later the government farm land was handed over to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research for the setting up of a National Research Center for Soyabean which had been introduced into the Malwa region in a big way as part of the larger designs of American food imperialists of outsourcing the production of this obnoxious feed for their beef cattle. These Bhil labourers then got a better deal as casual workers of the new research centre as compared to the earlier agricultural farm and became a little more comfortable.
However, by this time the city of Indore had expanded to engulf their area also and so land sharks began eyeing the land on which the Bhils were residing. They came with their goons and tried to displace the Bhils. The Bhils fought back with bows and arrows and in the end the land sharks were held at bay. In this battle they were befriended by some trade unionists and they then learnt the advantages of having political contacts. Thereafter they began cultivating these political contacts so as to ensure their continued stay on the land they had occupied.
Now there are as many as four NGOs that have adopted their slum and have spent a lot of money in improving, roads, water supply and sanitation. Even after all these years far removed as they are from the sylvan setting of their original villages they still celebrate divasa. They have no crops of their own so they propitiate the soyabean crop in the research centre! False Gods will never go away.

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