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.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The poor shall always remain so

Madhya Pradesh tops the list of states with the amount of funds spent in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. However, this statistic hides the grim reality that most of these funds are not really going to the poor in need of them and neither are they being spent to create assets that will promote sustainable use of natural resources in the rural areas. The old nexus between the bureaucrats and the politicians has succeeded in siphoning off funds while the accounts remain in order. The only way to check this is through the conduct of transparent social audits but this is being avoided like the plague by the government and the few social audits that are being done are all manipulated ones.
Kemat of Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath in Kakrana village in Jhabua district has challenged this blatant misuse of funds and as a consequence has come under fire from the sarpanches and the bureaucracy. This is the typical story everywhere. Last year the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan in Barwani district tried to do the same only to become the target for attacks not only from the corrupt sarpanches but also from the administration which lodged false cases against its activists. In fact the whole history of the many mass organisations of the adivasis in western Madhya Pradesh has been sprinkled with repression to suppress their opposition to corruption.
Under the circumstances one has to sadly conclude that the poor in this country will always remain so given the evil nature of the forces ranged against them.

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