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.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Gender Based Violence
A major legal support for the elimination of this violence was provided by The United Nations General Assembly adopting the Declaration of Elimination of Violence Against Women in December 1993. Article I of that declaration stated that violence against women means - any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
By referring to violence as "gender-based", this definition highlights the need to understand violence within the context of women's and girl's subordinate status in society. Many cultures have beliefs, norms and social institutions that legitimise and therefore perpetuate violence against women. Such violence cannot be understood, therefore, in isolation from the norms and social structure and gender roles within the community, which greatly influence women's vulnerability to violence. Violence can be physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or economic. Such violence does not only occur in the family and in the community but is also perpetuated by the State through its policies and the actions of the agents of the State like the police and the administrators.
Moreover, instead of just focusing on each case of violence or on individual men’s acts of violence against women, the entire culture that creates current male roles and identities – defined as ‘masculinity’ has to be understood. Masculinity – or masculinities, as there are different forms of masculinity that are manifest in various ways – is a complex phenomenon. Masculinity is often associated with characteristics such as aggressiveness, competitiveness, dominance, strength, courage and control. These characteristics result from a combination of biological, cultural and social influences, and constitute power relations in society as a whole. Thus men are also victims of masculinity even though women are more so. Consequently it is necessary to critique the quest for power in society as opposed to the redistribution of power if violence is to be rooted out in general and gender based violence is to be targeted in particular.