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, April 8, 2008

Biofuels, Adivasis and Rising Prices of Food

The adivasis of this earth began losing the battle in a big way once the internal combustion engine burning petroleum and diesel came on the scene. Over the past hundred years or so crude oil use has intensified and every remote nook and cranny of this earth has been explored and exploited. now that crude oil is becoming scarce eyes have been trained on vegetable oils, herbal oils and ethanol from cereals for mixing with crude oil derivatives so as to prolong the transport boom. After all space tourism has just begun.
The net result is that the adivasis after first having lost their forests are now going to lose their agricultural lands and their food. Lands are being sought for the production of herbs, oilseeds and cereals for producing bio-fuels. Not surprisingly the prices of vegetable oils and cereals have shot through the roof the world over and most people are finding it difficult to match their incomes and their expenditure on such a basic thing as food. So the dichotomy now boils down to whether cars will guzzle oil or whether the adivasis will guzzle food and liquor. Since throughout history it is the cars that have been preferred to adivasis here too it will be the latter who will be sacrificed.
In the midst of all this a transportation expert of the World Bank who is on a mission to assess the transportation needs of the city of Indore has announced here that cycling is the best solution to transportation problems and that he cycles to his office at the Bank in Washington. He elided over the fact that he had come to advise the people of Indore about the virtues of cycling by travelling on a plane. The poor do not need to be told about cycling or better still walking which is even less polluting. The adivasis walk miles and miles every day. They have had to walk further with time as the devastation of their habitats has forced them to go further afield in search of food and other basic necessities.
The solution is in moving away from a system dependent on crude oil, industrialism and finance capital. Biofuels are only an extension of the above system and can provide no relief to the adivasis however much it may be propagated that they will finally mint money by giving up the production of cereals and pulses in favour of biofuels. Money is certainly being minted but it is not the adivasis who are doing it. They are in fact at the receiving end of the inflation arising from this unsustainable use of the earth's non-renewable and renewable resources for the running of the energy intensive world economy.


Anonymous said...

you bet they'll take away their land and tell them what to grow - (jatropha !!) by paying them wage labour under a national employment guarantee scheme!!

Rahul Banerjee said...

There is a nice story with regard to government management of wasteland. My wife Subhadra says that in their village Jepra in Chhattisgarh all the farmers had title to some wasteland in one block on one side of the village. The land was used for grazing animals. Some twenty years back the government decided to plant cashew trees on this wasteland. Now given the fact that the land had low productive potential the cashew plants grew at a snail's pace and took some fifteen years to come to fruition and even after that the produce per tree was low. The fruits were mostly picked by the children who went to the land to graze cattle and burnt and then split and eaten. When the great jatropha boom started in Chhattisgarh about three years ago the government axed all the cashew trees and replanted the area with jatropha. The jatropha too has not shown any significant growth as the land is very poor anyway. At least earlier the cattle grazing kids were getting to eat cashews now even that is not happening.

Anonymous said...

chhatisgarh of course takes the cake in promoting Jetropha plantation; they have even thought of lighting 'hindutva' fire by promo slogans - 'petrol ugayenge baadi me, Nahi laayenge Khadi se' !! Dharam ke naam par sub kuchh jaaiz karne ka anokha pehel..

Rahul Banerjee said...

typically the hindutva brigade does not have any indigenous thought of its own. it remains a faithful camp follower of western industrialism and consumerism putting only a hindu mask on top. there is no questioning of the excessive use of diesel arising from a development system that uses unsustainable levels of artificial energy.