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.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Chronicles of Savoured Time

Twentyfive years ago as a young man in search of a mission in life I read the British journalist and author Malcom Muggeridge's autobiography "Chronicles of Wasted Time" and this along with some other seminal tomes led me to give received ideologies of all kinds a wide berth. However, I disagreed with Muggeridge's pessimism regarding the emancipatory potential of scepticism. I felt sad that such a brilliantly sceptical mind had to eventually convert to Roman Catholicism to find meaning in life. My search for a mission by a happy chance landed me among the Bhil indigenous people of Jhabua (now Alirajpur) district of western Madhya Pradesh and from them I learnt that most people consider their time to be wasted because they want something from it. On the other hand if one just savours the beauty of time enjoying its ebb and flow regardless of whether it gives us something or not, then life becomes magical. Especially if one simultaneously engages in a struggle, albeit unsuccessful, to hold back the surge of modern development which has made us all so time conscious. For nearly two decades I savoured time along with the incomparable Bhils and by virtue of being married to Subhadra who hails from Bastar, the equally matchless Gond indigenous people of Chhattisgarh. I had earlier chronicled this unforgettable experience but not having the same literary calibre as Muggeridge I could not find a print publisher for my outpourings. I published them on the net instead on my webpage. This led to a process in which many people read the book and some of them decided to edit and prepare it for publication in print. So finally an edited version has been self-published on and the book is available on at the following link -
Recovering the Lost Tongue
This should make the Bhil adivasis more popular across the world which is after all the basic aim of this blog and all my writings. The Bhils have traditionally lived close to nature and believed in its primacy and so refrained from accumulating property and trading at its expense. Consequently they have remained on the margins of the modern, essentially commercial, world like most other indigenous people. They are magnificently articulate when they are with their Gods as in the picture below but hopelessly dumb in modern environs.

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