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, October 28, 2008
Forced to Break Out of the Rut
This Bhil adivasi lady lost her husband while quite young and contrary to custom did not leave to marry someone else. Instead she has continued as a widow and taken care of her children. To do so, however, she has had to learn all kinds of farm work that are normally the preserve of men like tilling the soil with bullocks and driving the bullock cart.
Another brave adivasi lady who has stayed back with her children is Sagarbai. She lost her husband when he was killed by forest officials because he was an active member of the Adivasi Morcha Sangathan in Dewas district. Sagarbai has also fought a long legal battle with the state to get compensation for the killing of her husband as is spelt out in the law. The district administration first refused to give the compensation under a very frivolous pretext and so she went to the High Court in Indore with the help of the Sangathan. She won the case but the government went in appeal to the divison bench. Now finally after nine years she has once again won the case in the division bench. It remains to be seen if the government will go in appeal to the Supreme Court or not. Apart from the time it has taken an expenditure of Rupees fifty thousand to get a relief of just Rupees Two Lakhs. No wonder the adivasis and especially the women remain deeply in shackles.