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, October 25, 2008
Not surprisingly most of these latrines are now unused and the people are still defecating in the open and the roadside is strewn with stools as shown in the picture below in the approach to a slum in Indore.
This slum is one of many that has seen the implementation of a sanitation project funded jointly by the UN HABITAT and WATERAID. The latrines are of no use now but the board announcing the project at the entry to the slum is being effectively used by one household which has converted it into a bathroom.
These low cost solutions are downright dangerous and also ineffective. What should instead be done is to construct community latrines with proper lined septic tanks and soakpits and the recycling of the solid waste in the form of manure or cooking gas. This requires a considerable amount of prior awareness building work with the community to get them to participate in a such a community effort. However, since genuine community mobilisation is a difficult task and it can also create problems for the extraction of surplus by evolving into political movements funding agencies and the NGOs who partner them normally seek only superficial solutions.