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, January 3, 2009
Artificial Water Recharge in Indore
In one of the dailies my photograph was also published and I was touted as being a water management expert. This led a whole host of people including many of our neighbours to congratulate me. However, none of these people felt inspired by all this to emulate what we had done in our house and especially our neighbours are still engaged in drawing water from the ground without returning anything to it. This just added to my cynicism.
However, today a few students from the university came down to our house to see our systems. They too had learnt about our efforts by doing a net search. They said that they wanted to do something to solve the serious water crisis that was looming and so had come for some guidance. I told them that the solution was to undertake a massive artificial recharge programme. Given the fact that in an urban environment 90% of the rainwater runs off and 90% of the potable water supplied to homes is converted into waste water it is eminently possible to recharge both of these through appropriate means. In fact when a similar drought situation had occurred in 2000 Indore had pioneered several measures in rainwater harvesting and water recharging that became the talk of the whole nation. The Indore municipal corporation even went to the extent of creating a separate department for this and introduced a 6% rebate on property tax for those installing water recharge systems in their homes.
The Central Groundwater Board of the Government of India has come up with a Master Plan on Artificial Recharge, A Manual on Artificial Recharge and a Rainwater Harvesting Guide which are all downloadable. Thus there is enough material available for anyone interested to be able to implement rain water harvesting and artificial recharge. But there is not enough political will to push this and so Indore is still dependent on very expensive and environmentally unsustainable pumping of water up from the River Narmada all of seventy kilometers away.