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.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Perfidies of Centralisation
Nowhere are the negatives and insensitivity of centralisation more in evidence than in the judicial system and the state uses it to the hilt to keep the populace in control. In 2001 the state in Madhya Pradesh decided to crush an organisation of Bhil adivasis that had mobilised very well to actualise The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 which makes the tribal Gram Sabha or village body very powerful in the Fifth Schedule Tribal Areas. Heavy police force was deployed and four members of the organisation were killed in police firing, houses looted and destroyed and dozens of people arrested and jailed under false criminal charges including that of the serious one of waging war against the state.
The organisation fought a long legal battle and succeeded in getting the charge of waging war against the state quashed at the beginning in the High Court and the other charges after a prolonged trial in the lower court. The judgment of the court stated clearly that there was no evidence to support the charges. Yet the state went in appeal preparing a flimsy petition and the High Court admitted the appeal. If a common citizen had prepared such an appeal it would have been thrown out by the court but since the state had filed the appeal it was admitted.
So now the accused have had to get themselves bailed out once again and will have to attend court dates for five years before the case comes up for hearing as there is a long line of pending criminal appeal cases. So innocent tribals have to go on suffering because the system is tailored to make them suffer and discourage them from daring to protest.
In another case in which an adivasi member of the organisation was killed by forest guards the organisation recently won a long battle to get compensation for his widowed wife in the High Court. However, the state has not paid the compensation and so the organisation has to move the court once again.
The worst part is that the judiciary is so loaded with cases that it does not have the time to apply its mind to every case on merits. The clerks too work mechanically and issue arrest warrants without thinking about what is going to happen as a consequence to poor adivasis.
Justice is hard to come by in a system that is centralised especially for quintessential anarchists like the poor adivasis. We will have to go to the Supreme Court against this injustice of the Judges of the High Court. Which means some more bother and expense.