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.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Silent Spring

Many years ago (1962) the American biologist Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring. The Indian edition of the book is now available from Other India Bookstore and so I bought it and read it. This is the book that started off the modern environmental movement. The title of the book refers to the fact that due to indiscriminate spraying of broad spectrum pesticides and herbicides not only were the harmful pests and weeds decimated but also many others and the birds and other animals that fed on them leading to the absence of birds chirping to herald the spring in America.
Much of what has been written in the book about chemical pollution, genetic pollution and loss of bio-diversity arising from the use of hybrid mono-cultures, pesticides and herbicides is now old hat for most of us who have participated in the environmental movement but there is something stressed again and again in the book that struck me deeply. This is the basic fact that nature has evolved in such a way that there are natural checks and balances that ensure that no one species overruns its environment and endangers the continuance of the eco-system. Thus the small pox virus, malarial mosquitoes and plague fleas are all part of nature's scheme of things to keep the human population in control.
However, we humans in our bid to survive have devised means of doing away with our predators and in the process have done away with a lot else also. Once we not only exceeded the numbers prescribed to us in the natural scheme of things but also increased consumption immensely then it was only natural that environmental destruction would follow. There is another way of surviving in nature by using nature's own techniques. Using natural predators to counter the harmful organisms and depending on bio-diversity rather than on mono-cultures to ensure the continuance of the eco-system. Even though forty seven years have elapsed since this basic truth was so eloquently brought to the fore there hasn't been any significant turning away towards a more nature friendly path of living by human beings. We aren't an intelligent race at all.

No comments: