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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Endless Night

The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh announced recently in a convention organised by the mass organisation Ekta Parishad in Bhopal that a high level review will be carried out of all the claims that had been rejected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers Recognition of Rights Act 2005. However, this is the umpteenth time that many ministers of the Central and State governments have made such promises about giving rights to land to adivasis in response to the campaign being conducted by the Ekta Parishad over the past decade or so. In reality nothing ever happens. In fact of the 285000 claims filed only 72,857 have been approved and 38284 have been given rights to some piece of land which is often not demarcated properly on the ground. This too has been done without following the proper procedure as laid down in the Act. In Alirajpur district where the Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath is active thousands of claims have been filed but not one has been approved. When the people go and ask the administration about this they are told that the claims are still being processed. Thus the adivasis who had run from pillar to post to complete all the formalities and spent a fortune by their standards in the process are left in the limbo. If they are given a formal letter rejecting their claims then they can proceed in the civil court against this rejection. However, the administration being cynically clever is only dissimulating and so preventing further action from the KMCS.
In fact the situation in Alirajpur is such that many forest ranges will become bereft of forest land altogether if the rights are recognised and that is why the administration is playing foul. Thus a historical injustice that was initiated by the British and continued by the Indian government after independence is still not being set right even though there is a strong people's organisation pressing for the rights of the adivasis on the ground. The night is indeed endless.

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