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.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whither Justice

A six year long battle in the High Court has ended with victory for the Narmada Bachao Andolan in a case that it had filed through two oustees of the Maan dam in Dhar district against the Government of Madhya Pradesh. The High Court has ruled that the adult sons of the oustees at the time of displacement have to be given two hectares of land and other associated benefits as part of their rehabilitation in accordance with the provisions of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award. However, it remains to be seen whether the Government of Madhya Pradesh will implement this ruling of the High Court. Earlier too in the case of the Sardar Sarovar dam the Government of Madhya Pradesh has steadfastly refused to provide land as rehabilitation to the oustees. In that case since the Gujarat Government has been prepared to give land to the oustees in order to get the stay on construction removed most of the oustees have got land. Except of course for Khajan who is still adamant about taking land in Madhya Pradesh. However, the government has given him some barren land in the northern part of Dhar district for agriculture and a small plot of land in the southern part of the district some 100 kilometers away for his house plot! Thus effectively ensuring that Khajan and a few others from his village who are still fighting it out with him do not get land in Madhya Pradesh. Basically the Madhya Pradesh Government does not want to set a precedent of giving land to oustees in the state as it would then have to give land and not cash compensation to all the oustees of the many dams being built. Consequently even in the case of the Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar and Maheshwar dams despite orders from the High Court the Government of Madhya Pradesh is continuing to deny justice to the oustees.
In another case in which Adivasi Morcha Sangathan has been fighting for compensation to be given to Sagarbai for the unwarranted killing of her husband by forest officials despite an order of the Division Bench of the High Court the Madhya Pradesh Government has not complied and so now a contempt petition has had to be filed. In yet another case in which an adivasi woman officer of the government was sacked because she married a non-adivasi man who was her subordinate too the High Court has ordered her reinstatement stating that the sacking was mala fide. Here too the Government had initially not complied with the order but when the adivasi lady filed for contempt then she was reinstated but the Government has now filed an appeal in the division bench against the lady's reinstatement.
All this shows that for adivasis in Madhya Pradesh justice is hard to come by. Most adivasis due to their poverty and illiteracy do not even have the wherewithal to approach the High Court for redressal of their rights. However, even when a few do because they have support from some source or other the Government wilfully ignores High Court orders to continue to deny them justice.

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