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, September 20, 2009

To Market To Market

The tribal economy even today revolves around the weekly market or Haat. There is one every twenty kilometers or so where everything related to agriculture, animal husbandry and household needs are traded.These trading centres are so important to the tribals and yet they have not been developed to provide any facilities to the tribals who are its life blood. The traders in these centres who have got rich by continuously exploiting the tribals and short changing them, have on the other hand built big buildings for themselves as in the picture below -

This is the Haat in Chhaktala village on the Gujarat border early in the morning when the small peripatetic traders have just set up their temporary stalls and the tribals are still on their way. We were going to Vakner village which is about twenty kilometers away in a jeep and so had reached early. There is a lot of talk on the part of the government to develop rural business hubs which will procure the agricultural produce of the tribals at fair prices and then process them there so as to provide some supplementary income but nothing has been done on the ground.
The Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath has carried out many campaigns to bring fairness in the trade being conducted in these Haats by complaining about the short changing and also the exorbitant interest rates that are charged when the tribals buy things on credit. But after some time these campaigns invariably tend to flag in the face of administrative apathy. The market remains beyond the control of the tribals and so they continue to flounder in poverty.


Claude Renault said...

Very interesting article you wrote.
I'll be in Gujarat and madhya Pradesh shooting photographies in November and demeber.
Do you happen to know a festival known as Bhalia? I think it's around Subir or Varsuna in Guajrat..

Rahul Banerjee said...

This will need some investigating given the sketchy details. Let me try.