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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

KMCS as Santa Claus

The greatest tragedy that the Bhils of Alirajpur, Jhabua and Dhar districts of Madhya Pradesh have witnessed is the terrible deaths from silicosis of labourers who went to work on daily wages in the stone crushing factories of Godhra and Balasinor in Gujarat. These poor people living on small pieces of unfertile land were forced to migrate seasonally for work to these factories which did not have any protective gear for them and neither were anti-pollution screens installed on the crusher machines which were pummelling the stone to powder and releasing stone dust in the process. This dust was breathed in continuously by the labourers and very soon they were afflicted by fatal silicosis which has no cure once the deposition in the lungs crosses a critical limit. Hundreds of labourers have died a painful death wasting away from the disease. The Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath in association with many other organisations in Madhya Pradesh and in the rest of the country has waged a continuous battle to get justice for these martyrs of modern industrial development. However, despite orders from the Supreme Court of India and the National Human Rights Commission till date neither the Gujarat nor the Madhya Pradesh governments have provided any relief to the families of these silicosis victims. In many cases both the parents have died leaving the children as orphans to make do as best they can. Since their relatives are also very poor this in effect means that these children are living in dire straits as can be seen from the decrepit nature of one of their houses shown below which has only palm fronds for walls.

Often the families have nothing to eat as there are too many mouths to feed. It is a suicidal situation as figuratively depicted by the rope hanging like a noose in front of such a family in the picture below.

In some cases all the young members of the family have died leaving their old parents without any support as in the case of the forlorn and dejected old man shown in the picture below.

So in this festive season when most fortunate people would be celebrating KMCS decided to play Santa Claus for these devastated families of orphaned children and destitute old people. Some funds were sourced from a funding agency and thirty families were given a quintal of maize as a gift on the 27th of December in a simple ceremony chaired by Ashok Choudhury the veteran tribal leader of Gujarat. The smiles on the faces of the children below say how much they liked this gift.

The larger activist battle for getting justice continues and will be a long one that will eventually get these children much more from the government but in the interim a little bit of charity in the NGO mode has brought them some cheer to begin the new year with.


Biswaroop said...

Well done! Keep it up!


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Rahul Banerjee said...

the older blogs have a lot of ideology in them which has now been exhausted! now the posts are more story oriented.

Anonymous said...

what a pity - activists groups end up being santa claus.

Rahul Banerjee said...

yes indeed it is a great pity. however, there seems to be no alternative. over the past five years continuously the KMCS has fought for compensation and for registration of criminal cases against the perpetrators of this heinous crime but to no avail. there was a tremendous demand from the affected people that they should receive something and so this small largesse was arranged. the fight continues and we hope it will bring greater relief sometime in the future.