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.
Friday, October 15, 2010
A Herculean Task
Sejgarh is a village situated on the edge of the Malwa Plateau in the Vindhya hills just before they climb down into the Nimar Plains and is thus the southernmost village of Indore district in Madhya Pradesh. The inhabitants are all Bhil tribals. Straight as the crow flies the village is just five kilometers away from the four lane Agra Mumbai National Highway but there is the Ajnar river in between which flows through a deep gorge two hundred meters deep and a hundred meters wide and so the people have to traverse twelve kilometers over a stone and dirt track and cross the river higher up where it is narrower and shallower and reach the highway. In the monsoon months the villagers are more or less cut off as they can travel only by foot as the road is not motorable. The village remains cocooned in its isolation with the huts of the villagers also isolated in their farms as pictured below.
This is not an isolated case but the general rule in this country and so overall huge amounts of soil and water are going waste instead of being conserved through local measures and so is the money being allotted through MGNREGS. Thus saving water is a Herculean task and it is in this dismal context that the exemplary work being done by a few mass based organisations, like the Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath, to implement MGNREGS must be appreciated. This blog action day should be dedicated to the promotion of communitarian natural resource conservation efforts because in them lies the salvation of the human race.