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, April 7, 2011

The Cancer of Corruption

Anna Hazare is on a hunger strike from 5th of April 2011 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi demanding that a Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by various civil society members should be enacted in Parliament instead of the rather wishy washy Lokpal Bill that the Government itself is proposing to table. A strong Lokpal or ombudsman who can be approached for redressal of corruption by public servants including the lawmakers and who will be able to investigate and adjudicate within a specified time frame it is felt will solve the cancer of corruption that is eating into democracy in this country. The focus of this movement which has achieved significant mobilisation is on getting the Jan Lokpal Bill through or in the least try and get some civil society members also to be part of the drafting committee for the bill.
However, as we have seen in the past just getting a good law to be enacted does not necessarily result in its being implemented also. The Right to Information Act, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Forest Rights Act are good examples of laws enacted in recent years that are not being implemented properly. The best way to sabotage a law is to not set up an adequate machinery for its implementation. Many a good law in this country suffers from this drawback as the Government just does not provide enough funds for proper implementation. So even if the Jan Lokpal bill is enacted and becomes law there is little possibility of its being implemented properly. Nevertheless, the fact that such a widespread movement has taken off and it has gained enough media attention is an encouraging sign. The political establishment has definitely been pushed onto the backfoot.
This brings us back to the eternal problem of huge amounts of money being concentrated in the hands of a few. Whether it is the politicians who control state resources or the capitalists who control the private resources, this concentration of wealth and power invariably results in the common people and especially the poor being unable to exercise their rights. The trajectory of human development is decided by just a few people on Wall Street. Even after the huge crisis that they have inflicted on the whole world they still continue to rule the roost and there is very little that the rest of the world can do about this.
Thus, while the movement for a better ombudsman legislation is welcome it will not be able to get rid of the cancer of corruption without intensive grassroots mobilisation to press for better implementation of not only this law but many others. This is a thankless task and one that has to be undertaken on a constant basis in the face of opposition from the government and the administration and the capitalist class that controls them. 

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