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, May 1, 2011

The Brazenness of the Maasai

The Dorobo tribal group, which includes the cattle herding and hunter gatherer Maasai tribe, reside in the forests of the Rift Valley in Kenya and Tanzania and are even today pursuing a hunter gatherer lifestyle quite apart from the mainstream. They hunt in groups and often they follow lions and other predators when the latter are doing their hunting. They then descend on the predators when they have made a kill and scare them off and steal the kill. In the clip below there are only three Maasai hunters against fifteen hungry lions who are gorging on a wildebeest. Yet the men confidently make their way towards the lions and the latter fearing that these three are probably going to be followed by more gradually run away! The men then quickly cut out a leg portion and move away and the lions come back to eat the rest of the carcass. 

The Maasai are happy living their simple contingent lives in this way far from our complicated world in which we are certainly not as happy as they are. Some critics have questioned the authenticity of the film and are saying that it may have been edited together from different shots though I doubt whether the BBC would resort to such misreporting. There is a higher level criticism regarding the non-tribal romanticising of tribals. The Maasai intellectuals themselves say that the Maasai are so used to hunting the lions and sometimes even killing them armed only with a spear as part of a rite of passage into manhood that this is no great feat for them.  In recent times campaigns have been conducted to wean the Maasai off killing of lions and they are being paid not to do so. Nevertheless the basic fact that a substantial populatioin of the Maasai continue to live by hunting in this modern age merits respect from us.  

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