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.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Struggle for the Narmada Continues

The Government of Madhya Pradesh continues on its anti-people path by trying to forcibly raise the height of the water level in the reservoir of the Omkareshwar dam in clear contempt of court orders by closing the gates of the dam despite thousands of affected people not having been rehabilitated properly. The Narmada Bachao Andolan has decided to launch a "Jal Satyagraha" wherein in each village people will stay put and brave the rising waters to protest against this injustice. Here is note on this programme and the massive demonstration in Omkareshwar town on July 1st where this was announced -
More than 15,000 dam people affected by the Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Indira Sagar, Upper Beda and Man dams marched in protest in Omkareshwar town today against the decision of the State Government to raise the water level in Omkareshwar Dam up to 193 metres. The march was held under the aegis of Narmada Bachao Andolan. Thereafter a public meeting was organized at Panchayati Niranjani Akhada, where the project affected people announced the commencement of their “Jal Satyagraha” from 16th July against the conspiracy of the State Government and the company to kill thousands of dam affected people without rehabilitation and resettlement. The dam affected people pronounced their resolve not to move out of their villages without prior rehabilitation and resettlement and allotment of land as per the R&R Policy, even if they have to give up their lives for it.
Leading activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan Shri Alok Agarwal condemned the State government for blatantly violation of the Orders of the Supreme Court. He pointed out that in its judgment pronounced in May 2011 about the rehabilitation and resettlement of the oustees of the Omkareshwar project, the Supreme Court had held that it was the constitutional obligation of the project authorities to allot a minimum of 2 ha. of agricultural land to each displaced family and provide other R&R benefits before the construction of the dam, but the State government and the project authorities failed to discharge any of their obligations under the Rehabilitation policy. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that R&R including allotment of land must be completed six months before submergence. Thus the decision of the State Government to submerge the area when land allotment is yet even to commence is blatantly illegal and violates the fundamental rights of the oustees. It is nothing but an attempt to deny the oustees rehabilitation forever and will be resisted by the oustees by united non-violent public action and by “Jal Satyagraha”.
Addressing the public meeting, NBA activist Ms Chittaroopa Palit said that thousands of people affected by the Maheshwar and Omkareshwar dams are yet to be given agricultural land and house plots. The landless families are yet to be provided adequate means of livelihood. She criticized the Supreme Court for permitting the State not to acquire the private lands of oustees of the five villages of Dewas which are in the submergence caused by the Omkareshwar dam. She said that this will cause the certain death of around 1500 tribals who will be submerged under water along with their crops and cattle. She criticized the democratic institutions for leaning towards the companies, and said that if it is permitted, truth and justice will be the casualty.
She said that the affected people with the help of concerned people all over the country would undertake an audit of the rehabilitation and resettlement measures done by the project authorities and release a report on the same.
Senior Gandhian activist and advocate of Madhya Pradesh High Court Shri Anil Trivedi said that the strength of the resolve taken by thousands of women and men of Narmada Valley will shake the government and the people will definitely get their rights. This is not only a fight of the displaced persons but a struggle to save the environment and the future of this earth, in which every concerned human being must  participate.
Omkareshwar dam affected Shri Mansaram, sarpanch of village Ekhand declared that the affected people will not move from their fields and houses without rehabilitation. “Jal Satyagraha” will start from 16th July in Village Ghogalgaon. The project affected will also do Jal Satyagraha in each village. In Dewas district, Village Dharaji will be made the centre of the Satyagraha. The affected people expressed their resolve that they will drown but will not move without land and rehabilitation.
Shri Radheshyam Patidar, activist and oustee of Maheshwar dam said that in the Maheshwar project also, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests gave an order on the 1st of May 2012 to raise the water level in Maheshwar Dam up to 154 metres on the basis of false facts supplied by the company Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation Limited (SMHPCL) and the State government. However the order has now been stayed by the National Green Tribunal. Any efforts to raise the water level in Maheshwar dam will also be opposed by the people who will embark on Jal Satyagraha.
Activist of Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sanghathan Madhuri Behan said that we need to challenge the loot and injustice being wreaked by the company raj by organizing and combining our strength. Shri Vasant Shintre, trade unionist and head of Abhyas Mandal, Indore, said that all the people’s movements and organizations of the country must support the struggle of the project affected in the Narmada valley. By uniting, the people will definitely win this struggle.
Shri Chinmay Mishra from Sarvodaya Press Service, Shri Vineet Tiwari from Progressive Writers’ Guild of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Pramod Bagdi from IPTA, Indore, Shri Ajay Lagoo of India Against Corruption also addressed the public meeting and expressed their support for the struggle of the displaced.      
- Narmada Bachao Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh -450 001
Telefax : 0733 - 2228318
E-mail :

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