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.

Friday, July 5, 2013

An Uncanny Silence of the Media

I came to know from a post in Facebook that a huge police operation has been carried out in Gobindpur in Orissa on 4th July 2013 to forcibly oust the people resisting acquisition of their land for the proposed South Korean Pohan Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) Steel Plant project. The police were merciless and beat up women and children brutally as shown in the grainy picture below taken with a mobile phone and somehow sent across secretly from the struggle zone given the total news black out in which the operation was carried out.
 Over the eight years of their valiant struggle the villagers of Gobindpur and adjoining Panchayats were able to ward off the power of the State with consistent support from all over India and abroad. On many occasions before the police have tried to evict the farmers but have had to withdraw in the face of stiff resistance from the people and especially the women and children which was immediately publicised in the media. This time, however, the State prevented any media attention and cordoned off the area and unleashed the onslaught without any notice and released a press note after the operation blandly saying the land acquisition process for the steel plant had been completed.
There is an uncanny silence in the media as even generally sympathetic magazines like Tehelka have not reported this brutality despite having been apprised of it by the supporters of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti. The State has played its cards well over the past few months. Using a carrot and stick policy it has weaned away many of the people who were initially against the project and then used police brutality to evict the rest while maintaining a media blackout and also possibly effecting a media buyout.
This just shows how difficult it is in the present context to carry out movements against the State's policy of implementing mega projects to favour global capital even if they have been shown to be of little long term benefit to the people of the country. The principle of might is right prevails to the exclusion of all considerations of social and economic justice and environmental sustainability. What is striking and sobering is that the mass media will not support mass movements beyond a point. Its ultimately a mug's game. The anti-POSCO struggle which with its longevity and militancy had been an inspiration for many of us fighting in the field for justice will remain a beacon if only a sobering one.

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