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, June 2, 2014

The American Nightmare

One of the defining characteristics of our times is the dominance of the United States of America in almost all spheres stretching from the military to the economic, social and cultural. What the Americans decree, the rest of the world complies with, the elites willingly and the masses under duress. However, without doubt it is the military dominance which is the most important in geo-political terms and also ensures its dominance in other sectors, where it may be slipping somewhat. This has hit the Islamic nations in the Middle East and further up to Pakistan the hardest while affecting all humans, not to forget animals and birds, including the citizens of the USA to a greater or lesser extent. Since there is very little individuals can do against this military dominance of America and its deleterious effects on the world apart from venting their spleen through choice epithets, which too is an unsatisfying exercise, it gladdens the heart when one comes across well created spoofs on the American obsession with militarism.
One such satirical film is "Tere Bin Laden"  produced in Bollywood and released in 2010, conceived and directed by Abhishek Sharma. Its a laugh riot from the beginning to the end, spoofing the mad rush among the people from the subcontinent to go to America and the seamy world of television journalism here in addition to American militarism. The story line is obviously far fetched but it succeeds, tongue firmly in the cheek, in panning American militarism extremely well.
Apart from the great stress breaking laughs what tickled me most were some very insightful vignettes of the world of today. The film is available for viewing here and I will only elaborate on some of the parts that throw greater light on our times. There is one character who is a leader of the Pakistan Communist Party who runs a radio service from his home through which he exhorts the people to organise and bring about a revolution in Pakistan!!! This drives home brilliantly how anachronistic the communist parties in the subcontinent have become in the face of the global dominance of capitalism. Capitalism has used repression, co-option and control of the media and academia to make mass mobilisation for revolution or even for plain reform or implementation of the rule of law an extremely difficult proposition. Instead of facing up to this hard reality most communists are still living in a world of dreams far removed from reality.
Then there is the head of the Pakistani intelligence unit who asks the American intelligence guy why they are bombing Afghanistan when they have clear information that Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan. The American, portrayed excellently by Barry John, who is a Britisher who has settled in India and is a well known theatre director and acting teacher, replies that the USA has a military budget of a 100 billion dollars and it can't be spent just by his sipping coffee!! Later when they locate through satellite the truck in which  the fake Osama bin Laden is travelling and the Pakistani intelligence chief suggests that they send a company of soldiers to apprehend them, the American impatiently replies that there is no time for that and that he will "toast" him through a remote missile attack!!! This underscores the way in which militarism has gripped the ruling classes in America and they do not think twice about killing people or as revealed now by Snowden, using technology to conduct mass surveillance in order to kill people, as this both props up their economy through unnecessary military spending and also maintains their vice like control of the world economy and society. The American dream has truly become an American Nightmare for the whole world and there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel!!! We are all going to get "toasted" sooner or later!!!

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