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, November 19, 2015

In Search of the Roots of Violence

The very perceptive William Shakespeare had tellingly said that the "Devil can cite scripture for his purpose". Even though he was pointing out the use of scripture by unscrupulous people to justify their evil acts, this quote also underlines the fact that scriptures of various religions throughout the world except possibly Buddhism and Jainism, mostly written in the ancient or medieval ages, are a mixed bag containing both high spiritual and ethical advice and also gross materially harmful and even murderous pronouncements. There is justification for mayhem and murder in these scriptures and so throughout history wars have been fought and people have been killed for material gains and these black deeds have been justified by quoting scripture. In fact killings have also been justified on the authority of secular ideologies like Marxism!! However, it must be emphasised that the root cause behind wars and murders are material interests of one kind or other and scriptures or ideologies are there for justifying them only!!!
Thus, it is not surprising that Islamic scripture too has its fair share of murderous advice which has been relied on by Muslims to both wage war and kill people throughout history in tandem with the followers of other religions who have quoted their own violent scripture. Buddhists too have engaged in war and murder despite not having scriptures justifying them. So it is rather sad that Islam is being singled out as being a religion that promotes violence just because some Muslims are waging war and resorting to violence against civilians presently, when the roots of violence lie elsewhere.
Yet another English literary great, Samuel Johnson, famously said that "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels". While religious fervour is an age old phenomenon, patriotism is a product of the industrial revolution and the evolution of the nation state to secure local markets for capitalists from foreign competition in the seventeenth century. Since Johnson was a conservative and a proponent of capitalism, he must have been hinting like Shakespeare at the misuse of patriotism for ulterior motives and not questioning the concept itself. Thus, nationalism and patriotism like religious scriptures and secular ideologies have been used frequently to wage wars, commit genocides and in the modern world, undertake terrorism against civilians to mask the real purpose of such violence which is to make material gains of one kind or another.
Wars and violence have been a significant part and parcel of history and from the sixteenth century onwards the mainstay of colonialism and later capitalism. Post the World War II, the military industrial complex has been the biggest sector of the global economy and the production of arms and ammunitions and the expenditure on the armed forces and police, which are all subsidies to the rich to power their control of the economy, far exceed spending on the social sector. Indeed, widespread hunger and disease, which are a direct result of this cynical increase in the expenditure on arms and wars leading to lesser and lesser expenditure on food and health for the masses, are the biggest killers in the world today and so an even worse form of violence than wars. When there is so much State and Corporate sponsored violence, it is a little naive to expect that there will not be any non-state or rogue state violence!! As terrorists and rogue states cannot match up to the violence of the neo-imperialist states led by the USA, which incidentally has been the biggest killer of people since its inception beginning with the decimation of the indigenous people of the Americas, these bit players have resorted to violence against civilians who are a much softer target. The emergence of the financial sector as the dominant sector in the global economy has only aggravated matters further by forcing austerity on the one hand and casualisation of employment on the other on the masses and pushing some of the youth towards terrorism. Indeed terrorism is in the final analysis funded by some state agency or other so that there is ostensibly a reason for greater funding of the mainstream military and police even further!!! Its a vicious circle of spiralling violence and injustice from which there is not likely to be any let up.
Finally one can't get to the bottom of this whole business of violence without dwelling on the role of the media and academia. These too are controlled by the capitalists and are dens of scoundrels hysterically mouthing xenophobic and religiophobic balderdash that only fuels further violence. The capitalist thrust for never ending profits has made the ruling classes insane and since they control the minds of the masses through the media and academia, we are all going mad!!!     


Bhavana Nissima said...

I do have my thoughts and concerns about academia but would like more detail on why you wrote these two sentences: "Finally one can't get to the bottom of this whole business of violence without dwelling on the role of the media and academia. These too are controlled by the capitalists and are dens of scoundrels hysterically mouthing xenophobic and religiophobic balderdash that only fuels further violence."

Rahul Banerjee said...

I was speaking about the academia generally and not about individual academics. The rhetoric of nationalism and religious sectarianism is quite strong in academia apart from its general support for the overall violence of the currently dominant development and governance model. Saner voices are rarely heard even if they dare to speak out. Even institutes like TISS and JNU have increasingly clamped down on academic freedom. At a time when there is so much livelihood uncertainty it is only the brave who will jeopardise their careers as academics to go against the establishment. So willy nilly the capitalists are able to spread their ideology and also promote xenophobia and religiophobia. The less said about the role of the media the better!!!

Bhavana Nissima said...

What with funding chokes at TISS, I understand the academic clampdown. JNU, I guess there is a sense of insecurity in the campus?
I remember working in a Hindu Right University where HOD was a Leftist but he kept his anger to closed door meeting with select individuals in his office. He survived there for almost 8 years. I quit in 4 months. He had a family to take care of.