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.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Land Rights as the most important Human Rights

International Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10th December every year to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly on this day in 1948. For peasants and especially Adivasis, land rights are possibly the most important human rights because their livelihoods depend on it without which no other rights are possible. Therefore, the Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath, celebrated IHR this year by bringing out a rally in Alirajpur focused on land rights as shown below in the news report in Hindi.
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forestdwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act 2006, popularly known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA), has powerful provisions for providing title deeds to land that the Adivasis have been traditionally cultivating in the Reserved Forest Areas before the cut off date of 13th December 2005 and also rights to the community to conserve and use the forests land that they have been traditionally using for their other livelihood and cultural needs. However, as is the case with most progressive laws and especially land laws like the distribution of ceiling excess land to the landless, the FRA too has not been implemented properly primarily because the administration and especially the Forest Department is not interested in providing the benefits of this law to the Adivasis.
The KMCS has waged a long battle for land rights of Adivasis in Alirajpur since 1982 and was part of the nationwide movement that brought about the enactment of this historic legislation. So the organisation has actively campaigned for the implementation of the FRA in Alirajpur. Nevertheless, the administration has stalled as much as possible. Many people have not been given title deeds and those who have been given these deeds have got them without the necessary demarcation of the land through a map. Community title deeds have not been given at all. So the KMCS is now running a campaign of using Geographical Positioning System instruments to map the land of the people and also the forests of the communities and then synchronising them with the satellite imagery of 2005 to establish the verity of their claims and so push the State through legal action to grant proper title deeds to them.
As part of this an awareness rally was taken out through the villages for one whole week in which apart from the lack of implementation of the FRA, the sorry implementation of other welfare laws and programmes like the Right to Education Act, Right to Food Act, Integrated Child Development Scheme and the National Rural Health Mission were also documented. Demands for rectification of these lacunae based on this documentation were submitted to the district administration on International Human Rights Day thus fleshing out in concrete the slogan of all human rights for all. Thousands of members of the KMCS marched through the streets of Alirajpur registering their organised strength in search of their rights.

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