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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Feminist Conclave

The other day the farmer who takes care of Subhadra's plot of farm land in her absence called to say that the corn on her farm had become ripe enough to be roasted and eaten. An elaborate ritual is held by the Adivasis when the corn reaches this stage before they eat it. Subhadra too wanted a celebration of the first corn that had ripened on her farm. So she decided that she would invite her comrades in arms in the battle for women's rights in Indore to the first roasting and eating of the corn. As soon as she called up her activist friends a major problem arose - how to go to the farm?!! The farm is fifty kilometers away from Indore and all the three different roads leading to it have to cross the Vindhya hills and descend into the Nimar plains and requires expert hill driving skills. While Subhadra and three of her friends drive cars in Indore city, none of them had ever driven a car down and up a hill road as would be required to go to the farm. Subhadra had on a very few occasions driven to the farm and back but with me around and on this occasion I was persona non grata being a male!!!
One lady who is particularly militant and also an examiner of women drivers who are being trained by an NGO to take up driving as a career declared that she had many more battles to fight in the struggle for women's liberation and she did not want to die early in an accident while driving up and down the hilly roads!!! She discouraged all the others who Subhadra had contacted and by late night everyone had backed out considering the trip to be a risky enterprise. However, Subhadra did not get to know of this because her cell phone had been rendered silent by her son Ishaan who regularly uses it for accessing the internet. This is because he does not have a smart phone as Subhadra has said that he should concentrate on his studies instead of surfing the net on a phone. So Subhadra got to know of the sabotage to her plans only in the morning when she put the phone back on full sound. She scolded her son and then finally gave in and asked me to buy him a smart phone so that he did not tinker with her smartphone and mess up her plans!!! Patriarchy insinuates itself in a myriad ways!!!
Subhadra was not one to give up so easily, however, and so she began phoning up her friends again in the morning. She played a master stroke by getting in touch with two young women who had graduated from the driving school. Even though these women too had never driven a car up and down a hill road they were keen to get the experience of doing so to add to their skills as drivers and enhance their careers. So finally after a lot of hemming and hawing Subhadra and six other women including the two young drivers set off in two cars from Indore through the picturesque Vindhyas for a feminist conclave to celebrate the first corn on her farm.
The corn grown organically on the farm is of an indigenous variety and so was delicious. A fire was lit and the corncobs fresh from the plants were roasted on it and eaten with gusto while discussing the pros and cons of the fight for women's rights.
  Finally the group made their way back to Indore in the evening along a less travelled hill road that went past a beautiful lake filled with lotus flowers and ensconced among resplendent forested hills.
So the feminist conclave did take place amidst the glory of nature, due to Subhadra's resolve, despite the many hidden ways in which patriarchy seeks to keep women chained to their fetters.

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