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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Summer of Love

This is the golden jubilee year of the "Summer of Love" that took place in San Francisco in 1967 and changed American and World culture irrevocably, even though the summer itself fizzled out within two months. There had been simmering a rebellion against the conformism of mainstream US materialist and commercial culture among the youth which had begun with the beat generation in the late 1950s. As Timothy Leary famously said "turn on, tune in and drop out". And thousands of young men and women indeed did that, chucking their studies and work along with their formal dress to wear bizarre costumes, keep long hair and smoke drugs with LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) being the main hallucinogen and they zeroed in on San Francisco. The summer of love was also made possible by the sexual revolution started by feminists who successfully opposed the ban on abortion and popularised the use of pills to prevent pregnancy and so freed women from the fear of getting pregnant and having to bear children endlessly. Women thus rebelled against their perception as mothers and home makers and decided to enjoy their sexuality as much as men did theirs.
The Haight Ashbury neighbourhood in San Francisco was the nerve centre of this anarchist and Dyonisian rebellion. An anarchist group called Diggers provided free food and medicines with funds sourced from willing contributors. The mainstream media publicised the initial gathering and this led to youth from all over America converging in thousands in the neighbourhood which extended to a few blocks. Some fantastically talented musicians who lived nearby like Jerry Garcia of Greatful Dead, Janis Joplin and the rock group Jefferson Airplane participated full tilt and a new genre called acid rock inspired by music played after taking LSD emerged. The Beatles too, far away in London, composed a number "Lucy in the Sky with the Diamonds" to commemorate the summer of love.
However, after about two months the utopian frenzy began to die down as those contributing funds began to tighten their purse strings leading to the Diggers winding up their free food and medicines programme and the huge influx of people created sanitation problems leading to the outbreak of diseases and within two months the people had dispersed.
While, in terms of anarchist rebellion against capitalist and statist domination, the summer of love did not achieve much as the student rebellions that followed opposing the Vietnam war too were eclipsed with time, it did initiate an era of women's sexual liberation from the tyranny of motherhood and patriarchy that has continually gained in strength thereafter.

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