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.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

When Pigs Fly!!

Three years is a good time to find out what is happening to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bold announcement from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15th 2014 that India would gain freedom from shit by 2019 to commemorate the sesquicentenary of the birth of M. K. Gandhi. What Gandhi had failed to do during his long life time, Modi had promised to do in just five years. I have been in Rewa town of Madhya Pradesh for the past week evaluating the waste water scene here. What is happening in Rewa is what is happening in most of India's towns. Here is a preliminary report of the waste water scene in Rewa that will give an indication as to whether India will indeed be shit free by 2019.
Rewa is a town with open drains, some pucca and some kuccha, into which all the waste water is emptied from houses and then these drains empty into nalas which in turn empty into the Bichia river which runs through the town. Since these drains are consequently rich in shit they are populated by pigs as shown below.

This is a classic photo. The pig has positioned its snout just below the waste water pipe and is happily slurping in the shit water as it emanates from the pipe. Where is this pipe in turn emanating from? It is coming from a community toilet run by the NGO Sulabh which has made it a business to actually not clean shit in the name of doing it and its founder Bindeshwari Pathak has recently published a eulogistic biography of the Prime Minister. The shit water from thousands of its community toilets across the country is directly emptied into nearby drains and this is what is happening in Rewa too. The pigs knowing of this, station themselves strategically to feast on the shit rich water.
One of the programmes launched following Modi's shit free India announcement is the National River Conservation Programme (NRCP). Under this it has been decided that towns and cities in India will be provided with sewers and sewage treatment plants to collect and treat the waste water from homes and then reuse the treated water for gardening and agriculture. In this way the many rivers that flow through cities and towns will be relieved from the load of shit that they are endlessly being burdened with.
Rewa Municipal Corporation was given money under the NRCP a couple of years ago. The municipal planners under the direction of the planners of the State Government designed and constructed a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) from the funds provided which is ready. However, they forgot to lay sewer lines in the town to collect the waste water and direct it to the STP!! So the STP is standing like a monarch of all the shit that it can survey without any of it coming to it!! I have interviewed many people of Rewa town in the past few days but not one of them had heard that the STP had been built and none knew where it was situated. The engineer of the municipal corporation who is supposed to supervise and monitor its construction was evasive as to where this STP was located. Eventually I had to go through the google satellite map of Rewa with a tooth comb to find out where the STP was located!! Belatedly the contract for laying the sewer lines and constructing more STPs has been given to a firm now. The staff of this firm too were evasive about where exactly they are working and refused to give me any details. So STPs and sewerage lines are being built without the citizens knowing anything about this.
If wishes were horses then pigs would fly it is said. But Modi's wishes are such that even without their becoming horses, the pigs are flying on shit!!! No wonder that in the galaxy of achievements that Modi listed from the ramparts of the Red Fort today he quietly left out any mention of freeing India from shit!!

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