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, February 21, 2018

Celebrating V Day in Pandutalab

February 14th  2018 was celebrated as V Cubed day at the Majlis Centre in Pandutalab. Three Vs because of Valentine, Vagina and Violence Against Women. Subhadra has from the beginning insisted that the centre would promote feminism and sustainable agriculture. It is her contention that on the basis of the limited evidence available regarding the human transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture, the neolithic revolution, the probability is higher that it was women who brought about this transition. Since women had already been domesticated due to the need to continually produce babies to keep the human race alive, it is they, she argues, who were most likely to notice that the seeds of some of the grasses were edible and tended to germinate easily when spilled on the ground in favourable conditions. It is only later that men appropriated this discovery and its immense civilisational benefits and further suppressed the independence of women.
One of the modern expressions of patriarchy is the celebration of Valentine's Day on February 14th annually as a day of love to mask the huge violence that exists in man woman relationships. True love is possible only if the relationship is free from violence and oppression. That is why for Valentine's Day to be a true celebration of love it must also be a day of resistance against patriarchal violence.
The story begins in 1994 with the staging in New York of the iconic play "Vagina Monologues" written by and starring Eve Ensler. Based on interviews with many women this play consists of many stories about women who have suffered various forms of gender based violence including the most terrible - rape and trafficking. The huge success of this play and the inspiration it provided women to stand up and speak out against gender based violence instead of quietly suffering to avoid the stigma attached to publicly admitting to being a victim of the same. Ensler and some other women then formed the voluntary organisation V Day on February 14th, Valentine's Day in 1998 to combat gender based violence with the V standing for Violence which was to be ended, Valentine or love which was to be genuinely established and Vagina which was to be foregrounded as an expression of womanhood instead of being hidden by the stigma that surrounded women's sexuality and its unjust exploitation by men. Initially the thrust was to organise shows of the play and raise money to fund campaigns against gender based violence. However, over time the organisation has become a worldwide movement against gender based violence that has raised over $ 75 million for the purpose.
As a prelude to celebrating their fifteenth anniversary on 14th February 2013, V Day hit upon the idea of a campaign to have one billion women rising up against gender based violence on that day. The simple idea being that given the fact that one third of all women suffer some form of gender based violence or other during their lives, roughly one billion women are victims of this. So to counter this there should be a movement of at least one billion women rising to fight gender based violence. The tremendous credibility that V Day has achieved over these last two decades in its fight against gender based violence resulted in the United Nations putting its might behind this campaign and carrying it across the world.

The Majlis centre in Pandutalab too, consequently, celebrated V cubed day and women and men from Indore and nearby villages gathered there for this. The high point was a feast prepared from the organic produce of the farm where Subhadra is conserving indigenous varieties that are slowly becoming extinct due to the onslaught of modern chemical agriculture.
Food was made on wood stoves from jowar, rice, maize, pulses and vegetables grown on the farm and processed by hand with the help of stone grinders and pounders. The people who visited from Indore enjoyed the food and the outing very much in the serene surroundings of the farm which is at the foot of a hill.

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