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, April 4, 2017

The Dangerous Mix of Patriarchy and Development

A Bhilala Adivasi girl from Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh, whose name I am withholding for obvious reasons, was sent for marriage to Jodhpur district of Rajasthan on the Pakistan-India border. She was not agreeable to the marriage but her parents forced her because they were paid Rs Three Lakhs by a tout who is in the business of getting girls for grooms in Rajasthan. After the tout took her to Jodhpur, the tout there told her that she would be sent a further 200 kilometers north to Haryana. The girl was tenth pass and also had a lot of guts so she slipped out of the house while the touts and others were discussing the modalities and asked her way to the Village Head's house and told him of her plight. The Village Head was a decent person and he immediately called the police emergency number and told the girl to stay without fear in his house. The police arrived promptly after that and arrested both the touts and took the girl to a women's home. The parents were contacted and told to come to Jodhpur on the pretext that some problem had cropped up with the marriage. When they came they too were arrested. Finally others had to come from Dewas and the parents were let off after returning the money but the two touts were charged for abduction and trafficking.
This is not the only case as there have been at least fifty such cases over the past few years, and in one case a girl who tried to escape by jumping from the second floor balcony was severely injured with her pelvis and legs broken. This is a peculiar situation that has arisen because of female foeticide on a huge scale in western Rajasthan and Haryana which has led to a shortage of brides. Despite the strict provisions of the Prevention and Control of Prenatal Diagnostic Tests, these tests are being conducted and female foetuses aborted on a large scale.
The Bhil and Bhilala Adivasis, thankfully do not resort to female foeticide even though their society too is highly patriarchal. So there are many marriageable girls among the Bhils and touts from Rajasthan have fanned out their tentacles wide and netted these girls by paying huge amounts of money. The Bhils, who have been at the receiving end of the ills of modern development are barely able to make ends meet with their marginal agriculture and migrant labour. Therefore, for some families selling their girls for a hefty sum comes as a bonanza and they jump at the opportunity without any concern for the girls' welfare.
Thus there is a dangerous mix of patriarchy and modern development at play here which is jeopardising the lives of Bhil girls. Indeed this practice of selling girls is there in the slums of Indore also where too Dalit and Adivasi girls are being sold for marriage and for sex work in distant areas.  

1 comment:

Nogi said...

This is sad yaar! What people will do for money instead of living a Quality Life...