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.

Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra

The organisation is engaged in community development work since 1982 even though formal registration as a public trust (regn. no. 1/B123/86-87) took place only in 1987. The various spheres in which the organisation is active are as below -


1982           : Began mass organisation, legal and policy advocacy work with Bhil adivasis for their right to a livelihood in Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh which is still continuing and has spread to the whole of western Madhya Pradesh.
1986 - 94   : Began organisation work with the oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Dam being built on the Narmada river which later evolved into the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
1987           : Formed the first ever Trade Union of Bhil adivasis, Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath (KMCS).
1987           :  Development work started in the fields of education, forest and watershed management. 
1994           :  Started work in the important sphere of conservation of indigenous land races of crops and traditional agricultural practices which is still continuing.
1996           : Began work on adivasi womens reproductive health and rights and their economic empowerment through the formation of Self Help Groups that is continuing.  
2000           : Began work on the rejuvenation of traditional adivasi culture which has now evolved into the organisation Adivasi Riti Badhao Tola.
2001         :  Began collaborating with the Deenbandhu Samajik Sanstha on various actions related to the right to housing of the poor in Indore city.
2006           : Began organisational and legal support work with adivasi migrant workers which is still continuing.
2008           : Began work on water governance and research with action and study in the Man River Basin which is still continuing.
2009           : Began work on systematic implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) which has now assumed huge proportions spanning the whole district.
2010           : Intensification of work on the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act 2006 and the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act 1996.

The three decade long work of the organisation has been recognised and it has got the Times of India J. P. Morgan Social Impact Award for Advocacy and Empowerment for 2011. This award specifically refers to the persistence of the organisation in upholding the rights of the Bhil tribals.

The stress is on voluntary community work by the people to generate resources from better planning of their lives and so we do not believe in taking large amounts of funds from donors to implement large projects. Nevertheless to defray the minimal administrative expenses that have to be incurred in maintaining a small full time activist team we take up small research and development projects. The future areas of operation of the organisation for the next few years are as follows –

  1. Implementation of all the rights given to Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution of India and other statutes related to prevention of atrocities, regulation of moneylending, panchayati raj in scheduled areas, rural employment guarantee, forest rights and right to information.
  2. Conservation of natural resources and improvement of traditional agriculture
  3. Support for migrating tribals.
  4. Promotion and conservation of tribal religion and culture.
  5. Provision of alternative residential education to tribal children.
  6. Operation of Self Help Groups for empowerment of women.
  7. Establishment of communal harmony.
The detailed Plan is as follows -
1.      Building alliance of the marginalised : The idea of a strong Bhil identity will be propagated intensively among the Bhil tribal community through regular village meetings, study and training workshops, major cultural and political public events and research programmes. A conscious think tank of tribal men and women will be created within the broader mobilisation under the Adivasi Ekta Parishad which will provide intellectual and programmatic leadership to the movement so as to make it self sustainable in the long run.
2.      Facilitating just and democratic governance: The provisions of the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act and the Forest Rights Act will be analysed and explained to the population in the context of the larger movement for Bhil identity and action programmes for the implementation of these Acts will be tied to the programme for strengthening Bhil identity. Ironically, present Gram Sabhas are rarely held even though on paper they are the most powerful decision making bodies in Fifth Schedule notified areas like Alirajpur and Jhabua. An effort will be made to see that Gram Sabhas are held at least once a quarter and most people especially women take part in them and take decisions regarding agenda that are relevant to their just development goals. In the villages that are to be selected as part of this project the Sarpanches and Panches are also members of the KMCS and so there is a greater possibility of holding Gram Sabhas there.
3.      Enforcing rights of women and girls: Self help groups are the best mode of women's mobilisation. They provide economic independence which is the main prerequisite of women's liberation. Once the basic thrift and loan activities of the SHGs are running smoothly, these forums will be utilised for addressing the more serious problems faced by women due to patriarchal oppression. Eventually a separate women's federation will be built up from the SHGs. Here too a think tank will be created of women leaders who will provide intellectual and programmatic direction for women's liberation.
4.      Diversifying Resource Base: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in its present evolved form provides a very good means of conserving and diversifying the degraded natural resource base of the tribals. The organisation and its trade union wing Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath have already initiated a massive campaign for the implementation of the programme. Regular meetings will be held at the village level and in the Gram Sabhas to draw up natural resource management and agricultural revival plans that can then be implemented through the MGNREGS. A programme of sustainable agriculture is already under way in the project villages and this will be strengthened further. 

5.   Mitigation of Climate Change : The major new area of action is the mitigation of Climate Change. A training cum research centre has been set up on two hectares of land in village Gulvat. The barren and hilly land there is being regenerated with appropriate soil and water conservation work and afforestation. A sustainable farm model appropriate to the agro-ecological characteristics of Alirajpur district is being set up at this centre. Farmers are brought to the centre for training workshops so that they can adopt similar methods on their farms and gradually migrate from the present destructive system to a sustainable and climate friendly agricultural system.
6.       Leveraging the Outcomes of the Pilots : The above five thrust programmes will be intensively implemented in selected villages and the outcomes will be leveraged for wider replication in the whole of Alirajpur district. 

                                   Expected Outcomes and Monitoring Indicators :
Sl. No.
Building alliance of the marginalised
KMCS   active and functional in Jhabua and Alirajpur districts with a large membership base articulating and fighting for a strong Bhil Tribal Identity
1. Fees paying membership KMCS.
2. Training Workshops
3. Research Output.
4. Media Coverage.
5. Public events
6. Public Awards
Facilitating just and democratic governance
PESA and FRA implementation
1. Gram Sabhas held
Enforcing rights of women and girls
SHGs formed and functional. Women's rights issues being discussed and programmes of action being formulated for their implementation
1. SHG formation and functioning.
2. Training Workshops
3 Public Events exclusively on Women's Rights.
4. Women's leadership visible
Diversifying Resource Base
Implementation of MGNREGS for NRM and sustainable agriculture.
1. Number of MGNREGS works implemented.
2. Environmental planning undertaken
3. More farmers adopting sustainable agricultural practices
Leveraging the Outcomes of the Pilots
The outcomes of the implementation of the pilots of the above objectives will have received publicity in media and through word of mouth so as to enthuse more people to join the movement of the KMCS and take the work forward
1. Media coverage.
2. Adoption of project programmes by others who are not direct project beneficiaries.

List of Current Trustees

1. Shri Shankar Tadavla, Social Worker and Trustee, Chitu Kirar Marg, Alirajpur 
2. Sushri Kasturi Chouhan, Social Worker and Trustee, Kundwat
3. Shri Pushpendra Solanki, Journalist and Trustee, South T T Nagar, Bhopal
The Chief Executive Officer is Shrimati Subhadra Khaperde

The DGVK and the KMCS are closely interlinked. The DGVK provides the external financial support to the work of the KMCS. All the full time workers of the KMCS are paid from funds accessed by the DGVK through project funding from various sources. The schematic representation of the operational framework within which the two organisations combine is given below.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have read your blog its very attractive and impressive. I like it your blog. Manisha Bapna is humble and hardworking social worker. she is doing work for women empowerment in madhya pradesh at the grass root level to provide respected position for women in the world.