Wednesday, January 6, 2021

A Civilizational Perspective on the Farmers' Movement

(Hindi Facebook post on 4th January 2021,        

 Sunil Sahasrabudhey )

The very serious and locked situation between the present Farmers’ Movement and the Government of India draws ones attention to questions of civilizational importance - what constitutes humanity and how should we reconstruct and relate again to the philosophies of life in the present century?

It is said that where there is no village, there is no civilization. We had heard this from Rin Po Che, a Buddhist scholar-philosopher many years ago in a discussion at the Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi, when he was the Director of The Tibetan Institute of Higher Studies at Sarnath. It appears that some such thought was the backdrop of Gandhi’s insistence on village being the primary unit in swaraj. The supporters of the present farmers’ movement have again and again called the farmers ‘annadata’ meaning those who feed the world. It may be said that those who are not simply a tail-piece of the market or the state see the farmer as annadata, women as annapoorna (those who provide a square meal) and the village as both an existential and an epistemic condition of civilization. If we look at the tradition of wholesome thought , we are likely to find that no distinction is made between the concrete and the abstract, between the physical and the spiritual, between the body and the soul and between being and knowledge. Just as the Gandhian movement has given the slogan that ‘Khadi is not just a cloth, it is a way of thinking’, similarly his insistence on the village may allow us to say that village is as much a spiritual entity as a physical one. Gandhi did believe also that there is no difference of level between the evening prayer of a peasant and the most abstract philosophies. In different words it may be said that truth lies in the fusion of the concrete and the abstract.

It is not just that the BJP government and Adani/Ambani are the issues or hurdles, they are of course that, however the practice and policy of the farmers’ movement appears to say that we need to learn from the wholesome traditions of thought (sant parampara) and in accordance with that develop the human code of conduct. Will ‘food’ occupy the centre stage then? Is food then both physical and spiritual? Handling of food in the movement appears to point to that. Dialogues on the concerned laws are necessary but let this not circumscribe our present thinking. Appropriate respect ought to be paid to representative institutions, legislatures, but let us not take them to be everything. Peoples’ ways and thought should ultimately hold the sway. It is humans who will build the future of humanity. Capital and market need to be brought down from the high seat they have been given. The farmers’ movement is saying that this is possible.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

On Farmer- Ruler Relationship

(A post made on Karigar Nazaria in Facebook in Hindi on 28 December, 2020 by Chitra Sahasrabudhey) 

The present farmers’ movement has touched our souls. It is at such times that people in large numbers and, as if, society as a whole, are able to selflessly concentrate and focus their thoughts for an appreciation of truth and justice as opposed to falsehood and injustice. On this occasion we are giving here a very special event which will increase our self confidence and help the country and society in pursuing the path of truth and justice.  

It relates to the summer of 1938. There was a small princely state by the name of Aundh in the region where Maharashtra and Karnataka meet – the Satara-Sangli-Bijapur area. It so happened that thousands of peasants (about 6,000) got together and marched towards the capital town raising slogans. They were very angry. The ministers and the advisers of the king were very worried but the matter was not immediately reported to the king.  When the peasants came very close to the capital they started demanding a dialogue with the king. Hearing this, the king came out (from his art room, for he was an artist too) and asked what the matter was. He heard the whole thing without being perturbed and looked at the prince, Apa Pant. The prince politely said that the peasants need to be asked “what was the reason of their anger?” The king said “fair enough, so be it”. The next day the peasants were treated to a full meal. By the evening many more peasants joined, among them also those who were not from Aundh.

The peasants had two demands : One, the taxes may be reduced and two, the administration needed to be improved. The king agreed.

However this was not all that happened.

The king implemented several measures in the next six months and on 23 November 1938, he announced before the people that they were now sufficiently competent to take the governance into their own hands. A Swaraj Constitution was developed and placed before the people and the king quit his thrown. This Aundh Swaraj Constitution was developed on the initiative of prince Apa Pant who sought Mahatma Gandhi’s guidance for this by travelling to Sewagram and spending some days with him. Also  leaders of Congress mainly Shankar Rao Deo and B.V. Shikhre studied and assessed the conditions of administration in Aundh and made recommendations towards the new constitution. This Swaraj constitution was implemented for about 10 years before the state was dissolved for integration with Independent India.

During these 10 years a number of pro-people policies took shape. Three specially worth mention are :

1.   The people of Aundh met with success the challenges of the severe famine of 1942,

2.    A system of education was implemented in 700 villages in less than one year, which continued for ten years. The election to Panchayat also required that the contestant be educated.

3.    The judicial system was made simple, pro-people and quick. 


Vidya Ashram 

12.06 pm 29 Dec. 2020

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Farmers’ Movement

For more than a month now lakhs of farmers are on the roads near Delhi for the repeal of the three laws recently passed pertaining to agricultural production, storage and exchange and for a law bound assurance of Minimum Support Price (MSP). They have braved the cold and more than 35 have already laid their lives for the cause. Many dialogues have taken place during this period between the government at the center and the leaders of the Farmers' Movement. But the situation is as it was on day one. The farmers say that they will go back home only after the repeal of the laws and the government says that the laws shall not be repealed.  

I have tried to articulate the Vidya Ashram view on the Facebook through some posts in Hindi. Given below is the English version of those three posts.    

Sunil


Farmers’ Movement today : Heralding a New Future

(Sunil Sahasrabudhey, facebook post, 18 Dec. 2020)                

The farmers’ movements time and again underline the real situation of the world and suggest a way out. This situation is that of conflict between human essence and capital, conflict between a life worth living and the arithmetic of the market, conflict of a parity between duty and right with the contractors in different walks of life. The present farmers’ movement situated around Delhi does not wish to be entangled in the commentaries and analyses by the very highly educated. We extend unqualified support to this farmers’ movement and wish to say that when people in such large numbers are saying something and braving the sufferings entirely peacefully, then what is the dispute about? One should accept what they are saying and then may discuss the remaining questions. It is also not fair  to put such a dialogue as a condition for such acceptance. When one is talking about food/grains, one should not bring the market in.

Today’s market is controlled by big capital. When food/grain is connected with this market the main sufferers are the producers and those for whom food is a large part of their budget. If the market is kept out, then what is the alternative?

The International Farmers’ Movement known by the name of Via-Campesina has proposed a way out, which is constructed around the idea of ‘Food Sovereignty’. Sovereignty includes a just balance and coordination between duties and rights. It may be reasonable to think that it is a duty of the farmers to fulfill the food needs of their area. However the condition necessary for this requires that the governments do their part. When the governments do not do their part, then the human network around food/grains breaks down and the market enters forcibly. 

The three laws made by the Central Government recently take the country in this direction of bringing in the market forcefully in the arena of agriculture. The relationship between food and humans becomes less important and new opportunities come into existence for expanding the role of capital and market in the agricultural sector. It is necessary that the government take back these laws  and then there be a dialogue which is not around capital, market and profit and the so called development but around the questions of human life being livable and non-acceptability of the situation where grain is there but no food.

We may expect far reaching results if agriculture is made entirely a subject of state governments with a rider that they create conditions favorable for the farmers to assume the responsibility of feeding the people of their region. It is a farmers’ country, it is a farmers’ world, and if not, it ought to be so. Villages need to come alive across the globe. In this lies the future of humanity.  


Dialogue in Vidya Ashram, Sarnath  

          (Sunil Sahasrabudhey, facebookpost, 21 Dec. 2020)             

On Sunday 20th Dec. 2020 homage was paid to the martyrs of the farmers’ movement. Some of us came together at 12 and stood up for a two minute silence. The number of martyrs is increasing by the day and it was felt that such sacrifice cannot go in vain.  A discussion followed on the nature and extent of the contribution being made by this farmers’ movement to the future of India.

Those who came together to build this Vidya Ashram have been active in the Farmers’ Movement since the late 1970s. Different persons played active roles in different states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. We published a magazine called Mazdoor Kisan Neeti in Hindi to take the message of the Farmers’ Movement to the middle classes, mainly to those with social concerns. The magazine played an important role of coordination in that Farmers’ Movement of national spread. We had found that the Farmers’ Movement drew its inspirations from Swadeshi Darshan. Wide spread discussions took place, then, on the role of the farmer in society and what conditions needed to be created towards that end. It is in this milieu that the idea of lokavidya germinated and took shape which took the message of the Farmers’ Movement to the world of knowledge and at a philosophical level.

The Farmers’ Movement earlier and the present one too, demand a political solution.

The discussion at the Vidya Ashram focused on the fact that in the modern world farming has always been a deficit operation. And that this is kept so by the Central Government for the value transfer required for capital accumulation. Farming is already a deficit operation and these new laws will increase the deficit 2-3 folds in addition to promoting corporate intervention in agriculture.

1.      Therefore it is necessary for the life of the farmers that these laws are taken back. Further a national dialogue needs to be initiated for building policies and structures that would liberate farming from being a deficit operation. This means a new relationship between industry and agriculture, a friendly relationship which will grant an equal economic and social status to agriculture, equal to that of industry.

2.      This requires that ----

·        The knowledge of the farming community be given a status equal to university knowledge.

·        Also that agriculture must be made completely a subject of the States and the Center provide the financial wherewithal to the States, for them to fulfill this responsibility. Then laws like the present one will not be enacted. And if they are enacted, then if a million farmers encircle the state capital, no state government would dare do what the Central Government is doing today.

·        It is a matter of political imagination. Governance must be at the state level. And the Center work as the coordinating agency. In place of centralized systems, those units and systems of governance must be given priority, which are close to the people. 


The King and the Farmer

(Sunil Sahasrabudhey, facebookpost, 25 Dec. 2020)

It is often said that king and his supporters do not know that they do not know. They think that they know.

And those who live ordinary lives, those who daily face the reality of life, those who do not live with arrogance under the toxicity of power or knowledge, they often do not know that they know. And even if they know that they know, they do not have such recognition in the public realm.

The solution of this paradoxical situation demands a radical political intervention. This is perhaps the first step in today’s situation towards social reform or social transformation.

The government is saying that the farmers do not understand the implication of the newly enacted three farm laws covering production, storage and exchange. The farmers are saying that these laws will lead to their oppression and a multi-fold increase in the losses they incur in the farming activity which is already a deficit operation. In an age when Institutes of Agricultural Sciences organize training programs to teach farmers how to do agriculture, there ought to be no surprise if the rulers and their supporters say that the farmers do not understand.

 In the latter half of the 19th century the British Raj commissioned a detailed study and survey of Indian agriculture, for they wanted to reform and improve agriculture such that it yielded greater revenue and also developed as a market for the new chemical inputs of agriculture for whose production new industry had already come up in England in the wake of the chemical transformation of agriculture. This survey concluded that the Indian farmer had detailed knowledge of every aspect of agriculture – soil, fertility, the environment /nature, seeds, organization of production and uses of the produce etc., that he did his job with greatest of efficiency, and that there was no scope for suggestions from outside for improvement of agriculture here. And further that improvement could be expected by sharing of knowledge and dialogue between farmers of different regions.

Those who know him/her - the farmer household - have always subscribed to the view that the Indian farmers have great knowledge of his karma (activity) and the organization of life as such. The leaders of farmers’ movement have said this for decades since the beginning of the movement that if the government ensures a just price for their produce, the farmers can show levels of production that would not be achievable by any external intervention. From whichever angel you approach ---  national need, needs of the poor, regional needs or the needs of the environment, the farmer has the detailed knowledge of the desired agriculture.

It is not the government's job to intervene in agriculture, the government ought to create those conditions which the farmers ask for.

 

 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Indian Parliament is Infructuous (The Collapse of Parliamentary System of Democracy/Back to Lokvidya Swaraj & Panchayati Raj) Lalit K Kaul

The Indian Parliament is Infructuous

(The Collapse of Parliamentary System of Democracy/Back to Lokvidya Swaraj & Panchayati Raj)

Lalit K Kaul

In recent times an emerging trend is to defy any act of the Parliament on the streets; hold entire country to ransom; cause inconvenience to general public only to exhibit their muscle strength supplemented by those designated as ‘opposition’. Fight for ideological values don’t require muscle power, while agitations may be carried out. A very dangerous precedence was allowed to be set with the connivance of all political parties by allowing Shaheen Bagh & similar baghs for not very intelligible reasons. Yet, whatever the apprehensions of agitating women (most of them didn’t know   why) their enforced blockade shouldn’t have been allowed. Farmers have picked up from where Shaheen Bagh ended & are following the precedence. In the eighties, the protests led by farmers didn’t employ such ways as they are now. What’s the reason? Corona ended Shaheen Bagh; BJP didn’t gain anything in Delhi elections despite their chosen inaction, but Delhi riots followed. Which virus will end farmer’s blockade? Only Virus can tell.

Degenerate Political System:

Few reasons why our political system is degenerate:

1.    Opposition parties are to only oppose anything and everything that the ruling party may legislate. Like, nuclear test during NDA regime was opposed / criticized by the entire opposition. BJP, while in opposition, opposed Aadhar Card implementation. This is not by choice, but as a duty because all political parties have implicit understanding on it.

2.    Anybody can float a party; anybody can become a politician; more the number of crimes more the reason to become a politician; always welcome in any / all party’s fold if capacity to garner votes (muscle power)

3.      Political parties are allowed to be run as a family fiefdom.

4.    Every MP and MLA can get away with whatever they may speak in both the houses of Parliament and respective Vidhan Sabhas. It provides criminals full lung power to cast all kinds of aspersions on their opponents. This provision leaves a very harmful impact on the common citizens. Like, Kejriwal felt bold enough to declare in Delhi Assembly that he and his 61 MLAs had no birth certificates and so they were passing a resolution against CAA. Were they born to animals? These kinds of statements are very highly provocative and help generate vicious environment all around.

5.    During election campaigns and public rallies all kinds of unsubstantiated allegations can be hurled on the political opponents knowing pretty well that they will go scot free. It creates bad environment and the message that goes across the public is that unsubstantiated charges can be hurled at others.

6.   Self styled/proclaimed leaders of people are allowed to exploit the provision of ‘Freedom of Speech’ without any sense of responsibility. This freedom has been grossly misused by the Communists, some of the Moulvis and the rabidly communal elements in both the Hindu and Muslim communities, as was very evident during anti CAA protests. Even the politicians, while in opposition, have this indulgence; like, the way Sonia family publicly instigated people to move on to streets against CAA.

7.     Modern Indian establishments and political leaders have conscientiously shaped modern Indian societies in a way that they are particular only about their rights to avail anything and everything while the right to duty has long got lost into oblivion.  

8.     The Constitution of India talks of rights of all and sundry and ways to uphold them, does it talk of duties?

Recent Examples of Degenerate Politics:

        While Agri Bills were always going to go through the Lok Sabha, in the Rajya Sabha the opposition combine had the majority and therefore they could have stalled the bills and disallowed their passage. It was not blocked and thereafter the opposition parties sided with the farmers’ demands including scrapping of the bills! It can be nobody’s take that opposition parties sympathize or relate with the farmers’ problems. Had UPA been in power, then in the present situation BJP would have stood with the farmers’ demands & called for Bharat bandh.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee which has members from political parties had approved of bringing the Agri Bills in to the Parliament for initiating the reforms in the agriculture sector. Now, opposition parties are opposing publicly & associating with Bharat Bandh.

More significantly, the AAP government had already issued a notification to this effect, regarding Agri Bills implementation; but thereafter it gave a call to support farmers’ movement.

Peoples’ Representative Election Flawed:

The much talked about & acclaimed elections in the world’s largest democracy are fundamentally flawed in that they end up electing peoples’ non representatives. In the elections, people vote for a political party of their choosing nay, but more precisely, the leader of their choosing. Party selects the candidates; each candidate is supposed to represent on the average 3 to 4 lacs of people & that by itself is as incongruous as it can get. However, when the people vote they vote neither for the party nor for the candidate; they vote for the leader of the party. Earlier it was Indira Gandhi & now it is Modi and in between for coalition governments, people voted for leaders of their choice who happened to belong to different parties. Thus contestants’ credentials were never important to people, because मोदी है तो मुमकिन है; इंदिरा है तो इंडिया है! In between some pygmies don’t matter because they too tasted power- courtesy coalition governments.

The icing on the cake is that post election; every ‘representative’ as ‘elected’ through an election process within moments of winning gets transformed in to Neta ji – the very first act violative of the Constitution of India. What is the responsibility of this Neta ji? To propagate his/her party line from a platform/ dais that places him/her at much higher plane in all dimensions of life; so the subjects must hear in rapt attention else, there are goons to take care of any dissent. So there is no way this ‘representative’ shall be amenable to his subjects’ opinion on various issues concerning their day to day life.

Standing Committee out of synch with Ground Realities:

The members of the Standing Committee belong to various parties and obviously Akali Dal & Congress members in Punjab/Haryana etc should have been aware of the farmers’ apprehensions about the proposed bills which incidentally were a part of Congress manifesto and some others. Had they been, then the Standing Committee would have deliberated to determine what kind of bills, in terms of reforms & to what extent, would be acceptable to farmers. The problem is that fundamentally these MPs MLAs don’t represent people & therefore they don’t converse with them on one to one basis; they can’t legislate on real problems of the people because they remain out of synch with the people as they owe their chair in the Parliament / Assembly to their leader & indeed people did vote for the leader!

Politics on the Streets only Alternative:

The public display of disagreement by the people on any and/or every law enacted in the Parliament/Assembly is a symptom of diseased democratic set up. The politicians- the so called peoples’ representative- make the situation worse by making a U turn & opposing the bills they had supported in the Parliament/Assembly; all this in the hope that visibly standing by the people may help them in the next elections. So, the Parliament stands disgraced and it loses it place of pre eminence insofar as enacting of laws for the welfare of the people is concerned. Such kinds of deadlocks are avoidable only if the MPs/MLAs function like true representatives of the people & take their requirements to appropriate places of power & jurisdiction in a bid to find solutions for the peoples’ problems. That this organic link between the MPs/MLAs & their respective constituencies has been missing since 73 years now, safely extrapolates to making a statement that it shall continue to be so.

The biggest Incongruity in the Democratic set up:

It is to expect that a single individual can represent few lakhs of people in that establish an organic link between the elector and the elected. Life is not uni dimensional & so are not the day to day issues/problems of the people. Laying of multi lane roads & raising tall buildings, etcetera to explain development combined with linking increase in consumerism with economic growth may help project rosy pictures about the GDP & % growth as also FOREX reserves, but all these types of indices don’t portray the true picture of how a majority of the total population live in the country & more so when a vast majority lives only by labour having been disfranchised of their knowledge base. When more than 54% of the populace contribute only to 16% of GDP while being employed in unorganized sector then all the talk of % overall growth becomes a non representative figure.

In a democratic set up with its associated growth & development plan based on a certain economic model, if a vast majority from among the total populace lack capacities to buy energy, housing & other amenities- required for decent & honourable living- on their own and some Messiah in the form of PM/CM takes pride in distributing these free of cost then the state of affairs are indeed sordid. A growth & development model, that lacks the capability to empower people to buy things of their own accord & choosing and doles out charity for the fear of widespread unrest, gets perpetuated only when in a democratic set up the organic link between the elector and elected is snapped. Poverty cannot be tackled by act of charity; humans don’t live just for food, clothing & housing; they want to take their own decisions & be free to exercise their varied choices and therefore in this context doling out charity is tantamount to insulting the very human existence. And this must change.  

Back to Lokvidya Swaraj & Panchayat Politics:

The 3 tier system of Panchayati Raj is perhaps the most optimal system yet in terms of the feasibility of establishing an organic link between the electors & elected. Some thoughts on this are explained in the sequel. It needs to be debated for its feasibility and other related issues.

 

Election of Peoples’ Representatives:

The Panchayat Raj system has been seen as a developing system. It has three major components:

1. Lowest order: Gram Panchayat

2. Middle order: Panchayat Samiti

3. Upper order: Zilla Panchayat

The “Gram” is constituted of a village or a group of contingent villages. It is based on the voting population of the (covered geographical) region. Based on the voting population, the electorate is divided into 5 or more voter divisions/categories and each division/category elects one representative, who then come together to constitute the Gram Panchayat.

Each region of the District is represented by its Panchayat Samiti. The members of the Panchayat Samiti are elected by the respective Gram Panchayats constituting the region. Each Gram Panchayat elects 3 or more representatives to the Panchayat Samiti. These representatives constitute the Panchayat Samiti.

The entire District is represented by the Zilla Panchayat. Its representatives are elected by the Panchayat Samitis constituting the District. Each Panchayat Samiti elects 3 or more representatives to the Zilla Panchayat. These representatives constitute the Zilla Panchayat. Elected members of the State Assembly from the District are also members of the Zilla Panchayat.

The Constitution allows for only a three-tier system and so the Gram Sabha has no Constitutional validity or recognition. The Gram Sabha can be convened to meet up to 2 or 3 times a year. It can make suggestions for the implementation of programmes but cannot examine or reject the decisions taken by the 3-tier Panchayat Raj system.

An examination of the powers and scope of the Zilla Panchayats indicates that it has the right to take decisions on fundamental issues such as health, sanitation, safe drinking water, electricity, roads, employment etc. However, in reality there is tremendous interference of the government and political parties in all sectors and stages. The political parties influence the elections to the various bodies of the Panchayat Raj system. The result is that the Central & State Governments and political parties have rendered the Panchayat Raj system ineffective and meaningless.

This structure can be utilized to establish Lokavidya Swaraj through the election of Peoples’ Representatives. The rule by party-centred politics can thus be replaced by the rule of People-centred politics. In order to take this process forward towards the establishment of Lokavidya Swaraj, a few points are listed hereunder:

·         Gyan and Samajik Panchayats need to be constituted in place of Gram Panchayats. The manner of constitution of the Gyan and Samajik Panchayats is similar to that of the Gram Panchayat and any necessary changes may be brought in. The membership categories of the Gyan and Samajik Panchayats have been detailed in an earlier part of this document.

·         The Panchayat Samiti will be constituted from the members of the Gyan and Samajik Panchayats of that region or from outside. Every effort will be made by the Gyan and Samajik Panchayats to elect members of the Panchayat Samiti through unanimity/ consensus failing which an internal election may be held without any outside interference whatsoever.

·         The Zilla Panchayat will be constituted of members from the various Panchayat Samitis of the region and the number of representatives from each Samiti will be decided through mutual consent.

·         For Parliament and Assembly elections, regions have been delimited to form constituencies. Many districts fall under such Parliament and Assembly constituencies. For every district there is a Zilla Panchayat.

·         Zilla Panchayats in Assembly segments will constitute regional Vidhan Sabhas and similarly the ones in Parliament segments will constitute regional Parliaments. The membership of both the houses will be drawn from respective Zilla Panchayats and its methodology shall be worked out by mutual consent of Zilla Panchayats.

·         At the state level, the membership for the State Assemblies shall be drawn from their respective regional Assemblies.

·         For the Parliament in Delhi, the membership shall be drawn from their respective regional Parliaments.

 

Through this method the members of Assemblies and Parliament will be truly peoples’ representatives and not representatives of political parties. The Assemblies will elect their respective Chief Ministers and Council of State Ministers, and Parliament will elect the Prime Minister and Council of Central Ministers.

This manner of electing peoples’ representatives will avoid the influence of capitalists and requirement of large money. The generation of black money will also be greatly reduced. Vote bank politics based on caste, creed, religion and gender will cease to be a divisive element of electoral politics. Antisocial and criminal elements will find it hard to enter the Assemblies and Parliament.

The destruction of the natural environment and displacement-for-development could then be halted.


Sunday, November 1, 2020

रिपोर्ट : बिरादरियों का आत्मसम्मान और राजनीतिक दर्शन

ज्ञान पंचायत 

शनिवार, 31 अक्तूबर 2020, विद्या आश्रम, सारनाथ  

कल अश्विन पूर्णिमा के दिन विद्या आश्रम पर ‘बिरादरियों का आत्मसम्मान और राजनीतिक दर्शन’ इस विषय पर एक ज्ञान पंचायत हुई. लगभग 50 की उपस्थिति रही. कई लोगों ने कहा कि विषय अलग किस्म का है और इस पर उन्होंने पहले से बहुत सोचा हो ऐसा नहीं है. पंचायत ठीक-ठाक ही हुई. बोलने वालों में तुलनात्मक दृष्टि से युवा काफी थे और जो सैद्धांतिक बातें हुईं भी वे बिरादरियों की गति और वर्तमान राजनैतिक परिदृष्य के सन्दर्भ में ही हुई. 

 राहुल कश्यप बिरादरियों के आत्म सम्मान के प्रयासों और राजनीति से संबंधों पर बोलते हुए
मंच पर बाये से - महेंद्र प्रताप मौर्य, सुनील सहस्रबुद्धे, रामजनम और चौधरी राजेंद्र

विद्या आश्रम की समन्वयक चित्रा सहस्रबुद्धे ने विषय प्रवेश कराया जिसमें उन्होंने कहा कि आत्म सम्मान अथवा गौरव को जब तक बिरादरियों के ज्ञान में अवस्थित नहीं किया जायेगा तब तक वह अस्थाई होगा और राजनीतिक दर्शन के स्तर पर विचार को गति दे सकें ऐसा शायद न हो पाए. उसके बाद जैसा कि पहले से घोषित था सुनील कश्यप, अभिषेक तिवारी और लक्ष्मण प्रसाद ने शुरू में अपनी-अपनी बात कही और उसके बाद और लोगों ने अपने विचार रखे.

अभिषेक कुमार  तिवारी व्यक्तिगत और सामाजिक आत्म सम्मान पर विचार साझा करते हुए

जबकि यह बात सबको मान्य थी कि आत्मसम्मान, समाज में सम्मान और गौरवमय इतिहास यह सब आपस में जुड़ा हुआ है और गरीब जनता के लिए समाज में सम्मानजनक स्थान हो इसके लिए जरुरी भी है. और इससे जुड़ी हुई राजनीति का विकास भी होना चाहिए. कुछ लोगों ने इस और ध्यान खींचा कि बिरादरियों के ही कुछ लोग इसका फायदा उठा कर राजनीति में अपने लिए जगह बनाते हैं और बाकी लोगों को पीछे छोड़ देते हैं, जो अवांछनीय है और गलत राजनीति को बढ़ावा देता है. तमाम बिरादरियों में अपने गौरव को आधार बनाकर सेनाएं बनी हैं जो कभी आत्मरक्षा तो कभी दूसरे पर हमला करने के लिए इस्तेमाल की जाती है. इन सेनाओं का नेतृत्व भी असामाजिक होता है. यह भी गौरव पर आधारित राजनीति को गलत दिशा में ले जाता है. यह बात सामने आई कि जाति का जो इतिहास लिखा और पढाया जाता है वह उसे एक सर्वथा स्थिर और बंधी हुई सामाजिक संरचना के रूप में पेश करता है तथा यह कि जातियां हमेशा से ही गतिशील रही हैं और अपने मूल्यों और अपने ज्ञान के जरिये समाज को अपना योगदान कराती रही हैं. जबकि यह बात सच है कि जातियां आज कट्टर ऊँच-नीच का शिकार हैं. यह अवश्य अध्ययन और चिंतन का विषय है कि ऐसी कट्टर ऊँच-नीच कब से और किन रूपों में रही है. यह भी कहा गया कि बिरादरियों के बीच ऊँच-नीच और उनके आत्म सम्मान और गौरव दोनों को उचित स्थान देते हुए उनके ज्ञान और मूल्यों को आधार बनाते हुए इस राजनीतिक दर्शन पर चिंतन ज़रूरी है जो एक नई राजनीति के द्वार खोले. अगर हम सम्मान और गौरव, इसका इतिहास और वर्तमान को सीधे राजनीति से जोड़ना चाहेंगे तो वह मोटे तौर पर वर्तमान राजनीति की सेवा में ही चला जाएगा, जैसा होते हुए देखा भी जा रहा है. आत्म सम्मान और गौरव और राजनीति को आपस में जोड़ने की कड़ी राजनीतिक दर्शन में है. अगर इसे अनदेखा किया गया तो समाज हित का राजनीतिक दखल नहीं तैयार हो पायेगा.

लक्ष्मण प्रसाद बिरादरियों के बीच उंच-नीच को ख़त्म  करने 
और आत्म सम्मान हासिल करने के शोषित समाज के आन्दोलन के बारे में विचार रखते हुए 

राजनीतिक दर्शन की चर्चा सामान्य नहीं है लेकिन सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं को प्रयास करके इस बारे में सोचना ज़रूरी है. उन्हें लोकस्मृति से, अपने इतिहास से और लोकविद्या के परिप्रेक्ष्य में उस विचार को मूर्त रूप देना है जो हमें एक अपने राजनैतिक दर्शन की ओर ले जायेगा.

राहुल राजभर बिरादरियों की वर्तमान गतिशीलता के बारे में बोलते हुए 

हरिश्चंद्र बिंद, नंदलाल. मोहम्मद अहमद, सुरेश वनवासी, राहुल राज, राम धीरज गुप्ताजी, चौधरी राजेन्द्र, महेंद्र प्रताप मौर्य, राम जनम और सुनील सहस्रबुद्धे ने ज्ञान पंचायत में अपने विचार रखे. ज्ञान पंचायत में इस बार अश्विन पूर्णिमा 31 अक्तूबर को पड़ी. अक्तूबर की 31 तारीख़ सरदार वल्लभ भाई पटेल, आचार्य नरेंद्र देव और आदि कवि वाल्मीकि की जयंती है. इसी दिन देश की प्रधानमन्त्री श्रीमती इंदिरा गाँधी की हत्या हुई थी, यह उनकी शहादत का दिन भी है. अलग-अलग वक्ताओं ने अपने वक्तव्यों में इनका ज़िक्र किया. ज्ञान पंचायत की शुरुआत युद्धेश के जनगीतों और लोकविद्या के बोल से हुई. 

 अंत में सुनील सहस्रबुद्धे ने कहा कि ऐसा प्रतीत होता है की इस बात को जब हम आगे बढ़ाएंगे तो इस ज्ञान पंचायत में उपस्थित युवाओं में कुछ ऐसे अवश्य हैं, जो बिरादरियों के मान सम्मान से जुड़े राजनैतिक दर्शन पर कुछ आगे की बात करेंगे. इसके बाद सभी ने खीर का प्रसाद ग्रहण किया.


विद्या आश्रम