Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let the dialogue be simultaneously both philosophical as well as political

The confirmations to the Hyderabad meeting give an impression that we are heading for a broad and intense dialogue. So let there be no constraints on this dialogue. The Varanasi statement and the decision to organise a Lokavidya Jan Andolan Conference in about a year's time should be seen as opening issues for dialogue in the Hyderabad Meet and not as anchors for moderation and direction.

In my opinion fundamental questioning of the idea , timing, preparedness, feasibility etc. of Lokavidya Jan Andolan should be seen not just as a valid exercise, but as something which is immensely needed. We are in need of an in-depth discussion which is simultaneously both philosophical as well as political. The conceptual discussion in Hyderabad can serve at a very high end. And surely we ought not to restrict ourselves to only talking about the idea. It would be both practical and valuable to have the conceptual discussion on the first day and organizational and practical issues on the second day.

Our chief concern, almost to the degree of preoccupation, is with people participating with initiative being a necessary condition for any genuine returns to them in any processes whatsoever. Lokavidya Jan Andolan conceptualizes this on a grand scale through a participatory intervention on the epistemic condition of society.

We have a concept of jan-andolan, mass-movement, coming down to us mainly from the movements of the 20th century. This is the baggage and now a new incarnation appropriate for the present age seems inevitable. A lokavidya jan-andolan may contribute to the beginning of such a new development. Jan andolan is the idiom of the day and seems to carry the message better than any other linguistic expression that we may devise for this purpose. Even if people do not take to streets and do not gather in capital cities, but stay back home with a purpose it ought to qualify as a jan-andolan. If people become conscious that their activity, agriculture, artisanry, local exchange, living in forests, managing precarious marginal businesses and managing households including bringing up children etc. are knowledge based activities and are able to stake claims in society in light of such consciousness, fresh ground would have been broken.

In one of our online dialogues, a few days back, C.N.Krishnan wrote:

In this 'era of knowledge', ideas and understanding are probably aplenty in
the air; the really big challenge may lie in making their connection to
the real world - or in ORGANISING around those ideas. This may not be a
'matter of detail' to be attended to after the theory is ready - this may
be THE challenge that needs to be figured out first, or in parallel with
the growth of the idea itself.

It is some where in this space that the present venture needs to be viewed.

Sunil Sahasrabudhey

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