Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Where-to Lokavidya Jan Andolan ?

On 19th May Lalit Kaul wrote on this blog under the title ' Silent Revolution : Courtesy Lokavidyadhar Samaj ' , outlining a strategy for Lokavidya Samaj in the present moment characterized by the complete majority in Lok Sabha achieved by BJP in 2014 General elections in the leadership of Narendra Modi, who now heads the Government of India as the new Prime Minister. Kaul has suggested in that post that Modi led BJP won because Lokavidya Samaj voted for them. So, the time is opportune for Lokavidya Samaj to present before Modi its needs to be fulfilled by the new government. He suggests that the LJA needs to take an initiative to start a dialogue with Modi & Co. with such an objective and if the government fails to respond, it must chalk out its own political strategy and prepare for 2019. Following are some responses to that post which were sent on an e-mail list. We have chosen to extract them from there and post here so that more people can join this debate, a debate which we think should be expanded.

 LJA Secretariat  
 Vidya Ashram      

Avinash Jha,   Delhi,  20 May 2014

Could you give us some clue as to why Modi or his karyakartas would be interested in any agenda of lokavidyadhar samaj?
Is it because lokavidyadhar samaj voted for him? But so did the non-lokavidyadhar samaj.
Have you come across in any statement of Modi or BJP an awareness of lokavidyadhar samaj and their problems? Would Modi be open to the idea of equal right on natural and national resources, for example?
If you are just saying that now that he is in power let us communicate our demand to him and the BJP, then it is a different matter.

Lalit Kaul,  Hyderabad,  20 May 2014

Had only Non-Lokavidhyadhar Samaj voted for BJP, it would not have got the majority that it got & Modi would not have been the most powerful P.M. since 1984. The credit solely goes to Lokavidhyadhar Samaj for BJP getting cognizance in Rural India. BJP has been transformed from an urban based party to a party of the masses. Therefore BJP & Modi have duties to be performed towards the samaj. Amit Shah's brilliance notwithstanding, the credit for transcending all imposed barriers and distinctions goes only to the Samaj. An honest introspection by BJP & Modi cannot loose sight of this fact. The Samaj has put total faith in Modi's promises and voted for him; it is in the prime interest of BJP & Modi to heed the requirements of the Samaj for leading a dignified life based on their science, technology, and philosophy of life. Modi wants to rule for next 15 years !!

We need to start on a positive note with Modi while at the same time continuously evaluating his response. The idea is not only to catapult the LJA to National level by communicating to the world that there exists a viable way of interacting with Nature & its resources without being a burden on it, but also to mobilize the Samaj with a political intent so that they are able to capture the political space due to Modi's failure to deliver. Modi needs to be approached with all the resources at command of LJA & not disposed off with contempt. In any eventuality it is only going to be a win-win situation for the Samaj & LJA, because there is nothing to be lost further, as on date.    

Karyakartas are our first level link with the high command. Planning can be done at various levels, where Rajnath Singh can be requested for a meeting under the banner of LJA & other associated social organizations. In UP Bihar MP & other places local BJP leaders can be got in touch to push LJA agenda, Varanasi & other associates within LJA do have this enormous capability to effectively articulate the needs of the Samaj & how it would tremendously ease the pressure on employment generation.

What is suggested is a political agenda & honest one at that for emancipation of the Samaj & for LJA and its role to become historic in modern India. LJA need to make impact at National level with all the backing that its karyakartas have in terms of struggle, articulation, understanding of socio-economic issues, etc. etc. Modi's failure is Samaj & LJA's golden chance ; Modi's positive response - in terms of gradual implementation of LJA agenda- is Samaj emancipation.

Why not give it a try! Life is after all an experiment!!

Lalit Kaul,  Hyderabad,  20 May 2014

Further to the preceding mail. I want to add that if anybody has heard Modi in his election rallies, his interview to Arnob Goswami, his speech today in presence of BJP Allies & other senior leaders of BJP; one cannot miss the point that he has been addressing to the concerns of the samaj, not so explicitly as LJA, though. Perhaps that is what convinced the masses who broke away with all the traditions/ patterns of voting in the past and went whole hog with Modi. They have voted for Modi & not so much for NDA & much less for BJP; it is my understanding having followed him very keenly all through his campaign. My keenness was not due to so called 'Gujarat Model'. but the fact that he came from indescribably humble and poor family; so if his heart did not go out to the masses; whose else would! After Lal Bahadur Shastri he is going to be the first non-elite P.M. For me, those are his credentials.

LJA need to impress upon Modi that Lokavidhyadhar Samaj is not qualified to accept doles; it is qualified enough to become a forceful productive force in the sodio-economic dispensation of our country only if Science Technology and life styles are not looked through myopic vision. If it is conceded that a multi- lingual, multi- relgious, multi- racial country can also be multi-civilizational. That the Samaj need to be conceded as much space in the growth and development of Bharat/India as the westernized class within our country, if not more; because the Samaj based on its vidhya, that is self attained & self sustained, has tremendous potential to solve the problems of employment, poverty; caste , religion and sex based discrimination, because unbelievably huge mass of people would get engaged not only in productive activities but also in interactive ones. 

Modi cannot be expected to have as much understanding of the Samaj as the activists of LJA & the ingredients of Samaj. Therefore it is solemn duty of the LJA to bring these issues under the focus of Modi through his channels at various levels in as many states as possible.
LJA has to heard at highest level in the country & for that an effort with open mind is the imperative. If Modi fails, LJA & Samaj would be prepared to occupy space enough to matter in the power politics at Center. 

Amit Basole ,   Mumbai,  31 May 2014 
I don't know if anyone saw Arnab Goswami's shout-fest a couple of nights ago, on the Smriti Irani issue. It was very interesting. The controversy over her appointment as HRD Minister pointed to the latent space lokavidya occupies in the national imagination. Does the minister in charge of education need to be formally educated? Apparently the answer to this question is not an unqualified, uncomplicated, “yes” even on the English-language news channels. Of course, part of it is the compulsive need to defend Modi at any cost. So the arguments being advanced in Ms. Irani’s defense are largely opportunistic. But they are nevertheless interesting. The principal arguments seem to be that formal education is not an indicator of ability, that the vast majority of the country is not college educated, hence their "knowledge problems" have nothing to do with going to college. In making this last point Shahid Siddiqui brought up weavers and metal-workers.  Ordinarily, the new middle classes that have backed Modi heavily are expected to be technocratic in their disposition and indeed, it is doubtful that those who are defending Ms. Irani on lokavidya grounds would similarly entrust the country’s economic development to a lokavidya-holder. Still, it is noteworthy when this penchant for technocracy is suspended...

K.K.Surendran, Pune   31 May 2014

I think LJA must undertake an informed debate , NOT on the possible immediate future actions of Modi govt. and personalities in it, BUT on the last 10 years of Gujarat govt. strictly in terms of the indexes LJA adopts. What was done by Gujarat govt on the issues dear to LJA and the modalities adopted for doing? In Apke Adalat program Modi publicly stated that almost all ( 99.*%) villages of Gujarat has three things - clean drinking water, food, electricity.  If that is true. figuring out how much the 'development' of Gujarat is from the diamond merchants and Gujarati business men of Mumbai ( UK, USA, Honkong etc) and the poor ( enterprising) Gujarati's repatriation of cash from Africa, Middle East, Rest of India etc. should be important in understanding this 'development process'. How much of the illegal mining and trade in ores - coal, manganese,...- in the Maoist corridor is carried out by Gujarati and Marwari enterprising businessmen, often quite small men, may also help. If a poor CPM chief minister were to become PM and shouts to replicate the Kerala model of Education, Cleanliness and Health, Wage structure and Social equality in the country the pundits and media will have their last laugh- for very different reasons! So, in summary, if development took place in Gujarat in 10 years how does the Vidyadhar Samaj see it?  Do they want to reproduce it?

Also, it is clear that 'Administrative Reform' is perhaps a sure route to kill AAP's political ambitions. It may also be interesting to continue the LJA caste debate in the context of how Modi is using the name of Ambedkar - starting from the victory speech in Vadodara. I will not be surprised to next hear him say: That is the essence of Vivekananda's vision. As for corruption, it is very easy to get even with the middle class by pointing out that they are corrupt and should purify themselves - in house repairs, medical reimbursement, leave encashment, LTC and such things, and last but not least in every transaction of purchase of housing and land - even a small plot for building a house - paying upto five times in black money, not to any govt. official but among themselves! very much like the stock brokers doing it among themselves - the shares of some public sector companies went up as much as 70% in 3 days - from 16th to 19th May. 

Lalit Kaul,  Hyderabad , 31 May 2014

In my opinion both Surendran and Amlt have made some reasonable points. However, having lived in Bengal for nearly eight years, I want to respond to Poor CPM Chief Minister.

CPM ruled for nearly four decades. What they achieved was systematic closure of all cottage industries. Inqlab Zindabad was the order of the day. DVC power corporation is a classical point in case. Generation capacity 1000 MW. Generation history 150MW! Inqlab Zindabad! Indira Gandhi made a political decision by putting her man Mr Sethi as CMD of DVC. CPM goons literally beat him to death. Post hospitalization he implemented his ways by isolating goons of Kyoto Basu. Generation went up to 850 MW!

I donot give a damn about what Marx, Lenin, Gandhi, Krishna, & other greats said or did. My problem with anybody & everybody, including myself, is that having taken a responsibility how it was shouldered. CPM & AAP failed people's expectations. If CPM had any ideology for socio economic development of people, other than violence, they should have at least tried to implement that. They did nothing except for perpetuating violence. The icing on the cake was handing over the most fertile tracts of lands to Tatas! 

I left Bengal in 1980 to return in 2009; only to the same hungry, half naked, emaciated Bengal! 

So much for the poor Chief Minister! 

Kejrival is another hoodwinker. He quit on the issue of Jan Lokpal Bill that was not within his purview! The man is so arrogant that without anything to show for in public life he challenges 3 times CM! He should have administered Delhi & tackled corruption, the slogan on which he came to power.

Somebody need Inform Kejrival & his guru Hazare that dishonesty of intent cannot be tackled by bills.

LJA need to inform the self styled leaders that corruption can be handled only when Lokavidhyadhar Samaj gets actively involved in the progress of India/ Bharat.

LJA cannot afford to remain an island bound by its debates and digging historical facts. This is the best chance for the Samaj to make Modi realize their importance to him and plan to extract  the price for his victory. LJA has to play that Historical role!

A question: How much had M K Gandhi debated & analyzed before he resolved to fight against injustice?

Amit Basole , Mumbai , 31 May 2014

Perhaps I should clarify. From what little I know, I do not think that the "Gujarat model" has much in common with an LJA vision. The kind of analysis of Gujarat that Surendranji refers to has been done to some extent. At Sanhati we had collected some items on this issue: Atul Sood has a book about this also.
Regarding BJP/RSS and lokavidya, I think they have always made overtures in the lokavidya direction. The PPST split in the late 1980s would be a case in point. Others on this list know much more about it than me. But my own feeling is that if the Marxists and socialists of various persuasions have run out of ideas, then the RSS is worse because not only do they have a similar bankruptcy in their economic thinking but their social vision is much more dangerous.

Surendran , Pune , 1st June 2014

I meant it as a way to come to not get limited by the past perceptions of both BJP and RSS in the context of Modi. The important thing about debating the last 10 years of Gujarat is that PM Modi is 'satisfied with it'. So, I thought that is the 'sankalp' for the next 10 years which he wants. That is, in a sense we already know the upper limit in 2024!  Amit, the bankruptcy you mentioned is evident; but can we pin down the strands of thought that is leading the people today and may be tomorrow? And, then we may also have some questions to create clarity at this juncture:

0. Is there a hidden adherence to "science" in the formulation of lokavidya thought?

1. Knowledge is a "species characteristic" ... seems to be is a strictly modern scientific description/view.

2. In what sense is science of networks and communication technology NOT science?

3. Is the description of science being 'Asuri' replaceable with something without a racial / hindu mythological connotation?

4. What is really the idea of knowledge not returning to Lokavidya, how does something return? Is it meant to denote givjng back, recreating the newer form etc. where is the creativity taking place to achieve that? And return, how slowly, how fast? Knowing this seems to be knowing all!

5. Will the farmer of the plain ( lokavidyadhar samaj) consider the tribal slash/burn cultivators equal in knowledge? Similar question in other hierarchies regarding some functions with defining characteristics of 'science'.

6. The characterization of "todays struggles are being carried out by people NOT educated in Universities, ( as opposed to student and women's movements ...) and that calling for the lokavidya perspective - is this division of the history of struggles accurate or convenient or motivated by different considerations?
more later.

Lalit Kaul , Hyderabad , 1st June 2014

When Amit says " RSS social vision is much more dangerous", does he mean that caste based divisions will be much more deepened & that other religious groups will be suppressed; or, any problem with Hindutva ? 

Amit Basole , Mumbai , 2nd June 2014

I think all of the above. As I understand it, the RSS's vision
influenced by the European one nation-one religion-one people model is
deeply antithetical to the lokavidya civilizational ethos. It offers
no way forward on caste/jati, is anti-worker (e.g. role played in
destruction of unions in Mumbai and elsewhere), and is a big step back
on religious pluralism.

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