Sunday, March 27, 2016

Vidya Ashram National Meet Report

This is to report on the Vidya Ashram National Meet that took place at the Ashram premises in Sarnath on 27-28 February 2016. As declared many months ago the meeting constituted extensive deliberations on and around the theme - What would/should the world look like if and when the lokavidya knowledge claims are satisfied. The question was taken on in a holistic manner - philosophical, political, economic, cultural and social aspects came into debate. The idea of Lokavidya Swaraj was taken to occupy the center stage in the sense that it may be seen to refer holistically to that society where lokavidya knowledge claims are satisfied.

From what transpired, one may say that although the explicit formulation in terms of Lokavidya Swaraj may be of relatively recent making, it seems to have been the focus around which debates and activities of Lokavidya Jan Andolan (LJA) have all along been taking place. This is the political imagination of that knowledge movement whose bearers have not been to the university - LJA being one expression of it. True to its manner of approach this Vidya Ashram National Meet started with the contention that all political/social systems have their knowledge bases and that the knowledge basis of Swaraj is lokavidya. So the ideas and practice around Lokavidya Darshan, Lokavidya Economics, Gyan Panchayat, Lokavidya Bazar, Kisan Karigar Panchayat, Unity of Lokavidya Samaj, Lokavidya Satsang, Lokavidya Panchayat, Lokavidya Prapancham and Bhaichara Vidyalaya came into discussion to give a robust start to building the idea of Lokavidya Swaraj. It was stressed by some that LJA needs to focus more on building organization than it has done thus far.

The discussions revealed that Lokavidya Swaraj was being seen by most as a focus around which Vidya Ashram activities and thoughts could be woven  and taken to the public domain to contribute to the processes of change on the ground. It is a find in the sense that it provides a new beginning.

Given below is the list of activities on which there was a consensus. The name of place indicates that from there the initiative is expected. 

  1. Program for goverment employee like income for those who work with lokavidya. Work to be organized in association with farmer's organizations, artisan's organizations and Kisan-Karigar Panchayat. -Varanasi, Nagpur.
  2. Broad debates on Lokavidya Swaraj and the Unity of Lokavidya-Samaj. Global Knowledge Dialogue to be shaped through dialogue with the variety of knowledge movements. - Bangaluru.
  3. Building of Lokavidya Bazar. - Hyderabad, Indore
  4. Advancing the process of Gyan Panchayat. Indore, Varanasi.
  5. Adiwasi Kisan Ekta. - Singrauli
  6. Kisan_Karigar panchaytat - 15-16 October 2016, Varansi
  7. Lokavidya Swaraj Panchayat (Sangeeti). - Bangaluru, Varanasi
  8. Lokavidya - Kala-Darshan. - Varanasi
The recent student movement marked by events on university campuses in Hyderabad, Delhi, Pune, Allahabad and Jadabpur etc. and its suppression by university administrations supported by the political dispensation was also discussed. It was noted that generally speaking the regional political forces or large movements like farmers' movements have not taken clear sides. In such a situation the LJA may on the one hand support these student movements and on the other open dialogue with regional political forces and the farmers' movements. Last year at the time of Bihar Assembly Elections, the LJA had taken the position that now the movement for Social Justice needs to move into its next stage, in which the main demand ought to be Equal remuneration for lokavidya work. Farmers and artisans must have earnings equal to that of a government employee. It needs to challenge the special social status of the university and struggle for equal status for lokavidya, the knowledge of the people. Such a dialogue should be opened with the student movement that they ought not to think that they are something special and superior to the farmers and artisans, that such thinking is incorrect, narrow and unjust.

The meeting was attended by about 50 persons, about 15 coming from out side Varanasi, namely - Singrauli, Delhi, Indore, Nagpur, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangaluru. The outside participation included Lakshmichand Dube, Awdhesh Kumar, Jagnarayan Mahato, Avinash Jha, Sanjeev daji, Girish Sahasrabudhey, K.K. Surendran, B. Krishnrajulu, Narayan Rao, Abhijit Mitra, J.K. Suresh, Amit Basole and Sivaram Krishnan. From Varanasi there was active participation of Dilip Kumar, Lakshman Prasad, Arun Kumar, Premlata Singh, Chitra Sahasrabudhey and Sunil.  

Prepared by Vidya Ashram

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