Monday, January 31, 2011

Lokavidya Jan Andolan (LJA)

This is the blog we have started for discussions on the idea and strategy of Lokavidya Jan Andolan (LJA) which is the subject of the Hyderabad Meet of 27-28 Feb. called by Vidya Ashram.
In this blog we expect the invitees of the Hyderabad Meet to write their ideas and views on LJA. This may be in the form of independent write ups or/and as response to the writings that may appear here. Both long and short write -ups and long and short comments are welcome.
The idea of LJA is just beginning to take shape and we already find that to start with it is highly demanding conceptually, one big reason why the Hyderabad Meet was thought of. This is a meeting of very thoughtful persons who have through their lives engaged with both the high end of modern thought and social concern. Almost all the participants know about Vidya Ashram, in fact in one way or another we have worked together at different periods of time. Critical thought about knowledge, the idea of lokavidya , the idea of a knowledge movement, that of a jan andolan as a desirable and necessary condition of pro-people radical change, none of this is alien to any of you, on the contrary thinking on such issues has been a forte of most of you.
Many of us who have been engaged in building Vidya Ashram and a campaign around lokavidya will of course write in this blog and debate the issues. But this is to request all of you invited for the meeting on 27-28 Feb. in Hyderabad to find time to engage with the above ideas and write on this blog. This would hopefully prepare us properly to take maximum advantage of this gathering. From the confirmations we already have of participation, it seems we are heading for an intense, friendly and critical meeting. Let us prepare to make the best of it.
The idea of LJA was first discussed at Vidya Ashram in Varanasi in Nov. 2010.
Given below is the Varanasi Statement which was sent with the invitation. However I must reiterate that every aspect is open for discussion. The Varanasi Statement only tells you how we took this start and may perhaps be a help in anchoring one's thoughts.
Sunil Sahasrabudhey
31 Jan. 2011
The Varanasi Statement
(Nov. 2010)
· The era of Globalization and the Internet has made explicit and brought into focus the two strands in the world of knowledge, namely, lokavidya and organized knowledge. The separation of and the relation between these two worlds of knowledge seem to be at the same time the cause as well as the effect of the digital divide in the real world. The gap between the rich and the poor has picked up pace and one sees peasants, adivasis, workers, artisans, pavement retailers and their families (the lokavidyadhar samaj) being uprooted from a fresh end. Two worlds are being created in broad day light. On one side there is unconstrained celebration; the politics in the capital cities, institutions of religious authority, big capital and global market and the apex educational institutions all are in a celebratory mood with 'no holds barred', whereas on the other side those trying to organize the incessantly dispossessed are struggling to find pathways to be able to confront this new arrogance and capacity of the ruling classes.
· It is important to understand that these emancipatory pathways traverse through the world of knowledge. Peasants and adivasis, artisans and women, pavement retailers and workers need to stake a claim for lokavidya. They need to claim that a radical challenge to capital and commercialization of knowledge can be posed only by lokavidya. They need to also claim that only lokavidya provides the knowledge bases for a society based on truth, social and economic equality and bhaichara. We need to understand that until these claims are staked we shall remain prisoners of our preconcieved notions of radical social change, without effect. The knowledge claim of the lokavidyadhar samaj alone can give birth to new thought in the realms of economics, society, politics and culture. The process of giving shape to such claims is the process of Lokavidya Jan Andolan.
· Lokavidya is the fundamental form of knowledge, it lives among the people. All knowledge starts with lokavidya and returns to Lokavidya. Knowledge that refuses to return to lokavidya, turns against society and nature and does not deserve to be called knowledge. Lokavidya Jan Andolan is that knowledge movement of the lokavidyadhar samaj which opens the pathways of radical reorganization of society in people's interest from a lokavidya standpoint.