Wednesday, May 23, 2012

LJA and Farmers' Struggle in MP

On 5th May 2012 there was a major clash between the farmers of Anuppur and the police in Madhya Pradesh. A large number of farmers are still in prison on a variety of charges. The farmers were protesting against the high handedness and total injustice meted out to them in acquiring their lands for the power plant being built by Moser Baer (first phase 1200 MW). Lands have been taken away at a compensation rate of Rs. 65,000/- for one acre. More than a year of protest under the shifting leadership of political parties brought no relief and now the struggle has been launched in the leadership of Bharatiya Kisan Union. Dilip Kumar from Varanasi made a trip last week to Jaithari, the site of the plant some 15 kms from the district center at Anuppur. He went around the region meeting farmers and BKU activists. There  is extreme resentment and anger against the company and the administration. It is the same story of completely false promises and no relief. Now BKU has given a call for a Kisan Maha-panchayat on 30th May 2012 at Jaithari. The entire region is in the grip of these huge coal based power projects- Anuppur, Umaria, Shahdol, Singrauli, and the adjoining districts of Chhattisgarh. The leadership of BKU may show some path to the farmers and adivasis of the region to face up to this assault.

A number of workers of Lokavidya Jan Andolan work with farmers organizations and also specifically with BKU. A group of us is planning to be in Jaithari on 30th May. There is our MP LJA Convention at Singrauli on 9-10 August 2012. On 27th May there is a preparatory meeting in Singrauli and on 29th May a preparatory meeting in Jabalpur. Those who can join these meetings can come with us to Jaithari, Anuppur for the farmers' maha-panchayat.

It is our understanding that farmers' and adivasis' interests can be understood and attended to, if we take to a lokavidya point of view, that is, their knowledge point of view. The farmers' struggle at Jaithari may have a great bearing on the struggle and organization of the people of that region who are so badly affected, literally uprooted, by these massive power plant bull-dozings. Lokavidya Jan Andolan needs to stand with these people and work with them to find a way. Our Singrauli convention and preparation of the same needs to develop organic links with these processes in this region.

This is to request you to think about this and send your suggestions, which can be considered in the preparatory meetings in Singrauli and Jabalpur. on 27th and 29th of this month.

LJA Secretariat
Vidya Ashram

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lokavidya Ashram

The idea of building Lokavidya Ashrams has been in debate for quite some time now among the close associates of  Vidya Ashram. Preliminary explorations have been done in Varanasi, Singrauli, Indore, Darbhanga and Hyderabad. These ashrams mainly located in the rural areas are expected to become places that symbolize the emergence of lokavidya philosophy as a social force and also develop into some kind of models of processes that are entirely inclusive in the knowledge domain. In a broad sense the objective of these ashrams could be 'contribution to the development of a knowledge based society in place of the present capital based society'.
The following is proposed for discussion on the question of thought and activity of the Ashram.
  1. Lokavidya Ashrams give equal respect to all traditions and locations of knowledge, refusing to accept any hierarchy in the world of knowledge.
  2. These ashrams stake a claim of unconditional priority  for lokavidya in the sense that all knowledge starts with lokavidya and must return to the world of lokavidya. Knowledge that does not come back to lokavidya becomes an enemy of the human kind, nature and society.
  3. These ashrams are the places from where Lokavidyadhar Samaj, that is peasants, adivasis, artisans, local artists, women, small retailers and those who genuinely serve the society derive their epistemic energies. 
  4. Here Gyan Panchayats take place on the problems of society. 
  5. Lokavidya Satsang are organized in these places.
  6. These ashrams shall actively initiate processes for building the competencies of the children and youth of the lokavidyadhar samaj in the areas of language, art, communication and connectivity. 
  7. The ashrams shall shape a concept and practice of 'epistemic up-bringing' and 'epistemic socialization' which is true to the values of lokavidya.

Vidya Ashram

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lokavidya Tana-bana

A new framework with new initiatives

in the areas of communication, connectivity and building relationships

in the lokavidydhar samaj to establish unity based on lokavidya.

In the Information Age the world of knowledge has begun to undergo a huge destabilization. New claims, new criteria, new places of knowledge activity, new types of knowledge activity and new instruments have come into existence throwing out of balance the entire world of knowledge. Possibilities have arisen to liberate the world of knowledge from the clutches of science. On one hand fundamental debates have begun in the philosophy of knowledge, creating respectable spaces for staking the claims of lokavidya. On the other, knowledge management and social media are creating new paradigms for development and politics, because of which new opportunities have arisen for conceptualizing new social formations based on the philosophy and reality of lokavidya and building a new politics of change based on lokavidya connectivity-communication frameworks. Lokavidya Jan Andolan and Lokavidya Tana-bana may be seen as enterprises shaping the initiatives of lokavidyadhar samaj in these new spaces.

The following emerged as the consensus in the Lokavidya Jan Andolan (LJA) Conference at Varanasi in November 2011 :

1.     LJA is the knowledge movement of the lokavidyadhar samaj.
2.     It places before the society the wide ranging and far reaching claims of lokavidya.
3.     It develops lokavidya perspectives on various movements of the constituents of lokavidyadhar samaj (farmers, artisans, adivasis, small shopkeepers and women).
4.     It shapes variety of initiatives to infuse lokavidya perspectives into the movements of the lokavidyadhar samaj.
5.     It spreads the idea of lokavidya in the world of activists through participation in and active relations with small and local organizations, institutions, struggles, publications and initiatives for connectivity and communications.
6.     It shapes all its activities in the light of the broad objectives of unity in lokavidyadhar samaj. It is in this unity that it also sees the criteria and tests of lokavidya perspectives.
7.     There is need of a new framework with new initiatives in the areas of communication, connectivity and building relationships in the lokavidydhar samaj to establish this unity and also for staking the desired claims of lokavidya before the world. It is this which is visualized as lokavidya tana-bana.

Lokavidya Jan Andolan (LJA) is in need of a connectivity-communication framework which is like media for the lokavidyadhar samaj. In the November conference at Varanasi related ideas were discussed in the name of ‘alternate media’ or ‘lokavidya media’. Since then in the discussions concerns are being voiced about the appropriateness of using the word ‘media’ for such purposes. It is contended that using the word ‘media’ invokes ideas and images that belong to a certain tradition which has not been in the interest of the lokavidyadhar samaj and also that it becomes a hurdle in the progress of ideas emanating from and connected with the world of lokavidya. It is in these discussions that the phrase lokavidya tana-bana emerged to suit the purpose. We need to deliberate on it and experiment with it to test its appropriateness and effectiveness. So, lokavidya tana-bana is suggested to be the name of the instrument for connectivity and communication in LJA.

1.     Just as lokavidya lives in society and does not reside in any institutions or instruments, similarly lokavidya tana-bana ought to be an inseparable part of society.
2.     It is constituted by people who take initiative from a lokavidya perspective to develop communication and connectivity within the lokavidyadhar samaj and take the message of LJA into the larger society.
3.     It does not see economics, politics, culture, social and philosophical aspects as separate from one another, but on the contrary insists on their being integrally related aspects of human thought and activity.
4.     It establishes connection between the activities and expressions of the lokavidyadhar samaj and develops new relations among them to facilitate and enhance the processes of recovery of their lost world and reconstruction of a new one.
5.     While working to build lokavidya tana-bana, we will need to understand the limitations and pitfalls of the concept of ‘representation’ belonging to the English-educated society of our country. In the ‘representative’ lies the sanction to legitimate existence outside and above the society. However moral, responsible, sensitive and efficient be this servant of society, these qualities fail to bring the representative back into the society. The idea of ‘representative’ itself presupposes a philosophy or world outlook that legitimizes existence outside and above society. This inevitably leads the society into rot, in different ways, in different places, at different times.
6.     Lokavidyadhar samaj does not want representative, on the contrary it needs to develop such limbs of its own which are capable of contention in the larger world to pave the way for its liberation. Lokavidya tana-bana is imagined to be such a limb of the lokavidyadhar samaj.

The conferences, publications and dialogues that will take place in the LJA during 2012 may open the debate on the idea of lokavidya tana-bana.

In a meeting in Vidya Ashram in February 2012 a committee was constituted for the Lokavidya Tana-bana initiative. It consists of the following.
1.     Ravi Shekhar, Convener        Lucknow
2.     Dilip Kumar ‘Dili’                 Varanasi
3.     Ekta Singh                            Singrauli/Lucknow
4.     Sunil Mandal                         Madhubani
5.     Ajay                                      Singrauli
6.     Gunjan Singh                         Wardha

Posted by Vidya Ashram

Sunday, May 6, 2012

LJA Marches Ahead

The last post in this blog was on 12th Feb. 2012. Since then a number of activities have taken place, like Vidya Ashram and LJA Sanyojan Samiti meetings in Sewagram, Bihar State LJA Convention at Darbhanga, a series of meetings in and around Indore and an initiative from Varanasi in the name of Lokavidya Tana-Bana, to name the important ones. Ground level activities are underway in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,Uttar Pradesh, Bihar  and Madhya Pradesh, these are specifically located in the areas of Chirala, Bangluru, Varanasi, Darbhanga, Singrauli and Indore. Much of this has been reported in our Hindi periodical Lokavidya Panchayat, a pdf copy of which must have reached most of you and a link to it will be made available on this blog shortly. For those who read Telugu, a link will also be provided to our Telugu periodical Lokavidya Prapancham.
Given below are some photos of these events.

Now we plan to use this blog regularly to report and seek comments on the various activities being undertaken under the banner of Lokavidya Jan Andolan. This is the andolan we are building and these are the pages where we would connect with one another. So it is of utmost importance that a large number of you from different regions post your writings on it and comment on what appears here.

Chirala and Singrauli are on the agenda next. 

An Andhra Pradesh Lokavidya convetntion is planned for Chirala on 24-25May 2012, at BV & BN High school, Jandrapet. Main issues for discussion would be Lokavidya objectives-constitution, Globalisation-Labour law reforms, Minor irrigation-drought condition, Agriculture crisis, Sompeta Kakarapallil-Beena land grab, Nuclear Vdyut-Environment pollution and Dalit-Bahujan movements. 

A Madhya Pradesh Lokavidya Jan Andolan Convention has been planned for Singrauli on 9-10 August 2012. Displacement, power and lokavidya based employment for all are likely to be the chief concerns at this convention. Preparations have started. Ravi, Ekta, Babloo and Dilip are planning to relocate themselves in the Singrauli area to work with Awdhesh and his team during this intervening period. A preparatory meeting is planned at Singrauli on 27th May and one in Jabalpur on 29th May.

Vidya Ashram

 Lokavidya Tana-Bana Youth Shivir at Vidya Ashram, 19 Feb., 2012

Lokavidya Jan Andolan Sanyojan and Salahkar  Samiti joint meeting at Sewagram, 17 March,2012

 A farmers' Gyan Panchayat against land grab at Village Kali Billod in Indore district, 25 March, 2012

Bihar LJA Convention, Darbhanga, 31 March 2012