Monday, April 29, 2013

The Varanasi Shivir 26-28 April 2013

A three day Lokavidya Karykarta Shivir concluded yesterday, Sunday 28th April, at Vidya Ashram Sarnath.   The Shivir was attended by about 30 persons coming from Singrauli ( M.P.), Balrampur ( Chhattisgarh), Darbhanga (Bihar), Sonbhadra and Varanasi (U.P.). There was lively discussion on various aspects of lokavidya darshan and the LJA program at different places from where participants had come.

The shivir days were broadly divided into theoretical discussions in the morning and program oriented discussion in the afternoon and then a participatory Lokavidya Gayaki in the evening.

Theoretical discussions were initiated by Sunil. The themes  taken up were lokavidya darshan in general, the meaning of regular income to every household on the basis of what they know and do (lokavidya) in its historical, social, economic and political context and the lokavidya standpoint on History, Education, Industry, Agriculture and Market. Premlata Singh initiated the discussion on lokavidya point of view on women's situation in society and their movement. On each theme there was good and down to earth dialogue  playing the desired clarificatory role for initiating and organizing activity in Lokavidya Jan Andolan. 

The team from Varanasi reported on the preparatory activity it has undertaken for a Kisan-Karigar Ekta Campaign which is expected to culminate in conferences in Magahar (Kabir Nirvan Sthali) and Lucknow. Persons engaged in this are Dilip Kumar 'dili', Laxman Prasad, Premlata Singh,  Ehsan Ali, Aalam, Babloo Kumar, and several BKU activists and Bunkar Sangathan activists from the regions. 

Awdhesh, Ravi and Ekta from Lokavidya Ashram Singrauli reported on mobilization of the local people on problems they face as a result of pollution and high handed action resulting from the Power Industry there. Discussion revolved around how to understand the lokavidya point of view in such situations so that the immediate and the short term is well attended too. Dhanu and Ganga had come from Dhari, a village at the south end of Singrauli bordering with Chhattisgarh. They described their work in the village, which mainly involved fighting corruption and getting people their due. A decision was taken to organize a LJA conference with a Lokavidya Gayaki program in that region on 25th May, the Buddha Purnima day. 

A group of Agariyas had come from Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh. Shriram and Dhanpat, the leaders of this group proposed an Agariya Mahapanchayat in tune with the decision of the LJA Conference at Singruli last September. Issues internal to the Agariya community, government policy on the science and technology of ferrous metallurgy they are masters of and the issue of regular and definite income for every household on the basis of their knowledge and equal to the emoluments of a government employee are being seen as the main themes around which this mahapanchayat can be planned. The panchayat to be held at Wadraffnagar in Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh some time this winter will expect participation also from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and  Jharkhand. All these states come very close to Wadraffnagar and have Agariyas living in those areas.

Vijay Kumar and Chandraveer Narayan the two chief architects of LJA in Bihar were present in the Shivir. They have acquired a place in the District Board premises of Darbhanaga at Lahariya Sarai from where Lokavidya Jan Andolan is being organized. This place will be inaugurated soon and a Lokavidya Shivir will be organized there to build the team in Bihar further with equipment to erect a movement around the demand of government level salary for every household on the basis of lokavidya. 

One major achievement of the shivir was a beginning on the journey of Lokavidya Gayaki. Dilip developed the following lines, sang them there and proposed them for spread with Lokavidya Satsangs. 

लोकविद्या के स्वामी बोल 
अपने ज्ञान का दावा खोल 
तेरा ज्ञान है      अनमोल 
मूर्ख, गंवार न खुद को तोल 
ज्ञान का अपने दावा ठोक 

There was a feeling in the shivir that such gayaki would go a long way in developing both the thought and the movement for change. The gayaki itself would grow greatly through the movement, namely the LJA.

Vidya Ashram

Friday, April 5, 2013

LJA: Quest for Civilization?

LJA: Quest for Civilization?
(Discriminating between True & False of Life)
Lalit K Kaul
The Truth of life may be death or easing in to another unknown form of life; the end point boundary condition for dynamics of life may or may not be free (unknown Truth), but in reaching that end point whether the life has been true or false is of utmost importance.
Whatever is found in Nature is bio degradable so that whatever is born out of it finally merges in to it in consonance with decay of matter and its assimilation by the very creator. The whole system is so well designed that it does not perpetuate a problem creation-solution finding circle. It is complete in itself sustaining innumerable species of fauna and flora, in addition to providing resources for human ‘civilizations’ since times unknown. The circle of emerging from and merging in to same Whole is flawless.
On the contrary, the contemporary human civilization revels in problem creation-solution finding circle; creates monsters that cannot be easily dispensed with; challenges decay of matter; is perpetually engaged in creating oligarchies that incessantly seek to arrogate all the resources/power on to itself to posit a single dimensional system on the entire humanity- be it in the sphere of politics, economics, education, art, science, and culture etc. etc. The modern societies have become like pre programmed robots that obey and implement game plan of various oligarchies. There is no reason to question the authenticity of their scientific claims and their inquisitiveness to uncover ‘Truth’, but what is unquestionably objectionable is that the whole premise of modern civilization is based on total exploitation of human societies that are essentially heterogeneous in character, but are being ruthlessly homogenized. This exploitation is so visible to naked eyes that this fact and truth is beyond debate. While the ‘Truth’ may or may not be uncovered one day, the dynamics of life in the mean time is being robbed of its truth with its existence being dictated to be ‘False’.
The God and the Electron:
The Nature and the entire universe is the expression of some unknown emotion regulated by its own laws defined by some unknown intelligence. If it is just a ‘coincidence’ yet it is the most fascinating and enchanting combination of that emotion and intelligence that is still as unfathomable as it was at its inception. In its scheme of things, ‘Time’ is ever continuous entity; not discrete and therefore any event dependent on it cannot be manipulated; therefore occurrence of various events in the universe cannot be manipulated by itself. The Nature and the universe is a heterogeneous entity; even if the occurrences within it are of random nature, yet they seem to have some kind of correlation between them making it ever sustainable and regenerative. In spite of the quantum of ‘violence’ imbibed within it, all species within it have their own defense mechanisms. Life exists in innumerable forms with each one having the freedom to sustain their lives even as death is inevitable. Life is ‘True’. This is the civilization as ordained by whatever created this most intricate, intelligent and awe inspiring system. For whatever may be the cause/reason/intelligence for its creation; I take this liberty to name it as ‘God’. L J A aspire post modern civilization to be like this?
Man is only a miniscule part of this system supposedly with highest level of intellectual capacity (comprehension) from among the innumerable species found in the universe. The architect of contemporary ‘modern civilization’/ robotic civilization; annihilator of pre modern civilizations; annihilator of Time and matter, and a great homogenizer having succeeded in creating a system that is the anti-thesis of ‘God’s’ civilization. The atomization of matter (birth of Electron) followed by discretization of Time and Space accrued to Man limitless manipulative capability that enabled him to disfigure any natural form and create his own desired form. Colonization is its premise and weapons of mass destruction the means to sustain it. Its creations have been essentially inefficient systems, predatory in character whose emergence have created all kinds of disorders and imbalances in ‘God’s’ civilization and yet are being flaunted as ‘science’ and ‘technological’ marvels. The robots in the system are intoxicated with the unlimited availability of electronic gadgets for ‘comforts of life’, even while the life itself is on the verge of becoming inanimate. The ‘haves’ continue to have it in plenty bordering hedonism while the ‘have-nots’ are continued to be deprived in plenty.
The ‘haves’ unquestionably believe in the existence of Electron as if they had seen it with their own eyes; the ‘have-nots’ believe as much in God as if they had seen HIM/HER/IT with their own eyes. One is deeply entrenched in ‘robotic civilization’ the other aspires to be in the lap of ‘God’s’ civilization.
The Limitation and the Victim:
The limitation of the premise of technology driven civilization is that it cannot accommodate entire Indian population in its scheme of things to afford them a kind of living that is availed by a very miniscule percentage of the whole populace, the victim is Lokavidhyadhar Samaj. Therefore the yardstick like BPL and the schemes like minimum wages/ employment are institutionalized not so much out their concern for the left-outs as for buying peace/stability to ensure uninhibited growth of the economies of the extant civilization. Since ‘growth & development’ has become synonym with building concrete jungles, ever spiraling real estate prices, and rise in BSE index; therefore augmentation of infrastructures to ensure transfer of Natural resources (wealth) to sustain it has acquired top most priority. It also ensures faster transit for labour from Lokavidhyadhar Samaj to within its fold. Employment of labour is also a political requirement otherwise the entire ‘development’ works can be easily automated to win accolades for ‘better economic sense’ since the profits would be maximized.
The entry points for labour from Lokavidhyadhar Samaj are slums and therefore they are allowed to come up and exist thereafter post regularization. Slums are seen as a gateway to better life (this perception being shared on both sides of the divide) for the generation next of the Lokavidhyadhar Samaj, the concomitant growth in crime rates notwithstanding. Ironically, higher crime rates also propel higher ‘growth’ rates because to tackle crime ‘law and order’ machinery is that much more strengthened what with more import of sophisticated arms and ammunitions to be nearly (if not completely) balanced out with more engineered exports- be it raw materials, finished goods, textiles, agricultural produce, etc.- by facilitating rupee devaluation.
The Divide:
The divide is civilization based; centralized over de-centralized concept of what all encompasses human endeavour; machine over man; automation over employment of millions of human brains and hands; concentrated intelligence over distributed mass intelligence; power to subjugate over power to self rule.
Is the as now vanquished civilization trying to re-emerge by re-grouping itself through Lokavidya Jan Andolan (L J A) or is it about extracting more favours from its adversary? It may be necessary to address to this question as that alone will decide what shape L J A takes in times to come. If the endeavour is to visualize (envision) post-modern civilization then LJA is bound to question many (or all) assertions (foundations) of modern civilization.
In my opinion the most important and profusely relevant subject for debate – if we are to question modern dispensation- is whether State’s interests should have precedence over those of individual/community/societies or should it be other way round? What kind of education, life, and property one envisages when terminologies like ‘Right to Education’, ‘Right to Life’, and ‘Right to Property’ etc. are glorified? ‘Right to Equality’, we are told is enshrined in our Constitution; in the context of such glaring disparities in our societies, of what relevance is the very Constitution on which is founded the Indian State, is a moot point to deliberate upon.
More importantly, population size cannot be made a scapegoat for gross inequalities that we witness in our land. That we are a densely populated nation, is a comparative statement; even as we are populated in whatever numbers we are, it is the duty of the state to either institutionalize such mechanisms that are capable of gainfully employing people or create opportunities wherein people employ themselves gainfully. Our Constitution has not put any limit on the population size that it is not applicable to populace outside that limit. Moreover those who talk of population size conveniently forget that they too have contributed to its numbers!

Right to Profession:
L J A can perhaps articulate its demand for ‘Right to Profession’; that is, one should be free to choose one’s profession. The professions like doing agriculture, weaving, spinning, cloth making and others like carpentry, etc. have been and continue to be family based, therefore they should be encouraged to continue in the family profession by providing for continuous up-gradation of associated infrastructures so that over a period of time their professions become viable enabling them to compete in the market; encouragement should be on the similar basis as has been going on for setting up of industries.
Right to Land’ without ‘Right to viable Agriculture’ does not make much of the sense because the land hawks are ever ready to grab the land what with lack of resources having made the land unproductive. If paucity of irrigation facilities has made a piece of land unproductive then these need to be provided by the State as the input in a similar fashion as it does for the industrialists. If the land by virtue of its ingredients cannot be made viable for agriculture such need to be excluded from “Right to Land’ slogan.
If one moves through areas like Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgoan, and Faridabad, one comes across multiple monstrous sized multi storey housing apartments/ complexes that can easily house hundreds of moderate size villages. These housing monsters cannot survive without uninterrupted water supply. Therefore underground water sources in addition to river waters are provided for their consumption. This must be easily adding to a requirement of lacs & lacs of gallons of water per day consumed in the state-of-the-art bathrooms and kitchens. While the water was made available for ‘economic growth’, same was declared to be insufficient/ unavailable for agricultural purposes. If the owner of tillable land does not have resources to do agriculture he becomes a pawn in the hands of exploiters and loses his source of employment only to become a labourer. Thus an opportunity to choose his profession is denied to him and thereby all his energies, intellect, and decision making capabilities are brutally suppressed only to live a false life regulated by some unknown face.
How, where, and under what circumstances can populace of Lokavidhyadhar Samaj invest (empower) their talents; this question needs to be addressed to. It is sheer hunger that creates migrant labourers, it will continue until alternatives emerge; in the mean time, though, Lokavidhyadhar Samaj need to work towards an alternative set up in which their talents can find full expression. Search for an alternative set up can gain momentum only if the Samaj remains convinced that within modern dispensation it has no salvation, else it remains a false hope.
Call for planned infrastructure build up for farmers and karigar Samaj, by allocating meaningful funds in every Five Year Plan can perhaps be one of the important issues for L J A; combined with the resolve to reconstruct rural markets for their produce may turn out to be very powerful expression of their united opposition to the extant exploitative machinery.
Lalit Kaul