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


  1. Sunil SahasrabudheyApril 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    If I understand correctly, after the philosophical take, the general argument about civilization, with which I am in almost entire agreement except some semantic or idiomatic issues, the essential argument tries to combine what policies must be sought from the government/state and what needs to be eventually built. Specifically putting together the need for infra-structure for lokavidya based activities and the requirement of rebuilding the markets under the command of lokavidyadhar samaj. Seeking resources for the infra-structure has been the case for long enough, may not be with a lokavidya argument but broadly along those lines by those who always stood for decentralization. This is broadly part of a politics of change led by ideologies during the industrial age. Lokavidya Jan Andolan(LJA) needs to figure out the next stage of this position significant in the present age.Financial resources have assumed the command without question. LJA has formulated its central concern as regular income to families earning their livelihood on the basis of lokavidya and this income not to be less than the incomes of government employees. The strengths of peasants , artisans and adivasis is not in trade or in handling or building markets. That may be done by those who have the knowledge and experience of doing that. Trying to build our own markets is like ideas of workers running their own industries. These are chimeras to which many a political ideologies have fallen prey. However I do believe that these issues cannot be finally settled by purely theoretical arguments. It is in the context of successes and failures of contemporary strategies of building strengths through struggle and organization that the real worth of such contentions may get evaluated.
    Asking for regular incomes on the basis of lokavidya seems a very central issue both from the point of view of struggle and reconstruction. When attempted on a societal scale, it ought to be expected to lead to greater self-organization and autonomy. There does not seem to be any other method, true to scale, which can bring back to the villages and the bastis the resources which have been looted away from them right from the beginning of the modern period, the situation continuing in a more and more enhanced state. Swaraj needs to be reconceptualized starting with Gandhi and addressing the contemporary situation. Whatever can possibly be built must be born from the womb of the present society, of course led by the political imaginations.

    More later

  2. ‘Right to equality’ can perhaps be the foundation on which the assertion, “ .... regular income to families earning their livelihood on the basis of lokavidya and this income not to be less than the incomes of the government employees” can be based and further discussed and expounded . Having said that, two situations arise in this context: 1) we are asking that the government of the day ensure it; within this is it to be implicitly understood that whether our skills are being utilized or not; the incomes should be ensured by the government, or, are we asking for legitimate share in the markets for our produce and that the insurance would be the salary of the government employees, under the worst case scenario, and 2) we are saying that we have as much claim over the resources available in our land/country as any other entrepreneur class has and therefore the resources be earmarked for our requirements along with all the facilitating logistics so that our mental and physical capabilities can find expression leading to our dignified living.
    If we are envisaging evolution of post modern civilization (nobody can define it in all its totality at any point of time) the starting point, perhaps, can be whatever is remaining of the art, science, culture, dharm, etc., etc., of the Lokavidhyadhar Samaj. As it evolves, it may end up synthesising old with new, or it may come up with altogether new definitions and parameters for dynamics of life. So the question is: what is the starting point? May be that we need to question the very relevance of the Constitution of India in context of the gross inequalities that are so visible to day.

  3. Sunil SahasrabudheyApril 20, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    It can be argued from the position of right to equality but it need not be so. The argument more fundamentally invokes the idea of well being for all. Pay Commissions periodically decide the base level of well being and that is income and security at the lowest level of employment in government.
    The skills and knowledge in the lokavidya world are always utilized, for that is the only way available for them to survive. We are not asking for share in the market. The peasants, artisans, adivasis and women know how to make and do things which generally does not include competencies to handle the contemporary market. They must have regular ensured income on the basis of what they are already doing. Train them as you wish but after ensuring the income.
    All resources are eventually expressible today in terms of money. The base level of resources that are rightfully due to us are decided periodically by the Pay Commissions constituted of high experts and appointed by the government of India. The concepts of our mental and physical capabilities finding expression leading to a dignified life are meaningful and illuminating but not part of the essential argument and if at all deemed so, they would be part of the bases invoked by the Pay Commission.
    The concept of 'remaining of the art...' etc. is problematic to say the least. Lokavidya renews and regenerates itself daily based on the needs, experiences, values and genius of the lokavidyadhar samaj. The university likes to see it in decay but we see it in struggle against heavy odds. And it is these struggles which are the starting point.