Saturday, August 14, 2021

Opportunity for Knowledge Movement to shoulder Responsibility to play Singular Role: Lalit K Kaul

 Opportunity for Knowledge Movement to shoulder Responsibility to play Singular Role

        Lalit K Kaul

The farmers’ movement seemed to have become rudderless. Beginning with a thunderous and heavily loaded proclamation “Repeal all 3 agriculture laws” to wandering and knocking at the doors of political parties to oppose NDA (BJP) looked symbolic of derailment due to (may be) lack of understanding of the political connotations of the public statement that the leaders of Samyukth Kisan Morcha (SKM) repeatedly made while sitting on dharna and summarily disposed off the government’s pleas to come to the negotiating table.

The proclamation kindled a hope that a new dawn was inevitable if not imminent because it challenged the very sovereignty and sanctity of the Parliament and therefore the whole movement was not just about the agricultural laws but about the extant democratic dispensation governed through the laws passed in the “temple” of democracy.

While it looked that the entire movement had lost steam and the rationale behind it, the BKU in Punjab, deviating from the plan of SKM, seems to have put some life in to it by questioning the very role of Congress in agrarian crisis and holding it responsible for various imbalances in Indian society including un-kept promises etc., but the punch line is that the BKU held Globalization and Liberalization policies as introduced by the then Congress government in the year 1990 as solely responsible for all the disparities, discriminations, loss of jobs including lopsided development. The point being made is not that BKU is targeting Congress, but the policies as enacted in the Parliament and which according to it had been exploitative; had any non Congress government been in power the onus would have been on them. The departure from SKM is in that the Congress was not to be targeted.

Despite the support extended by the Punjab Congress government to the ongoing farmers’ movement, as an act of political expediency, the BKU declared that Congress had been anti farmer and responsible for agrarian crisis. It’s like locating and pointing at the root cause.

The opposition parties, again as an act of political expediency, have been supporting the farmers’ proclamation and thereby asserting that the Parliament had become Infructuous and that decisions regarding governance of the country should be taken through agitations and Gheraos.

The Arab Spring and Iranian Islamic Revolution:  

Very genuine, legitimate and profoundly relevant revolutions ended up in being of no consequence. Post revolution the new regimes failed to set an example – for at least the Muslim world- of how to provide an alternative to the system that’s over dependent on the alien World View and be on equal footing with the Western world and other extant democracies. The Ayatollah of Iran having declared Iran as Islamic Republic had no alternate socio political socio economical regimes (based on their holy scriptures) to offer to the people of Iran. The net result is that only the name changed while the Iranian Nation remained torn between two exclusive world views – the Islamic and the un-Islamic. The net result: the regime has become too oppressive and voices of dissent are growing by the day.

The Arab Spring is a bigger tragedy because the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt failed to deliver when the masses expected it to. MB was founded in 1928 post fall of Ottoman Empire and declaration of Turkey as a secular and democratic nation state by Mustafa Kemal. MB all through its existence in Egypt remained very active and popular among the masses in social and religious domains and never ever engaged itself in any kind of violence even when in 2012/13 it was made to disappear from the public domain. MB over the decades until Arab Spring won sizeable number of seats in their Parliament and in the year 2005-2010 they had 85 seats a sizeable number. MB actively took part in parliamentary proceedings by way of proposing pro people amendments to the bills brought forward by the ruling party and all through it stood for non oppressive governance. Then Arab Spring happened and the elections held after the revolution the MB won a handsome majority, but miserably failed to legislate in favour of the people as they were torn between Sharia and the extant predominant world view. The people revolted leading to coup by the army!! Oppression was let loose on MB and since 2012/13 it has failed to revive.

The Farmers’ Movement:

From the BKU dynamics in Punjab it can be safely assumed that a wholesale change is being sought. Assuming that in the next few years the movement shall be able to overthrow the government of the day- remember the BKU has declared no faith in political parties as according to it all are responsible for the plight of an ordinary citizen- then if they don’t possess an alternate implementable democratic dispensation/set up that is governed by the grass root leadership of the people their whole effort may go the Iranian/Arab Spring way.

The Role of Knowledge Movement:

Being well versed with the dynamics of the farmers’ movements and being the only articulator of the aspirations of Lok Vidhya Samaj having accorded them social respectability by defining its members as “Knowledge Beings”, it is this samaj that’s in search of an alternative and that LJA and Vidya Ashram have the responsibility to frame and articulate. It’s a singular chance for those associated with the Knowledge Movement to lead the way and develop an alternate way of democratically electing representatives along with its own World View that would define and govern all the dimensions of human societies for people’s emancipation and redemption of their self esteem.

A document detailing the defining parameters of “New Politics” and its regime of social, economical and religious development; if prepared, can be widely circulated among the samaj and especially the leaders of the farmers’ movement regardless of their affiliations. The discussions with the Kisan leaders and others from the samaj can be initiated, based on the circulated document. There is this capability within the group and there is Time; what is to be resolved is: should the Knowledge Movement be on the driving seat for a new political dispensation or should it miss the bus.

May be we all can start discussing about it via webinars; may be once every week!   

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Vidya Ashram Foundation Day -1st August

Gyan Panchayat on the future of the country with focus on the farmers' movement.

The foundation Day of Vidya Ashram was celebrated in Sarnath campus on 1st August 2021.The Ashram was started on this day in 2004. About 25 persons closely associated with the Ashram were  present. It was a gyan panchayat. The subject was constituted of a cluster of ideas, namely farmers' movement, swaraj and nyay, tyag and bhaichara (न्याय, त्याग और भाईचारा).

It began with a brief statement on how the Ashram came into existence, then the coordinator, Chitraji, opened the dialogue in the context of the knowledge claim of ordinary people, particularly farmers. Senior socialist Vijay Narayan Singh made a substantive statement that farmers' movement has brought into public debate, once again from a fresh and new end, the idea and practice of lok-sanskriti, lokagyan, lokabhaasha , lokasmriti, lokahit, and lokneeti. He said that it was after a long time that the systems built by the government and the capitalists of this country are under a challenge. The  movement is pushing the frontiers of politics to move into more pro-people domain. Ramjanam of Swaraj Abhiyaan attempted to connect with swaraj the three fold values of nyay, tyag and bhaichara and said that the forces and initiatives unleashed by this farmers' movement seem to herald a new age. Another senior member of the Ashram Premlata Singh tried to show that if you  see through a lokavidya window you will see a long struggle. 

She said that we are on firm ground when we include the knowledge claims of the lokavidya samaj in our basic argument. The farmers' movement is saying that it will not allow roti (food) to be imprisoned by the moneybags, farmers too know how to run a parliament and that there is no scope for doubting farmers' knowledge of agriculture and society. This movement is an intervention with a big claim in the areas of economics, politics and knowledge. She said, just focus on the three demands and these things will be clear. Most participants made statements that were worth listening to and which showed the capacity of the social activists to build new ideas, understand them and explain them. The list of those who spoke is long enough- Laksman prasad, Ehasaan Ali, Vinod Kumar, Shivmoorat mastersahab , Parmita, Raman Pant, Praval Kumar Singh, Mohammad Ahamad, Fazalurrahamaan Ansari, Abhishek and Yuddhesh. 

In the end Sunil Sahasrabudhey said a few words on nyay, tyag and bhaichara. He said that  justice and rationality become one in the swadeshi tradition of nyay. Arguments that are contrary to justice are not acceptable in ordinary life. The educated is an isolated group in this matter because they separate reason from justice. The farmers do not. The ordinary meaning of tyag is that you  give back to society more than what society gives you or you take from it. In this lie the sources of both progress and well being. Bhaichara is not just about our dispositions. It must be integrated in the physical arrangements that govern things and men/women. Property ownership, relations of property, health-care, merit, reservation, in these and many other, bhaichara has meaning and relevance which must be taken into account while making policies governing these domains. We need to make efforts to understand the message of the farmers' movement. We may find the three values of nyay, tyag and bhaaichara right there.

The gyan-panchayat was concluded with the presidential address of the senior Gandhian Arun Kumar. Then we all had samosa and haluaa as prasad.  

Vidya Asram

विद्या आश्रम का स्थापना दिवस - 1 अगस्त

किसान आन्दोलन के मद्देनज़र देश के भविष्य पर ज्ञान पंचायत

कल 1 अगस्त 2021 को दोपहर में विद्या आश्रम सारनाथ में आश्रम का स्थापना दिवस मनाया गया. आश्रम से नज़दीक से जुड़े करीब 25 लोग उपस्थित थे. ज्ञान पंचायत का मुख्य विषय किसान आन्दोलन, स्वराज व न्याय, त्याग और भाईचारा के बिन्दुओं के इर्द-गिर्द वर्तमान परिस्थितियों में अपनी बात रखने का था.

शुरू में आश्रम की स्थापना के बारे में थोडा सा बताया गया फिर आश्रम की समन्वयक चित्राजी ने विषय को सामान्य आदमी विशेष कर किसान के ज्ञान के दावे के सम्बन्ध में खोलकर रखा. हम सबके वरिष्ठ सहयोगी विजय नारायणजी उपस्थित थे. उन्होंने यह कहा कि किसान आन्दोलन एक नए सिरे से और ज़बरदस्त ढंग से एक बार फिर लोक-संस्कृति, लोकज्ञान, लोकभाषा, लोकस्मृति, लोकहित और लोकनीति जैसे विचारों को सार्वजनिक पटल पर ला रहा है. यह आन्दोलन लम्बे समय बाद शासन और पूंजीपतियों की व्यवस्था को बड़ी चुनौती पेश कर रहा है और एक नई राजनीति की ओर बढ़ने का आग्रह कर रहा है. रामजनम भाई ने स्वराज के साथ इन नए तिहरे मूल्यों न्याय, त्याग और भाईचाराको जोड़ा और किसान आन्दोलन की शक्तियों में एक नये युग के उद्घाटन की संभावना बताई. अधिकांश लोगों के वक्तव्य सुनाने लायक थे और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं की नए विचारों को बनाने, समझने और समझाने की ताकत को दर्शाते थे. प्रेमलता सिंह ने लोकविद्या के साथ जोड़कर अपनी बात रखी और यह दिखाया कि लोकविद्या के दृष्टिकोण से देखने पर आसानी से यह देखा जा सकता है कि यह लड़ाई लम्बी है. ज्ञान के दावे के बगैर हमारे कदम सुदृढ़ नहीं हो पाते और यह दावा किसान आन्दोलन पेश कर रहा है. कह रहा है कि रोटी तो हम तिजोरी में नहीं बंद होने देंगे’, ‘संसद चलाना हमें भी आता हैऔर खेती-किसानी और अपने समाज के हमारे ज्ञान पर संदेह की तो कोई गुंजाईश ही नहीं है. यह अर्थ, राजनीति और ज्ञान के क्षेत्र में एक बड़े दावे के साथ दखल का आन्दोलन है. उनकी तीन मांगों पर ध्यान केन्द्रित कीजिये सब साफ़ हो जायेगा. अब सबकी बात क्या बताएं वक्ताओं की फेहरिस्त यह है: लक्ष्मण प्रसाद, एहसान अली, विनोद कुमार, शिवमूरत मास्टर साहब, पारमिता, प्रोफ़ेसर रमण पन्त, प्रवाल कुमार सिंह, मोहमद अहमद, फ़ज़लुर्रहमान अंसारी, अभिषेक और युद्धेश.

अंत में सुनील सहस्रबुद्धे ने न्याय, त्याग और भाईचारा के मूल्यों के भौतिक व्यवस्थाओं के साथ आवश्यक संबंधों की व्याख्या की. एकदम छोटे में यह कि स्वदेशी परंपरा में न्याय में न्याय और तर्क दोनों समाहित होता है. जिस तर्क में न्याय नहीं है उसे हमारा जनमानस स्वीकार नहीं करता, पढ़े-लिखे लोगों की बात अलग है. पढ़े-लिखे लोग दोनों को अलग-अलग करके देखते हैं, किसान नहीं. त्याग का सामान्य अर्थ यह है कि आप जितना समाज से लेते हैं उससे अधिक समाज को वापस देते हैं. इसी में खुशहाली और प्रगति दोनों के सूत्र है. भाईचारा केवल मनोभाव की बात नहीं है. समाज की व्यवस्थाओं में यह एकीकृत होना चाहिए. संपत्ति का मालिकाना, संपत्ति के सम्बन्ध, शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य, मेरिट, आरक्षण हर क्षेत्र में भाईचारे का एक अर्थ होता है जिसके हिसाब से नीतियां बननी चाहिए. किसान आन्दोलन जो इबारत लिख रहा है उसे पढने का प्रयास करना होगा. ये तीन मूल्य वहां दिखाई देंगे - न्याय, त्याग और भाईचारा.

पुराने वरिष्ठ साथी श्री अरुण कुमार के अध्यक्षीय संबोधन के साथ ज्ञान पंचायत का समापन हुआ. फिर सबने समोसा और हलुआ का प्रसाद ग्रहण किया.

विद्या आश्रम

Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Farmers and the Government on a Jungle Safari : Lalit K Kaul


The Farmers and the Government on a Jungle Safari

(From Jungle to Zoo & Back Everyday Anytime!)

                                                                                                                                                                                Lalit K Kaul

From Jungle (Sikri Border) to Zoo (Jantar Mantar) and back; all free of cost ostensibly, but to be borne by the tax payer; hospitality extended for the first time in the history of independent India only to ridicule those who think that they are agitating for a cause dear to them. Who cares? As long all of it is peaceful and the electronic media gets busy overtime with quality competition in earning TRP and the unemployed politicians improve their visibility by standing in front of the multiple cameras while answering questions that neither have any relevance nor the rationale, because none of these Netas have courage to state explicitly what’s truly going on and neither do the journalists have courage to ask relevant questions.

Not to stay behind are the employed Netas who have their own motivations to support what’s “Farmer’s” movement and going ahead in their support of the demands with a conviction that they are never ever going to govern the Nation through the Acts of the Parliament as they would always fill opposition benches with diminishing numbers perhaps.

No Answers in Sight:

Without going into the merits of the ongoing “movement” or the ones that were organized from time to time in the independent India because that’s the business/conviction of those who lead/have led such movements; the question that begs an answer in independent India is: What form of agitation shall yield results for both the agitators and the government? No answers in sight, as on date. There is this need to apply one’s mind separately and collectively to find an answer.

In this land of ours, people have been witness to both violent and non violent forms of agitations and the response of the incumbent governments have been to quell the violent ones with the might of the State and to ignore the non violent ones. In certain instances, the government has succeeded in transforming a peaceful agitation in to a violent one through its party’s political machinations and then quelled it with all the force at its command. In certain cases, the peaceful agitations that essentially brought up socio-economic issues were reduced to a low level trade union activity and some crumbs were thrown at the agitators. The problems remained to be, the management was done, though.

The governments of the day irrespective of the party they belonged to have excelled in the art of tiring down the agitating people with all the apparatuses at its command. Violent ones reduce to a few gun shots being fired here and there accompanied by occasional bomb blasts, only to emphasize their continued presence and the non violent ones die out due to sheer exhaustion but trying to salvage the minimum possible in the end, if only as the face saving exercise for its leadership.

But this One is Unique:

The government offering the agitators to help them in continuing their agitation, because we are told it’s everybody’s fundamental right, as long it is peaceful. Great gesture! True believer in democratic principles! While the leaders may feel elated thinking that the government has succumbed to their pressure and have become hospitable to them, the fact is that the leaders of the agitation have fallen to the machinations of the government. Else, both are playing to the gallery pushing their own respective agendas that may have nothing to do with the farmers’ cause.

The Farce:

“Scrap all the three laws”, roars the leader; in turn the response is “We are always ready for negotiations on certain amendments that the farmers may seek”. The opposition steps in and declares, “We support farmers”. The government knows what it’s up to, the leader(s) of the farmers don’t seem to have got import of their demand and the opposition is exploiting them for that very reason. Assuming that the farmer leaders are conscientiously aware of the political dimensions of their single line demand then the basic question is: Will that be resolved/ addressed to by shuttling between Sikri border and Jantar Mantar? The government doesn’t care- and this one cares the least- for how long Delhi is gheraoed so long as the methods are “Gandhian”, no matter how big  a section of population is adversely affected by it (the irony being that they are the tax payers). So this tamasha from Jungle to Zoo and back shall continue for a time indefinite as now the government is supporting the movement.

Playing to the Gallery:

It is now an open secret that this agitation is a political dual between the farmers’ leaders and the BJP party leadership; the leader has made that clear by his deeds and words. The upcoming UP elections 2022 & Lok Sabha elections 2024; the tussle is for the Jat (farmers) votes in the Western UP. The leader is projecting himself as the savior of the farmers and the BJP as unquestionable and un-blemishing upholder of democratic values that inhibits it from using force to clear the National Capital Gherao & this stand is now secular because anti CAA Gherao was also allowed to be, but Corona played the villain because it does not know democratic norms.

BJP got a hard and humiliating slap from Delhi electorate in the elections post anti CAA Gherao; it remains to be seen who of the two receives that slap in 2022 and that may set the tone for 2024. The farce shall go on as usual unless once again some scientists in some part of the world let loose a virus deadlier than Corona and that immediately flies to Delhi for both the contestants to run for their lives.  

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara - Potents for a New Interpretation

 Social Change and Nyaya(Equality), Tyaga(Duty) and Bhaichara(Kinship)

Every movement for social change over the past 2500 years has been initiated by a fresh interpretation of the concepts of nyaya(rationality & equality), tyaga(duty) and bhaichara(kinship with all life forms) in the realm of ordinary life practice. Such interpretations were put forth by gurus and sants/swamis(saints); ‘accepted and absorbed’ into the belief systems and life practices of ordinary people. Their lives thereafter underwent changes appropriate to the sustenance of such changes. Most often, this led to the ‘formation’ of different sects within the all pervading sanatana dharma that characterized Indian society.

Such interpretations can be seen, for example, in the teachings of the Buddha and Mahavira and later in the teachings of Basaveswara , Guru Gobind Singh and many others. More recently we find that Mahatma Gandhi too, offered a new ‘talisman’ for ordinary life practices through his interpretations of these concepts. All these ideas/interpretations formed the bases of mass ‘movements’ and we know, historically, that they did lead to social change. However, with the onslaught of capitalist mode of production, and the concomitant ‘destruction’ of the natural environment, such changes in society and life-style have been under severe pressure and the very sustenance of the belief system and social formations, that those interpretations engendered, have been pushed to the brink of ‘extinction’.

Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara in the context of the Knowledge Movement


All characteristics of inter-relationships are primarily, and in the main, determined by interactions between individuals and between communities/collectives, and governed by the evolving worldview that determines these relationships. Concepts of equality(nyaya), fraternity(bhaichara) and collective governance(swarajya) evolve through such economic, social and cultural exchanges . The contemporary capitalist-market worldview, that influences ALL relationships today, will have to make space for Knowledge-based (Lokavidya) dharma which will henceforth influence ALL relationships within and without Lokavidya Samaj. This is the basis and agenda of the movement for social change.

The concept of dharma has NO equivalent in non Lokavidya-based societies and it has, therefore, been subject to 'silencing' by commentators and analysts trained in other knowledge traditions and influenced (unconsciously perhaps) by the prevalent market-driven values. Lokavidya dharma should incorporate Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara as axiomatic principles.

Public discourse should be in the vocabulary of vidya and dharma ; their meaning is commonly understood by ordinary people albeit in different ways. Such understanding is not in conflict with principles of Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara and should now serve as the basis of establishing a system of interactions for the protection of fundamental right to life and livelihood, in a globalised Knowledge-based society.

  1. The march towards the establishment of an order, based on Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara, begins, in this 'Knowledge era', with ensuring the Right of individuals, individually and collectively, to live by and base their livelihoods on the Knowledge they possess and practice.

  1. The aspect of inequality, arising from the exchange-activity process, has to be addressed by redefining the concept of value of a commodity/service, by incorporating the idea of knowledge-based value. In a knowledge paradigm, that recognises the fundamental equality (in utility) between all knowledge and knowledge-based activity, the sustenance of a concept of knowledge-based value and the social and economic equality that it engenders, will not prove beyond the new political imagination, that will evolve in society.

[ Value:The value of a commodity ( this term to denotes ALL goods and services which are produced by and through human labour for self-consumption and/or exchange) is neither pre-determinable nor pre-assignable i.e. there is no intrinsic value to any commodity. A value accrues to a commodity as a result of it being essential to life and/or during the process of social exchange and is by nature a dynamic variable.]

Ideas on Knowledge equality- an important aspect of Nyaya

1. from Basaveshwara:

The inequality, which Basaweshwara lamented, was not the inequality of personal endowments, but of the social, economic, religious and spiritual practices which created inequality and came in the way of development of individual personality. He went to the very roots of the state of nature in attacking the inequality created by human beings.

Basaveshwara gave a concrete meaning to the conception of work or occupation in the form of

Kayaka which is regarded as an important means for the removal of all inequalities–economic, social,

religious and spiritual. Kayaka is a spiritual view of labor and not merely a materialistic view. Every

kind of labour is looked upon with high honor, dignity and spiritual significance. Kayaka doesn't

encourage amassing wealth or hoarding of money. It is NOT motivated by profit.

2. from Gandhiji's “Autobiography” summarising Ruskin's “Unto This Last”:

“A lawyer's work has the same value as the barber's, as all have the right of earning their livelihood

from their work”

“ A life of labour i.e the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living”

“ The right system respecting all labour is, that it should be paid at a fixed rate; but the good

workman employed, and the bad workman unemployed”

“The equality of wages, then, being the first object towards which we have to discover the road, the

second is that of maintaining constant numbers of workmen in employment, whatever may be the

accidental demand for the article they produce”

3. from Dharampalji's “Essays on Tradition, Recovery and Freedom” summarising the Chengalpattu


“An elaborately worked out system of sharing of the produce of the region also seems to ensured fairly equal distribution of economic and cultural prosperity among the various communities and occupational groups that inhabited the region”

4. from Paul Mason’s article in The Guardian titled” The end of Capitalism has begun”

A study for the SAS Institute in 2013 found that, in order to put a value on data, neither the cost of gathering it, nor the market value or the future income from it could be adequately calculated. Only through a form of accounting that included non-economic benefits, and risks, could companies actually explain to their shareholders what their data was really worth. ...The knowledge content of products is becoming more valuable than the physical things that are used to produce them. But it is a value measured as usefulness, not exchange or asset value... (but) information as a social good, free at the point of use, incapable of being owned or exploited or priced.

Ideas on Tyaga or Fundamental Duty

(Tyaga is neither renunciation nor charitable donation/alms-giving)

1.from Tirukkural (Valluvar's instructive text focused on wisdom, justice, and ethics.)

Goals of poruḷ (wealth obtained in ethical manner) and inbam( refers to pleasure and fulfilment of

one's desires) are desirable, yet both need to be regulated by aṟam(dharma). Valluvar holds that aṟam

is common for all, irrespective of whether the person is a bearer of palanquin or the rider in it.

2. from the Bhagavad Gita

Karmanye Vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadhachana OR "Perform your duty but do not have any

expectation of the fruits". It speaks of being dedicated to your job, your art, your science (your

livelihood practice)as a fundamental duty. The Indian tradition also holds that there exists an inherent

tension between artha and kama. These must be pursued with "action with renunciation" (Nishkama

Karma), that is, one must act (do one’s duty)without craving in order to resolve this tension

3. from Basaveshwara:

Kayaka is to be done in the spirit of Dashooha. Dasooha meant working hard for one's livelihood and

for the maintenance of society. In his view, a dasohi should consider himself, but a servant of society. Therefore, Dasoha in principle assumed that what belongs to God must return to Him and what came from society should be given back by way of selfless service.

Kayaka is a duty by which each one has to maintain oneself, and render its proceeds to the welfare of all. As per the principle of Dashooha, since every one earns his minimum requirement through Kayaka he contributes the rest of his labour to the society rather than accumulating personal wealth. Therefore, Kayaka does not encourage the amassing of wealth if it is done in the spirit of Dashooha, Human beings are equal by nature in their wisdom and virtues, that should be maintained accordingly.

4. from Guru Gobind Singh

Dharam dee kirat karnee – Do your work(livelihood practice) as a duty

Dasvand denaa – Donate a tenth share of your earnings.

Langar Parshaad ik ras vartaaunaa – Serve Langar prashad(food) with impartiality.

Ideas on Bhaichara or Kinship

1. from the Maha Upanishad

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam meaning "the world is one family".

The Gandhian vision of holistic development and respect for all forms of life; nonviolent conflict

resolution embedded in the acceptance of nonviolence both as a creed and strategy; were an extension

of the ancient concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

2. from the teachings of Mahavira

A central tenet of his teaching was a renunciation of violence in all its forms and a concern for all

forms of life; that all living beings, irrespective of their size, shape, and form how spiritually

developed or undeveloped, are equal and we should love and respect them.

Social action for Change

It does not take much to see that ALL the great movements for Social change, in different parts of the

world, have been based on teachings (new interpretations of Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara),such as the

ones quoted above, and have led to new social(religious) groupings based on belief systems which

have incorporated the essence of these teachings. These movements have been sustained through

centuries by the tyaga that dominated(and governed) these social groups; that is until the

onslaught’(both ontological and ethical) of modern western Science and Technology, especially and

very perceivably by the advent of the globalized capitalist market system.

Climate Change, a fallout of the Capitalist Development paradigm, is directly linked to the absence,

neglect or down-grading of Bhaichara (as enshrined in various belief systems ). Environmental

Movements against the ill-effects of Climate Change have , in almost all cases, re-emphasized the

understanding of Bhaichara; that was a given in the World of the Tribal/Indigenous Peoples of the


It appears that the space and opportunity for redefining Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara has been opened

up by various peoples’ movements across the world. In India too, the current Farmers’ movement has

provided a space for this redefinition by ordinary people who form the bulk of this non-violent mass

movement. The reason for stating this is that this ‘movement’ has been going on for the past 6 months

attended largely by small farmer families from Punjab, Haryana and UP. The Langar, local

arrangements for stay & facilities and healthcare have been provided for by bigger farmers and their

organisations. It is my opinion, that the urge to stay together seems to be the overarching belief that the

(Khalsa)leadership is being guided by the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh: of grow food (as a

duty), share food through Langar(Bhaichara) while ‘fighting’ for justice(Nyaya) for the entire

community (that is dependent on agriculture). Those teachings will certainly be reset to the

contemporary context in order to sustain the movement, but this provides the hope that a new

interpretation of Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara could well emerge and be ‘accepted’ by ordinary people,

through this movement.


25 May 2021

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Agenda for a Knowledge Politics

 Sunil Sahasrabudhey,   6 May, 2021              Posted at 7 pm on 13th May 2021

In recent elections the state level parties have performed very well , namely, Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, DMK in Tamil Nadu and the Left Front in Kerala. Local body elections in Uttar Pradesh have also given a general mandate against BJP. The idea of coordination and cooperation between regional political formations to stand up to, and emerge as an alternative to, the domineering positioning of the Central Government has started gaining some ground. This particularly so in the context of 2024 General Elections. Covid -19 and its spread was already an issue on which the Central Government was being heavily criticized. The focus is both on irresponsibility and incompetence. Corruption is soon likely to emerge on a big scale.  Another major issue which has suffered a partial eclipse because of these events is the farmers’ movement.  These three seem to define the present political agenda of the nation. A discussion is needed to figure out whether this situation creates a fresh and robust occasion to talk about and do something significant for bringing into the public domain the idea of a knowledge politics. The following points may help give a start to our discussion on this.

1.   How far such a political agenda can give space to basic issues of poverty, unemployment, disparity, social hierarchy, communalism, etc.

2.   How should this political agenda possibly be seen from a knowledge point of view. For example  -

·      Is it opportune now to put forward the thesis that governance ought to be at the State level, Centre being a coordinating agency? Is it opportune and correct to raise the question of education to be entirely the state subject. Lokavidya argument may be integrated with this.

·      If there is re-emergence of the identity (linguistic, cultural, historical) issue through these elections, it may be an occasion to formulate the concept of identity in knowledge terms, through mainly, formulating the lokavidya-knowledge discourse in the language of the region. 

·      Should there be a campaign to promote Loka Swasthya Paramparas in handling the Covid – 19.

·      Do we see openings for a campaign on Food Sovereignty meaning that agriculture should be a state subject and the state governments should facilitate farmers’ and artisans’  control over the local resources with the rider that farmers shall be responsible for sufficient availability of food in the region. If clothing, housing and general services (repairs included) is added, an imagination of swaraj comes forth.