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.

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