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