The idea that there is a sea of knowledge outside the university is not alien to most people in the world. Knowledge has a very wide spread in society and the idea that knowledge is so widely spread out has a very wide spread too. That is people know and they know that they know. And yet neither these people nor the knowledge they possess has dignity in society. It has no economic returns, so the people are poor. It has no respect in the public domain so people are culturally marginal. It has no clear relation with peoples’ organizations therefore people are politically irrelevant. Lokavidya Panchayat is a place to develop a collaborative and participatory sensibility of this situation to lay a firm basis to develop dialogues which can lead to a political imagination and strategy to bust this trap.
Lokavidya belongs to ordinary life. Ordinary life is the life without condition and therefore the richest life. It assumes no science, no religion, no politics, no technology and it has place for all these. Lokavidya is the knowledge that serves people in their daily lives and also at special junctures. So lokavidya constantly changes with life and with demands on life. So in a certain sense lokavidya is always with the times, in fact the converse may actually be true, that is, it is in lokavidya that the measure of time may be located.
The Age of Science has done a great disservice to humanity by positively promoting ideas which de-legitimize the knowledge status of lokavidya. However science no more occupies an undisputed position of command in the world of knowledge. Knowledge activity from the virtual domain, in particular Knowledge Management, is constantly pushing for a change in the concept of knowledge. They appear to be saying why should knowledge be restricted to the ivory towers of the university, the research institutions, the laboratory. Traditional metal workers, peasants, health-workers in the remote areas, all possess knowledge. Media, art, design, all are places of knowledge activity. Not that the software scientists or the knowledge managers are any fond of lokavidya but in the changing economics and market it often constitutes critical input to competitive strategies.
Vidya Ashram therefore proposes to realize for lokavidya and for people who possess lokavidya, the maximum of this new opportunity. This blog, Lokavidya Panchayat, is a place to discuss the ways and means to include lokavidya as an equal member in the world of knowledge. Only when such a condition is met can one seriously think of elimination of poverty from the surface of the earth, of emancipation of people from social indignity, political powerlessness and cultural irrelevance.
Let us formulate 10 questions to discuss on this blog.