Monday, November 20, 2017

Conference in Memory of C.V. Seshadri

A Conference in Memory of C.V. Seshadri
8-10 February, 2018
Chennai
C.V. Seshadri, popularly known as CVS, was a scientist, a chemical engineer, who radically departed from standard science practice. He worked on the science and society interface and even saw questions of poverty as integral to the ideas and practice of science. He saw science as part of a larger world of knowledge and the dynamics therein. He taught at IIT Kanpur and later in the late 1970s took up the directorship of Mrugappa Chettiyar Research Center (MCRC) in Chennai. He was closely associated with PPST (Patriotic and People Oriented Science and Technology) Foundation whose president he was when in 1995 he passed away at the age of about 65.
Prof. C.N. Krishnan, former director PPST, has taken the lead in organizing a conference in Chennai in memory of CVS. The conference would look at the dynamics in the world of knowledge during the last quarter century. This is the period which has witnessed the ubiquitous presence of the internet and re-legitimization of knowledge in society (lokavidya) influencing the world of knowledge, its dynamics, scope, hierarchies, values, paradigms, self image, its relation with society and all that there is, in a big way.
The details of the conference may be found at http://au-kbc.org/cvsconf.html  
Vidya Ashram has been part of conceptualization of the conference and expects to present in the conference the lokavidya point of view in its full width and depth.
Many of you have had a steady concern with such ideas, particularly in the context of desired changes in society. This is to invite you to this conference. Please find time to pay serious attention to the content and scope of the conference. If you want to say something about it right away please do so and send it to us at vidyaashram@gmail.com and cnkrish@gmail.com
You may also contact C.N. Krishnan to figure out the exact role you may play at the conference.

Sunil Sahasrabudhey 
Vidya Ashram

Sarnath, Varanasi

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

किसान कारीगर पंचायत से उठी आवाज़

वाराणसी में 29 अक्तूबर 2017 को हुई किसान कारीगर पंचायत में जुटे किसान, कारीगर और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं ने इस आवाज़ को बुलंद किया कि हर किसान और कारीगर के घर में जब तक सरकारी कर्मचारी के बराबर आय नहीं पहुंचेगी तब तक इस देश में न खुशहाली आ पायेगी और न गैर बराबरी दूर हो पायेगी. 

पंचायत के बाद सारनाथ में किसान और कारीगरों ने जुलूस निकल कर 
अपनी बात को सामने लाया . 

दीनापुर के किसान महेंद्र प्रसाद मौर्य पंचायत को संबोधित करते हुए 

लोकविद्या जन आन्दोलन से प्रेमलता सिंह पंचायत में अपनी बात रखते हुए  

वाराणसी के बुनकर फ़ज़लुर्रहमान अंसारी (आलम भाई) ने मुद्दे को विस्तार से पंचायत में रखा 
और इस एक मुद्दे पर एकजुट होने की अपील की . 


अंत में सुनील सहस्रबुद्धे ने कहा कि इस पंचायत में तरह तरह की क्षमताओं और दृष्टियों के 
संगठनकर्ता उपस्थित हैं . वे सबको पक्की व सरकारी कर्मचारी जैसी आय के मुद्दे पर  
अपने-अपने यहाँ पंचायतें बुलाएं और एक ऐसी प्रक्रिया को जन्म दें जो ऐसे समूहों 
को इस लक्ष्य की प्राप्ति के लिए आगे बढ़ने के रास्ते बनाने का काम करेगी . 

इस पंचायत का आयोजन विद्या आश्रम के सारनाथ परिसर में हुआ . पंचायत की अध्यक्षता किसान समाज की ओर से शुन्गुलपुर के वीरेन्द्रसिंह चौहान और कारीगर समाज की ओर से वाराणसी के बशीर भाई ने संयुक्त रूप से की तथा सञ्चालन भारतीय किसान यूनियन के वाराणसी जिला अध्यक्ष तथा विद्या आश्रम के सदस्य लक्ष्मण प्रसाद ने किया . पंचायत में बुनकर बिरादरी के एहसान अली और गुलज़ार भाई, भारतीय किसान यूनियन चंदौली के जिला अध्यक्ष जीतेन्द्र कुमार, भारतीय किसान यूनियन के वाराणसी के पूर्व जिला अध्यक्ष विनाद कुमार, गिरसंत, रामखिलावन, रामजनम, शिवमूरत ने पंचायत में मुद्दे को समर्थन देते हुए इस पर  कार्य को तेज़ करने की आवश्यकता को जताया .

विद्या आश्रम 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

किसान कारीगर पंचायत
रविवार, 29 अक्तूबर 2017
 11 बजे से 4 बजे तक
विद्या आश्रम, सा 10/82 ए, अशोक मार्ग, सारनाथ

पिछले दो-तीन वर्षों से देश का किसान समाज सरकारी नीतियों से ज्यादा ही त्रस्त हैं . देशभर में किसानों ने फसलों के दाम, क़र्ज़, जमीन अधिग्रहण और मुआवज़े कि अन्यायपूर्ण नीतियों के खिलाफ संघर्ष छेड़ दिए हैं. सरकार ने लाठी गोली के सहारे इन्हें कुचलने का प्रयास भी किया हैं . तमाम राजनैतिक दल किसानों के आंदोलनों से अपने दल को मज़बूत करने के सपने देखने लगे हैं . लेकिन न तो किसी सरकार के पास और न किसी दल के पास किसानों की खुशहाली के लिए कोई ठोस नीतियां हैं. ऐसे में किसान समाज और संगठनों से हमारी अपील हैं कि सरकारों से मांग न करके वे खुद देश के लिए सबकी खुशहाली का एजेंडा बनायें.  
इसी कोशिश में पिछले चार वर्षों से प्रतिवर्ष आश्विन-कार्तिक माह में वाराणसी में किसान कारीगर पंचायत हो रही हैं. इस पंचायत का कहना है कि किसान और कारीगर एकजुट होकर यह दावा सामने रखें कि ---

किसान और कारीगर परिवारों की आय
सरकारी कर्मचारी की आय के बराबर होनी चाहिए

इस एक मुद्दे पर हम तमाम किसान व कारीगर संगठनों और  सामाजिक संगठनों व कार्यकर्ताओं से लगातार वार्ता कर रहे हैं. सरकार द्वारा पिछले वर्ष नोटबंदी और इस वर्ष जीएसटी लगाकर किसान, कारीगर, छोटे दुकानदारों और छोटी पूँजी का धंधा करने वालों को और मुसीबत में डाल दिया है. ऐसे में आय का कम और अनिश्चित होते जाने का सिलसिला बहुत बढ़ गया है.  हमारा आग्रह है कि लोग न्याय के पक्ष में खड़े होने का साहस करें और ऊपर लिखे मुद्दे पर किसानों और कारीगरों के साथ आयें.
इस वर्ष यह पंचायत सारनाथ में विद्या आश्रम पर हो रही है. इस पंचायत में किसान और कारीगर समाज के आर्थिक और सामाजिक न्याय के लिए दिशाबोध हो सके इसके लिए ऊपर लिखे मुद्दे पर तो बात होगी ही साथ ही हाथ के बने सामानों पर से जीएसटी हटाया जाये इस मांग को लेकर बंगलुरु और हैदराबाद में चल रहे सत्याग्रह को व्यापक करने की बात भी होगी . आप इस पंचायत में अवश्य आयें और न्याय की पहल में शामिल हों .


कार्यक्रम

11.00          लोकविद्या के बोल
11.30          चर्चा : हर किसान और कारीगर परिवार कि आय सरकारी कर्मचारी जैसी हो.
2.00            चर्चा : हाथ के सामानों पर से जीएसटी हटाने के लिए सत्याग्रह पर चर्चा
3.30            जुलूस : सबको पक्की आय की मांग के साथ जुलूस जो विद्या आश्रम से सारनाथ चौराहा, संग्रहालय, सुहेलदेव मूर्ती होते हुए वापस विद्या आश्रम पहुंचेगा.
4.00             भोजन

·        

‘हाथ से बने सामानों पर से जीएसटी हटाया जाय’

इस मांग को लेकर बंगलुरु और फिर हैदराबाद के बुनकर संगठन प्रसिद्ध रंगकर्मी और सामाजिक कार्यकर्त्ता प्रसन्ना की अगुवाई में सत्याग्रह कर रहे हैं . इस सत्याग्रह के बारे में जानने के लिए इन्टरनेट पर नीचे दिए लिंक देख सकते हैं –



निवेदक

     लक्ष्मण प्रसाद                    प्रेमलता सिंह                      एहसान अली
( 9026219913 )              ( 9519854478)              (8303244310)
    अध्यक्ष                                            संयोजक                                संपादक                      
भारतीय किसान यूनियन)           ( लोकविद्या जन आन्दोलन)            (कारीगर नजरिया) 
         वाराणसी                             वाराणसी


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

PRESS NOTE Lokavidya Vedike Supports Zero-Tax on Handmade Products

हाथ से बनाई वस्तुओं और सेवाओं से GST हटाया जाये इस मांग के साथ बंगलुरु से सत्याग्रह आंदोलन शुरू हुआ है।  हैदराबाद में भी आवाज़ उठाई गई है। और स्थानों से आवाज़ उठाने की तैयारी है।  इस बीच लोकविद्या आंदोलन के बंगलुरु के उपक्रम 'लोकविद्या वेदिके' ने जो प्रेस विज्ञप्ति जारी की है, उसे हम नीचे दे रहे हैं।

PRESS NOTE
Lokavidya Vedike Supports Zero-Tax on Handmade Products
 22 Sep 2017
Bengaluru
The Lokavidya Vedike fully supports the call for intensification of the ongoing struggle against GST on handmade products by the Gram Seva Sangh, Bengaluru. The Vedike decides to extend all possible assistance to the campaign for zero tax on handmade products. The Vedike believes that handmade products are essential expressions of Lokavidya, that is, the knowledge, skills and beliefs of our craftsmen, artisans, peasants and other ordinary people in the society. The imposition of GST on handmade products is a direct assault on both the lives of ordinary people and Lokavidya.
The Vedike strongly urges the government to withdraw GST on all handmade products without any delay. Moreover, we urge the government to take immediate steps to support and multiply the value and volumes of handmade production in the country, because this alone is capable of providing livelihoods and dignity to the vast majority of Indians.
Regards,
Prof. G.S.R. Krishnan
Dr. J.K. Suresh
Prof. Amit Basole
Conveners
Lokavidya Vedike, Bengaluru


https://lokavidyavedike.wordpress.com/

Monday, September 25, 2017

GST and its implications for Lokavidya Samaj



GST has been introduced in the country from July 1st 2017 and has more-or-less become effective all over the country. What are the stated aims and objectives of GST? This has been summarised as follows:
GST is one indirect tax for the whole nation, which will make India one unified common market. GST is a single tax on the supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer. Credits of input taxes paid at each stage will be available in the subsequent stage of value addition, which makes GST essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage. The final consumer will thus bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with set-off benefits at all the previous stage.”
As can be seen, the main aim is to make India one unified market with one set of tax rules governing all transactions within this unified market. All producers and consumers are to be included in this unified market (which includes the entire Lokavidya Samaj consituting about 85 crore people; who are both producers and consumers). A majority of goods produced and services provided by Lokavdiya Samaj, pertain to daily life and livelihood necessities. There are hardly any ‘luxury’ goods or services provided by Lokavidya Samaj. Most of the goods and services are locally produced and consumed. So what does a national or all-India market mean to Lokavidya Samaj ? Will GST have any effect on the activities/transactions of and within Lokavidya Samaj? Will Lokavidya Samaj or its livelihoods gain any benefit from GST?

The first response of Lokavidya Samaj to GST

In response to the imposition of GST on handmade products, the Graama Seva Sangha, Bengaluru announced a nationwide movement to Free Hand Made Products from GST by launching a Tax Denial Satyagraha on 27-Aug-2017 at Bangalore. The Satyagraha was inaugurated by Theater Director and Social Activist Prasanna Heggodu, well known for his efforts to build co-operatives such as Charaka and Desi that promote a sustainable livelihood for handloom workers. Following the clarion call given by the Graama Seva Sangha, “Don’t collect and don’t pay tax,” the rally witnessed a sale of handmade footwear, fabric, mats and pots without tax.

A second Satyagraha was observed in Hyderabad on September 9, spearheaded by the All-India Federation of Handloom Organizations and Dastkar Andhra, demanding the withdrawal of tax by the GST Council which had its meeting in the Telangana capital on the day. These organisations have appealed to likeminded organizations and movements across the country to come together to fight for the abolition of tax on handmade goods as well as  for the creation of policy initiatives that recognize handmade products as the foundation of true Swadeshi manufacture in the country. The Satyagraha will be observed in other parts of the country too, including Chennai, Kolkata and Jaipur from September 11 to 24. A padayatra will begin from Junjappana Gudde in Sira taluk in Tumkur district of Karnataka on September 24 and the march will reach Kasturba Gandhi Ashram at Arasikere on October 2, after covering 120 km by foot. A hunger Satyagraha will begin at Arasikere on October 2, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.

The argument for Satyagraha

For the first time since independence, a tax has been imposed on all handmade products in India( which are sought to be sold in this all-India market i.e outside the local market area) As a result, Khadi, handloom, handicrafts and the like are taxed under the GST regime. Under GST, luxury products have become cheaper, while handmade products have become expensive. Cars and cigarettes cost less, while a Khadi saree, a handloom kurta, a mat, pot and plough will cost more. Across India, producers of handmade goods who are already in distress will face even more hardship as a consequence of the imposition of the tax.

With this tax the rural enterprise, already in distress, is going to be hit further. We had fought the British against an inhuman tax on salt nearly a century ago through a Tax Denial Satyagraha. It has become necessary to wage another Satyagraha, and that too against our own government, because GST has dealt a death blow to rural enterprise. “

The aims and objectives of the Satyagraha

The organisers believe that this Satyagraha will restore the moral leadership of India as well. For, “morality is made by toiling hands. Sant Sabhyata the saintly civilization of India is handmade. Sant Ravidas, Sant Kabir, Sant Kanakadasa and Vachanakara Sants were all handcrafting people. Handmade production, equitable society and spirituality of simple living formed the three tenets of that Sabhyata. Today the Sabhyata is in danger. This campaign, for making handmade products tax free is a major step towards the rejuvenation of that Sabhyata.”
The British enslaved India not so much through the gun as through capitalist industry; not so much through politics as through commerce. They came as merchants. Remained as merchants. Plundered natural resources, brought machine made products, and managed to sell the millmade. They did so through tax manipulations. Handmade was taxed heavily while the British machine was given concessions. The same policy is being used by our governments now. GST, created jointly by all state governments and the central government is wrong in many other ways. The machine made that is spreading death across the globe and destroying nature environment and society is made cheaper while the rural product, which is nearly carbon neutral, is made dearer by this regime.”
This struggle involves radical changes to the organization, ethos and economics of the society and cannot be undertaken without support from all sections of the society across India.”

The all-India market and GST

The idea of GST is to establish a single all-India market with a single set of ‘market taxes’. So every producer/service-provider, who wishes to participate in this single market, must register and then, hopefully, derive the ‘benefits’ of this single tax regime; while the consumer ( who does not need to register) can get the ‘benefit’ of this single tax regime at any place or time within this single market area.

Industrial (large scale) producers and service-providers will obviously benefit from this ‘no-boundaries’ market system; where buying and selling has been freed from the ‘limitations and vagaries of localities and geographies’. With the widespread decrease in margins/surpluses, small producers/service-providers have been forced to participate in this market system, most often on very adverse terms of trade. In order to avail of the ‘benefits’ of this GST regime , they find that, rather than proving to be a boon it is actually proving to be a bane and a curse on their lives and livelihoods; thus the Satyagraha! The demand for no-tax/zero-tax on handmade produce and services (which permits for inclusion in the all-India market system), arises from this situation. The legitimacy of this demand cannot be questioned on any economic or moral ground!

Challenging the market ‘dharma’

Market activity involves buying and selling, and the aim is to make (or increase) profits for the producer/service-provider. This is the sole aim of (modern) market activity the world over, that is, this is the globalised ‘dharma’ of the modern market system. Producers and service-providers of Lokavidya Samaj have for long been localised and served the needs and necessities of local producers and consumers through a sustained local-market system. This system seemed to have survived (through the ages) through a now-forgotten ‘dharma’ ; of meeting the needs and necessities of the local producers and service-providers through a relatively fair system of exchange rather than one based on ‘cut-throat’ , competitive, profit-oriented buying and selling activity; devoid of any humanity or environmental-friendliness.

How can the State (or local body) seek revenue, through taxation, on hand-made goods and services? The only capital involved, in such productive or service activity, is human labour and Lokavidya. What tax can one legitimately levy on produce based on such capital? What Economics and/or morality supports such taxation?

The Sant Sabhyata, that the current Satyagraha avers to, probably paraphrases this now-forgotten ‘dharma’. Can the Satyagraha rekindle this ‘dharma’ within the rank and file of Lokavidya Samaj hand-makers? The sustenance of the opposition to the tax, on hand-made goods and services in the current GST regime, will largely depend on this internal strength that the Satyagraha is able to infuse in the rank and file of Lokavidya Samaj .

Krishnarajulu, September 2017