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MINDTEXT
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Editorial

Raw
* sensex fears
** love Reality Check
* I An Indian

** Use of Information and Communication


Technology and Life Long Learning Policy and
Management in India: Creating a Knowledge
Based Society

From the board


Debate on Social Science

Sidelines
Dead End
EDITORIAL

editorial
One of the main concerns of philosophy was to find a way out of the
dichotomy between the real and the ideal. Many theories carry the baggage of
idealism. Even the utterance of the word ideal'leads to the conclusion that the
proposal that idealism hold has an unapproachable destiny. Therefore this
word has almost been seen as the escape route where we can cherish other easy
conceptions (other than the ideal). However MindText of the February issue
is not going to solve the unending dilemma of the ideal and the real. We are
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

into a different process in which multiple horizons are to be combined and


pronounce a new paradigm of thinking and engagement with the social reality.
Thus in this edition we have included a variety of articles ranging from
philosophical issues in social science to sensex vagaries. This mode of variety
would also pronounce the wide area of engagement of CPPR.
As a youth initiative our main concern is to make the young generation to put
their thoughts into a concrete form which is quite central in an era of
technological revolution. We also hold that it is important to provide the
youth a viable medium which is free of prejudices of our time. Therefore a raw
thought may not necessarily adhere to the professional way of writing an
article or work of art. CPPR believes that originality of thought should be
honored to the core. Therefore the contributors in this issue directly speak
from their mind. You can agree or disagree with their arguments, but you
cannot abandon their presence. It is in this firm belief that we are presenting
this edition before you. It's a matter of great pleasure to release the successful
20th edition where all the contributions are from students. However issues
dealt in this edition, especially on ICT, Sensex and social science debate, are
rich in its content and dynamism.
We wish the reader would benefit from this edition and we request you to post
your sincere comments and criticisms. Its always better to move with the ideal
which will make the miseries of the real much lesser.
Wish you all a nice reading!
Aneish P. Rajan
Editor
REALITY CHECK

I, AN INDIAN AMIT VIJAY

It's the 1 st
of January 2008, another new year. A holiday for many, and those who hadn't
chosen for a holiday. And what do we have here? A person or more aptly said, the common
man whiling his first day of the year- resting. But unknown to him this New Year is going to
surprise him in a very unusual way.
It's New Year morning and while having his morning tea, actively skimming through the
newspaper. Having gone through the whole of newspaper, he settles down to read the news from
the first page. In the dialogue that ensues, “I” is for the common man himself.
I : (talking to himself) Ah!! These parties are
going to start for the 2009 elections from
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

now only or what? Think this party is very


confident of giving a crushing defeat to
the coalition government at the centre.
And these changing governments aren't
doing anything for the welfare of either
the common man or the country. God
only can save this country!
“Ha ha ha, well said, well said. God only can
save this country!”, (said a voice which
seemed to come from behind him).
I : Who is it? Where are you?
Here “Me” would represent the voice unknown to the common man.
Me : I am you and I am in you.
I : What rubbish are you talking? Are you a ghost? (murmuring a chant).
Me : I am indeed you, your conscience. I have always been in you, subdued, unreactive, and
unexpressed.
I : Well in that case why are you here now? What do you want?
Me : I was feeling uncomfortable by remaining silent all these years, I wanted to break free. I
am free from any wants, but want to make you aware of what you really want.
I : What I want? I have everything that a man can ask for, home, family, life. What more do I
want?
Me : Well in that case why are you moaning over the government not doing anything for the
common man and the country.
I : Aren't our lives going to get affected by the government's policies? I am a citizen of this
country. If I am not the one to be bothered, who should be?
Me : Then what are you going to do so that people can lead a better life, the country can move
on the road to development?
I : What am I supposed to do? I am not having any power or position to make decisions for
others welfare. What can a common man like me do?
Me : Ha ha ha! In my youth, I never once thought this way. I have always believed that we are the
people that possess the power to change anything we like at any position we may be.
I : (surprised) In your youth? Or better to say in mine (regaining composure). I have made
myself forget everything I wished for in my yearning for a comfortable and peaceful life.
Me : Yes you have. You have cheated not only the ideals and principles you believed in but your
own conscience, Me. You said being a part of the system and changing it from within. Why
did you go back on your words?
I : Yes, indeed, still I believe that if something has to be done then the change should be made
from within the system, by being part of it. I am from a middle class family, I had my
responsibilities. How could I be a part of the political system. Politics is ………
Me : ……. Dirty? Well well well, here goes the
classic dialogue of every Indian. Ha ha ha
ha! What more can anyone expect from
people who have clearly identified their
responsibilities but lack clarity in
identification.
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

I : What do you mean that I lack the clarity in


identifying my responsibilities?
Me : Clarity comes in properly identifying your
responsibilities viz towards your family
and also society. When qualified and
educated people like you shy away from
taking the responsibility to act God only
can save India.
I : Yes you are right, I ought to have done what
I felt was right. But what use now pondering over the lost chance.
Me : (surprised) Lost chance? Here you go again. What about the election days that you used as
an opportunity to go for an excursion with your family instead of going to cast your
vote?
I : (thinking deeply) Do you think my vote is going to
affect the outcome of an election?
Me : You truly characterize the typical Indian. Always giving
excuses for your mistakes, blaming others, shying
responsibilities. What about the thousand others who
take election days as their right for a holiday?
Wouldn't they have made their choice clear by
choosing to vote.
I : I didn't think that there would be many others like me,
who are abstaining from voting to enjoy a holiday.
People who don't vote also loose the right to criticize
the performance of the elected government.
Me : Ahh! A revelation it is. There are scores of other things
that you could have done but instead choose to be a
blind spectator.
I : Me, a blind spectator? How can you say that?
Me : You re also very forgetful of your actions. Or is
it that you want your actions to be forgetful
in nature? Then let me remind you something
which you choose to forget. It's your daily
chore to throw your garbage in the site
opposite to your lane, isn't it? Why do you
think does the garbage stinks over days and
then only its being removed?
I : Because we are having an ineffective
councilor as well as a useless MLA.
Me : Hmmm, Useless and ineffective. How about
that site not being a garbage collection point.
Giving to your laziness you choose not to
walk an extra 100m or so to the garbage pit
to deposit the wastes and chose a place of
your convenience for dumping. And your
neighborhood followed suit.
I : Maybe.
Me : And how could you forget yesterday when you
and others remained mute spectators to
women being harassed by drunken party
revelers until the police arrived.
I : What should I have done?
Me : Asking me how you should have reacted? We are called social animals. This means that we
have in us some nature of animals too like to care for your own kind, protect them. But we
chose to forget that, why? In our quest for a peaceful life? How can one live in peace when
your neighborhood is in mayhem?
I : You are right. I chose to forget everything for my own selfish needs.
Me : You have always stopped me from reacting. It's not my nature to be subdued. I am an
Indian. It's my right to react to injustice, to social evils. The ways of the revolutionaries, of
our freedom fighters have always made my heart beat faster. Inspiring me to be a part of
new social, scientific and economic revolution. To make my country a developed nation.
But you stopped me in my quest that I choose for myself.
I : Maybe I wasn't ready, maybe I felt it to be a too huge a task for me. Maybe I felt myself to be
weak. Not able to differentiate between my responsibilities.
Me : What made you feel that way? Why?
I : Because like others I am also an Indian, an Indian in every sense.
Me : So am I, an Indian. But the one who choose to react.
That is the common man of India, knows everything, feels everything, experiences
everything but doesn't know how and when to react. Will he wake up or not from this deep
slumber? What is he waiting for? For whom is he waiting for? For us?

Cartoons of the common man courtesy - R K Lakshman.

Amit Vijay, is a final year engineering student at NIT, Calicut


Reality Check

Use of Information and Communication Technology


and Life Long Learning Policy and Management in India:
Creating a Knowledge Based Society
Chetan. Basavaraj Singai
Part.2
Legal Dimensions
Having explored the significance of ICTs in e-governance it is important to analyze certain legal provisions
enumerated in the country regarding. Judiciary is the facilitator/protector/promoter in a democratic country like India.
Following which understanding law is fundamental to understand the protection, promotion and processing of LLL
through ICTs.
Information Technology Act, 2000
India enacted its first cyber-law on the internet, the Information Technology Act, 2000. The Indian cyber-law has a
limited focus; its three main objectives are enshrined in the preamble to the IT Act. The preamble of the IT Act states: An
Act to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means
of electronic communication, commonly referred to as “electronic commerce”, which involve the use of alternatives to
paper-based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filling of documents with
the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Banker's Book
Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto
(Bannerjee, Inderjit, 2003). By means of such legal provisions, it is now possible that we can actually file, issue, grant or
receipt by means of such electronic form as may be prescribed by the appropriate government.
Information Communication Technologies and Life Long Learning:
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

The convergence between telecommunications, broadcasting multimedia and information and communication
technologies (ICTs) that are driving the development of the global 'Information Society' is responsible for the
transformation of a variety of economic and political sectors, as well as the socio-cultural strata of nations around the
world. I would like to argue that, the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICTs) lie not purely in the
range of their functionality (See Table 1), but in the variety and versatility of their application. Much has been written
about the potential of ICTs to 'revolutionize' society, particularly in the context of their role as catalysts of the
'Information Revolution.' This 'revolution' is often juxtaposed with its predecessor, the Industrial Revolution, usually for
the purpose accentuating the idea that communication networks are as integral to the process of development as was
the birth and development of industry in the 19th century. While it is the question of access that has risen to the forefront
of development agendas in the context of the famed 'digital divide', much work remains to be done in analyzing and
understanding how these technologies are utilized and applied to bring about expected revolutionary societal and
economic changes and improvements.
Among the most important yet sensitive areas affected by ICTs are those of Life Long Learning and governance,
thereby revealing the big question: what are the true benefits and changes that communications technologies can
provide for everyone? While the conventional wisdom is that new technologies contribute to economic development,
and that this in turn trickles down to the whole of global society, it is relevant to bear in mind that such diffusion depends
on relatively equal patterns of income distribution (Senker, 2000), as well as a variety of other variables that are not
necessarily prevalent in the developing world. The subject of how modern communications alter the way in which
various entities of the private sector, the public sector and civil society interact has spurred much debate. More
specifically, such debate targets the underlying theme of whether they are conducive to fundamental shifts in the
distribution of power towards the dissolution of strong, centralized political hierarchies. In the context of this paper, ICTs
include the workings of all digital communications networks (principally the Internet), wireless networks, and radio
broadcast networks. Across different phases of policymaking and information dissemination, they can be applied in
various forms as database technologies, decision support technologies, networking technologies, and personal
identification and tracking technologies.
Table 1: Functional interactivity of various ICTs
Functional Interactivity Relative
Supports Possibility Nature degree of
Medium Multi- Participant functional
exchange of of
directional Control interactivity
of roles Feedback communication
Synchronous or
electronic media

Telephone Yes Yes Yes Im mediate High


asynchronous

Radio Communication Yes Yes Yes Im mediate Synchronous High


Networked

Im mediate
World Wide Web Yes Yes Yes Synchronous High
or delayed

Email Yes Yes Yes Im mediate Synchronous High


or delayed
Limited,
mass media

National TV No No No Synchronous Low


Networked

delayed
Local TV Lim ited Limited Lim ited Limited Synchronous Low/ medium
Limited,
National Radio No No No Synchronous Low
delayed
Local Radio Lim ited Limited Lim ited Limited Synchronous Low/ medium
One key to uncovering the complexities of the relationship between ICTs and knowledge based society (a
social transformation) – in a LLL context – may lie in the assessment of the degree of functional interactivity
of a given technology (See Table 2). “A relatively high level of functional interactivity of networked electronic
media [as shown above to include Internet, telephone, and radio-communication] confirms the presumed
suitability of those electronic media for multi-directional communication processes” (Koert, 2001). This
supports the idea that ICTs, in the process of empowering people to exchange information, may help to
effectuate change by supporting decentralized, participatory development. Conversely, lower levels of
functional interactivity are more likely to render a technology supportive of more centralized power
structures. A similar type of analysis across communications media, emphasizes the interactivity element –
here it is referred as 'reciprocity.' The unit of analysis is a subjective measure of each technology's capacity to
support an 'ordinary' individual's activities, with darker shading indicating greater capacity for reciprocity in
each of the five major categories. E-mail unequivocally stands apart from its predecessors as being more
conducive to reciprocity in communication (Kedzie, 1997). The aim of this table below is to contrast and not
precision.
The use of ICTs in the realm of LLL can be broken down broadly to four main realms whose level and quality of
interaction - amongst themselves and with one another - has been vastly heightened as a result of the
deployment of communications networks. Individuals, NGOs, national governments (including State
Governments), and supranational institutions have all been empowered insofar as they have the means to
effectively communicate their stories, agendas, laws and agreements, respectively and with maximum
impact. Indeed, the ICTs like the Internet may facilitate the networking and mobilizing functions of many
NGOs working across national borders, as a countervailing force to the influence of technocratic elites and
government leaders running traditional international organizations, and may be even more effective as a
force for human rights, providing a global platform for opposition movements challenging autocratic
regimes and military dictatorships, despite government attempts to restrict access in certain countries
(Ayres, 1999). The evolving relationship of each of civil society entities with one other – as enhanced and
strengthened by ICTs – is significant to any analysis of governance.
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

This change and dynamics should contribute in many ways to the development of a new 'diplomacy of LLL',
which highlights the alleged tension between power and morality, and which supersedes the predisposition of
organizations like the UN to focus 'selective morality' on certain areas of the world over others. Whereas
national governments and supranational institutions have long been positioned to guide, respectively, the
formation of national/international policies through various well-oiled gears of public diplomacy –
individuals and civil society representatives have not. A wide range of governments throughout the world
continue to utilize a variety of tools, including licensing, limits on access to newsprint, control over
government advertising, jamming, and censorship, to restrain independent voices. The growth of new,
Internet-based media did help facilitate public access to a wide range of information, but some governments
continued to develop means to monitor e-mail and Internet use and restrict access to controversial, political,
news-oriented, and education web sites. Other governments have chosen to prohibit Internet access or limit
it to political elites (U.S Department of State, 2000). For those who subscribe to a 'technological determinist'
approach (Finnegean, 1988), these types of examples are indeed supportive of the idea that communications
technologies are fundamental drivers in the transformation of society at every level – including social
interaction between institutions and individuals.
The importance of general information sharing and more transparent and accessible knowledge
management systems (typically private sector specializations that are now being transposed upon
organizations of the public sector - NPM) are being emphasized through ICTs coordination in the promotion of
LLL policies. The idea that ICTs can help to avoid the duplication of work and enhance the organizational
efficiency of those working in the field of LLL is only just beginning to be explored. The main impact of ICTs
[and the internet] “… on democratic life concerns [their] ability to strengthen the public sphere by expanding
the information resources, channels of electronic communication, and the networking capacity for many
organized interest groups, social movements, NGOs, transnational policy networks, and political parties with
the technical know-how and organizational flexibility to adapt to the new medium.” (Norris, 2002)
Multiple Level s of ICTs operation towards Life Long Learning:
Having referred to the use and importance of ICTs towards LLL in the previous section, it is important to
perceive the different levels of ICTs incidence towards LLL policies. As a matter of fact ICTs provide for 'global
public sphere.' We have to contextualize that LLL is a Public Good and it exists in a Public Sphere. It is this global
public sphere which has to be understood at different levels in its specificity towards Promotion and
Processing of LLL policy. The different levels which I would like to analyse the LLL activity would be three fold:
Individual Level
All individuals irrespective of any discrimination use ICTs. It is always said that it's the youth who are more
aware about the innovations and fast accessibility of ICTs, so its matter of observation that the youth
population of our country has to go ahead and deliver the best of ICTs. Globalization which is the propagator
of ICTs across globe has influenced the youth most. This globalization should be a boon not a bane to the
humanity. Realizing the importance of the young population towards promoting LLL, its is also important
that all other individuals like the Government Employees, Senior Citizens, and others to change their mind set
from traditional (conservative) to more modern (progressive) mind set. Changing with time is not a
crime. Individuals put together makes a group, groups together makes a community and community
put together makes a society. Individual level should be an ernst beginning towards the role of ICTs
towards Promotion and Processing of LLL in societies where civilization lives towards a Knowledge Based
Society.
State Level
India has a quasi-federal model of governance. In India we have State Education Ministries at the
respective States (provinces). Hitherto there are around 29 states and 7 Union Territories in India. However,
these states face geographical and financial constraints towards implementing innovations and
establishing systems for processing LLL policies.
What is the role of ICTs here at this level? For a quasi-federal kind of governance in India, e-governance
comes in as an effective tool towards good governance. India has a diversity of states, no state is as same
as the other, they are unique in all sense. Each state has to be dealt with respective State governments who
understand it better than others. We have one central Ministry of Education. However, the State
governments functions are not obligatory or under supervision of the Central government. It is a matter
of fact that this diversity or gap between Central and State can be filled in through e-governance, that is
to say the use of ICTs in governance.
There should be a network between State government and Central government in implementing LLL
polices. Through the use of ICTs there would be increased coordination among the LLL organizations
across the country. Thus ICTs have to be used to its fullest in order to achieve the above.
NGO's/Civil Society Stake Holders
What is Civil Society and why is it important? Civil society includes, NGOs, Women's organizations, research
institutes, libraries, organizations of Indigenous people, trade unions, universities and others. Civil society
is a critical to tap into and building on the expertise and experience of potential partners towards
promoting and processing LLL. I would like to argue that, civil society plays an important role in
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

promoting, and processing LLL. Networking these NGOs through ICTs with respective Governmental LLL
Organizations is important both at local and global level, because NGOs are effective in reaching people
and Governments have legitimacy from people.
Networking the Civil Society especially NGOs, Universities, Libraries and other active centres with LLL
organization across the globe is the need of the hour. The only way to do so which is time and cost
effective is through use of ICTs. Dissemination of information or programs of LLL and to the local civil
society organization increases the legitimacy and concern for LLL promotion and processing. A diverse
country like India it is difficult or rather impossible to reach each and every individual. The best possible
alternative can to use the tool of ICTs (which is highly used today, thanks to globalisation) in order to reach
the maximum individuals.
Concluding Remarks
It is important to highlight that, there are two camps in the arena of e-governance: cyber-optimists and
cyber-pessimists. Cyber-optimists are hopeful that the development of interactive services, new
channels of communication, and efficiency gains from digital technologies will contribute towards the
revitalization of the role of government executives in representative democracies, facilitating
communications between citizen and the state. In contrast, cyber-pessimists express doubts about the
capacity of governments to adapt to the new environment effectively and with positive result insofar as
the questions of access and digital divide have repercussions for political participation. According to
optimists, however, the Internet serves multiple functions for organizations promoting LLL, networking
with related associations and organizations; mobilizing organizers, activists and members using action
alerts, newsletters and emails; raising funds and recruiting supporters; and communicating their
message to the public via the traditional news media. The Internet is most useful for trans-national
advocacy networks, exemplified by diverse campaigns such as the movement against the production
and sale of land mines, demonstrators critical of the WTO meeting in Seattle, environmentalists in
opposition of genetically modified foods, and anti-sweatshop campaigners. Indeed, see information
technologies as the backbone of NGO collaboration. Finally, it is important for us to realize that a
comprehensive LLL information system (networking) through ICTs towards promotion and processing of
LLL is need of the hour. This comprehensive information system requires collaboration among not only
the government agencies of LLL, but also cooperation with UNO and its agencies, with diverse elements of
civil society – NGOs, Universities, and organizations of indigenous peoples, research institutes, libraries
and others. In India in order to achieve this we need to have a reformative mind set, which would help us
in reforming our Administration from traditional bureaucratic (hierarchical) to New Public Management
with Decentralization/Democratisation model.
A country like India adopting the idea of Universal Education (Sarva Shiksha Abhigyan) with a non-
lapsable fund of about 71,56 Cr. (2005-2006), Life Long Learning as a policy is not hard to adopt. The Sarva
Shiksha Abhigyan (SSA) can no doubt accommodate this novel policy of LLL. It is now open to the policy
maker or policy dictators (politicians) to welcome this policy in its fullest potentials.
References
1. Alexander, J. H., & Grubbs, J. W. (1998). Wired government: Information Technology, external public
organizations, and cyber democracy. Public Administration and Management: An Interactive Journal,
3 (1).
2. Bagga, R.K. (2001), IT Policies and their implementation in India: The ASCI–CSI Research project, ASCI
Journal of Management, Vol. 30 (1&2) March. Hyderabad, p.20
3. Bhattacharya, Mohit (2001). Social Theory and Development Administration. Jawahar Publishers, New
Delhi.
4. Caiden, Gerald (1971). The Dynamics of Public Administration, New York, Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
5. Garsons, G.D (1999). Information systems, Politics, and government: Lending theoretical perspectives.
6. Heeks, R (2001). Understanding e-Governance for development I-Government Working Paper Series,
Working Paper No1., ISBN: 1 902518934. Manchester: University of Manchester.
7. Kettl, D. (2000). The Transformation of Governance: Globalization, Devolution, and the Role of
Government. www.lafollette.wisc.edu/research/publications/transformation.html
8. Kooiman, J (2003). Governing as Governance. London: Sage.
9. Shy, O. (2001). The Economics of Network Industries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
10. Osborne, D & Gaebler, T. (1992). Reinventing Government: How Entrepreneurial Spirit is transforming the
Public Sector. MA: Addison Wesley
The auther is a research scholar in the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance,Jawaharlal Nehru
Uuniversity,New Delhi)chetanbsingai@gmail.com
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008
From the Board…

THE DEBATE ON 'CATEGORIES'


SOCIAL SCIENCE IN INDIA
Aneish P. Rajan

Introduction
Contemporary discourses in social science theory are informed by a predominance of numerous
discursive universes generated by a spate of ethnographic and anthropological studies in the
nineteenth and early twentieth century. Though these studies kicked off from different vantage points,
they were deeply rooted in the claims of nineteenth century positivism. They took the world as a
material given that was amenable to scientific study. The knowledge generated by these studies forms
the basis of social theory today, though it has not remained unquestioned. Thus though there is a
general agreement existing among social scientists that the world is objective and cognisable, the
differences are about the sources , forms and methods of cognition and ways of attaining truth about
social reality. When a social scientist confronts the complexity of social reality, he must find out logically
defensible and empirically verifiable explanations. This positivist outlook made the social scientist to be
concerned with the need for a holistic theoretical framework.
Attack on positivist notions of science and empirical validity has opened new ways of exploration and
understanding the phenomena from a point of view that is independent from scientific theoretical
framework. The Popperian criticism of logical positivism and Feyeraband's anarchist method had
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

envisaged a realm of such enquiry, which eventually leads to the enriching expositions of the discourses
on philosophy and methodology of social science. What is being explored in these debates is the truth
claims of methodology of social science as lasting and empirically testable. However this debate does
not stop itself from critically engaging further with the notion of 'universality' of social sciences.
The object of this paper is not to dwell upon these methodological debates; rather it is to concentrate on
one particular aspect - the debate on claims of universality and indigenisation in the context of India.
Much of the discussions on the universality and its critiques are largely framed in the backdrop of the
sociological discipline. Thus this paper does not intend to carry on the much elaborated debate which
takes the lead of sociology nor deny it completely by not including it in framing the main argument
which mainly focuses on the impact of the (universality –indigenisation) debate in perceiving and
analyzing the Political Science discourse in India. The argument presented in this paper places the
tradition-modernity debate in post-colonial India vis-à-vis the academic discussion on universality and
indigenisation of social sciences. Thus it also enquires into the formation of knowledge which in this
context is grounded in the social science discipline in general and Political Science in particular. This
approach is being adopted as an appropriate way of perceiving the Indian socio-political reality. The
contestable and contested modes of academic engagements and methodologies which deal with
certain 'categories' that are largely conceived in the tradition-modernity discourse would lead us to
assess its impact on the social science research in India. This is not merely empirical; it reveals how
academic pursuit dealt with the political categories and political realities in a post-colonial state. Thus the
debate is also centered on the construction of meanings and filling the vacuum of these constructions
regarding the marginalised spaces. The irreducible significance of multiple perspectives in conceiving
reality also had taken the stage in defining the 'political' in India which tried to fill the voids that have been
created in and through the familiar narratives of struggle , nationalism and modernity. It is these
narratives and counter narratives that are going to be probed through the methodological debate on
universality and indignity
As stated earlier one of the epistemologically relevant questions in the social sciences is that are they, by
virtue of having originated in the West, necessarily universal. Immanuel Wallerstein has opined that the
claim of western social science to be universal remained more or less firmly established between 1945
and 1970, until the rise of East Asian power. Since the inception of disciplines like History, Political Science,
Economics and Sociology they have been primarily concerned with the empirical realities of the western
world. Out of these emerged a profound intellectual problematic of 'modernity' that was underlying
the intellectual enquiry in the social sciences. In the social sciences, subject-object is a social relationship
From the Board…

between humans. As Wallerstein opines, either of them may come from social, cultural and
institutional contexts different from the other. Thus the course of scientific enquiry in such a
situation is “not only theory impregnated and methodologically constrained, it is additionally
value added and power impregnated”.
The emergence of a plurality of co-existing paradigms in the social sciences is indicative of the
diverse efforts to grasp the complex realities that underlie the accelerated pace of social changes
that are currently underway. Though there is no single paradigm which is able to provide the
intellectual space within which all relevant discourses can take place, the rest of the world tends to
be perceived through the major paradigms that have originated in the West. The other societies
and cultures tend to recite the western discourses and realities in substantial realities which clearly
enunciate the eurocentrism of the social sciences.
This hegemonic character of Eurocentric social science does not remain unquestioned. The
disparity between the 'professed universality of theories and concepts and their mismatch with
contextual realities interrogated the ability of Eurocentric social science to be applicable and even
relevent to other settings of social reality. The demand for contextual and native concepts and
critique of Eurocentrism led to the call for indigenisation in social sciences. However the concept
of indigenisation has also undergone critical scrutiny and much deliberation. Hussain Alatas
observes that 'no society can develop by inventing everything by its own. When something is
found effective and useful, it is desirable that it should be adopted and assimilated.' Sayed Farid
Atalas has sharpened the concept of indigenisation by relating it to “irrelevancy”. He argues that
the social science that emerged in the West were initially applied to non Western world through
colonisation and subsequently implemented among the locals during and after formal
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

independence. The lack of goodness of fit between western theory and non-western realities is
the central concern of irrelevancy, if authentically demonstrated, according to him provides the
rationale for indigenisation project. For him, indigenisation and universalisation are not in
opposition, they are one and the same thing, since indigenisators of knowledge do not wish to
discard western social sciences, but want histories to become bases of knowledge. He also
perceived that all countries, institutions and historical experiences had to be regarded as sources
of ideas for the universalisation of the social sciences. He makes the point that for social sciences
to be indigenous they have to be relevant to the contextual reality.
While placing this debate in the Indian context, there are again contesting perspectives. Arguing
against the narrow parochial approach to social science, Andre Beteille opines that surely there is
room for an Indian perspective, but to be viable they have to address themselves to society and
culture anywhere and not just to Indian society and culture. Reiterating the enduring demand
for indigenisation, Mukherjee rephrases Beteille to note that surely there is a western perspective,
but to be viable they have to address themselves to societies and cultures everywhere not just
Western societies and cultures and their interests.
How do we perceive these debates under the rubric of the Indian Political Science discipline and its
discourse? If we consider the notion that the historical process of institutionalisation of social
science discipline in large part was coterminous with the Western agenda of 'empire' building,
what was the impulse of it in the understanding Indian reality and polity?. The debate on
constructing indigenity stands parallel to the deliberations on “own” categories against the fruits
of modernity which were seen as the repercussions of colonialism. Thus the enduring debate in
India is mainly focused on the tradition-modernity dichotomy and its pervasive critique. The
modernity paradigm initiated through the structural functional model of social science had its
adherents and critiques. However, whether through the conflicting functional or Marxist
paradigms, the project of modernity was rigorously pursued by protagonists of the western
model of development.

"to be continued”
RAW

Sensex Fears Madhu

It has again been a season of mayhem for the investors who included even persons
who secured debts to trade in this uncertainty. The risks associated with stock trading
have long been attractive because of the quick money it provided. Option and future
trading have provided a platform to many to get involved into what is considered as
the most risky business. Risky because, not even the greatest expert can predict its
behaviour which however provided good returns even to marginal investors. No one
can predict the unpredictable suits this highly volatile trading.

With the sensex tumbling owing to the sub-prime crisis in U.S, it showed how much we
are dependant on the U.S market amidst relief from the Finance Minister. While the
reasons for the downfall of the bull are numerous, many took refuge in Vaastu errors.
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

Some of them complained that the bull near the BSE was positioned in a wrong manner
which was the eventual cause of this tragedy!! But the question is how much this
downfall really affects the layman. Barely a few percent of the people are aware of this
stock trading and the implications it can have on them. At a time when Mukesh Ambani
became the richest person and the Reliance Energy quoted at a record value of Rs 460 in
its IPO, the layman have to have a understanding of trading of shares.

While the Ambanis can escape this mayhem one should understand that it is the
ordinary investors that are facing the heat. Even the much sought and safe Mutual
Funds caused loss to people, it was a period which saw persons who gained 10 lakh
Rupees having lost 10 Crore Rupees. The Harshad Mehta and the Ketan Parekh scams
brought about the shortcomings of this trading, it paved way for a strict regulatory
regime under the SEBI. However no Regulator can be foolproof, and are prone to
making to mistakes like lifting the ban on short-selling when it needed more reliant long
term investment.

With the international global scenario changing rapidly one can't see lightly the result of
the Bull Run. But one should be apprehensive of effects it can have on the ordinary
layman. Though the “Bull' might not directly effect the “cow”, eventual downfall can
create a change in the fiscal policies of the country. There is an effect on the price
determination of a commodity which directly impacts the small traders and most
importantly the ordinary layman. At a time when discussions are going around for
introducing Mutual Funds for the Poor (MFP), one should understand that for people
who find it difficult to afford to buy bread may not have the mentality to think of such
things which may work well on paper.

He is a CPPR team member.


RAW

Of Love and the True Lover… Vinu Thammanam

This is, I feel, the right time to write about love.


True love. I have always differed when it came to
typecasting 'love' as a feeling that one celebrates on
St.Valentine's Day. And now, there is not one but two
examples to which I can relate what I feel is true
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

love. Two great persons, who were in 'true love', in the


fullest sense. One was a social activist and the other an
artist, both loved what they did. Irony, it seems, that it is that time of the
year and both of the true lovers are no more. Baba Amte and Bharath
Gopi.

Baba Amte led a spartan life, devoted to care and rehabilitation of leprosy
patients. Mahatma Gandhi called him 'Abhay Sadak', the fearless seeker of
truth. A committed Gandhian, Baba was one of India's most respected social
leaders. Despite his back problem, which made it difficult for him to sit up
straight, Baba let his voice for various social campaigns like the one against
Narmada project.

Bharath Gopi was an artist par excellence. He was called the liberator
of the Malayalam film industry in the 70's and 80's. A truly devoted
man, with his exceptional love for the theatre changed the way the people
perceived the characters. Even the massive heart stroke, which paralyzed him, could
not curtail his love for cinema. The characters, which he portrayed, still stand
distinct in our minds.

Both of these great personas did what they loved and loved what they did. It was
nothing but pure love that made them do so. Both had to face difficulties in their
path towards love, but they kept going, they held their love supreme. I'll call them
'true lovers' because they were so true to it. The fact remains both of these true
lovers are no more, but love prevails. The result of their lifelong work still stays alive.

Well, as always, I am keeping my heart open too…truly…madly…deeply…

He is a CPPR team member.


RAW

MIRROR
MIRROR IMAGES
IMAGES
Hariprasad

In some corner of this corner less world


existed an island. The island had nothing
but a huge tower on it. At the top of the
tower was seen a Mirror facing the horizon.
It happily reflected the beauty of the
20082007

morning sun and the vast expanse of the


ocean facing it. Years did not fade its sheen
| November
|January
Issue-11 |February

and it continued to reflect all that is. It was a


delight for the sailors who passed by the island now
and then. In some time the island began to be identified by
Issue-13
Volume-2 Issue-2

the Mirror on the tower and the beauty it presented to the travelers.
The Mirror inspired the poet in the sailor and the poems of the travelers
MINDTEXT | Volume-3

inspired many a poet to cross by the island.


On a turbulent night that saw the sea at its wildest fury, the waves
fought against the strength of the old tower and reached for the Mirror.
Calm and steady as always the Mirror witnessed the wildness of the
mighty sea. Wave after wave rose to the Mirror and lashed against it. And
the Mirror was turned away from the horizon.
Next morning saw the ocean as calm as ever. The wind was mild on the face of the
sailor and the waves danced playfully on the shores of the island. And as the ship
passed by the island the sailor looked up at the Mirror. But to his disgust he saw a
heap of debris reflected on the Mirror. He couldn't believe his eyes, for such a sight
was never seen from the Mirror before. The sailor moved ahead filled with
disappointment. He vowed never to cross the island again during his voyage.
With each passing ship and disgusted sailor the story of the Mirror spread to far off
places. Nobody wished to see the Mirror now and everyone avoided it. Word spread
about the trajedy that met the Mirror on the far away island.
The Mirror was quite shocked and surprised. It did not know that the sailors thought
the images to be the Mirror.....and continued to think so. A faint smile spread over
the Mirror and it thanked the ocean for the wisdom it offered.
In time it started enjoying the new experience while happily doing what it always did.
***
~Be the Mirror to know the Mirror ~
He is a CPPR team member.
SIDELINES

An eventful day with the past!


MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

CPPR, in association with the former students of Speakers' Forum, S.H.College, Thevara
organized a farewell function to Prof.K.C.Abraham the advisor of the centre at Abad
Atrium,Kochi on 3rd Feb. Prof Abraham has completed almost 33 years of his service as a
lecturer of Ploitical Science in the Dept. Of Economics, S.H.College. He was instrumental in the
formation of CPPR in 2004. Most of the board members of the centre were his students. He
was also the in charge of speakers' forum which gave birth to number of genius personalities
including civil servants, academicians, advocates etc. most of the former speakers' forum
members and the CPPR team were present at the function that was emotionally charged
and filled with a vivid sense of nostalgia. Number of teachers from various departments of
S.H.College also attended the programme. Chairman D.Dhanuraj presented a memento to
Prof.Abraham on behalf the CPPR family.
SIDELINES

OUR FIRST “SEMINAR” EXPERIENCE Shrutika Umarji, Priyanka Devershetty


(members, team CPPR)

People usually don't forget those experiences in life which are both memorable and
enlightening at the same time. The Liberty and Society Seminar held at Ashirbhavan (Kacheripady,
th th
Cochin) from 24 to 27 of January 2008 hosted by Centre for Civil Society was definitely one of
those 'experiences.' Though the seminar was four days long, it just passed by the blink of an eye!!!
To start with, we were really impressed with the place itself. It is a very calm and serene place
since it is a convent. The facilities like the food, accommodation, etc we were provided with, was
really good. There was a particular schedule we use to follow and the discussions would continue
up to 12'o clock in the night. The sessions were very interactive and informative unlike the
boring lectures!!! Frankly, we now have an idea about what exactly is a public policy, its various
forms of implementations and how the existing policy can be changed for the betterment of
the society.
We had discussions on topics like 'New Architecture for International Order', 'Is Socialism Dead or
Not', 'Why is India Poor', 'Education Policy', 'Environment: the Tragedy of the Collective', etc. Even
documentaries were filmed on concepts like 'Is America No 1', 'Greed', etc. From the session on
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

'New Architecture for International Order', we have come to interpret that though America is
applying double standards in its policies and approach towards other countries, its best to view it
from a neutral point and as far as we are concerned, we think that this should be the stand
taken by the whole of 'India.' In 'Researching Reality' we had to visit old age homes, orphanages,
slums, markets; collect information about their respective setups and present it the following
day in the form of skits, role-plays. The human interest, the emotional backing with the problems
like ineffective implementation, and insufficient awareness were some traits of this session which
made it interesting. It was not only about penning down the detailed facts and circumstances,
but it was necessary to find out how exactly these details would play in their practical life. It was
absolute fun. One 'striking feature' was that they always emphasised on the point of 'being
liberal and clear in thoughts.'
After LSS many things in life have changed. From social point of view, we bonded very well with
all the participants and CCS team alike, and made great friends with them. Further it's just been a
week since we have attended the seminar. This may sound very clichéd now, but it definitely has
changed our outlook towards life. In a way, it has helped us understand ourselves better. We have
been shown that there is more to life than we knew. We have learnt a lot in team work. This has
made us very tolerant listeners. Many things which made no difference to us has now become
matters of our major concern, in fact we make attempts in our own small or big thoughts and
ways to bring a positive change in the society. Our thought of mind earlier used to be very
narrow, for that matter we always used to feel that things in the country cannot be changed.
We thought it's already late to improve things around. There can be no changes in a society like
ours. LSS has actually proved us to be wrong and made us think more optimistically. Now we feel
that change is inevitable and it has to take place in our society through us. It has made us more
thoughtful, conscious. Never before has society attracted us with its issues before LSS. We always
had a fear of ignorance in us which has been taken away after LSS. LSS has definitely inspired us
to speak research and analyse well. The four day seminar has also developed many other qualities
in us like observing, thinking about social problems and discussing them freely with family and
friends.
Last but not the least, still a lot of things are waiting to happen and we are still trying to
speculate and not fall under the burden of expectations. We are more alert than ever before and
would like to move ahead in life and not regret or repent for our actions in the long run. This
seminar is definitely a must attend for youth like us who want to change the world!
MINDTEXT | Volume-3 Issue-2 |February 2008

DEAD END
PHOTO GALLERY

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