Who We Are?
The emergence of Science and Technology as the harbingers of change has resulted in the dearth of sufficient reflection by social scientists on the existinginstitutions that inhibit change and development. There seem to be a tendencyamong policy makers and even amongst scholars to rely on technical solutions even
to address social problems. This is seriously denting the development of some groups and advancement of others, each claiming the other as their adversaries. No one is seriously looking at the factors or conditions that are responsible for this
situation may be due to lack of adequate information and knowledge about the circumstances. It has further exposed the apathy of scholars’ academic study ofsocially, economically and historically disadvantaged groups. It may be owing to the want of enthusiasm among scholars and sponsored funding to continue such studies, making even the survival of the social sciences in traditional universities grim. This situation needs to be improved by creating an interdisciplinary study and research as an impressive and intellectually challenging initiative. The Institute for
Economic and social Justice will take on itself this important task of making the endeavor a success.
The socially and economically disadvantaged in India are considered as original inhabitants of the land. Native Indians are now recognized as a separate entity in the post-globalization era. In the post-modernist language, some of the groups like the dalits and adivasis are becoming a commodity for sale. Yet, no agency is seriously considering strategies for their emancipation. Those who are in the voluntary sector are aware of the fact that billions of rupees have been received in the name of amelioration of the poverty, disease and distress of the people in India. Who are these people then? Are they not dalits, artisans and adivasis living in the scattered habitations of rural India and the demeaning locations of urban slums?
Why is it that their poverty is increasing over a period of time as per latest NSS survey? What happened to the billions of rupees aid from outside and the budget provisions of the successive governments? Yes, a few individuals are benefited by this. Some individuals and agencies, therefore have a stake in the poverty and misery of the economically and socially excluded groups. The role of the judiciary and the intellectual effort to enhance our understanding of justice seem to be desolate in the Indian context.
Need for an Institute
There are several scholarly studies and theoretical expositions about the social inequality and discrimination in India. Most of the western scholars in the name of Orientalism, Indology, Anthropology etc have tried to understand the system and recorded their findings. Public policy based on their studies seems to have not improved in the conditions of the disadvantaged people despite of Constitutional protection. There seems to be some lacunae in the methodology and approach to the problem with a comprehensive theoretical background. Some of the studies and scholars have looked at the issues partially due to dearth of relevant and appropriate theories. It is due to the enormity and complexity of the problem that needs an interdisciplinary approach. As the traditional Universities and Institutes are developed on the existing academic traditions and disciplinary boundaries, the
problem seems to be not adequately addressed. This brings out the need for a different academic vision and Institutional structure to work on issues and projects to build sufficient material to motivate scholars and policy makers to dwell upon the innovative and original thoughts on the indigenous problems of India.
An interdisciplinary research Institute is planned to study the socially and economically secluded people in general and Dalits, artisans and Adivasis in particular, who are cut off from cultural, political and social life of the country and to
recognize their intellectual, literary, artistic, cultural, athletic and such other talentsand abilities in order to make them a part of the mainstream society. The institute is proposed to conduct research studies on the issues of the socially, economically, historically and culturally deprived groups in particular and people in general of thecountry who are craving for justice and social inclusion.
One of the important purposes of establishing the Institute is to create an ambiance of interdisciplinary interaction and intellectual convergence to inspire scholars to pursue theoretical and empirical work.
Poor as Surplus people
Most of the poor are from the scheduled castes and tribes. The major segment of the dalits lives in Central and East India. The dalits of Bihar, Bengal, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Pujnab etc, constitute around 75 per cent of the dalit poor in India. Except during the lifetime of Dr.Ambedkar, none of these states have any dalit movements. The dalit upsurge in the South is sidelined and fractured today. There are several factors responsible for this. But, no one is now considering the issue of dalits as a social problem. It is because of the fact that dalits are considered as ‘surplus people’. That is, the socio-economic
activities in India can continue unabated even without the participation of dalits.
There are enough people within the system who are made redundant after liberalization and they are willing to accept jobs that can be done by dalits. Can a civilized society leave the dalits or some other marginal group to their fate? This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed and solutions are to be sought from the
historical experiences of other communities within India and outside.
Dalits and Adivasis Remain as Agricultural Laborers
Majority of the dalits live in rural areas and eke out their living from agriculture and related activities. Adivasis are isolated from main stream and mostly live in remote uninhabited locations. The proportion of dalits living on primary sector is
increasing over the last five decades while the income from agriculture has declined in proportion to national income. The ostracization of dalits and the atrocities including untouchability cases are increasing year after year. The post-independent India witnessed some development as a result of which new jobs and occupations are created. Most of the traditional occupations including the ones occupied by the artisan communities have disappeared due to modernization. The people who are confined to caste occupations moved to new and secular jobs. But, the dalits have predominantly remained in the traditional occupations. Those who have moved from rural to the urban areas are again confined to unorganized and low paid jobs. Those who have entered the main stream through reservations and other ways constitute a
minuscule of 1.0 per cent of their population and negligible if the total population is considered. Therefore, the emancipation if not liberation of the dalits and adivasis and the socially deprived is a formidable task?
Adivasis and other Socially Disadvantaged
India is unique with a large presence of adivasis or tribal population who are geographically and socially excluded without much progress in their conditions of existence. Along with the above groups, Indian society has created what is called the
backward castes consisting of mostly the service and artisan castes whose economic status remained stagnant in certain areas. They are aspiring to join the mainstream society and the institute should focus its attention on their existentialissues. Women of India are treated differently compared to other societies and there are gradations within gender discrimination and need special focus to bring them up with the mainstream.
The failures of the voluntary sector
The state and the NGO sector have been experimenting with strategies for the upliftment of dalits for quite some time. It appears that they have achieved very little success? It is observed that in any particular village or habitation the number of beneficiaries have remained to be a minority among the dalits. In several cases, the benefits have gone to the same families or their relations. The destitute among the dalits are always neglected. The position of dalit women remained to be double
marginalized. Even the method and process of identification of beneficiaries itself is found to be lopsided. What is to be done?
An innovative organization
This institute is not going to replicate one of the existing centers of research. It is aspiring to bring in innovation and a new indigenous approach to the developmentof scholarship on Indian problems. For instance, there is a need to look at the
problems of dalits and adivasis afresh on the basis of the experience during the last five decades state sponsored development. It is also relevant to look at their problems not merely as a social problem. It is more an economic problem today
after liberalization when the whole society is undergoing change. This brings to light the need for an innovative organization that should create not only ideas but alsoaction points. The organization should be made to address the problems of the
dalits in specific terms with an overall understanding of the society in general. The structure of the organization can be developed in such a way that it becomes research oriented with advocacy and action research wings. The following can be its
Objectives of the Institute
1. To articulate and study the doctrines of Indian thought and to identify, protect and promote ancient thought that was egalitarian in outlook and to understand and identify why the society is widely divided.
2. To promote studies on interdisciplinary areas including philosophical and theoretical studies on the issues of inequality, injustice, discrimination and other socio-economic, historical and related issues.
3. To conduct research studies to find out the gaps in the present work of various organizations and to suggest policy prescription to ameliorate the conditions of the dalits, adivasis and other poorer sections of society and provide feedback and participate in policy formulations.
4. To undertake assignments of research, training, DPRs and sponsored studies entrusted by Government and other funding agencies.
5.To develop resources to train youth and women in emerging areas of opportunities in the economic, technical and knowledge sectors of modern society and undertake academic and professional courses on demand and need.
6. To identify the resources that are more suitable for the amelioration of the socially disadvantaged based on their present skill and resource base, such as land, water, seeds, investment etc.
7. To provide support services and resources for the sustenance of dalits as viable economic alternative to the present situation
8. To promote dalit diversity in all sectors of the economy including mining, civil contractors, entrepreneurship, industry etc.
9. To organize dalit and Adivasi groups as a coherent social unit to fight against atrocities and to provide security to the vulnerable.
10. To develop social networking of disadvantaged groups with others within a state and to extend the same at the national level.
11. To develop international contacts for mutual academic pursuits and benefit.
How to Organise the Institute?
The institute will not replicate the Nehru Museum and Library or Indira Gandhi Centre of Arts, Delhi, ISEC, Banglore etc. It will be an innovative research institute of international standard with interdisciplinary approach to the problems of the native Indians. It will attract international scholars who are working on indigenous people in different parts of the world particularly in Africa and Central America. The following centres are proposed to operationalize the concept. The main Centre can be located
in Hyderabad/Visakhapatnam and branches could be established in different parts of the country.
Research centre: The major work of the institute will be carried by the research wing of the institute. It will be interdisciplinary in nature drawing from History, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, Political science, Philosophy and related
disciplines in the beginning and slowly will draw on from the natural and human sciences. The agenda of the centre will be drawn by the Academic advisory board of the institute.
Training centre: The training centre will train young scholars on the mandate of the institute and the interdisciplinary methodology of the study of native Indians. The centre will develop knowledge base of the institute through its training modules.
Knowledge centre and Museum: Knowledge base of the native Indians has been appropriated by the aliens and the mainstream exploiters. It is the duty of the centre to extract the knowledge systems from the existing institutions of the native Indians as their institutions and systems of knowledge are not given recognition by the mainstream institutions. For instance, the traditional medicine practices of tribals and low caste vaidyas are to be recorded, refined and published. The work already
carried by some institutes will be used to popularize the mandate through the institute’s structure of exhibitions, seminars, street plays, publications and other popular means of people’s media.
The art, artifacts, the practices etc. of native Indians are to be collected and preserved in a museum not as tribal museums maintained by Anthropological objects of the tribal welfare department or like the ‘museum of man’ of Bhopal
belonging to some regions. It is a treasure of the native Indians and the life and mission of the leaders of the native Indians are to be strengthened on the basis of what some state governments are doing now.
Library and Documentation Centre
The writings, books, documents and other material relating to the native Indians published by scholars and others are to be procured from different parts of the world. The writings on native and aboriginal people of different parts of the world are to beacquired and preserved. The old manuscripts, reprints of original writings relating tonative Indians art to be procured and preserved for the purpose of research and study. It will be an international reference library on native Indians. The centre will
acquire writings of Ravidas, B R Ambedkar, Phooley, Periyar, and other original thinkers who have worked on the native Indians.
Organisation: The institute will have a different structure unlike that of a research institute. Each wing of the institute will have a Director who will be assisted by Deputy Directors and assistant directors. But the academic research wing will have
the university department structure like Professor/Senior Fellow, Associate professor/Fellow and Assistant Professor and the senior most person of the Department/wing will Head of the wing.
The Institute will be managed by an Executive director who will be supported
by supporting staff consisting of Secretary/Registrar, Assistants etc. There will be an
executive committee to be appointed by the sponsoring agency/government with
representatives from the institute.
The Functional setup
The functional units of the organization can be as follows
1. A Research wing
2. An Advocacy and training wing, and
3. An Action research wing
All the three will work under the direction of an Executive Director and Secretary appointed by an advisory committee of Panch shila Foundation Trust.
Governing Council for the Institute
There shall be a governing council consisting of a Chairman and two members nominated by Pancha shila Foundation, three members to be nominated by the sponsoring departments and the Executive Director acts as the Member-Secretary. The Managing Trustee/President of the Pancha Shila Foundation is the
Ex-officio Chairman of the Governing Council of the Institute. The Council is vested with powers to coopt Members from the Funding /Government agencies to be on the Board.
The following are the powers and responsibilities of the governing council.
1. The activities of the IESJ will be managed by the council.
2. The council shall have all such powers and shall perform all such functions as are necessary for proper achievement and furtherance of the objectives of the institute
3. To prepare and consider the annual budget of the institute for approval by the Foundation
4. The governing council in consultation with the Foundation devise procedure for the appointment of the Executive Director and staff of the institute.
5. To receive money, instruments and or movable property for and on behalf of the Institute
6. To operate the bank account jointly with Chairman of the institute and nominee of the Foundation.
7. To draw its own plan of action and rules and regulations as required by the functioning of the institute with in the overall supervision of the Foundation.
About the Trust
Pancha Shila Foundation Trust is a registered charitable Trust under CS No83/2014 Doct No 81, S.R.Nagar Hyderabad. The main objective of the Trust is to popularize the principles of panchshila as enshrined in Buddhist and Indian
traditions. Under section C, it has proposed the Institute to be established and operated as per its own objectives and regulated by the Executive Board duly authorized by the chairman of the Trust.
Chairman of the Trust and Institute
Prof K.S.Chalam is the chairman of the Trust and is Ex-officio Chairman of the Institute. Prof Chalam is a well-known Scholar, Social Scientist and Public Servant in the country. He served as Professor of Economics and founder Director of Academic Staff College, Andhra University. He served as the Vice-chancellor ofDravidian University for a short period and resigned and joined as Hon Member, Union Public Service Commission, a Constitutional authority in 2005. He demittedoffice in 2011 and was requested to act as Special Rapporteur for South India, National Human Rights Commission. He has resigned the NHRC and took up the work of building the IESJ.
The Institute has Visiting Scholars, Honorary Professors, Fellows who are known in their field of work in Social Sciences, Literature, Sciences, Law, Education and related disciplines.