Day #3 – Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
Class begins at 11:30. We were instructed to use time to read in the morning. The first session, Caroline introduced Pluralism Knowledge Programme, and in particular pluralism itself. For many people, pluralism only talking about celebrating diversity. But actually is not enough, there is a need to understand the diversity and also the needs to understand the contestation of the diversity that exists. Ram continued by talking more about the core, concerns and methods. He mentions several things such as cultural, indigenous people, as well as the crisis of social science / knowledge and crisis of social action. Delivering also some of the issues that are directly related to the realities being faced in India. One was about how the media constantly preach about gang rape, whether legal approach enough to answer it, whether the problem were answered after we punish rapists, actually there should be a broader context that must be answered about why the rape itself. So also about how different groups define themselves, whether they felt represented by their religious representative or tends to identify themselves with other groups who are equally poor regardless of their religion. Is everything okay as long as a group of people outside of scheduled castes raised no single question about why they are not under the umbrella of state concern. Hmm .. I love listening to this explanation, until I forget to make notes. After the session ended, I did not forget to express appreciation Ram approached me. Previously all materials or presentations about India just got me as an information or knowledge alone, but this time I can really feel what the Indians wrestled with the issue of pluralism in the country, what makes them feel ‘disturbed’ and feel the need for new breakthroughs. Like it, Ram. Anyway, in his presentation, its also mentioned about the diversity within the core concerns are related to the minority question, gender and ethnicity.
Afternoon session delivers by Henk Manschot, Caroline and Ram. Each for one focus area. Henk deliver material on ‘[How] can we connect human and sustainable development?’ Henk widen our horizons with the Earth as a living being. The only and the most beautiful planet when life is. And, that life is about inter-connectivity, interdependency with its complexity and fragility. We’re always talking about human beings, but for so many times we are not existing for the earth. What if this is the parliament animals? What will they tell us? While holding zebra puzzle given by friends from Uganda, Henk posed Zebra philosophy. Zebra is known to the children, zebra-cross, is a kind of ‘bridge’. We’re on the one side, and the streets are very dangerous, and zebra [-cross] will help us to reach the other side safely. The point is, we all need new kind of sensitivity about the earth. Thus, the focal points in developing of a sustainable human development paradigm among other sensitivites and develop new values as earth inhabitants, re-think and re-situate modernity the human species within the larger community of life, and reconnect with traditional ecological knowledge and ‘ local wisdom ‘. Well, tomorrow at Henk’s session, we were asked to speak on behalf of the other species.
Caroline convey a focus on pluralism and identity in the age of globalization. From the ideological sphere of the 20th century we are now, in 21st century, struggling for identity, for the essence of the self. Of course that could be a personal identity, but it also posed in a continuously changing cırcumstances. I am Therefor we are or I am Because We Are. Identities are also could be politically mobilized, but …. are identities changing under the influence of new social movements, are identities changing under influence of social media, are identities changing under the influence of ecological threats? Lots of questions need to be posed coz it might be different in each country.
Finally, Ram convey about pluralism effect. How things or ideas are constructed, what methodology behind construction? How you frame a problem in unstable condition? For whatever you think that you can understand now, might be different tomorrow. Dimensional changes not only in individuals, but also cultural and structural / material. We need to understand the power of hegemonic ideas and exploring creative ways of their transformation [or creating counter-hegemonic ideas]. Rationalism might be over, but somehow universal value is still relevant even tough transform to immanence and transcendence.
Today, one of us celebrate her birthday. Her name is Justine and she come from Uganda. We celebrate her birthday together with a chocolate cake. I knew that she work in human rights issues, she must miss her children in Uganda so much, so that I pray for her and her family and her country. May God bless you, much and much more. Keep on the good work, Justine.