The myriad ongoing popular struggles against displacement, inequality and imperialism will acquire a new civilizational significance as well as a sense of solidarity with each other if they are seen as knowledge struggles, struggles for restoring legitimacy to lokavidya (knowledge with the people). The coming of the Knowledge Society in the past two decades has destabilized the established hegemony of modern Science by recognizing the knowledge of peasants, artisans and indigenous peoples. In the process it has created a space for building a new politics of lokavidya. The "uneducated masses" are on the move everywhere in struggles across the world, forming not just the mass base of these movements, but also the intellectual motive force. New ways of thinking have started coming into existence that do not take European reference, and instead root themselves in the ways of thinking and doing of the people. Lokavidya is the generic name of such ways of thinking and doing of people who have not gone to the university. Lokavidya is their knowledge; in it is embedded their worldview - philosophy, politics, economics, and genius. Lokavidya perspectives are thus the new and emerging knowledge perspectives that pave the way for a political imagination which can deliver the people from the traps they are in since the beginning of imperialism. These are the principal claims of the present volume, a collection of articles by associates of Viyda Ashram located in Sarnath, Varanasi. Essays found here are born from the belief that until the people's struggle against imperialism is carried to the knowledge plane, counter-revolutions will be inevitable; that unless the University is challenged alongside the State, restorations will recur. This book articulates the position that ordinary people the world over are knowledgeable, and that they know it to be so.
Amit Basole is a founding member of Vidya Ashram and teaches Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.