Achala, thanks for the post. It is very significant debate which should have taken place
i aggree with what narayana is saying. societies and cultures have to become global by
retaining their indigenous identities and generic elements what make them what they are.
the gung ho globalisation of knowledge should not and should not be allowed to bulldoze
indegenous ways of understanding the world (it is much different from just knowledge).
retaining indigenous viewpoints is fundamental to preserving indigenous knowledge.
this is invariably against the PoV policy of wikipedia. most wikipedians fail to
understand even the element of neutrality is concieved from a particular point of view
which is predominantly western. this kind of bulldozing of viewpoints especially on an
online knowledge base best serves stategic and commercial interests of `big brothers'
who refuse to get off our shoulders. more than that it poisons indigenous ways of
compprehending the world.
every country has a constitution which is formulated with a disticnt point of view. a
country like India has thousands of sub cultures and these cultures are not just about
different clothing and cousine. They are about seeing the world from a distinct PoV.
Indian history, politics and economy is about conflict between preveleged and
underpreveleged - not just in terms of class but also in terms of caste, linguistic
hegemony and political power. In that context, the principle of neutrality in
globalisation of knowledge is very useful for the preveleged few in India. Combined with
that anonymity that is provided by Wikipedia, you have a potent intellectaul weapon at the
hands of the preveleged few.
now to some of the concerns raised by sugata in the article;
Finally, let me end by posing a few nagging questions
about this indigenous enterprise of knowledge: In the world that we live is it really
possible to segregate 'our' knowledge and 'their' knowledge?
It should be possible to seggregate and it can be done. It more necessary `in the world
that we live'.
What kind of an exercise would this be and what kind of
mindset would this require? Is it not embedded with an element of violence like in all
reclamations, revivals and revisitations? Is there a more reconciliatory path that we
This would be a very sensitive excercise and yes there could be elements of violence but
can be minimised with partnerships with all indigenous groups. As we go along more
reconciliatory paths may emerge but we need to start walking the talk first.
How does one erase the power relationship that exists
between the language that gives and the one that receives? How does one handle the
economics and politics of it? Isn't it a better strategy to reverse the process, at
least as a first step to achieve parity, where you flood the power language, in this case
English, with elements and idioms that are local?
The very premise that there is a language that gives and one that receives is wrong. All
languages/ cultures/ viewpoints are equal and that is the mindset we need for this
Does this whole exercise of marking territory not
shrink our world and vistas, is it pragmatic at all when the human mind is now such an
enormous interface of innumerable influences? It is easy to unleash this project, but how
does one control its dynamics? Haven't we seen the havoc caused by chauvinistic
groups? Wouldn't they derive legitimacy from this kind of a knowledge project? How
does one infuse a good deal of magnanimity into this whole process?
`Our' knowledge cannot shrink `their' knowledge and vice versa. in an attempt to
expand the vistas, i cannot overlook my beutiful orchards. Futher, expanse of our world
has nothing to do with indigenous viewpoints. If there are a million sub cultures in
India, it means there are a million ways of seeing and undrestanding the same world. At
this point we cannot have much idea about how to control it. There are many chauvinistic
groups and we will have to deal with them whil recognising what they stand for. i am
optimistic about magnanimity.
thanks and regards
Basavaraj N Itnal
--- On Sun, 2/27/11, Achal Prabhala <aprabhala(a)gmail.com> wrote:
From: Achal Prabhala <aprabhala(a)gmail.com>
Subject: [Wikimedia-in-blr] interesting article on knowledge production and kannada
To: "Mailing list for Wikimedians / Wikipedians in Bangalore, India"
Date: Sunday, February 27, 2011, 3:57 PM
Posting this article to the list as I think it has various
tangents for the idea of knowledge in India - though Sugata
specifically about Kannada, I think he is talking about any
language at all.
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