A New Beginning

How do we see the world? 

It is neither a gaze, nor is it to invent the predetermined truth, it is to intervene from a position. Our seeing is changing at the same time and without any claim to excavate the unadulterated truth that never existed. There is no absolute truth, no underlying theory independent of the object of truth; we believe that there can’t be any theory without the concrete and no fact can exist independent of the mind of the observer. It is mutual constitution often uneven and contradictory. Our view is a position among many positions that narrates the world from different vantage points. One can see the world from the citadels of profit, power and patriarchy often disguised in the garb of neutrality or harmonized as the norm. Ours is a view of the world from the position of the underdogs, a critical perspective tainted by discomfort of the oppressed and exploited. We do not aim to represent them neither restrict ourselves in sharing their pains and gains. Vikalp is a forum of knowledge creation that all thought process creates but our creation of knowledge, our narratives, our choice of facts are discourses that do not gloss over the fact of theft of others’ labour on which wealth of our society grow. Our stories, opinions are partial like that of any others’ but the difference being our lenses that look into this complex world from the entry point of class. We see how the economic, social, cultural and natural processes in this world in every moment mutually constitute the process of accumulation for the few. Hence we do not stop at the creation of wealth, we do not gaze at the neutrality of the market either, we dare to see and unveil how the dazzling world in front of our eyes depends on the grand theft, an act defended by politics, normalized by culture and substantiated by other social moments. The ‘phantom of objectivity’ creates the false consciousness that all is well; it happened the way it should be and the maze of objectivity colonizes the mind to accept and further defend the rule of the masters.

We believe that interpreting is also a process of changing and with change interpretation also changes. Any knowledge begins with a structure and fixity of that structure entails a closure, a death of the knowledge itself. The structure can remain alive only with its contradictory tensions, the perpetual motion of unity and displacement at the same time marked with radical ruptures. Our vision is partisan but does not entail a closure. Vikalp is a site of struggle, a struggle in the realm of thought. There are many forums rather ‘truth’ producing industry that forecloses the concern for the underdogs. Vikalp is not just a voice of the unheard and unsung, it is an assertion of the alternative truth, the truth that enables one to think and change the present order towards a more humane society where theft of labour would be treated as a crime alike any other theft. The other struggle of course is similar to any other thought process, the continuous mending of the gap between the concrete and the abstract, the continuous interplay of the structure and its beyond.

Our narratives would be different from the others. Let us listen to the untold stories of the factory worker whose share in the cake declines, of the impoverished and dispossessed farmer, the BPO worker whose time has been colonized by its client, the hapless informal worker or the depressed unemployed youth, who are even deprived of the capitalist chains. Let us listen to the woman, the dalit or the trans-gender fighting against the power of normality and purity. We do not claim to represent their pains and grievances but see through them a different world, a knowledge of a world that unveils the ‘hidden truth’ of exploitation in its multiple facets. This knowledge is not representing the oppressed but something more and less at the same time. It is less of a ‘lived’ experience but more radical than the ‘bourgeois immediacy’ that the drudgery of objectivity imposes upon the exploited.

Vikalp celebrates the unfolding of the counter-hegemon, the making of the unprecedented rather than the predetermined future. Clashes of ideas would be our treasure but the boundaries of such clashes would be defined by our commitment to change, change in favour of true freedom of mind and body that embraces the beginning of the human history where masters are a thing of the past.