Friday, February 15, 2008

Natural resource management...... a “chosen participation” or “imposed participation”?

Natural resource management...... a “chosen participation” or “imposed participation”?

For the last twenty years, the international policy discourse on natural resources management has promoted communities’ participation in order to achieve sustainable development and conservation of natural resources. In India, the Central Government approved and promoted this agenda through its National Forest Policy (1988). The States have been requested to implement Joint Forest Management and Planning (JFMP) schemes so that village communities get a share from the forest resources and “identify themselves with the protection, development and management of forests and other Government waste lands”.

For my fieldwork as part of IRMA curriculum, I went to Kanhari Khurd, Mandla, Madhya Pradesh (a village surrounded by forest from three sides). There also villagers, mostly Baiga Tribals, were engaged in the so-called joint forest management. However, what I experienced was that the villagers were engaged in such a process but not willingly though have got a slight sense of ownership over their forest. They have stopped over-exploitation of forest just because if anyone does so other villagers will complain against it as they have already been denied such source of income (wood cutting, etc). No one was keen on protecting their forest whole-heartedly rather it is more of forced participation. Therefore, there remains a doubt about the long-term sustenance of such natural management practice.

So, isn’t such Collective action for natural resource management therefore assumes more of a shape that describe “imposed participation” rather “chosen participation”? And hence will it have long-term sustenance?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

colective action without any logic

"A man is a social animal" i.e. ever since the evolution of civilization they are living in groups be it hunter - gatherer age or todays 21st century man they have always realized the importance of society. no body can , even , think of living in isolation. we always need someone or the other at any point of time. Despite all this we always preffered individual benefits to collective benefit. so those are not that equipped they feel getting lost some where in the system and in situations of desperateness external agents use them to achieve their personal goal and common becomes a toy in their hands.
so be it godhra, ayodhya, singur, nandigram.............etc every time the collective action was in the form of mob behavior and the outcome was something that cant be justified. here i would like to share some of my experience. it was may end last year when the whole of Rajasthan was burning i had to report to IRMA for induction field work and the train route was completely paralised by the protesters and at tghe same time Punjab was burning because of Dera Sachcha Sauda issue . thousands of people including men women and children came on the streets . they were protesting against the ill treatment mated out to their guru Guru Govind Singh. many lost their lives , properties worth crore were damaged. what was the outcome? what did they achieve by resorting to such acts is still beyond any logic.


multiple realities

Yesterday in the class of CAC, some useful discussion took place on the issue of Manipur turmoil in the context of Special Armed Act 1948 (AFSPA). For quite some time Manipur has been witnessed to great insurgency problem in a bid to restore normalcy in the area the govt has continued with Spl. Armed Act and a legislation about 50 years old.
Now it is this Act has triggered a fierce agitation in Manipur.What infuriated the people was the high handiness’ of the army personnel and the rape of Manipuri women . Women in a symbolic mode of opposition to the Act paraded half naked through the streets of Imphal. Manorama Devi , the rape victim unable to get justice has been on fast last several years. Presently she is lying in coma.
Now to evaluate impassionately the much maligned Act. It is in implementation not to terrorise the local people but to crush the insurgent elements , who have created unrest in the area. If some sporadic ignoble acts like one occurring of the case of Manorama Devi not mean that it is all evils. It has rubbed some people the wrong way it has also been largely instrumental in protecting the lives of many more in the area so the onus should be not on abrogating the Act to ensure it’s implementation in the right spirit. Undoubtedly the rape of Monorama Devi was a condemnable act but it is more and aberration than the norm. Against one misdeed are many of good works done by army personnels in the area so far thousand of soldiers have lost their precious lives combating the insurgency in the area. No body takes care to highlight the sacrifice of the army personnel. The entire north eastern region is extremely volatile so stringent Act are the need of the hours to keep India internally secure. No democratic govt. wants to alive this type of Act but when they don’t have any alternative solution then they adopt this sort of measure. (The condition of north-east is more worsen than J&K)

Suman Kumar

Individual rationalities Vs Collective rationality

Dear Sir,
I would like to comment that your idea of making us ask questions was good. It was seen that most of the students started thinking about various questions that he or she could ask or post on the blog. In that sense it was very good and thought promoting and in a way it initiated some discussion on various aspects. But I would like to point out another side of this problem where it was seen that all the students of PRM-28 reserved their questions to be posted on the blog or to be handed out as a written document. This made the class less interactive than it should have been because the topics that you handled and manner in which you handled the class were very good and there was scope for many more questions to pope-up. But all the questions that would have come to the mind of each participant was being jotted down on a piece of paper and was handed over to you. This made perfect sense to individual participant as each question was valuable and it fetched marks. But as far as the whole class was concerned, this turned out to be a loss in the long run as all these questions were capable of raising a series of questions, which would have been more beneficial to the whole class in the long run.
In short, it was a typical example of how some thing that is perfectly rational for every individual in a society has turned out to be something not beneficial / less beneficial to the society.
So I request you to kindly consider the questions that come up in class also for the grading purpose – if this method is used for the next batch.
Cijo K. Joseph (28010)

Pondering over Patan

The recent incidents in Patan are really shocking. In this context the worry and concerns of the parents of the girls studying in Primary Teacher's Training College can be well understood. And probably on the basis of convergence of the same predisposition they collectively made a protest.
But soon it turned into a violent agitation. The crowd destroyed vehicles and one of the accused almost got lynched. The police came and tackled the situation.
This could probably be just one example to show that practically it is difficult to categorise a collective behaviour on the basis of a single theory ( Convergence or Contagion or any other) which we often may tend to do.

koustav sanyal, 28015

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

where are u o lord !!!

It is considered an affront to raise objections against anything that religion touches or casts its shadow on. You are as good as a blasphemer. Atheists are tolerated as long as they are silent. So are the devouts who keep criticism to themselves and muzzle themselves. Not long back faith that made the airwaves was should the Sethusamundaram project be undertaken or not? There are 2 groups opposing it. One is led by ecologists and environmentalists. They oppose this herculean task that will construct a bridge and connect India and Sri Lanka due to various factors that can be taken as evincing from genuine human interest. The other is led by political parties led by the BJP who say that the current project will damage the ancient bridge constructed by the Lord’s army some 17 thousand years ago or something extravagant like that.

Did Lord Ram exist? Who is Lord Ram one can ask, as a lot of them – government agencies, archaeological department etc are asking. My question is this - Who is Lord Ram who on a regular basis…once every 10 years or so comes like Hurrican Katrina and makes waste of common sense, humanity, logic and other such trivia?

To begin with – Lord Ram is the beloved God of most of northern India other than South India. The ruling party of Tamil Nadu, the Indian state overseeing the construction of the bridge is DMK. Led by writer, poet and atheist Karunanidhi who posed some very entertaining questions – sample this - who is this Lord Ram? How did an army of monkeys construct this bridge over troubled waters? Where did Ram get his engineering degree from?

This has outraged the hell and heaven off the believers. How dare anyone ask WHO the good Lord is or was? Isn’t it understood, they ask. They also being experienced politicians have extended support to the ecologists. Now the work on the project has been stopped. Battle lines have been drawn. Faith vs Science. Where is Lord Ram? Is it sheer coincidence that we show our collective action only when it comes to defending our religion or region?

What led to the Babri Masjid demolition?

The right-wing BJP hit up the ramp to power by mixing religion with politics.There followed an enormously successful mobilisation among Hindus all over North India. They laid the foundation of new temple and a new movement to rage the mosque. BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani led a Rathayatra (literally, a `chariot-journey') through north India.It looked like play-acting to everyone except the believers.For them, it kindled dim memories of the Ashvamedha Yagna, the ancient ceremony profitably used by kings who wanted to enlarge their territories. His tantrums worked until the `chariot' reached the border of Bihar, which was then administered by a lower-caste chief minister who had no use for such Brahminical rubbish. Advani found himself taken into custody for disturbing the peace. The movement was over.But only until 1991, when there was another mobilisation by a much stronger BJP. Thousands of rampaging activists tore down the Babri mosque, quite literally, with their bare hands. There was unprecedented rioting across the country.BJP supporters and affiliates regularly demand that a temple has to be built on the site of the razed mosque. If that happens, another round of bloodshed is inevitable. The violence surrounding the demolition, in which so many lost their lives, has not really been addressed by the courts. The people responsible for the demolition -- who had persuaded the government of the day that nothing would happen -- and the people who instigated the riots walk free. Why is it so that the politics is used as a weapon again and again by political parties to further their interest. History is being repeated again in Maharashtra in the name of regionalism, the only difference is that the players have changed but what never changed is the use of common people for their own destruction.

Student Unions - Are they needed?

Students Unions in colleges and universities are initiated mostly for students rights in the colleges or there rights after their education like their employment rights. Students use these organisations as a platform for raising their voice through different kinds of collective actions like peaceful protests or strikes etc.
But in the prsent context, in our country most of these organisations have been politicised and are thus used or misused by different political parties.
So do we need such kind of student organisations?
If yes then how these organisations should be functioning?
And how the political parties should be refrained from interfering with these kinds of organisations?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Is Democracy Viable??

Democracy is a form of participative government and India as a state is a follower of Democracy. It is also considered desirable for the cooperatives (especially operating in India) to have a democratic structure. In India, where the major chunk of the voters or the members are constituted by so called "uneducated or less educated" people. Would it be viable to have democratic structure in benefit of state as well as the cooperatives when the decisions of the voters or members are more driven by some influential leaders and their stereotypes rather than the benefit of their own, or the organization?

Policies of Government

Poorer individuals usually attempt to benefit from the public good without contributing to its provision. This is encouraged by the state policies which are vote bank driven, and state rarely plans any program or scheme which empowers the farmer. Free electricity sheme in Andhrapradesh, distribution of colour Television sets in Tamil nadu never empowers any section of the society inturn leads to under-production (inefficient production) of the public good. I had attended many NSS camps roaming 100 and odd villages vaccinating animals and distributing medicines to the farmers, NSS camp will be success only when it is conducted for free and without taking a single penny, other wise the turn out will be very low. Even the well off people are habituated to take the benefit from the public good without much contribution. This can be changed only by framing developmental activities which are more participatory should be in a way, contribute to the system and reap the benefits.
M.Amarender reddy

Mob killing: The darker side of collective action

The increasing incidence of mob killing in India should be a cause of concern for us. I am referring to killing of NCP leader in Nagpur on 9th Feb. It is perhaps the most brutal political murder in the history of Nagpur, when suspected Shiv Sena supporters beat congress member Gyaneshwar Sathawane to death at an election rally. The incidence revived our memory of Just five months back when in Lucknow the mob killed Shiv mohan who was accused for doing rape and killing of a two and half year girl. The victim left behind a 70 year old blind mother who was protected by the police. Few days before that event Whole nation watched with shame and horror when two Bhagalpur policemen tied a 20-year-old small-time pickpocket to their motorbikes and dragged him cruelly on the road. This unlucky youth tried to pull a woman’s chain. The incidence took place after the merciless beating of this youth by mob.Few years back the merciless murder of Gopalganj district magistrate G Krishnaiya by angry crowd through stone pelting still daunts our memory.It also proves the hard fact that victim of the mob can be anybody from politician to a small chain snatcher, an alleged rape victim to a honest district magistrate.

Such incidence happened before also but their frequency increased during recent time. But this culture must be stopped before it spreads. The distinction between the crowd and in other forms of society is that the crowd has no tradition. It has no point of reference in its own past to which its member can refer for guidance. It imposes no obligations and creates no loyalties. When a mob is created it becomes a terrible power to defy the even basic grain of life, which must not be done. Mob is very freckle in nature. It cannot be given power to decide about what is right or wrong in the society The anger of mob is just a way to expressing their frustration in the personal lives of the participants. Many of them were nothing to do with sensitivity towards the victim. They do this because no one can be held responsible for the damaged caused. So in my personal view we should discourage such type of moral policing shown by the mob.To this context the study of mob psychology and application of collective action principles becoming more and more relevent in today's world.


IT as a sector certainly contributes a lot in the growing Indian economy and many have already declared India as the "information superpower". But there is a lot that needs to be done before assigning these tags.

The IT companies in India are mostly export dependent, this is very much true for the ITES sector as well. Indian companies have been able to fetch majority of the orders on the basis of low costing which in turn involves the so called "cheap labour". This labour may seem to be cheap for the Americans or the Europeans, but the salaries being offered by the IT giants means a lot to the fresh graduates.
A guy who has completed his schooling and has a nice fluent spoken english easily gets a job with a call center offering Rs. 100K per annum approximately, this obviously means a lot in the nation where unemployment and under-employment are serious issues.

These mesmerizing offers by the IT companies leave no room for employees to think about the negatives of working with these "BRANDED" corporates...
Young women and men work painfully long hours practising cultivated American accents to sell products they have never seen or give invisible customers information they don't remotely comprehend. Even the software guys don't have fixed working hours, its all about completing and delivering the project before the deadlines to get a NICE HIKE IN THE APPRAISAL.

But the picture is not always a rosy it is in the present day scenario where every alternate day we get to read in the news papers about, these IT giants firing the employees without any notices, cutting down the salaries, eliminating the appraisal process etc and all this only because of a single reason i.e. "The revenues have decreased due to the appreciating Rupee".

There have been numerous attempts to form the employee unions for the IT sector, but due to the various public policies and the manipulating power of the industrialists all these attempts have not succeeded.

Setting our goals in accordance with our people's needs and resources is the only way we can move from being cyber-coolies with no rights and little security, to dignified, respected workers who control the labour processes they work under. Is there a need for Collective action and cooperation from the IT employees? Please comment!!!

-Mayank Midha

TASLIMA NASREEN- Demanding Collective Action

The story of Taslima Nasreen is linked to other more relevant realities of India’s present state. It is not the question of one neighbouring country banishing a woman, a writer, a sympathizer of the oppressed, but it is the question of our own country falling prey to the clutches of extreme radicalism, a new breed of fundamentalism that spreads across religions and silences a vast majority that is essentially peaceful and docile.

Taslima Nasreen’s story is also a grim reminder of the extent to which the state can go to protect elements that threaten peace and how dependent and vulnerable we as the citizens of this country are when faced with its ire. It is also important to us because the question of individual identity has taken an altogether new course in the 21st century. Conflicts rage between different domains not only on the question of resources and oil, but also on the issues of history, culture, religion and identity. It is this fabric of identity that links peoples of different countries in an undefined bond, arousing passions and sentiments in no time. Hence, Taslima’s opinion of her country’s mal handling of a situation today spells trouble even in her country of asylum. Lastly, the most disturbing feature of this turn of events is the mute spectatorship of the vast majority of the world, a section that has unknowingly become partners in numerous crimes against humanity.

Hence, it will be appropriate to conclude that Taslima Nasreen is not the problem at all. She is only the face of a larger problem that looms large over all protectors of freedom and liberty. To ignore her and pass her of as someone else’s burden would mean to give further encouragement to the minority that is behind a steady and an organized onslaught against peace. To push her out of our conscience would equal accepting a life of fear and slavery. Whatever be the finale, under all circumstances one must remember that ‘No one is free when others are oppressed’ and that ‘Liberty with danger is better than peace with slavery’.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

How Leaders Emerge..........?????????

Every collective action involve the action by a set of people. During the exercise of small situation in front of all the groups. Almost all the groups emphasises the fact that there is a specific sub set of the people which acts as a guiding force for the entire collective action. This sub set emerges from the same set of people then what are the distinguished charactersticts these personalities hold that they are able to motivate a large chunk to act in particular way.

Do the sociological studies could explian the reasons for the emergence of leaders?

Do the brought up, socio-economic factors play any role for the emergence of these personalities?

Also why in large chunk of the population mass there is the tendency to be the followers (if so)?

“Greater the financial clout greater is the role in decision making”

Almost every international organisation is working on this line in the current scenario. Power and polities is most evident in the working of the world’s two most important organisations : WTO & WORLD BANK.

In the both organisations USA is the largest depositor. On the one hand it has gained the power to control world trade through WTO on the other it has gained the power to control world credit through the World Bank. The situation at hand may be synonymous to the colonial rule. The developing countries are worst affected because of this policy. So what type of collective action should be taken by developing countries as a whole to end this discrimination?


Cheating in examinations ~ Crime or a Right!!!!!!

Of late there has been a disturbing trend of blatant cheating in examinations not only by school goers, but also the graduation and post-graduation students. What has been more disturbing, is the involvement of parents of these miscreants in this act of theirs, who see this as a justifiable practice - even going up to the extent of demanding it as a 'legal right'. The recent boycott of examinations by law students in Bihar when being denied the use of unfair means bears a testimony to this fact. Several questions now arise pertaining to this malpractice :

1. Whether this action, which has gained collective propositions, has ethical or moral grounds to stand upon?
2. If the parents demand cheating as a right, where is our young generation headed towards?
3. Is this a continuous apathy or leniency of the authorities concerned towards such miscreants which has led to the worsening of the situation to this extent? (Perhaps the involvement of the invigilators and teachers has also contributed towards this)
4. The most important question however is, how to undo the 'wrong' that has been done? Is there a need of a social reformer of the likes of "Gandhi" or "Vinoba Bhave" to solve this problem, or collective action by common people is enough to solve this?

The questions are easy to frame, what is difficult is to find an answer to them.......

Kumar Siddharth

Who will think about us?

For my field work I was in Junagadh Gujarat. My host organization was Aga Khan Health Services. There main objective was to impart health awareness in rural people of that area. During our visit I came to know that they choose this place because of 'Ismaili community' and reason for choosing this because their founder was from that community. There were different reports and strategies for 'Ismaili Community' and other communities.
If they are working for some specific community or some specific section. Can their be any collective action for whole society?Or it may be that sections who are in need of such help may be kept aside?
Yesterday in lecture of SIFF's founder Mr. Vivekanandan he told that they are working for marine fisherman not for inland or fresh water fisherman who are more in vulnerable condition. Then how this section come out of abject vulnerable conditions. They are in more need then why they were not chosen? During our field work experience sharing session many raised voice that when NGO's who were their host organization were not working for poor people then why should we join?
Wether these NGO really filling the gap between Government and Rural people?
What can be done for those sections who have been left by both NGO's and Government? or that is fate of these sections to take birth in poverty and died in poverty.
Rakesh Matai (28033)

Collective action doers for others benefit and not individual interest.

it was 8th August 2006 when city of Surat was drowned under water and it took as long as six days for some area to around 3 days for some other to come out of water. But what was amazing to see that the people who got out instead of working for himself and family went out to help others. It was mass collective action in small groups we can say. As soon as water went down to chest level people from other areas entered in the water and helped anyone who met on the way. There was no dearth of help in form of food, milk and water (mark it was mineral water). People helped each other without discriminating on basis of caste, class, relative, known,etc. Help was coming in such a big way that people had to say no that we don't require help any more. I was myself working at Sumul Dairy and we had opened outlet for people who came for bulk purchase and we could see groups of people visiting dairy at least 10 times a day just to collect milk and distribute it to affected people. It was there own money and time they spent for others. Many industrialist used to come forward and apart from donating money they served as a labor in milk distribution system on gate of dairy denying to take care of collecting money. Peoples life were restored back in days and this was not the end. Once flood water completely vanished and people cleaned there house (again most of the apartment people came out voluntarily without discriminating as rich or poor and cleaned there compounds together) most of them were refilled with the grains and utensils at least for there current needs. Monetary help was also coming in a big way. Most of the people who could help in any way did help and that too without expecting anything is return or an individual gain.

C-block victory "JATRA 2008"

Jatra is one of the occasions at IRMA which is celebrated or rather participated by almost all the residents in the hostel block. C block was never considered to be in the race for the cup, but the result is for everyone to see. For a block that was at the bottom of the rankings the previous year, this comes as a surprise to all. The success of C block can not be attributed to one particular person but to all the residents in the block who contributed to the victory in some way or the other. i won't name people here but each one of us did what we could do best and here we are. many would shut our Jatra victory off as an ordinary event, but to me it was a sheer example of the so called "collective action and cooperation" where the 27ers participated shoulder to shoulder with the 28ers. I have no idea as to what theory to use here but one thing that i can write here is that our victory in Jatra 2008 is collective action and cooperation to me..

Collective Action......?

Much has been said and volumes written about how collective actions benefit the society but how about the collective actions of some people which cross all the boundaries of humanity and surpass the limits which differentiate human beings from animals.
No doubt it was the collective action of millions of Indians which brought peace to the disturbed souls of Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Matoo. When the whole nation woke up from the deep slumber it was in, the result was : Cases reopened and accused who went scott free were now convicted by the same courts...!
But then how would the Godhra Massacre and the aftermath be described as? After the karsevaks were burnt alive in the train, was the collective action of hundreds of hindus against the muslims justified? Were they correct in taking two eyes for an eye by killing the innocent children and raping the helpless women? Would this action be still called as a collective action after it took away thousands of lives leaving behind another thousands stranded and out of their homes struggling to stand on their feet without any outside support?
The killing of the karsevaks by some anti-socail elements was avenged through the killings on a much larger scale.....Is this collective action.....

Collective Action..............?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Collective Action for what?

Whenever this word collective action comes, mostly we refer to the positives of coming together for achievemnet of some common goal. While the pereception of the definition still holds, it becomes all the more important to see whether the goal is rational for the collective and not harmful for those who are out of it. An example is riot, where only a small number of people are directly involved to say affected by what had happened, but then the feelings of others are also excited to take leverage of the large number. many of those participating dont even know what the fight is all about.

A cartoon appeared in a daily that said, Though we are participating in the riot, for the reason we will have to check the newspaper headlines tomorrow.

Another aspect of collective action is religious clash and this area is such that those involved justify it but for most others it remains a futile action taken to disrupt normalcy and gain power.


While listening to one of the stalwart of collective action Mr. V. Vivekanadan one thing I realized that all collective action requires bottom up approach. Outsiders should just work as a facilitator not as a leader which is the normal tendency of human being. He gave the example of various NGO which failed to bring change appointing their own employee as the leader of the initiative. he also emphasized that even he never took a leader kind of role in organising the fisherman. He worked as a facilitator and an observer. But my confusion is how to balance one's role in such kind of action when you are deeply involved in it and not seeing any change in the status quo. There are many incidence where people repeatedly told and given direction what should they do but changes rarely take place. In such a condition bottom up approach doesnt work. They are not capable enough to realize the benifit of collective action. In such a condition unless we take some initiative and make other follow its not going to move forward. so sometimes we also need to adopt top down approach.

benefit vs loss

Collective action lowers the transaction costs for the farmers in the rural areas. It enable them to make investments to improve both the private and common property resources, which is otherwise a costly affair. For example common irrigation system at the village level. But in such a system it has been found that people who are in power (here power is referred to social power, economical power and political power) reap more benefits as compared to other people who belong to the lower strata of the society
Thus, the property right to both privately and commonly held resources need to be well defined and respected. Some communities and societies engage in collective action successfully went and benefit from such activities while others fail. REASONS CAN BE MANY........

Collective Action: Where are we heading

Rajen Hajra, a father living in the suburbs was taking his daughter, Sanchita (class six student) to school in Kolkata by local train. The train being overcrowded, Rajen as always stood near the gate with his daughter’s school bag while Sanchita went and stood a little inside. They would have been reunited after a few stations. But Friday (08 February, 2008) it did not happen. The school bag got entangled with a close standing electric post causing Rajen to lose balance and fall. Sanchita had no idea of this and she waited for her father to come.

Rajen, after falling down, made a few calls to his home and notably to the missionary school of his daughter, who was duly collected by her teachers. All this time a ‘Gherao’ and ‘Stop the Railways‘ campaign was started by the mob to protest. Rajen laid there uncared for. The event went on and by the time police was allowed to get Rajen’s body, he was long dead. (Rajen had time to make many phone calls)

The police gave the excuse that the mob did not allow them to come near the body.

Sanchita questions,”There were so many people and still no one took my Dad to the hospital. Everyone stopped the trains. They didn’t even allow the police to take my father to the hospital. My father had to die lying down at the side of the railway line”

Do we have an answer??

Thoughts by: Sreejit Basu (28044)

Friday, February 8, 2008


"Negotiation is a basic means of getting what you want from others.It is back-and-forth communication designed to reach agreement when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed."
---------- Roger Fisher

The quote reminded me of JATRA-2008, where everyone fought for the championship and in the process we had so many differences and diverse interests. We had to solve so many problems. Unless we live in total isolation, we are, by necessity, involved with problem solving and negotiating with others at some level as a regular part of our lives. Out of habit and lack of knowledge about alternative strategies we try to solve problems by stating, and sticking to, our position.In a conflict, one side states what they want ("I want my opponent to be defeated in the game") and the other side states their position ("Your team should get a second position"). The goal becomes trying to convince the other side of the rightness of their “position”.Problem Solving from Positions is Limited Because

1. It can be inefficient
2. It can produce unwise agreements
3. It can be hard on the relationship

“Collaborative Leadership” or “Public Conflict Resolution” or “Collaborative Problem-Solving,” is this emerging tradition of outreach education which reflects an institutional perspective on collective action and governance. This view of collective action is built around ideas of identities and conceptions of appropriate behaviour. It assumes that individual action depends on answers to questions of the sort: What kind of person am I? What kind of situation is this?In collaborative problem solving, parties work side by side to solve the problem together. Rather than negotiating from opposing positions, the parties, through a number of different techniques which we will describe, identify problems in terms of interests.Now that youíve got lists of interests, think about some creative ways of meeting as many of these interests as you can. You have an opportunity to create options that will meet your shared needs. Think, also, about possibilities that could create value by expanding the pie and meeting additional needs. Search for options that will benefit all parties.Remember that collaborative problem solving is all about trying to satisfy the interests of ALL parties involved. Therefore, it is important to spend some time considering what the other sideís interests might be.Figure Out Your Interests
1. Figure Out Their Interests
2. Think of Some Options That Would Meet the Interests
3. Consider What a Fair Standard Might Be
4. Keep an Open Mind

"As useful as looking for objective reality can be, it is ultimately the reality as each side sees it that constitutes the problem in a negotiation and opens the way to a solution."

Can we call it Collective Action

I come from Gaya(Bihar) the holly land of Gautam Buddha, and the kind of hatred and killings it has witnessed in the last decade one cant even think of on the hands of MCC and Ranvir Sena( sena formed by Forward class to protect themselves from the atrocities of MCC) .
MCC was formed on the ideology of social justice for socially and/or economically downtrodden people. In the 90s we witnessed altogether a new party which had forgotten its ideology and preferred resorting to bloodshed/killings of innocents but for the cast they belonged started targeting a particular cast. What they used to do is - initially they set their targets(village) after quite deliberation and invade the village so chosen in large numbers using different tactics.sometimes it was in the form of Hallabol and on other occasions they resorted to Guerrilla war . they used to capture that village by using bullet power and then they tie people,ranging between 40-85 , depending on village youth strength with rope and lay them all on the ground and then after shouting for MCC they start the brutal game of mass killing(s). For killing ,they use Hasiya ,a knife like tool, and after half cutting their throats they move on to the next and so on and so forth .in some sense men and corks are same to them as far as the end (death) is concerned.
All this created havoc in people coming from same class/cast and they decided to form their own sena and this led to the formation of Ranvir Sena(RS) . As it was formed by so called afluent people so it was equally/better equipped in comparison to MCC. RS started working on 5 for 1 strategy meaning if MCC killed 1 person they would kill 5 persons of Schedule casts. they used to invade sc villages and stared firing bullets and thus who so ever including women and children came in the range opf bullets was killed. after some 10-20 such attacks and counter attacks MCC was forced to give up killing by their members.
What is important here to note is that whether MCC or RS killed people each time people not having any direct connection to either party were targeted. the rich and affluent always escaped but the poor were targeted for they belonged to specific casts. Now the question that arrises here is -can we call it collective action ? . it was definetly to some extent a collective action what for what purpose...... and at what cost.?

Collective action at the time of crisis: A thing to adore

“Stalingrad is a fortress, an unconquerable fortress of the Russians”

–was a common cry of the invading Nazi, whereas the Russians made fun of it as they knew the city was as normal as any other cities only the citizens rose to make it a fortress. It was often seen that women and children were in ammunition factories as all men were in the front saving ‘Mother Russia’, often anti-tank mines came from the Tula (cookie), factory made by the same people who made the famous Tula cookies.

Wartime has always shown people to pump in more adrenalin. It has been a thing to notice that collective action shows its best during times of crisis be it internal or external. External crisis is a better stimulator of this fact. We can see this fact from the battlefields of Stalingrad or the battlefields of the Muktibahini of Bangladesh, a war is a sure platform to bring people together. Some possible reasons could be:-
1. In most wars, the identity of those defending their territory is on the stake.
2. It is easier to bring together people under the umbrella of nationalism and patriotism
3. Man has traditionally been taught to react to emergencies and threats in groups right from the days of hunting and gathering.
4. It becomes a thing of pride and honour to fight for one’s own country.
5. Often it is the last post (as for the Northern Alliance of Afghanistan) with no more land to retreat, so it is more fight or perish.

Mostly it is seen that if the defenders have a shared goal, the people rise to achieve it whatever may be the consequence. It is just the opposite in the case of Iraq where the majority shunned the dictator and hence had no motivation to defend the country.

Thoughts by : Sreejit Basu ( 28044)

Not all collective actions need a leader?

Few days back on 04/02/2008 news of a girl of PTC college at Patan being gang raped by her own 6 teachers came out. Before police could come on the spot other girl students and there parents took the action and all the teachers were hit in college campus itself. Parents declared a bandh in protest of the incident and fact is that bandh was sincerely observed in the city with out any force or political party barging in. This shows that all collective action does not need a leader, for the matter even a cause is more than enough but it would be interesting to note further that without a leader how long this action goes on and do people act after few days on their own with this regards or not or it was just a initial sentiments that forced them to behave in the way they did.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


As CAC classes move towards concluding sessions picture regarding collective actions becomes more vivid.
Lets see a small comparison between two groups/organizations which share same acronym but work in complete contrast


First of its kind- A truly workers co-operative which is now 7th biggest business house of Spain is one of the unique models of the world where collective ownership of capital and resources is ensured and blend of co-operative principles of democracy and market efficiency principles of corporate led to the establishment of MCC when spain was going though tough face of Civil War. ( if interested in more details visit my blog Sharda )

MCC-Jharkhand (Maovadi Communist centre)

Another collective action, by people who do not believe in democratic principles and have collectively resorted to violence. Their collective action has brought a full stop to Jharkhand which because of its natural richness could have been the most developed state of India.

Both examples draw influence from contagion theory we learnt in CAC classes

These two startling examples of MCC ask for a serious concern from we IRMAN's

Sharda Gautam

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mob Psyche and role of leader

In one class, we were given a case-let "you are head of an NGO, functional in a village, which geographically lies near a highway. One day, a truck got some problem and its driver and cleaner went to city for catching a mechanic leaving truck at the highway. Truck contained valuables. After their return, truck driver finds that truck has been looted by villagers. Instead of going to police he requests NGO head to get his valuables back. Villagers on the other hand are dissenting from the fact that they have looted the truck"

Possible solutions we discussed in class. Lets look it with a different angle
This may be a hypothetical story but Such mob psyche movements have created havoc in past. I tried to search out if any prudent person/leader (alike to NGO head) could stop mob movements in past. My short knowledge domain gives me only one such example; immidately after freedom riots of Noakhali were brought to hault by amaran anshan of Mr. M.K.Gandhi ( he disliked mahatma tag so i don't prefer to use mahatma word!!!). Other than this incident, where moral force of a leader compelled the masses to stop from wrong doings, most of the incidents reflect leaders igniting masses for going for wrong practices.

Onus i personally feel doesn't lie more on mass but on kind of respect and moral commanding leaders of today's generation hold on mass. Mass may at one or another occasion may resort to good or bad actions because mob usually follows herd cycle but how much moral command leader (i doubt if we have even one!!!!) can excercise to promote good (justified )mob actions and stop negative collective (should we even call it collective action and co-operation i am apprehensive!!!) actions.

We IRMAN's ,who are considered to be change agents , need to ponder upon sincerely on this, as some among us will for sure face such incidents.

Sharda Gautam

Fight Against Terrorism

President Pratibha Patil called for a collective action to counter terrorism, while cautioning that terrorism
constituted a grave threat to the civilized world”. The Honorable President told these words, in her first Republic Day address to the nation.
In a country with so many castes and creeds, this statement raises a question that how long can we go to achieve this goal? The terrorists are making use of these differences to reap their benefits. In a country where a slogan of “Unity in Diversity” is given, can we really forget our diversities in terms of castes, religions and fight collectively against the evil of terrorism? Even if we unite for a collective action how to ensure that they can not divide us again?
Chirag Badala (28009)

mumbaikar vs mumbai

i read the article with the same title in indian express today.Article dealt with the issue of non marathis in the bombay specially migrants from up and bihar. This time hurling of stones at amitabh bacchans house gave the issue a distinctive sheen.I agree that people are having latent tendancies and when these prejudices are incited by any stimulant (raj thackery in this case)than it becomes an aggressive crowd. on the other hand there is also the question of multiple identity and the person who is member of that aggressive crowd might be related to the receiving end (non marathis here)in one or other context(collegue, neighbour.)Now question arises that why this person has not given preference to his latter identity or why a different kind of collective action didnt occur in favor of non marathis by some members of the crowd attached to these non marathis by virtue of their mutiple identity? himanshu jain(28013)

Timing tactics: The mistakes of Nandigram

The agitations over the chemical hub by the Salim group of Indonesia had gained quite a popularity and initial public support. The “Bhumi Uchhed Prathirod Samity” led by the Trinamool Congress was doing quite a good work in restricting the Communist Party led goons in entering the villages and taking over the lands of the helpless villagers. The villagers concerns were considered genuine and had popular support (due to the March 14, killings of 14 villagers). But the movement was allowed to go on for too long turning away the public support to other affairs. This prompted the November 2007 attacks by the Communist party supporters which helped them at first to take over the land and then the timely calling of the CRPF to sustain status quo in the captured lands by the villagers. The aggressors had perfected in timing and planning which the defendants lacked.


Unsolved collective actions

Gujjar Unrest which made life in Rajasthan and Delhi paralysed. Gujjar collective action for Schedule Cast status demand from state government and it also make Meena's to come on roads. This causes clashes between two communities and casualities.
State government who initiate this action during elections by promising SC status for Gujjar to gain votes and now has to diffuse the situation because both communities are big vote banks.
But How?
If Government pacify any group another will be on road and this flow goes on. But it is true loss of these communities in terms of deaths and financial loss of whole nation.
Can we learn any thing from these collective actions?
Can Indian masses prevent themselves from the trap of such politics?
Can there be any result and solution for such collective actions?
Rakesh Matai (28033)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

food for thought!!

we talked about actions being acceptable to society and to state. certain collective actions might be acceptable to both and others may be to one of the two. we discussed about gang wars being beneficial to both society and state. but how far should we let this stretch. such activities are illegal though beneficial to the society and state on the whole? aren't they unethical too?
also, is it right on our part to let things continue they way they are in this context?
I shall relate it to the debate on capital punishment. Though this is a milder issue but concerns ethics and law in the same way...where to draw the line is the question we always end up with!!
But in the end there are no answers!!
Dr. Rajat Chabba

Collective Action, relevant truth and contemporary caste movements

The religious lawbooks written by Brahmins ensured the hegemony of Dwijas for a large part of Indian History. It is yet another manifestation of the fact that 'Knowledge is power and power is knowledge' . However, recent caste movements bring out various legends which are popular within the respective castes. These alternative legends have an important role in caste mobility because they make it possible for any particular caste to uphold their belief in caste mobility and keep the hope alive. Now when lower castes are taking collective action and are gaining strength, these legends are being unsurfaced and discussed in open. For instance, Kurmis ( an importnt backwrd caste in North India), believed in their Kshatriya status even before they claimed it through their caste organisation, which is now called 'Kurmi Kshatriya Mahasabha'. We also see such legends in Dalit literature. Notably, 'Achhut' a novel written by Daya Panwar ( a Mahar) mentions such legends. However the candidness of Dalit literature has only come after Ambedkar movement.

I experienced such a legend during my fieldwork, when I heard it from Meenas of Udaipur in Rajasthan. It was about how meenas and rajputs once were equals and how some of their ancestors were wrongly accused of sin, resulting in lowering down of their caste status. Now, when Meenas have gained strength, many of them have begun to use sirnames of rajputs and have taken up gotras of rajputs. All this was prestent earlier too, but in a latent form. The relevant truth till then was what told by Brahmins and other higher castes. The truth of Meenas has come up after gaining political power, which in turn they gained through collective action.