Neither knowing nor unknowing is good enough

28 07 2008

By Ashwini Falnikar

I am not fit for any category – academic intellectual, Gramsci’s organic intellectual or the ‘chappal intellectual’ who roams around on college campuses in kurta-chappals with a jhola slung on her shoulder. With the hope of complete exemption, I choose not to fall into any of these categories. I do not wish to claim that I possess knowledge. For claiming that might make people want to point fingers at me for not knowing something or for knowing it.

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Flying into the glass wall

7 05 2008

By Karuna D’Souza

The idea that you are never aware of the fact that your culture can be knowledge till you hit a boundary, was something of a revelation for me, something like the fly which flew into a glass wall. When you meet a foreigner, suddenly the things that you thought were completely normal become knowledge for them, problematising again what one thought ‘knowledge’ was in the first place. Maybe all knowledge is the difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘not knowing’. Thus, you suddenly realise you ‘know’, like the fly which comes to ‘know’ the glass wall, in spite of its invisibility. Read the rest of this entry »

with a lower case t

7 05 2008

By Pooja Das Sarkar

‘If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.’

– Virginia Woolf

Writing: a means of expression closest to my state of mind and being. When did writing become synonymous with my identity? I don’t know. I don’t even recall the time when I first started stringing words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and from there, suddenly sometime in early adolescence, the form of the essay started taking shape more consciously in my head. The act of producing an essay seems so seamless now; I can almost refer to it as something which comes “naturally” to me, but I admit that I have no vivid memory of learning the craft. This is not an attempt to create an aura of mystery around the process, but just another illustration of my infinitely poor memory! Read the rest of this entry »

Who knows? Who writes?

29 04 2008

By Shalini Nirmal

To write assignments, most of the time, is a boring job. When I began to write this assignment, I thought about the following questions: Why do I need to write this assignment? What are the things I liked about this workshop and the discussions that ensued in class? And what good did this workshop do for me?

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Can knowledge be anything and everything?

28 04 2008

By Subuhi Jiwani

When I was a child, I was diagnosed as being “hyperactive”. The doctor didn’t specify what kind of hyperactive, but I knew that I wanted to play relay and langdi more than I wanted to read Enid Blyton. I always regretted this as an older person. I’ve scolded myself for not finding the calm to sit down with a book and read it to the end without distraction. This has translated into a fear of buying books: Would those unfinished pages be screaming in cacophonies of their unrecognised lives?

They might not, I discovered, in a book called The Black Swan by Nassem Nicholas Taleb.

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Creating Knowledge

28 04 2008

We recently completed a workshop with Rahul Srivastava on report writing for the social sciences. From the sound of it, you might imagine it to be a straightforward exercise, which exposed us to techniques, methods, etc. It was much more. It was a philosphical investigation into the idea of knowledge — what it is, where it lies, whose ‘property’ it is. We questioned knowledge with a capital K, what it takes to make knowledge and who can produce it. What follow are student responses to workshop and some reflections on the business of knowledge production.