Archive for the ‘Background’ Category

Ideas that led to thinking about ‘Articulating Futures’

November 23, 2009

Articulating Futures is a 4 day workshop held at the Chinmaya Mission Vidyala between the 17th-20th November 2009. Sixteen students from 11th standard attended this workshop where through creative expression, critical thinking, debate and discussion they created visions of what they perceive their future to be like in 2050.

How do young Indian students identify themselves as unique in a growing homogenous culture in India?

‘Articulating Futures’ draws from three large umbrellas of ideas that are relevant for discussion, understanding and collaboration.

1) The term- ‘FUTURE’

2) India- and its current position at a global level

3) Globalization and its effect on identities

Today the word ‘Future’ has become a very important term. The world around us is gearing up for what this ‘future’ might be like. Our planet and our world is at a turning point. The changes in Earth’s environment, our society and culture have contributed immensely to why our future is the most important thing for us to consider.

At a micro level, India is at a turning point as well. Apart, from being the world’s largest democracy and now an economic force to be reckoned, in the future it will also be the world’s youngest nation with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25. Hailed as possibly the world’s next super power, India’s future is surely to have a dramatic impact on the world’s future. It is exciting to not only be a part of this change but, also delve into the minds of the youth that will be pioneering this change in the years to come.

However, while understanding and acknowledging these changes, it is also important to identify the potential chaos or confusion this change might bring along. Through the country’s timeline, from colonization right from the persians, Mughal’s up until the British, the country’s identity, culture and tradition has become more diverse and dynamic. While for many decades this has been  a part of our unique identity, over time due to the rapid globalization and strong western influences, there seems to be a fast growing homogenous culture in India. This is evident foremost in our languages. English seems to growing to almost a national language status and is considered a second language to Hindi (the national language). Many traditions, festivals and cultural identities have also very strong western influences. And most importantly a lot of traditional knowledge systems seem to be discarded over ‘modern’ ideas and notion- most evident in our educational set-ups and as well as sciences. Apart from discarding our language, another common example is Yoga and Ayurveda, which was adopted and understood for its value by many western nations and is now brought back into our country through them.

What is interesting to note that this kind of effect of globalization and identity seems very specific to India. Many leading nations like Germany and Japan have retained their social and cultural tradition only to adopt English and western influences to communicate and do business with other countries.

These led to certain important insight and questions

– What would make young Indians different/ unique in the future?

– How would this homogenous culture contribute and effect young India?

– How are we enabling young students to think and effectively articulate their issues with regard to the above influences and changes?

–  Through creative collaboration and critical understanding can we enable young students to develop their own voice and points of view on subjects that will be important and relevant to them in the future?

‘Articulating Futures’ is a workshop that has been designed keeping the above in mind. It is an open space where students are allowed to fearlessly think and express their thoughts and opinions on issues that are important to them. It aims to break notions of right and wrong and make young students aware of the importance of their own democratic voice.