Can there be a collective search for paradigms and pathways towards a world that is sustainable, equitable and just? How can such frameworks and visions build on an existing heritage of ideas and worldviews and cultures, and on past or new grassroots practice? How can they be fundamentally different from today’s dominant economic and political system, which has brought the world to the brink of ecological collapse and the depths of socio-economic inequalities and despair? Can they provide rays of hope in what currently seems to be a worsening situation of social tension and conflicts, the resurgence of regressive right-wing forces, and suffering caused by environmental damage.
This note attempts to layout some thoughts towards such a process, and is offered as one means to stimulate dialogue and visioning. It is based on an ongoing process called Vikalp Sangam (‘Alternatives Confluences’), a platform for networking of groups and individuals working on alternatives to the currently dominant model of development and governance, in various spheres of life. Its major activity is the convening of regional and thematic Confluences across India; additional activities are a website with stories and perspectives from across India (www.vikalpsangam.org), a mobile poster exhibition, and video coverage of initiatives.