Sharing Session 22:  Open Source, Knowledge & Civil Society

with Hemant Babu, Venkatesh Hariharan & Rajni Bakshi

March 15, 2011, CED, Mumbai

The transition from Analog to Digital based knowledge is bound to be painful, said Hemant Babu,  activists working for community media. He called for creating an Open Source Community Media Movement.

Venky Hariharan, who worked for developing open source hindi software said that open source is a threat to the entrenched interests of those seek to continue extracting rent from every user of their inventions.

Thr four hours we slotted for sharing their experience, truned out to be insufficient, and the discussion started going deep into various issues beyond time.

Two of the participants involved in teaching, spoke of the difficulties with the googled out cut and paste presentations. In fact some institutions are paying for software which helps seek out such infringements. So watch out students!

Hemant made a compelling case for treating spectrum as a "commons" and not being sold to the highest bidder, who then has to extract his costs from the 'common' user, whose property that spectrum is in the first place. He therefore called for more information on use and purposes of 'spectrum' and a more transparent disclosure of the allocation as well as usage of that spectrum. Since State may not be willing to do this, perhaps each one of us can monitor spectrum in their locality and feed this to a central pool.

He also called for civil society to use the open spectrum ( 2.4 Ghz for Wifi, and 5.2 Ghzfor Wi Max) in a more creative way.

An interesting example is in music.. check out

The issue was also to protect content and software which is in the commons. He gave the example of licensing under creative commons: for dertails

link to unedited transcription of the session

Venkatesh Hariharan, an open source professional, having worked with Red Hat, Google and an active blogger @

Hemant Babu, A Community Radio activist, also developing systems for Community TV, Open source electronic archiving of oral history of the marginalized. He set up the hardware for multi-channel translation at the World Social Forum, and we plan to work together on “ To Durban Without Flying”. net  etc.

Rajni Bakshi, author/activist whose recent book Bazaars, Conversations, Freedom ( sees in the open source story a pathway towards a new economics – an alternative economic system, based on conversation, engaged exchange, as opposed to a purely monetarist view of sustainability.



a KICS Sharing Session

Friday, 11th February 2011,


Session I:Mumbai & Climate Change

The City Calling: A Discussion Trigger Film by CED. 10 mins

Weather Mumbai: As seen from Colaba Observatory, Dr. R V Sharma, Deputy Director, Indian Meteorological Department, Mumbai.

Future Tense: What my Crystal Ball sees - Darryl D'Monte, Forum for Environmental Journalists, Mumbai

Session II:Cancun Comes a Cropper?

Negotiating Realities & Carbon Budgets – Prof. T. Jayaraman, Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai.

A Feel of Cancun - Bolivia to Ramesh! - Meena Menon, The Hindu, Mumbai

No, Thank You- Praful Bidwai, Journalist, New Delhi

Session III: Amchi Mumbai, Amchi Vaat -Low Carbon Paths.

City Farming: A short film by CED, 17 mins.

Nurturing the Waste-SSS style- Jyoti Mhapsekar, Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Mumbai

City Maker’s as Homeless in Mumbai - Abhishek Bharadwaj: Alternative Realities, Mumbai:

Connecting Growers and Consumers- Ubai Hussein, MOFCA/Hari Bhari Tokri, Mumbai

To Market, To Work through Public Transport - Ashok Datar.




KICS Sharing Session: KNOWLEDGE IN AN INTERNET ERA: Role of DCs in Info-digital Society

Avinash Jha


Political Documentation in the Internet Era

Political Documentation?

The documentation centres which meet here and the activities they have been carrying out on day-to-day basis are rooted in a vision of documentation which aspires to have a political significance. They were conceived in an atmosphere of challenge to the prevailing and dominant conceptions of knowledge and also in significant ways challenged dominant conceptions of politics. These documentation centres have facilitated this contructing and reconstructing this social knowledge; this was more from the organisational knowledge but there were critiques of conceptualisation .. like say Gender Doc centres tried to create the whole universe of knowledge and the work of knowledge looks different. These were some of the challenges that documentation were rooted. We that way felt at the frontier of knowledge of politics ... now things are changed .. we are now in the era of knowledge. In this sense, we could say that they worked on the frontiers of knowledge and politics.

FROM DHARAVI TO DHARAVI BHET: Climate Change by Fr. Allwyn D’Silva

he session was attended by students and teachers from St.Xavier's College, NGOs : Abhishekh Bharadwaj from Alternatives Surabi Sinha from Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Ruchi Jain from Climate Change and professionals: Ajay nayak Architect, Inir Pineiro, social entreprenuer,  Rajni Bakshi, writer journalist, The session was co-hosted by the Xavier Institute for Social Research and in fact was held there.

EXPLORING A NEW ECONOMICS A Sharing Session with Rajni Bakshi

Rajni Bakshi is an activist and a journalist, and her search for alternatives has taken her from Lokayan to a path-breaking book - Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom which now makes her a writer and pioneer-thinker as well. She shares this journey which took her to re she took her to a wide variety of pioneers and challengers -- some working at the heart of the mainstream and others raising challenges from the fringes.

A friend called her a story teller – that is what she will do, while sharing information and perspectives, which might assist some of us, civil society organizations to navigate this terrain and sift the substance from the empty rhetoric.

For details of her book please see: She is also author to two CED publications: Economics for Well Being and LETS make it happen.
Some of her recent columns in include
Capitalism that we can be proud of, March 15, 2010
Trusteeship and how it can spawn development, March 02, 2010
Bt brinjal and the politics of knowledge, February 15, 2010