Questions of the Learning Journey

What is Swaraj?

How does Swaraj connect with my religion?  With my identity?  With learning communities?  With human potential?  With the internal conflicts I experience?

What kind of limits can I place on myself that can free me, but not build new jails for myself?

What kinds of process tools can we create to show Swaraj in action?

How can I use what I am learning to communicate with those who are stuck in the system?

Who am I?

How to be ‘in Swaraj’ and how to recognize when you’re out of it?

What do countries who’ve lost (or nearly lost) their indigenous knowledge do?

How can you communicate concepts like ‘patent’, ‘WTO’, ‘TRIPS’ to farmers?

Isn’t engaging with courts in some way legitimizing that system?

Is it as expensive to make lifestyle changes towards the organic in India, as it is in the US?

Why do you think the (western/mainstream) media does not report on these obvious cases of corporate piracy?

What do you see as the possibility for dialogue with corporations?

How are you (or how is India) defining ‘organic’?

How many people are willing to change their lifestyles?

Who are you working for?

Is there a more sophisticated story about globalization that we can tell to invite more people to the table (i.e., not just a story of ‘heroes’ vs. ‘demons’)?

How/through what processes can we get out of the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ mindset?

Is it possible to separate the person from their acts?

Can the concept of satyagraha (to be seated in truth) offer us a way out of our concerns with NGOs around legitimacy and representation issues?

How do we manifest satyagraha in today’s age, when we have two ‘enemies’ – the Government of India and MNCs?  Wasn’t it easier in Gandhi’s time when we were all united against one common enemy (the British)?

What relevance does Hind Swaraj have in today’s context?

What can we learn from India for our contexts?

How can Swaraj support peace in the current situation?

Where is Swaraj living today?  Is it lost?

How do you make choices that are (not) in your consciousness?

How can I do what is best for my life?

What do I want to contribute to the world?  What do I want to give?

How can I separate my reason from my senses?

How do you see yourself without your senses?

When we visit places, how can we get a sense of what they’re doing without using the vocabulary of ‘Swaraj’?

Even as (in) a group of open people, what are we not willing to see?

What is the price of freedom?

How can India/Africa/indigenous peoples teach the world something without being “teachers”? (so that a sense of ownership is understood)

Has your approach been to have villages make their own local water harvesting methods, or to have the government apply one project to all villages for them to adopt?

What do you think are the issues around new media technology in rural areas?

Why are you (organizationally and individually) doing this?

What do you see as the benefit or impact on the young people you work with?

Who is the audience?  What are the changes you want to create through this kind of material?

How can we create projects that don’t cause higher-order problems that originally professed to be solutions?

What is an appropriate response to something someone has said when it profoundly upsets you?

Who is responsible for what happens in the room?

Where are the connections between communities around the world?  What is the impact of these connections?

If they were walking a straight road in giving information, then why didn’t we just take it (or just leave it)?

How do you build trust?

If there is no Swaraj in me, how can I see it in others?

What is the vision you have for communities?

Why don’t we appreciate our own wisdom?

How can your work be taken on by villagers without aid or dependency?

What does Swaraj translate into a western context?

How do you practice Swaraj in your daily life?

What do you see as women’s role in your work?  Why is women’s empowerment important to you?

How can we recognize truth without a sense of right and wrong?

How is technology approached in villages?

Why have we lost our ability to look for simple answers, and instead focus on what is right/wrong/the truth?

How has the village changed over time?  Do you feel it is pressured by outside forces?

Knowing that inequities exist, knowing problems, then as individuals who respect their lives, what can we do?

How did you minimize your wants?  Should you encourage others to do the same?

Do you see any revitalization of the concept of Swaraj among urban youth?

How does Swaraj translate for a culture other than India?

What would be our ‘targets’ (like Gandhi had in his time) in today’s society?

Will I use my brain or not?

Do I have the courage to do what I know is right?

Villagers look happy – What do they need?  Or want?

Why am I bothered by the word ‘conviction’? Is it because it’s not an easily implementable solution?

What is the way we adopt what we’re saying?

Do we sometimes hide our truth when it’s not comfortable for everyone?

How can our basis be transformed in our context?

How do I sprout legs? (no longer being just a fish in an ocean thinking of new ways to swim, but being able to see the ocean itself)

Why do we need to talk about ‘Swaraj’?

What happens after knowing ‘Swaraj’?

What of the traditional that exists can I bring to my modern living?

Am I able to be myself?  Am I being creative in every day living? Or am I just responding to what is happening?

What comes in the in-between spaces?

How did you get over your anger/disappointment with what you had been taught, especially if it had been colonial?  How did you move on?

What do I add up to?  What are my essential qualities?  What are my epochal responsibilities?

How can I be here with you, and also be a part of western society?

What does it mean to be full, to have a full life, a full education?

Are we a special group of people who have been plucked out of mediocrity, or are the people who exist in our daily lives just as incredible?



— Some of the questions emerging during the Learning Journey on Swaraj: Experiments in Self-Rule, February 1-11, 2003, co-hosted by Pioneers of Change and Shikshantar