RESEARCH

Finding answers to relevant questions

‘Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments?’ 

Werner Heisenberg, the celebrated quantum physicist, would often think to himself after late night discussions with his equally celebrated friend Niels Bohr.

Western visitors to India, from colonial rulers to modern-day scholars and tourists, often think about the absurdities of India through the same emotions.

Indians are so particular about their festival days, but most people of the previous generation don’t even know their birthdays. While corruption is rampant in India, Indians conduct large businesses just on word-of-mouth. India is dirty, but Indian houses are often the cleanest, even in slums. For all its diversity, the country remains a centralized democracy. Battling acute class divisions that make it ripe for revolution, people couldn’t seem to care less.

The country is an enigma.

Indeed, few societies in the world have inspired the sheer volume of nonfiction dedicated to understanding themselves as India has.

Yet, what makes it all so interesting is that these ‘absurdities’ and ‘enigmatic’ visions of India stand in stark contrast with the everyday experience of Indians who can get by in their daily lives without any confusion about their lives or the society they belong to.

What explains this design? Despite the long, continuous life of this civilization, we don’t have a consistent theory that explains us.

The Centre for Knowledge Alternatives is a fresh attempt in this exercise. It aims to understand India too, except that it aims to understand it through its experiences rather than theories.

In fact, we even shed the assumption that there is a theory somewhere, waiting to be found.

As Heisenberg would say, we only see that part of reality which is exposed to our questions.

Our logo, signifying the story of blind men and elephant is a floating signifier of this concept.

We go in search of India, without any questions in mind. We document it. As our first project, we map local level cultures and data and create decentralized chronicles of India.

For details, please visit: https://www.flame.edu.in/cka/.