CDP works with the awareness that ‘development’ as a concept has multiple connotations and the complexity of its many contours and trajectories have become an area of intense contestation in the social sciences and in what has now come to be known as the ‘developmental sector’. Further, the idea and practice of development in India has been largely constructed in terms of the discourses of European modernity. CDP hence asks: do we need to imagine our futures differently; do we need to look for resources – resources for a habitable future – elsewhere, perhaps in non-western locations, perhaps in our own past. Needless to say, the extant practice of development has failed to address the lived experiences and the livelihoods-health-education-governance issues of a large segment of the Indian rural (and urban) poor since independence. This does not mean that developmental initiatives of the Sate and the non-State sector has not made any change in the lives of the rural (and urban) poor; but such changes, fostered by primarily mainstream notions of development, have not been sustained, deep-rooted and participatory, especially when it comes to poverty alleviation, cultural and political empowerment, and self-determination. The ‘rural’, even if in transition, continue to be seen as ‘backward’ and ‘under-developed’. CDP through
(a) an examination of
(i) the unexamined ‘underdevelopment of the rural’ and the
(ii) equally unexamined ‘royal road to Development’, and
(b) the setting up of a long-term and intimate relationship with the rural and poor-urban,
wishes to give birth to Development Practice as a field/discipline and to Development Sector Professionals who would have the capacity to initiate transformative social action in rural India.
The Five-Fold Approach of CDP:
1) Educational Programmes that consist the MPhil and the proposed PhD in Development Practice, the planned 1 year UG programme in Development Practice and 1 year PG Diploma [online] in Development Practice for practitioners.
2) Action Research Programmes in collaboration with other schools in AUD (School of Social Design, School of Culture and Creative Expression) and Centres (Centre for Community Knowledge [1 collaborative project is in place with CCK], Centre for Early Childhood Education) with follow up publication plans and outreach activities.
3) Action Research Fellowships to students from MPhil Development Practice who wish to continue their MPhil action research work in the developmental sector and convert it to a PhD and short term post-graduate fellowship programmes for UG and PG AUD students.
4) Visiting Fellowships (two in a year) for renowned scholars in the area of transformative praxis as mentors to action research MPhil and PhD scholars.
5) Emerge as a Resource Centre (and an AUD Archive) on
(i) Village Studies and
(ii) Community Life-worlds (largely adivasi) in rural and forest contexts