Home > Programs > Nayi Dishayein: Summer Schools on Deconstructing Development
11 June, 2017
10:00 AM
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NAYI DISHAYEIN: Deconstructing Development

 …a place for young minds to think critically, unlearn, dialogue, and possibly evolve  pathways to contribute towards a just society


‘Development’ is the defining agenda of our times. All that goes on in its name receives an uncritical nod from citizens as diverse as the ‘savvy metropolitan’ to the ‘struggling villager’. Political parties are increasingly using it as the most effective rhetoric to win elections. Meanwhile, as a country, we continue to grapple with issues of poverty, inequality, marginalisation and conflict, and fail to understand why this ‘development’, which is the promised solution, is increasingly becoming problematic.

About the Summer School:  Sambhaavnaa Institute, has for the last five years been organising a participatory, reflective and experiential schools series, called Nayi Dishayein.  In this program we work with young participants to:

  1. Deconstruct, i.e., critically examine the notion of development
  2. Re-examine our belief systems, worldviews and privileges around power structures of caste, gender, religion, class
  3. Assess possibilities of change through exposure to a range of contemporary interventions/initiatives/movements towards a just society

With these three objectives, participants, through a facilitated process examine the following questions:

  • What is the current notion of ‘Development’? Where has it come from?
  • Is there a huge gulf between what it promises and what it delivers? If so, why?
  • Is it beneficial, if yes, for whom? And at what cost? Who pays these costs?
  • Does the commonly held belief that ‘Development will solve these social issues’ hold out in reality, or does development further compound these problems?
  • The questions of caste, gender, religion, class in contemporary India
  • Are you as an individual are free from prejudices and stereotyping on the above counts?
  • Are you able to see your privileges and dis-privileges – or do you believe that all you have achieved is because of your ‘merit’? Are you part of the problem?
  • What are some interventions/initiatives/movements people have tried out to effect socio-economic-political change? How does one understand and assess them?
  • Can this assessment help us shape potential pathways for ourselves?

Who is the program for? :  If you are in the age group of 21-26 years and seeking answers to the above questions; or you are just figuring out how to frame the questions; or trying to understand the interconnections between different problems that you see around you…then join us for an intense collective churn on these issues – to open up nayi dishayein in both your thinking and living…

Language: Primarily in English, and some Hindi.

This call for applications is for two distinct programs. Please apply for any one.

  1. 6 week program ( Classroom + Field Internship) 21st May to 6th July.
  2. 12 day program (Classroom only) 11th to 22nd June.

Program 1: The Six week Program (Classroom + Field Internship) 21st May to 6th July, 2017

This program aims to bring together theory and practice. The first part of the program is a 12 day classroom component that aims to build a holistic and interconnected understanding (via interactive lecture sessions, group work and group discussions, film screenings, collective reflection, and most importantly, live experience sharing by activists-academics) of the issues facing our society today. The second part of this program involves immersion for a month with some ongoing social change effort (in groups of 2-3 participants). Participants will be sent to grassroots organisations in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. Participants come back to the Sambhaavnaa Institute for the third part of this program (for 4 days) to share their findings, learnings and experiences of the different types of efforts on different problems in very different contexts across the country based on their internship.

Program 1 Contribution: (a) Rs. 6000. This includes only the food and stay expenses during the two classroom components of the program at the Sambhaavnaa Institute.

Do not let money be an impediment to your applying. Need based fee waivers are available. Please ask for a fee  waiver in the application form if you feel you need and deserve it.  

(b) Participants are expected to bear the cost of  travel and food expenses of the internship. [Lodging will be provided by the internship organization. No support is available from Sambhaavnaa Institute for this component]

Program 2: Twelve Day Program (Classroom only) 11th to 22nd June, 2017

The theme of the program is explored using interactive lectures, group work and group discussions, film screenings, collective reflection, and importantly, live experience sharing by activists.

Program 2 Contribution: Rs. 7500. This includes only food and stay expenses at Sambhaavnaa Institute.
Do not let money be an impediment to your applying. Need based fee waivers are available. Please ask for a fee  waiver in the application form if you feel you need and deserve it.

Rolling admission deadlines accept applications until the programs fill up. However, there is a chance of losing your spot if the program fills up, so it’s best not to wait too long.

Some of the facilitators, resource persons and guest speakers for this year’s workshop include:

Praveen Singh is into political education and believes that society today has two mutually reinforcing fundamental fault lines. One is at the level of our worldview: i.e., our beliefs regarding what is happiness/success/wellbeing/development/progress, and the other is our capitalist economic system.  He believes that any attempt to better society that does not simultaneously address both of these will woefully fall short.
His session on ‘Decrypting Development‘ would aim to answer the following questions:

1. What is Capitalism and why do we all need to understand it?

2. What is ‘Development’? Where did it come from – and is it inextricably tied to Capitalism?

3. Envisaging humane and sustainable development

Arundhati Vishwanathan will be co-facilitating the sessions on Power, Privilege and Social Justice as well as  Transformative Politics and People’s Movements:  She will focus on enabling the participants to link the theories that they are learning with real life experiences and encourage them to inculcate a habit of reflection and activism in their daily interactions using participatory theatre methods.

Manshi Asher is an environmental activist. She  has been associated with Sambhaavnaa since 2011. For the last 18 years she has been working as an activist and researcher on issues of environmental justice in association with several organisations and campaigns.  She believes that the process of political education is life long, and it necessitates open collective dialogue towards building a deeper consciousness of oppressive structures within and around us, to lead us to act for bringing about change. She has been one of the co-travellers in the ‘Nayi Dishayein’ journey.

Guest Speakers:

Ravi Chopra, is an alumnus of IIT Mumbai and founder of Dehradoon based People’s Science Institute that has worked on issues around natural resource management. He helped conceive and produce the first two citizens reports on The State of India’s Environment. He has been sharing his views on the ‘Idea of India and what constitutes Transformative Change’

Nityanand Jayaraman is a Chennai-based writer and social and environmental activist. He has been a part of several environmental movements and recently involved with the campaign for justice in Kodaikanal since 2001.​   He will be facilitating sessions on limits to growth and environmental action in India.

​Himanshu Kumar will be talking about Understanding the Nature of the State​. He is a social activist and human rights defender, and has been working with the tribals of Chattisgarh for the last 23 years, with dozens of cases filed in the supreme court for atrocities committed by security forces.

Apart from the above we will also invite other activists over skype to talk to the participants.

Please see the below video where participants are sharing their experiences from the same program last year:

Venue : Sambhaavnaa Institute, Village: Kandbari, Tehsil: Palampur, District: Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, PIN 176061

For more information and questions: Phone: +91-889 422 7954, Email: programs@sambhaavnaa.org

How to apply:  

Please complete one from amongst the five FIELD EXERCISES below and then fill the application form. The field exercise is compulsory for your application to be considered. Please note that we will not be assessing the exercise on language, grammar or presentation. We are just interested in your reflection (presented in any form you like) after actually having done the field exercise!

Exercise 1: Visit a Primary Health Center in your neighbourhood.  Interview at least 2 people there who have come to get treatment. Ask them about their experience – in terms of why they come there, about the services that are offered or not offered, the outcomes and the problems they experience. Observe the working conditions, work ethos, the general infrastructure, and the general atmosphere of the health center. Do a comparison with the kind of hospital you go to when you have similar health issues. Write your reflections about the experience (in not more than 500 words)


Exercise 2: Visit a PDS shop in your neighbourhood.  Interview to some of the beneficiaries (‘customers’) at the shop. Find out about their entitlements, what they actually get, and their overall experience with the system. Observe the general infrastructure, and the general ethos of the place. Do a mental comparison with the kind of place you go to for getting similar provisions. Write your thoughts about the experience  (in not more than 500 words).


Exercise 3: Locate one person in your neighbourhood who is an ‘unorganised sector’ worker, and speak about his/her life, the nature of his/her work, wages, family, who else earns in their family, the conditions their family lives in, etc. Find out his/her social background in terms of caste, region, class. What is your reflection on their life and working conditions and if and/or how it could be changed?  Share your reflections and observations in not more than 500 words.


Exercise 4: Follow the garbage trail from your place of residence, to the final place that it rests.  Locate one person in the life-cycle who manages your garbage, and speak to them about the nature of their work, their wages, their family and who else earns in their family, the conditions their family lives in etc. Provide a description of the garbage trail, and any insights you obtained from it. Also write about the garbage worker as well as your reflection on his/her life and working conditions and if and/or how it could be changed?  The write-up should not exceed 500 words.


Exercise 5: Visit a government school in your neighbourhood.  Interview some students about their experience at school and get their views on the education system. Observe the working conditions, the general infrastructure, and the general atmosphere in the school. Do a comparison with the kind of school you attended. What do you think ails ‘education’ today and what could be done to change things around? Share your reflections and observations in not more than 500 words.