Centre for Development Studies
CIEDS Collective

 

Towards Alternatives, Communities and Cultures

To be a garden without walls
a vineyard without a guardian
a treasure house forever open to passers by

CIEDS Collective has, since its beginnings in 1976, been a group that has never hesitated to walk the critical edge of new thinking, whether in politics and the issues we have addressed or in exploring new ways of working and living together. Founded by Corinne Kumar and group of women and men, Free Thinkers, who had come together during the political emergency in 1975 out of a Trotskyite tradition in Left politics, the Collective sought to provide a platform for all who were committed politically to a progressive praxis that lay outside the frameworks of the Right and the Left. The attempt was to envision and evolve patterns of social transformation not through an absolute transfer of state power but more through strengthening the dissenting voices and visibilising the world views and life visions of all those marginalised and invisiblised by the powerful mainstream. Central therefore to the transformation of society, was to change not only in material economic terms, but also in terms of the everyday power relations of gender, caste, class, culture and knowledge systems themselves.

“How can the present be welded to the future
 so that while satisfying the urgent necessities of the one,
we work effectively to create the other?”

- Gramsci

Towards Alternatives, Communities and Cultures

In the context, the CIEDS Collective has given birth to many dreams, ideas, institutions and organisations while working on a range of concerns such as: 

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Women and human rights  
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Environment and ecology
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Film and communications
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Art and culture
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Community Organising  
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Housing and building craft

The strength of the Collective is that it has evolved around a perspective and vision of plurality, which has marked both our range of concerns and the nature of our involvements. With violence, both physical and ideological, against individuals, communities and cultures, as the primary concern, the search has been not only for a just and humane society rooted in more specific notions of human rights, but also a search for alternative institutions, knowledge paradigms and practices that are not entrenched in an institutionalised and universal notion of rights, justice, equality, development and politics.

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