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Projects

1) Integrated Human Development: An alternative and Indian model of sustainable development.

This was the first project initiated by Development Foundation in September 2010. The project aims to define the context for alternative argument for development using available data on ecological, economic, social and cultural crisis which are globally well acknowledged. Then it is also attempts to explore the initiatives at global scales in terms of the available concepts of development and also their measurements as represented by various development indices. An attempt is specifically being made identify the possible causes of the crisis and available alternative. Project specifically attempts to understand Indian knowledge systems and associated worldview (s) as the basis alternative arguments. Indian worldview was specifically chosen due to the history of Indian performance over 1700 years with an extraordinary performance of maintaining a sustainable growth in the light of new data available on economic history produced by Angus Maddison and Paul Bairoach. Then project aims to define a concept of development and its dimensions to suite the need of contemporary social realities and proposes to build a broad framework for establishing a new development Index for all practical purposes.


2) Identifying the elements of Heritage of development thinking in India in association with Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) – Bangalore.

Indian civilization offers a unique opportunity through it diverse living as well as textual tradition. There are a large number of issues that are related to religion, inequality and so on in Indian society. But historically all traditions living, oral and textual have attempted to find answers to betterment of human by repeatedly addressing the challenges faced by them. Despite the existence of aforesaid issues in Indian society, the history of this knowledge tradition appears more sustainable ecologically. There were very unique institutional arrangements and sentiments which have driven a coherent society over millennia. In the present day world, with failure of development and increasing inequality, Institute of Social and Economic Change (ISEC) – Bangalore has initiated a compilation of a volume to retrace heritage of development thinking in Indian knowledge tradition and attempts to use this as an alternative argument for future policy option with the help of multidisciplinary specialists in India. Development Foundation is involved in coordination and offering the editorial and other related assistance to this ongoing project at ISEC.


3) Review of trends in contemporary social theory in India.

History of understanding the Indian society through modern lens is quite a new phenomenon in Indian academia. The history of large number of these disciplines in the Universities is sometimes less than a century. There have been a wide range of issues that have bothered social scientists in India like caste, class, marriage, community, freedom, justice and so on. In 20th century all these issues have been contested hotly through the methods of sociology, social anthropology, economic anthropology, political science and so on. It is very difficult to take one common agreed point on many of these issues and the priorities of these studies have changed over a period in time in response to changes in methods and theories across the globe. To understand what has been addressed over a period in time at a broad scale, DF attempts to synthesize the trends in these studies so that there is a fairly reasonable synthesis of at least sociological traditions in India. This project does not intend to replicate the already available attempts n the similar line rather attempts them to put them in broader perspective.


4) Concept of Happiness in Indic Tradition and its Relation to Development

Happiness being a subjective phenomenon is largely influenced by cultural factors. Many recent researches point towards the significance of cultural factors like values, beliefs, traditions, etc., in influencing the perception and experience of happiness. Indic traditions, with a history of a few thousand years, have discussed and debated on the notion of happiness from various angles. Starting from Ānandamīmāṁsā of Taittiriya Upanishad up to works of Alankarashastra the theme of happiness has been dealt with in considerable detail. In fact, the concept of ‘Ānanda’ or bliss is central to Indian thought and philosophy as it is considered to be one of the three primary attributes of Consciousness which is regarded as the underlying substance of all creation. Ānanda therefore forms part of the intrinsic nature of every individual implying that the degree of happiness experienced by her is neither determined nor is it necessarily proportionate to her economic status.

The purpose of development is to ensure conditions that facilitate individual and collective happiness and well-being in society. As a result, it becomes imperative to first articulate what is meant by happiness in order to determine the most effective ways of striving for it. In this backdrop, this project seeks to understand the concept of happiness emerging from Indic traditions and traditional literature while also taking into consideration what prominent Western philosophers, thinkers and contemporary social sciences have discussed about it. Based on the insights gained, it proposes to explore the relevance and application of the Indic approach to happiness in the sphere of development.