Khudnagri is a platform that attempts to bring people together and reflect on their roles in social and political systems. It is imagined as a journey which co-creates an archive of intentional self-reflection through art and other creative practices.
In the times of atomisation and polarisation, how can we foster solidarity among the youth and urge them to ask questions in the face of injustice that might not directly affect them?
About the project:
The project was a year-long immersion in understanding the motivating factors of middle/upper-middle class youth towards social justice in the wake of increasing modernity and the rise of majoritarian politics. Subsequently the project involved designing a platform to address the same.
Urban, middle-class/upper middle class, upper caste, youth aged between 18-25 in metropolitan cities of India, who describe themselves as apolitical.
"The two striking markers of the first decade of the 21st century India are, first, the extraordinary indifference that people of privilege have for the intense and pervasive levels of human suffering around them and; second, the legitimisation of prejudice and discrimination against people of minority faiths, cultures and whose life choices differ from those of the majority"
- Harsh Mander
Understanding the role of media in polarization, the appeal of majoritarian politics and why people decide to speak up about injustices, the project looked for ways to attempt consciousness raising among the demographic.
Compassion building can only happen in this case when people are made aware of how the system privileges some people and oppresses others. It becomes imperative to undertake self-exploration about one’s own identities. Members of dominant or advantaged groups also internalize the system of oppression and can operate as agents of the system by perpetuating oppressive norms, policies, and practices. Internalized domination includes feelings of superiority and, often, self-consciousness, guilt, fear, projection, and denial (Adams, Bell and Griffin, 1997). Systemic oppression can only be realized when people see what they have accepted without critically engaging with them. Understanding that oppression does not exist in isolation but is relative with privilege is the first step towards liberation. Those who are advantaged need to understand the role they play in maintaining the system and contend with the high moral and societal costs of privileged status in an unequal system. (Adams, Bell and Griffin, 1997)
Khudnagri (an Urdu word meaning self-reflection) emerged as a solution to build an intervention that creates brave spaces for affective dissonance and urges people to self-reflect about their place in the society through art and creative practices.
When we address injustices and other oppressive practices, we tend to other the oppressor. In doing so we distance ourselves from the oppressor and in some ways take a moral high ground to condemn them. When we other the oppressor, it absolves us of all responsibility and accountability and again reinforces the binary of oppressor and the oppressed. One aspect of social justice work is to be nuanced, sensitive and also look for the oppressor within as much as on the outside. The idea behind this prototype is to urge people to look at the oppressor within themselves.
Khudnagri workshops have been conducted online and offline. We have covered religion and gender and aim to do other systems of oppression in the future.
If you wish to be a part of one such workshop, or want this is to be conducted in your institution, do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org