[CACIM was set up in 2001 as an experimental informal association named “Critical Action” (CA) between scholar-activists in different parts of the world, who were pursuing research into and were directly involved in the history and dynamics of social and political movements.

Based on this preliminary collaboration, CACIM was formally established in 2005, with the ambition to be a hub within existing and emerging networks among individuals and organisations. Since then, CACIM has done a substantial amount of work in support of movements, encouraged critical debates in and around them and conducted important theorising work (on cultures and spaces of politics for example) and expanded into other domains.

CACIM, being a “living organism”, has evolved in this period, by incorporating new members, nurturing new initiatives and also by responding to the emerging needs of movements, who have faced important challenges over the years.

Striking issues have progressively been added to our work, mainly on “Rights, Resources and Accountability” & “Marginalities, Democracy and Power” while we have maintained the core principles of the work. The two initial focus areas “Information / Culture / Technology” and “Building Bridges” have now found expression in other developing programmes around the world of “Global Finance / Capital and Multilateral Institutions” and more continues to emerge.

CACIM (the India Institute for Critical Action – Centre in Movement) is an initiative towards cultivating and nurturing a culture of critical reflexivity and action in individual and public work. In principle we expect to work in many fields, but our focus at the moment is on activism, research, and publication in relation to social and political movement. We primarily work by building and maintaining real and virtual spaces for fundamental research and critical reflection, exploration, action, and creation in the field of movement : Books, seminars, workshops, websites, listserves, and newsbulletins and action alerts. Initiated in India in 2005, CACIM is transnational, intercultural, and interdisciplinary in vision and culture.

Organisationally, CACIM is a networked association between individuals and organisations located in different parts of India and the world. (See end of this Note for two lists – of the CACIM Council, and of CACIM’s Partners.) CACIM has grown out of Critical Action (CA), an experiment during 2001-2005 in informal, voluntary association between individuals based in different parts of India and other countries in different continents who were engaged or concerned with social and political movement in different ways. This experiment focussed on the critical study of, reflection and exchange on, and engagement in emerging social and political movement, and in particular through critical involvement and engagement with the World Social Forum.

In a longer frame, CACIM has also grown out of an earlier experiment and initiative named Unnayan, a civil organisation based in Kolkata, India. Formed in the mid-late 70s, and working through the 80s and 90s, Unnayan’s work in research, documentation, social organisation, and advocacy was in providing critical support to communities and associations of the urban labouring poor in their struggles to gain control over their lives, and in advocacy campaigning at the state, all-India, and international levels. Unnayan is a Bengali word meaning ‘development’ in the sense of unfolding and self-realisation (and not just ‘progress’). Several members of CACIM and CA have been and remain associated with Unnayan.

CACIM was registered as a non-profit company in India in July 2005. In early 2007, it has taken the first steps in establishing a new initiative in publishing critical thought, OpenWord.

As per the programme landscape CACIM defined for itself in 2005, in terms of content we have three broad streams of activity :

  • Strategies and Cultures of Movement
  • Information / Culture / Technology (ICT)
  • Building Bridges.

Our current focus is primarily in the first area, and more specifically on exploring cultures of politics in movement, the exploration of open space as a political-cultural concept, and the exploration of cyberspace as open space. Through various projects and activities, including the books that we publish and the Colloquia that we organise twice a year, we are working to encourage exchange and learning across disciplines and across cultures and to support and encourage all those involved in different ways with movement – activists, researchers and teachers, professionals, artists performers and composers, and critics commentators and thinkers, both the more mature and young, both as individuals and as organisations, and in networks.

Presently active programmes, projects, and activities :

World Social Forum Process Publications, Webspace (external link) and Listserves (external link), CACIM @ the Forum, WSF Bibliography

Open Space Process OpenSpaceForum, CEOS Listserve (external link), the Are Other Worlds Possible ? Phase 2 project, EIOS3 Conference, Open Space Reader, Open Space Films, Hindi Heartland Project, and A Political-Cultural? Glossary

Movement and Cultures of Politics Movement Documentation, Movement Action, Salvaging Unnayan, Critical Courses (external link)Critical Courses Symposium (external link)

CACIM Archives

OpenWord – A CACIM Imprint

CACIM @ Internet Radio; and :

CACIM Organisational Activities CACIM Colloquia, Working Groups, CACIM Pedagogy.

For details, see ‘CACIM’s Ongoing Projects and Programmes : An Overview’ (external link).

Finally, CACIM intends to expand its network through critical solidarity with movements in all parts of the world. It intends to institute Fellowships for activists, researchers, and those who intend to critically reflect on their actions and contribute towards the ideas of criticality, movement, and open space.

Another longer term programme in mind is building an Ashram or Retreat for Critical / Recreative Reflection, possibly in the hill town of Shimla in India, in the state of Himachel Pradesh, 10-12 hours from Delhi, as a ‘real’ space for those who feel the need to take a step back from their daily activities to read, write, compose, create, reflect, or whatever, in a different physical space.

CACIM sees itself not as an independent organisation but interlinked and interdependent, plugged into and learning from the world around us. With this vision, it sees itself as evolving into a hub within networks among individuals and organisations located in different parts of India and the world with these objectives :

  • To encourage a culture of critical reflexivity in public work, through fundamental research and critical reflection, exploration, and action in the field of motion and movement
  • To encourage learning across disciplines and across culture, and to support and encourage all those involved in different ways with movement – activists, researchers, professionals, artistes, and thinkers, both the more mature and young, and both from civil and incivil worlds – in our respective work as individuals and organisations and also in networks
  • To stimulate multiple centres and processes of further exploration of and engagement with open space, movement, and criticality
  • To understand, and to develop our vocabulary for sensing, comprehending, articulating, and practising –
    • Criticality
    • Movement
    • Openness and Open Space.

In organisational terms, CACIM has a Board of Directors and some Advisors, and is gradually giving shape to a CACIM Council of Associates and Fellows that will over time become its main platform for exchange and policy development. Its day-to-day functioning and policy work presently takes place through consultations within a Core Group. Some of its working principles are :

  • A focus always, in what we do or propose or agree to, on the critical – on critical reflection, critical engagement, and critical action.
  • An attempt to always engage and relate with a wide range of people – from different disciplines, both women and men, of different ethnicities, castes and classes, and from both the civil and incivil worlds.
  • Aside from always trying to get people to critically reflect as they go along, a characteristic of people we propose to work or associate with closely is a willingness to be critically reflective.
  • Always aim for open, networked, and horizontal associations and activities.
  • Overall, the overarching principles that underlie CACIM’s work are criticality, transnationalism, and transcommunality, and at all times and in many ways, a focus on movement.

CACIM’s primary resources are its associates and their work and the experience of the activities it has undertaken over the past many years. In addition, it has a library and a small office in New Delhi, and the two webspaces that it maintains (www.cacim.net and www.openspaceforum.net). It works on the basis of revenues from publication sales, fellowships, grants, consultancies, voluntary time, and solidarity donations. It is seeking further resources and collaboration for carrying out its work.

Current Board of Directors :

1. Kishan Kaljayee, Chairperson

  • Editor of Sablog National Hindi magazine from January 2009 onwards.
  • Founder Editor of Samved, a reputed non-periodical literary magazine in Hindi, from 1990 ownwards
  • Executive Editor of Paryawaran, a quarterly magazine of Environment and Forest ministry of India since June 2009.
  • Joint Editor of Lokayat National Hindi Fortnightly from July 2007 to June 2008.
  • Senior Publication Officer of Bhartiya Jnanpith from June 2005 to June 2007.
  • Assistant Editor of Nayee Baat, a Hindi daily published from Bhagalpur (Bihar), from 1984 to 1986.
  • Executive Editor of Vikramshila Times, a Hindi weekly published from Bhagalpur(Bihar), from 1982 to 1984.
  • More than hundred published articles on the issues related to litrrature, culture and society.Have been a regular contributor to the Hindi papers journals like Dinman, Hindustan, India Today, Hans, Tadbhav, Pustak Varta, Samkaleen Janmat, Udbhawna, Jansatta, Amar Ujaala, Prabhat khabar, Gandhi Marga, etc.
  • On Editorial Board of Sahyatri, a journal devoted to development, published from Ranchi (Jharkhand).
  • Series Editor and Transalator of Hindi version of the book ‘Challenging Empires’ in four volumes, one has been published and remaining three volumes are in process of publication.
  • Edited a book of Anupam Mishra ‘ saaf Maathe ka Samaaj’ published from Penguin India.
  • Editorial consultant of South Asia Dialogue on Ecological Democracy( Centre for studies and developing society) from January 2004 to December 2004.
  • Wrote drama scripts and directed several plays.
  • Produced and directed an hour- long documentry film on Nemichandra Jain, a theatre personality, for Doordarshan.
  • Made five documentary films on early childcare and education, alternative schooling, traning, civil work and different classroom activities for Bihar Education Project. The documentaries were telecast on Doordarshan.
  • Two-time recipient of ‘Best Direction Award’ in all Indian drama competition organized at Jabalpur (M.P) and Chittranjan(W.B) respectively.
  • Recipient of Fellowship awarded by the Department of culture, Government of India, for research on ‘Folk elements in the literature of Phanishwar Nath Renu’ (2000-2002).


  • Founder President of UTSAV (A Cultural Oragnisation), Jamalpur (Bihar).
  • Organised many cultural programmes and All India Drama Competitions.
  • Organised many seminars on literary and social issues.
  • Organised a series of Classical Music Programme NINAD.
  • State secretary of BIHAR FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY AND COMMUNAL AMITY’ Founded by V.M. Tarkunde.
  • Member of Jaiprakash Birth Centanary Committee.

E-mail : [email protected]

2. Malathi Adusumalli

Dr. Adusumalli is a professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Delhi. She has a Ph.D. in social work and has written extensively on the topic. Her areas of expertise include gender, social work, and community development. View Dr. Adusumalli complete profile here.

3. Mahesh Kumar Gaur

R-21, South Extn – 2, New Delhi 110 049, Ph : +91 11 49123696