ELIZABETH ABRAHAM based in New Delhi is an Associate Fellow of Indian Institute of Dalit Studies. Her research proposes to understand the convergence point between Dalit groups and civil society initiatives around the issues of caste and their attempts at addressing issues other than anti – caste struggles. More specifically, how far democratic forums like World Social Forum and India Social Forum, which are primarily anti-globalisation forums, has been successful in addressing the primary issues like dignity, discrimination, deprivation and land rights that Dalit groups are struggling for ? And how far Dalit groups can identify themselves with the mainstream anti-globalisation issues since opposing neo – liberal policies has never been the prime concern of the Dalit groups.
JANAKI SRINIVASAN, Lecturer in Department of Political Science, Panjab University, Chandigarh, is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, JNU on the theme ‘Redefining Development: A Critical Enquiry into the Discourse and Practise of Alternatives in Contemporary India’. Her propsed study seeks to examine the nature of debates on alternative development in the WSF and gauge the impact of the WSF process on the politics of alternative development in India.
OISHIK SIRCAR is a human rights lawyer and researcher based in Kolkata. His study seeks to trace the journey of ‘Rainbow Planet’ (RP) between Asia Social Forum, Hyderabad 2003 and India Social Forum, New Delhi 2006 as a large and strong network of organisations across India, campaigning against discriminatory laws (notably Sec. 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act) and demanding a life free of violence and stigma for the sexually marginalized. The proposed study will look in to the history, politics and dynamics of RP and lessons it can offer for coalition building for other movements within the WSF space. The study also intends to raise questions regarding the potentials and perils of coalition-building in the context of sexuality rights, while RP emphatically declares: “All Are Different, All Are Equal”, how does this actually translate into practice? Are there sexual hierarchies within RP’s own operation?
UDDHAB PRASAD PYAKUREL, involved with the Forum organising process in Nepal, is currently working towards a PhD Degree from Centre for the Study of Social System, School of Social Sciences, JNU, New Delhi. His proposal is to examine the impressionistic similarities between Indian and Nepali WSF process and question of equal access to the vernacular groups and organizations from the marginalized community or regions as opposed to well connected groups based in urban centres. In short, the proposed study wants to critically analyze the real challenge of the WSF as ‘open space’ with its assumption of equal access on an equal footing of the democratic dialogue.