Kerala has set up its own people’s archive, a People’s Participatory Portal, called Janaavishkaara.
On March 24, 2017, P. Sainath had met the Janaavishkaara team in Chalakudy near Kochi, Kerala, to inaugurate a workshop that put in motion the plan for a people’s participatory portal. The three-day workshop was organised by the Kerala Sahithya Akademi in collaboration with the Jnanodayam Vayanasala, West Koratty, Thrissur, and the Moozhikulam Sala, Ernakulam.
Members of the team say that the very idea of Janaavishkaara as a people’s portal was inspired by the People’s Archives for Rural India (PARI). They write: “We just added to that [to the idea of PARI] Kerala’s own engagement at the grassroots on multiple areas of development. Prominent among these is the Left front government-initiated people’s participatory planning, which began in 1996.”
After the Chalakudy workshop, a Janaavishkaara member wrote, “Our vision is clearer in that we now know that we must take the art of story-telling back to its original source, the people, freeing it from the clutches of the corporatised media… and forging such a collaboration [with PARI] itself will go a long way in offering resistance to the corporate media.”
Janaavishkaara will closely interact with Sainath as their advisor. They already have an editorial team in place, comprising Dr. K. P. Mohanan (secretary, Kerala Sahithya Akademi, in his personal capacity), P. K. Shivadas as the chief editor, and M. J. Sreechithran, a young technocrat-orator-cultural activist as the executive editor.
With them is also a 50+ strong team of young volunteers, some of them fresh out of law colleges, some from medical colleges, engineering colleges, and journalism institutes. They represent all the 14 districts of the state. Janaavishkaara plans to involve them at the micro level, and will, in June, hold a series of district-level workshops at which the delegates will be from the village and block levels.