From the Economics of Happiness conference

PostedonMar. 25, 2014in Uncategorized

“Vikalp Sangam bahut achchha idea hai, iske saath Sankalp bhi jod deejiye”/
“Alternatives Confluence is a great idea, add Commitment to it”

So said Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche at the Economics of Happiness Conference which was held from the 14-16 March 2014, Bengaluru.

It saw an august gathering of activists, scholars, practitioners, media persons, and others to discuss various elements of localised economies, and practices and notions of well-being. The Vikalp Sangam website was launched there in front of several hundred people, with an impromptu song and dance performance by the audience!

Do watch the short clips of the Launch of the Vikalp Sangam website at the conference

Here is a video of the sidelights of the Economics of Happiness Conference Open Session on the 15th of March
It has the exhibition, the inauguration and the flash dance inaugural of Vikalp Sangam.

For links to the sessions, panels, lectures
Please visit

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anaarchy March 21, 2014 at 9:27 am

The concern stems from such initiatives that seek to ‘connect’ without any grassroots organizing, understanding or community base. The economics of happiness conference, largely brought together ( with few exceptions) only individuals, largely pursuing urbane private quests of happiness and freedom and no representative from the movements, addressed the gathering- though those were their concerns seemed to have been the centre of any discussion. This is not just a off hand critique, but a serious concern. Its the mass platform of such superfluous confluences that hijack, or rather divert energies and publicity to faulty causes in the name of ‘media’, ‘ connect’ alternatives and so on. almost feels like the co-option of glossy happiness –resounding the Mc D’s ‘Happy Meal.’

Ashish Kothari March 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm

It would be good if you identified yourself. I am not responding on behalf of the organisers, but as a participant. I actually did see people from movements there, such as Ekta Parishad (Rajaji spoke in one of the panels, and their film on land rights struggle was shown to the full audience), and many of us are connected with peoples’ movements in various capacities. I did feel however that there could have been more deliberation on political economy issues and a grounding of constructive alternatives in these. But I’m confused about how/why you think this is hijacking any other space; various kinds of movements and others in civil society or outside have their own networks and confluences taking place, none displaces or hijacks any others. If people who are doing various kinds of constructive work want to get together to talk about well-being, without claiming that they are the only ones relevant to the challenges we face, and if in fact they are also seriously questioning the McDonaldinisation of the world (contrary to that clever last line of yours), I don’t think it hijacks anyone else’s agenda or diverts from it, rather I think it is part of (but only part of) the larger move towards transformation.

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