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Showing posts from October, 2011

Humble beginnings: What do Jogilal Meena’s mittens have to do with my PhD?

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When I started my Ph.D., I thought I had clear ideas. I was going to understand water scarcity and how it affected farmers. I was going to try and figure out why the crores of rupees the Indian government spent on water management programmes across the nation were yielding unsatisfactory results. I had studied about this, worked on this—surely things couldn’t get too cumbersome. And then someone said the word. Epistemology. The science of knowledge. What? I felt discomfort stroke me with its clammy fingers. I get a curious itch in my brain when I don’t understand a word, and this one prodded me incessantly; I couldn’t shake it off, I couldn’t ignore it. It would pop up in conversations and articles. And then came the question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
From that tangential thought, to the project I am embarking on today, I slowly appreciated that to unravel anything, we must first explore our constructions of reality. What qual…