LILA Foundation for Translocal Initiatives
A movement of seeking and finding fulfillment in a community based luminous continuum of creative engagement
Wanting to do something about the lack of genuine engagement with any given body of knowledge, be it a PhD research thesis or an informed discussion, which was resulting in poor quality of outcomes across institutions of learning throughout the country, Dr Rizio Yohannan Raj, the founder, moved beyond her narrative of teaching and mentoring students across Indian institutions of higher learning. She resigned from her professorship in 2012 and initiated, with a small group of sojourners, an act of change through an initiative that would present a translocal manner of transforming learning across the country. Thus was born LILA, as a registered foundation, in 2013.
Lila signifies play. The word holds rich resonances dating back to millennia. Multiple Indic philosophies have engaged with it to communicate their specific reflective directions and visions of life. Due to the wide range of associations scattered across scriptural, literary, graphic and performance texts from different periods, the meaning of Lila has gained multiple significations, especially in the Indian sub-continent.
For the LILA Band, Lila signifies a nuanced sense and practice of design and visualisation – the creative play of the versatile artist; the transformative act of enriching a word with layers of meaning; the re-creative faculty of the adaptable inventor; the light of faith in the eyes of the discoverer; the lightness in the heart of the appreciative beholder; the belief in happiness for all.LILA believes that there must be ways to interlink the often conflicting sites of academic research and the lived community experiences. But this must be completed by means of conserving organic cultural practices, towards the facilitation of transformative modes of living.
Through the LILA PRISM Initiative Phase 01, a Lecture series was held toward stirring up curiosity. Seminal thinkers who have made remarkable contributions to their fields – ranging from Politics to Arts, New Media to Tribal Research, Media to Grassroots Innovation – agreed to collaborate with LILA and deliver public lectures. Over evolving themes such as 'Cultures as Continuum', 'Transformative Governance' and 'Institutions of Practice'. Over the years the LILA PRISM Lecture Series began to gain traction, with thinkers from Sir Mark Tully, Vandana Shiva and T M Krishna coming to speak at the events.
In phase 02, LILA moved into a place of doing an amalgamation of specifics, all to drive the philosophy of learning and knowledge that they took away from Phase 01.The forum towards the exchange of knowledge became a more eclectic audience, where artists could engage more seriously in terms of expanding the boundary of a field, over Kaapi (Indian Coffee). Kaapi LILA thus became a monthly gathering of like-minded friends over coffee.
LILA also began to work with various sections of society in terms of connecting communities and allowing generations of knowledge to get unpacked and play with each other, so that one would find freshness in the narrative of the other. LILA also facilitated a course called ‘Landscaping India’ at Ashoka University, where there was a research objective to tease out the narrative of histories of various communities across India.
LILA Terra-Sutra also initiated ‘Indigo Lingo’, a signature Human Assets and Undertakings Transformation Enterprise (HAUTE) that aims to transform illiterate, underserved Indians, especially women, to be skilled and educated individuals, self-governing entrepreneurs and community leaders. Through these initiatives LILA created a personal touch to the interaction, transformative so for some. About 44 women benefitted out of the Indigolingo initiative.
One of Go2C Core Team member's has been one from the original LILA Band, sitting together and working out how LILA would stand from around the days of it’s conception to formalization. Currently, we help LILA with minor funding and bring people valuable to LILA’s network to add to their body of work.
In their personal and corporate capacities, the Go2C team has helped bring funds to run part of LILA. Further, we helped bring Jerry White, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to interview for them. We also helped bring Dr. Sudarshan Iyengar to write for them. We continue to engage as friends and supporters coming in as necessary sojourners at critical times.