The development of the concept of lokavidya and generally the focus on vidya in socially and politically significant aspects of life dates back to 1995. It owes its genesis to the thought and work of three organisations in the preceeding period, namely Mazdoor Kisan Niti group (Kanpur), PPST Foundation (Chennai) and Nari Hastakala Udyoga Samiti (Varanasi) and specifically to the concrete context of the Congresses of Traditional Sciences & Technologies of India (1993 Mumbai, 1995 Chennai, 1998 Varanasi).
Lokavidya Mahadhiveshan (Third Congress of Traditional Sciences & Technologies of India) and the simultaneous beginning of the publication of the Lokavidya Samvad gave some shape to the social pursuit focussed on vidya. The workshop Dialogues on Knowledge in Society organised by Indigen Research Foundation, Pune, and Lokavidya Samvad, Varanasi, at World Social Forum 2004 in Mumbai gave this pursuit a further impetus.
In August 2004 the Vidya Ashram got off to a start at Sarnath.