Saturday, December 23, 2006

A vacation journey
As Christmas has been nearing, I wanted to be in Cochin to complete some of my works pending. It has been one week in Chennai. I looked at the Indian Railway site for tickets. There is no ticket in any of the trains going to Kerala for next couple of weeks. Then I spent an afternoon searching for the private buses (illegally run) for tickets. They said the same story as in the railway website. Then I tried any ticket to Coimbatore instead to Cochin directly. No way I could expect a ticket. Then I tried with Tamil Nadu state transport. Finally I had to end up with a ticket to Salem in TN state bus. The reasons for the rush are; Holidays and Sabarimala piligirimage. I wondered how much money is pouring into this God's own country from Tamil Nadu only at this fag end of the year. If the former showed the vast contigent of Malayali emigrants in Tamil Nadu ( there are five trains running to Kerala every day including one special train these days), the latter showed how Kerala is ahead in Piligrim tourism.
Then my friends advised me not to go by TN transport buses as it may take more than ten hours from Chennai to Salem. Then I cancelled that precious ticket got ready to take chance in the unreserved compartments of Kovai express to Coimbatore. I went to Chrnnai central station one and half hour prior and interestingly got foreseat in the que. Again there was a rush for the unreserved compartment but luckily I got a birth sharing with a Police woman(she was taking two to produce them in court in Erode) and a business man ( who is on the way for an urgent meeting in Salem) for next seven hours. Again and again I am convinced what a diversity even in a small rail bogey.
Reaching Coimbatore, i went to Coimbatore KSRTC bus stand to get a ticket to Cochin. Thanks to the malayali students in Tamil nadu and Karnataka, I realised that, there is no point in waiting for a bus. I could not understand why do KSRTC keep the reservation to the last fifteen minutes only? Then what is the meaning of reservation? Then I gave Rs 250 to a private bus to complete my trip before night. These private buses again I found are not legaly permitted services. Since there is not enough number of people to bribe the officials and run the private buses taking risk, a few number of influential players makes the money at large. Who is affected? the passengers.......... If KSRTC is not in a position to operate more buses, why don't the Government allow private players to run it legally??
Why does it happen in this fashion everytime? In my last four years frequent travels in India, I have come across the similar situations many times.
I remember Milton Friedmaan writing in his book ' the choose to freedom' about the developmet stages of roads and rail links in US in mid fiftees. Every individual and business firm were given the permission to construct their own rail links and roads in US. Since many ventured into the business, high competition to attaract both business groups and mass to their in built infrastruture helped to reduced the cost of taking private roads. this is in parallel to the boom of low cost airlines and mobile phone industry in India. Now, Indian railway has started priviting the freight movement handled by the private players. I hope this is a beginning in a right direction. if the governement is not in a position to provide the necessary infrastructure( Rs 65, 000 crores is required for next five years), let the private players play a role like in telecom. Why don't we allow the private players to build national highways? Our dream national quadrilateral is progressing like an ostrich. Why? I think we have to think collectively.
By the end of 2007, when I am preparing for another journey, lets hope this arrogant experience is not repeated.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A hartal day


On the day of the hartal, I cannot resist working. Not because I want to oppose terhe Hartal but beacuse I have been given a deadline on the project that we are working on ' Justice V R Krishna Iyer - a living legend' documentary on Justice V R Krishna Iyer. The second editing has been going on. The editor and the director wanted my presence in the studio. Since I am leaving for Chennai next day, I have been asked to be present on the hartal day itself. I was deinite that even Justice Krishna Iyer - a member in the first communist ministry - would not oppose my move to work on that day. Whenever we met he emphasised the need for a work culture and the importance of hardwork
When I drove with the director, first i felt hartal has not much impact on that day. 20 km drive from my home to studio in the morning showed up a number of two wheelers in the road. Since th studio was in upsatirs, once we entered the studio we were not all disturned by the happenings outside. When we wished lunch on that day, we realised that it would be a head on task. No shops, no restaurants and not even a single tea shop. Then we searched the restaurant in the nearby railway station. There also, it was almost finished. luckly we got some food. again back to studio.
by the time we came out for an evening tea the main road was buzzling with cars and two wheelers. it seemed a normal city life except the public transport. it seemed everyone is enjoying the hoiday. The private vehicles criss crossed like any other day. By the time, when i reurned home late in the night, it seemed to be normal day.
Next day i reached chennai. When i asked about Hartal in Chennai, many asked what is it??? there was no such an impact.None had heard about Hartal on the previous day.
why Hartals are so success in Kerala? Is it beacuse mass in Kerala support the reasons of the hartal announced and they take hartal as a tool of protest? or is it because they are prevented to enter their workplace or forced to confine to their homes? Or Malayaliees are holiday savvy??
My preposition on this account is that Trade unions have become the monpoly in Kerala. there is no option for employees to look for alternatives. Those unions who raise their voice against monopoly and exploitation bacame the vanguard of the same

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kerala - a state of pardox

Why crimes and harassment against women are so high in our state? I wonder our society is so closed. Out of 30 million population, 2.5 million are gulf emigrants. There is a huge Diaspora of malayalees in Europe, Africa and America. Lastly, within India we can call an influential NRK (Non Resident Keralites) population across the country. So the number of families got separated are in millions. At the same time, Socio Cultural Revolution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries appeared to have worked on the malayali mindset to a model moral place. The struggle against feudalism and social inequality succeeded very much but the resent on the upper class still runs trough the malayalees still???? The latter part of the 20th century, Kerala witnessed the emergence of middle class which identified with the upper class or the separation between the two is very narrow, so the struggle continues against the middle class. Don’t you think these factors play an important role while you discuss harassment? Where is the root of the problem???

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What a state is it?


Kerala, the land with ravishing beauty and unparallel resources boasts of hundred percentage literacy. For the last two decades, the annual inflow income money is more than 700 crores which equaled the one of the highest net inflow in the pre globalization time. We have an enrolment of 85% of students in the primary level and our health indices are comparable to the developed countries. Distribution of health is very much in this state in terms of mansions, bungalows and multi storied buildings puffed with Italian marbles and granites. This is the first state where the first communist government came into the power through ballot. We have seen Naxalism and emergency at various degress compared to other parts of the country. We sent our sisters and brothers to toil in the deserts because we were reluctant to submit the failure of our policies. The communal organizations caught the imagination of the majority of the people even while they preached Marx’s famous quotes. We were forefront of the abolition of the communal frenzy and land lords but feudalism still runs through our veins. This state is unparallel in terms of number of suicides, divorce rates, crimes, road accidents etc……… what a paradox is this? Is it God’s own country?
Evaluation time


This is the time to evaluate and analyze the contributions of all these governments in the last fifty years. Suppose one come out with an Index positioning the performance and contribution of each government since 57 and on the other side the contribution of different sects of Kerala society and then compare both. What will be the outcome? There are decisions and legislations which had a direct as well as indirect impact on the development of the state. Usually they say land reforms, education bill, golden period between 71 to 75 etc. Again, evaluate the outcome of these reforms. From 1805 onwards, Kerala has been one of the main centre’s of education. Christian missionaries started schools while in Malabar; it is the local administration initiated the proceedings. Trend is continued ven today even though the regulations and legislations on education sector over the time influenced the sector. This is clearly explained in the paper A review of 1957 Education Bill. What is the outcome of the agriculture reforms? Today we hear about suicides and poverty in agri sector. A reform bill which was passed in 1971 should have achieved the goal by this time. But the story is different!!! Were the agri reforms in the anticipated lines? In 119 PSUs in Kerala, the net profit is averaged to 5 to 10 crores where is the total investment is more than 20,000 crores. So everything is in doldrums. Then, who saved the state? Politicians or bureaucrats or World Bank or ADB or our own exploring society?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Islamic Terrorism - a facy word to politicking


This is a comment to the article on ‘
Pakistani terrorism faces manpower crunch; starts new strategy

I denounce the phrase Islamic terrorism. Any reader of this article who happened to be an Islam by birth cannot be mollified by any other pleasing gimmicks by the Government of the day to retain their vote bank when elections are around. How come terrorism can be attributed to one and only single group/ community in this world? LTTE is not an Islamic force nor is Northern Ireland group. In India, there are many small and big organizations that do not have any link with Islam but having pronounced allegiance to Hindu and Christian groups terrorize the state. Then, why Islam only?

There is an increased identification of all the actions of any society or an individual with any of the religion in the recent times. There is a concerted effort also from some quarters to visualize the developments along the restricted and confined bogey of religious fundamentalism. Walking along the streets of Cochin, I wonder why there is an increase in number of women wearing a veil in the last couple of years. Is it because the generation is back into strict edicts of religious texts or because of the reinvigoration religious practices in an insecure world?
The world is becoming more and more open minded and small in terms of connectivity and communication. One should not disparage any other sect or a religion just because one or a small group has committed any wrongs.

How can we say that if 100 odd people terrorize this country, the entire blame should fall on the entire population even at the international standards (100/1000000000 = 0.0000001 or .00001%). If this is the case, then USA is more terrorized as it counts for 1/210 countries in this world = 0.476%. And finally, as a responsible youth, I feel it is my duty to protect and protest but not on terrorist means.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Who won the Election?
Another round of elections, whether it is General Elections or By polls, Kerala spends a lot of time watching the Political theatre set for the idiotic warm up games. There is no permanent enemy in Politics; this statement may not have been verified with such an authenticity and vilification nowhere else than in Kerala. This is such a deeply disoriented society in a hyper political atmosphere. Alas, the hope is not lost. The margin of the victory of the present ruling party candidate indicates that voters of Kerala (or at least those in Thiruvambadi) are looking for alternatives and they are highly disappointed with both the political forces in Kerala. They do not find any difference among the political forces in Kerala. In an election where 84% o the voters cast their franchise, the margin of the victory (246 votes) champions the democratic principles enshrined in the constitution but it also reflects the mood of electorate.

Is there any vision statement on the future of this state from any quarters of this political jamboree? Is there any political wisdom on the part of the political leaders formulating the policies concerned to the state? Where should Kerala stand in Education and Health after ten years? What are our priorities with regard to roads and infrastructure? What will be the shape of the Kerala economy after ten years? What are the chances of the upcoming generation?

Are we heading for a dooms day?

Can any of these political party leaders answer these questions with confidence and fluency? Can they dare to speak on the development without touching any political misconstrues? The challenge lies ahead. But who will bell the cat?

Is there any avenue where the politics has not encroached into in Kerala? What is the contribution of these political forces towards over all development of Kerala society in all these years? This is time for social auditing. Is it the Gulf emigrants who contributed more to the overall improvement of the state in the last two decades? Can any political party enlist their achievements and contributions to the general public and be ready for a debate? We don’t want answers in paragraphs but convincing one liner.

Another election may come. Another candidate will win. But how long can this circus be continued?

Now, you tell who won the election in Thiruvambad