THE 'SAVE KERALA' INITIATIVE

THE 'SAVE KERALA' INITIATIVE

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why I Don't Want to Come Back !!!

From childhood people around me identified me as a potential winner…Which in God’s Own Country translates to my professional ambitions being restricted to being a doctor or an engineer …no, there was no parental compulsion…I was free to choose…But I realized soon enough that the only respectable professions in our land was these two…

Ok Ok all you nay sayers out there…trust me you can’t escape the “oh you didn’t get admission into Science stream?” if you decide to do arts/commerce in your plus two…and if you choose arts/commerce after plus two or for that matter even pure sciences you are asked “Oh, you didn’t clear entrance?” followed by a friendly advice of “You should have tried once more”

Ofcourse there are exceptions…like my childhood friend…who despite being a state rank holder in SSLC was very clear on what she wanted in life and went onto realize her dreams of being an IAS officer…good for her…’cos had she faltered at any point people would have rushed up to say “ we told you so”….

Well, I went on to do my engineering…and again as is the norm I only dreamt of Bangalore…’cos Kerala just didn’t have any jobs to offer…and whatever was on offer was only for losers…u only applied for company’s in technopark if you didn’t get anything in B’lore or Chennai…atleast that was the perception ..not just mine …everyone around felt that way too…

Anyway after engineering I went on to do my B-school studies…Ofcourse every malayalee I met asked me “oh you didn’t get campus placement?” and every non-malayalee congratulated me on clearing CAT… (ok , some exaggeration here…but change ‘every’ to 90% and that’s truth).And after B-school I started working, got married and now that my hubby is in Kerala, I want to come back…it seems the logical choice…but still I am hesitant…’Cos Kerala is what it is..and I don’t know whether I want to be part of the system that is perceived as a land of losers…where you go back only if you don’t have any other choice.

I would really like to change that image of our land..a land where you can’t have a successful career…a successful life..So in my next posts I shall analyse why these perceptions exist…why only “engineer/doctor”…why only “b’lore/chennai” ….why we find fault with others but never accept our own faults…why “here ‘cos I am not acceptable anywhere else” …and hopefully we can collectively think what can be done to change it… so that atleast the next generation says “ I am in Kerala ‘cos this is the best place for me to be in –personally and professionally and in every other respect”

52 comments:

PCM said...

Hi Tinkerbells,
You have hit the nail on its head. The concept still ruling the parents of Kerala is that there is no better profession than Engg. or Medicine. They have not learnt any lesson from the plight of thousands of engineers and doctors going jobless. There are doctors who work for a salary lesser than that of a nurse, engineers who work as overseers for a pittance. Still, parents bring up their children to become engineers and doctors, equip them with the skills to write the entrance exam. In this unidirectional attitude, the children lose out on every other thing and once they fail in the entrance attempt, they become a frustrated lot. They have no other choice left than join SFI, DYFI, AIYF or some of the subversive organizations.
Again, the peer pressure is too much in Kerala. Everybody is interested in the affairs of the others and are experts in giving advice to everyone else. It is like the blessings of the grand old widow to the newly married girl ‘to become like me’. The State in general is suffering from the after-effects of this Entrance Craze, but no one will not, or allow anyone to, withdraw from this mad rush towards wrong priorities. People like BS Warrior have warned the people repeatedly against this trend; he has also pointed out the other opportunities. But no one will pay heed to it.
Tamilnadu is showing the way by abolishing Entrance exams. But, in Kerala, this will be vehemently opposed because it is a business that runs into thousands of crores annually. The entrance exam is primarily favorable to the CBSE, ICSE students who are also moneyed enough to undergo very costly Coaching sessions. The poor, but intelligent students in the State Syllabus are put to great disadvantage, yet no one would take steps to abolish the Entrance Exams.
I have no hesitation to say that this mindset is what holds the State to ransom, that hinders all progressive moves and leaves us 'frogs' in the proverbial ‘dumb well’ (Pottakkinar).

MC said...

one reason why i really liked this article is because its simple, and quite from the heart. it kind of reflects the pent up asiprations of the youth in kerala. theres so much energy in us, yet the majority are unable to do anything constructive to the extent they would like to. and this is just speeding up the exodus from kerala. at this rate, in a few years, all that will be left in kerala will be a few wily politicians and the people who come back to live a retired life in their homeland.

MC said...

@ pcm- you have brought out some excellent points about the stuck-up mentality we have in kerala. but i also differ with you on one point:

The entrance exam is primarily favorable to the CBSE, ICSE students who are also moneyed enough to undergo very costly Coaching sessions.
i dont think there is any "money" factor associated with CBSE or ICSE per se. i feel the quality of curriculum offered by those two boards are simply much superior to what our stagnant state board offers. and the central boards just bring out better students, who may be more prepared for the entrance exams. ofcourse, it may be true that some schools are capitalizing on this and offering central board certification for expensive fees. but that is the nature of the world we live in; and it is mainly because the government cannot( or is not bothered to) offer the same quality despite its immense resources.

nariyalchutney said...

It is about following your heart and standing up for what you want to do.Well, my story is also on similar lines . I was a national topper in Class X CBSE and is a B Tech and MBA . B Tech from the best college in Kerala and MBA from one of the Top Institutes in India .Often wondered why people outside Kerala are so pessimistic about the state when I was doing engineering. But once I came out and worked in Bangalore , Chennai , Bombay and Delhi now I can relate to so many things that has been written in this post. Especillay when I consider that everyone who studied with me in Kerala are now working outside the state in cushy jobs and the sole reason for all of us to come out was the lack of opportunity in Kerala . Could not have imagined what would have happened if it was not for teh campus placement that got me to Chennai. May be I would have ended up in Gulf or a Givt Job in Kerala . Personally " the doc/engg" and "chennai/bang" is a perceptional problem which will chnage once there is more awareness in the state . If you have already decided to go back to Kerala , and if you are happy with what you are doing ,please dont worry about Mallu Society . Wish you the very best .

silverine said...

Well this post gave me a few insights to the prevailing mentality of the people in Kerala. What stands out in all the articles that have been written here is the 'mentality' factor or 'the mentality' of the people! There is seem to be a set thought that prevails amongst the people of Kerala. Who dictates these trend, or rather lack of it? There seem to be no individual thought or individuality in the people here. Everyone seems to think and act alike. More like a herd of sheep. I wonder why? Is it lack of information that makes people consult each other instead of seeking out information themselves? Anyways nice article, simple and clear and promises to be a precursor to more good things to come :)

Tinkerbells said...

@everyone: Thnks for the warm welcome
@pcm: I agree about docs and enggs having to work for lesser salaries. I think we need to look beyond parents urging kids.. I mean some kind of a root cause analysis on why this 'mindset'...hope to do that in my next article..
@mc:thnks...I really hope to go bac to Kerala and initiate some change..let's see if we can stop this 'brain drain' and the 'mallu
works well anywhere except in kerala' syndrome.
@mc : It's been almost eight yrs since I wrote my entrance so can't comment on this...But yea, I remember that when I wrote my entrance organic chemistry was far easier for us thanks to the better syllabus...again this difference in syllabus is a point worth pondering !!!
@nariyalchutney: Thanks. I agree perception is a major problem, we need to change it...at every level, individual as well as state
@silverine : Thanks !!!
most societies have a herd mentality, I feel. And then there are individual thoughts (mostly restricted to leaders and achievers). But the majority of people are more comfortable (in any society) to follow set norms...Unfortunately for us, in Kerala currently these set norms are not conducive for growth...as you said its lack of information and clear thought leadership...maybe people like us can make a difference !!

quills said...

Tinkerbell a warm welcome to you.

You have captured the malayali mentality accurately. Sad, but true facts and almost all of us have gone through this at some point or the other.

I remember people almost fainting in shock when they heard I had no plans to write the Entrance exam or take up a science stream for my Undergrad. And when I chose Psychology, it caused quite an upheaval in many a Malayali mind I knew and honestly, I have met people who thought I actually needed treatment for choosing a subject like that. ( They also made sure they never made eye contact with me in case I am able to read their mind :) Thankfully just as in your case, my parents were always very open to me choosing a subject/line of profession I wanted. But ofcourse, I guess people also assumed that I chose Psych coz of lack of options or maybe coz I could not get into any of the other "respected and in demand" areas. :) I am hoping this narrow perception will change, and I guess it has to some extend, but still a long long way to go, judging my the long line of anxious parents in Kerala trying to secure a seat for their kid in a professional college. I hope someday our beloved brethren will realize it is Aptitude and Passion that is most important and what will eventually make or break any individual whatever the profession/course he or she has chosen.

I look forward to more of your posts. :)

Anonymous said...

beautiful post...Couldnt agree with you more.
..
Nita

WHISTLEBLOWER said...

Hi Tinkerbells,
What you have written is 100% true.
I took up a career in medicine, not by compulsion, but on my own choice and I did my postdoctoral training in India & abroad to realize my dream of becoming a top Plastic Surgeon.After my stint in UK, I decided to set up practise back home in Kerala, much against the advice of my friends & well wishers.One friend even told me all the top professionals from Kerala end up in US, middle graders go to UK & Europe, thirdclass fellows land up in Middle east & the bottom bit remain in the pit called Kerala!
I tried my best to establish Plastic Surgery as a growing speciality in Kerala for about 4-5 years, which was even acknowledged by "India Today". I was fed up by the unethical medical practises, corporate hospital politics , poor pay meted out to doctors & the "tradeunion" mentality of the subordinates.I have pitched back to UK. I only wish the Keralite mind set & attitudes would change for the better, so people like Tinkerbells & myself can atleast feel "at home", when we are in Kerala

Kuttan said...

Couldn't agree with you more.
A lot of it also has to do with our primary education itself. There is no such thing as career counseling or career orientation in our primary schools. Most of the schools pick the students who scored big in entrance exams as the role models for the young upcoming ones. One you get to high school you are forced to say good bye to most of your extra curricular activities. Current high school curriculum's don't give enough importance to arts, literature or liberal arts. Even CBSE and ISCE fits this bill. It's all science oriented. In in a school day you spent 60-70 percent of time learning Maths and Science. There is no choice for students who don't like arts and science streams. Our education system has been reduced to manufacturing line. There is no room for creativity. Only rote memorization skills excel.
Those who don't fit this profile simply fails. Some who are brave and persistent enough live through the system and graduate as an engineer/doctor just to satisfy their peers and family and then give up and chase their dreams.

Maveli Keralam said...

Hi
I am a bit concerend here. This posting is subscribed to 'save kerala'. I have yet to understand how teh learned Keralites' decision not to go to Kerala becaue it is a disfunctional hell on earth is adding value to 'save kerala' campaign. Yes it is a disfunctional hell. I beleived 'save kerala' is committed to formulating ideas as to how can a fighting forfront against all those disfunctionalities can be set up. And then how could that be implemented.

Those who have commented should realise that they were the lucky ones who managed to get out of Kerala due reasons i,2 and 3. But what about those who remain there by not having a channel or connection in the wealthy nations and by not having a desired education.
Keralas' fundamental problem is the stinking attutude of its upper/middle class that does not warrant change for the good. This demands a kind of slavery in every relationship; between, parents children, husband wife,elders youngsters, teacher student the ruler ruled and so on.

MC said...

@ maveli keralam - i dont see any conflict between your beliefs on the "save kerala" initiative and this post or comments here in general.

identifying and discussing problems is an essential step before we can "formulate ideas" to tackle the issues. with half the sensible population outside kerala, any viable initiative has to involve both the NRKs and the RKs.

tvmUK said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
abhishek said...

@maveli

You brought up a good point. It's tough though for non-resident Keralites to return to Kerala to work and improve the situation there on their own. You need a unified front to represent their concerns, identify the problems and present the solutions. Otherwise, you'll face the same problems that any just-returned NRK entrepreneur will face in Kerala. I have had direct conversations with local entrepreneurs who warn against starting up investments on your own in Kerala. What we need is a strong network to link all those progressive and development-oriented people. And SK is a great beginning to that end. Because let's have no illusions about what we're doing here. This blog is about bringing people together.

And this will become even more obvious by mid-2007.

abhishek said...

@tinkerbells

It's really a topsy-turvy world out there. Colleges in the U.S. complain that there aren't enough students out there for the technical disciplines, including engineering and medicine. It appears that there are imbalances everywhere.

But, the situation in Kerala as you've described quite correctly and so sincerely, is very different because of social pressure and lack of meritocracy in the non-technical fields. Because merit is rewarded by and large only in the technical fields, people assume that those working in other fields are as you put it, "losers". Those that couldn't prove their merit, apparently. But, they don't analyze the other side of the coin, which is that the engineering profession is saturated with low-quality technical degrees anyways and success in any field is driven by interest and hard work.

The issue about returning to Kerala to work there is a separate one. My two cents: if you return to Kerala to work and flourish there, then kudos to you. We need more of you. The going will be tough, but hopefully, the tough can get going as well. At the same time, I believe that most people leave Kerala not out of a desire to rid themselves of the "loser" label. Rather, they feel suffocated and oppressed by a system that rewards nepotism, loyalty and bribes over merit.

So, my guess is that you will find the going tough. But, at no point, should you consider social pressure to be of any significance in your decision-making. Hope you will be the beacon of hope for the rest of us.

abhishek said...

@tvmuk

Please refrain from using obscenities and other expletives in your remarks. This is the worst way to present your argument and serve your cause.

tvmUK said...

I apologise. I agree that was uncalled for. I lost my temper. I aplogise to whistleblower.

abhishek said...

@kuttan

While I don't disagree that our curriculums focus almost exclusively on the technical disciplines, I also wonder how much patronage masters of the arts and social sciences receive in our country. There is some truth in the opinion that students of the social sciences don't have very many opportunities out there. You might ask why?

I think it is not how much focus is being placed on the social sciences that should be of concern as much as it is how it is being taught at the secondary levels.

For example, most of us have studied history as a set of facts presented in our classrooms. But how many of us have been asked to write a serious paper on a serious topic that requires independent, critical thinking?

If you change the mode of teaching from studying rote facts to one that encourages critical thought and review, then the social sciences and arts will automatically find their place in the sun. Because any serious researcher knows that the cornerstone of serious research is quality of the argument/thesis. And oh my god, most of the writing that comes out of these college students right now is just downright pathetic. To the point of being confusing and illegible.

So to understand why we encourage rote memorization over critical thought, ask yourself this question:

Would you pay Rs. 650 for a copy of the Argumentative Indian?

The Argumentative Indian opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on Indian philosophical thought.

And yet, when I was walking around in Trivandrum, the only copies I could find of this book were the pirated ones being sold on the street. This reflects our priorities as a people - free, unearned knowledge over well-researched wisdom at a price. We want everything for free because we place very little value on anything. We place little value on Amartya Sen's hard work and consequently, we drive down the notion into our children that good writing and critical thought yields nothing. Let's just copy other's ideas, because our ideas are worthless anyways.

MC said...

@ tvmuk - we have removed your earlier comment - sorry about that.

as abhishek said, kindly present your thoughts cleanly.

on another note, the kind of frustrations that chase a lot of people OUT of kerala is quite exasperating, and to that extent some of the comments seen here are purely a reflection of such emotions, and has nothing to do with race or class. at least thats how i see it.

MC said...

@ abhishek -

We want everything for free because we place very little value on anything. We place little value on Amartya Sen's hard work and consequently, we drive down the notion into our children that good writing and critical thought yields nothing. Let's just copy other's ideas, because our ideas are worthless anyways.

this is very very true..we keralites, in general, expect everything free. and never realize about how much work or efforts go into "earning" something of quality or standard. and as you said, we'd rather copy ideas. and worse, we are grooming our younger generation in this mindset. all this has to change slowly. and as you said, bringing together like-minded people is the first step. and then the good thoughts and positives of these discussions can be passed on to a larger set of people, who probably read these posts, but walk away without taking part - yet will think of what we write.

Tinkerbells said...

@quills: Thanks for the welcome...couldn't agree with you more that passion and aptitude contributes to success !!!
@nita : thanks
@ whistleblower: change will happen. I am positive :)
@kuttan: I agree with you totally. You may be surprised to know that when I bought the syllabus book for 12th board (ISC), it had around 40-50 subjects on offer !!! And you can actually choose any combination of 4 subjects. But schools across, just offer the PCMB combo to prepare people for entrance exams. Even commerce stream students, had limited choice !!
@maveli keralam:well, we are fortunate ('lucky') to have obtained the education, skills and opprtunities to leave kerala to further our personal growth. But all people here also share a passion of making kerala 'functional' And yea the first step to generate solutions is to map the problem. My next post shall try to give some ideas...you are welcome to give yours as well. and i personally don't agree with 'stinking attitude'. I feel, it's very easy for all of us to blame everything on someone's attitude but all attitudes are the result of situations and that's what we should concentrate on changing.
@mc: I agree
@abhishek: looking forward to mid 2007
yea the 'loser' label that I used was in the sense that you remain there only if you can't escape...and thnks for your wishes.
@abhishek: I agree keralites want everything for free...including talent. If you try getting a job in technopark, you will realise this...most companies would say..."We can't pay you as much as you get elsewhere"..and I wonder why? Am I not bringing the same talent and skills to the table??? :P
The only thing a malayalee will pay for is medical care, and even there i feel its more 'cos one hardly has a choice when one is bed ridden :)
as far as social sciences and arts go we also need to have clearly defined careers in these avenues, which is lacking.

PCM said...

@MC
What I meant was that the Entrance Exam is primarily biased towards the CBSE, ICSE students because the questions are generally chosen from that syllabus. Also, the parents who can afford to send their children to such schools are moneyed enough to send them for costly coaching sessions. The State School students stand at a disadvantage because the syllabus is not updated and their parents cannot afford costly coaching.
@silverine, tinkerbells
Yes, ‘mentality’ is what does us in. I would not have been able to assess the problem so well unless I had come out of Kerala at least after retirement and had a stint in Chennai and Bangalore. In Kerala, what happens is that we unnecessarily get involved in the affairs of other people and dictate what they should do. If they do not obey, they are treated with derision and as outcastes. One who doesn’t aspire for Engineering or Medicine is looked on as an imbecile. The Entrance Exams are there in other States also, but in Kerala it is treated as the only choice.
@quills, whistleblower
You confirm my statements. I remember people almost fainting in shock when they heard I had no plans to write the Entrance exam or take up a science stream for my Undergrad -Q.
I only wish the Keralite mind set & attitudes would change for the better-Wb.
@kuttan
You have a point there. Our education system has been reduced to manufacturing line. There is no room for creativity. Only rote memorization skills excel. We are not likely to produce another Shivsankar Menon, or Sasi Tarur or Sreesanth in the near future.
@Abhishek
I am not surprised at the expletives used by tvmuk. This is the stock reaction of the intolerant, who believe that there is no knowledge outside themselves, when someone fails to toe their line or tries to escape from the ‘basket of crabs’. No one prompts our children to read outside their syllabus; nor do they have time to do so in their compulsion to cram the Syllabus.
Yet, all the opinions expressed by the savekeralites point to a certain thing – they have a desire to see a better Kerala, free in thought and action.
The news today (20.12.06( is that the CEOs of IT companies have requested the CM to update the Engg. Syllabus. They find that our graduates need to be taught again to make them fit for jobs!

nariyalchutney said...

Hey Nice to see so many people discussing this post . Would like to add something that I experienced outside when I was outside Kerala.

@ Kuttan "There is no choice for students who don't like arts and science streams. Our education system has been reduced to manufacturing line. There is no room for creativity. Only rote memorization skills excel."

There are lot of choices for students who don't like arts and science streams . You can find lot of Malayalis pursuing non science non art disciplines in St:Stephens , Hindu in Delhi University , Fergusson in Pune , and Xaviers in Mumbai and all leading colleges in India . However the surprising thing that I have noticed is that these students are the sons/daughters of Non Resident Keralites . A student who want to pursue the same course in Kerala usually has to succumb to decisions by parents . Ideally something which should be left to the student

It is same as what pcm has said "In Kerala, what happens is that we unnecessarily get involved in the affairs of other people and dictate what they should do. If they do not obey, they are treated with derision and as outcastes. One who doesn’t aspire for Engineering or Medicine is looked on as an imbecile."

@Silverine "There is seem to be a set thought that prevails amongst the people of Kerala. Who dictates these trend, or rather lack of it? There seem to be no individual thought or individuality in the people here. Everyone seems to think and act alike. More like a herd of sheep. I wonder why? "
This is a trend that is dictated by Society and personally I have witnessed people who have stood up aginst tide being suppressed down. This exists precisely because nobody has the courage to stand up and most people believe in "Nadodumbol NaduveOdanam"

@abhishek :"There is some truth in the opinion that students of the social sciences don't have very many opportunities out there. You might ask why?"

This is not true and there are lot of opportunities inluding handsome scholarships for higher education available for students who pursue Social Sciences. However most students from Kerala does not qualify for this. The education system in Kerala focuses on Width ("Parappu") rather than the depth (" Aazham") and the students have a vague knowledge about so many things but not deep knowledge about any specific thing . As some one has pointed out , the emphasis on learning by rote and the race for marks makes students unqualifiable for any o the available opportunities. This is the same reason due to which less people qualify from Kerala for any of the All India Examinations.

It is quite ironic you know , on one hand we are proud about our literacy percentage and oon the other hand we find that our graduates need to be taught again to make them fit for jobs!

Maya Cassis said...

wish we really could say the last few lines of your post about kerala....
Alas!I wonder when!!

abhishek said...

@nariyal

"This is not true and there are lot of opportunities inluding handsome scholarships for higher education available for students who pursue Social Sciences. However most students from Kerala does not qualify for this. The education system in Kerala focuses on Width ("Parappu") rather than the depth (" Aazham") and the students have a vague knowledge about so many things but not deep knowledge about any specific thing . As some one has pointed out , the emphasis on learning by rote and the race for marks makes students unqualifiable for any o the available opportunities. This is the same reason due to which less people qualify from Kerala for any of the All India Examinations."

My point precisely. Because we rely solely on rote memorization, we discourage independent thought. Reading and writing is good, but thinking critically has to keep up in pace.

When I mentioned opportunities, I didn't mean opportunities to learn. I mean opportunities to build careers in their respective disciples. For example, here are some choices available to some of my friends in Delhi who majored in English:

1) Advertising
2) Academics
3) Journalism

In Kerala, on the other hand, because there is no industry feedback which tells parents and students what is the scope for participation in these industries and fields, everyone follows the herd. "Oh, look, look, there's an IT revolution in Bangalore...BTech yaar is the way to go". People flock to gold rushes and gold rushes only. Only the gems pay attention to the niches that take advantage of their creativity.

Also, another reason why people don't opt for these professions is that you have to consider the difference in quality between a Kerala college degree in English and one awarded Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore or Chennai. It is just appalling! People don't use English in Kerala. Accordingly, the quality of the teachers is insufferable.

I remember this recent obsession of teaching in Malayalam at the expense of teaching in English. I think the intention was all well and good, but the methods used were counter-productive. Switching English-medium schools to Malayalam-medium schools is not the way to encourage Malayalam. English is the language of the world - it is no longer a colonial vestige. It's something that India has acquired and it belongs to the Indian landscape as much as our constitution belongs to us. And as such, we have a huge advantage in communicating to the rest of the world, because no culture has assimilated themselves so well in the rest of the world as Indians have. With that assimilation, we have brought new ideas and new forces of leveling the playing field to India. Replace English with any social science in the above and I believe what I said still holds true.

I digressed a little bit here. But my points stay the same:

1. Schooling has to shift from rote memorization to independent thinking
2. Liberal arts education should be encouraged over technical education
3. Writing skills have to be emphasized
4. Lastly, industry has to return to Kerala if there is any hope of keeping points 1, 2 and 3 sustainable

An uncle of mine used to say that a government job was the best so I should study for the IAS. In fact, he wanted his own children to do the same. He didn't think much of engineers or doctors. I don't believe his basic prejudice has changed much, but he has been forced to accept the reality. What's interesting though is that the IAS obsession preceeded the current Eng/Med obsession. So perhaps, tomorrow, even the Eng/Med obsession will make way for a more mature outlook? So, let's encourage our writers, artists, economists, social scientists and all the people who have chosen the non-mainstream paths wherever they are. Because ultimately, as Alice Hoffman put it,

My theory is that everyone, at one time or another, has been at the fringe of society in some way: an outcast in high school, a stranger in a foreign country, the best at something, the worst at something, the one who's different. Being an outsider is the one thing we all have in common.





@tvmuk

as mc said, we all feel frustrated at times, so i can understand where u coming from. u shudn't stop commenting on account of that one comment...

Babin said...

Welcome to the blog tinkerbell. I am sure millions of keralites share your frustrations. Hopefully, our voices will be heard one day.
It is not just the highly educated that don't have opportunities in kerala. No one do. (Unless you are a thallipoli politicians or a gunda or a corrupt government official!)

In my SSLC batch, no one hard real marks to go for engineering or medicine. Best of the group went for nursing!, so they have a chance to get out the country. The rest, mediocre got themselves some technical training (ie. politech) and not surprisingly ended up in bangalore or coimbatore. So now if i want to meet my high school friends, i am better of going to bangloor than my hometown.
Unless Cochin or Trivandrum developed into the level of Bangloor/Chennai, this problem is only gona get worse. The development of this century is going to be city centric. Kerala is missing out here too.

PCM said...

@babin
Your comment makes me think about the paradigm of hierarchy in Kerala. Students can be graded into the following categories depending on their abilities:
1. The cream, the best in studies,migrate outside Kerala (to IITs, IIMs, etc.) for higher studies and jobs.
2. The lesser ones complete professional education in Kerala and get stuck in there as Engineers and Doctors;
3. Those below them get into Civil Services like IAS, IFS, IRS, IPS, etc.
4. Those who cannot achieve this do their PGs and settle down in colleges as teachers;
5. Those with just Degrees settle down to become school teachers, Govt. servants, bank employees or land in other clerical work;
6. Those who passed SSLC might become Primary School Teachers who shape the conscience of children;
7. Those with a minimum education and a lot of commonsense become businessmen, traders, or owners of small enterprises;
8. Those who could not complete even school education settle down in hard physical labor;
9. Those who are not good enough even for that become politicians;
10. The luckiest among the last lot, the ones with some crude horse-sense, become ministers!
Then, all the other categories mentioned above come under the rule of these ministers.

sJ said...

Kerala is an ok place to work if u are in a retirement mood or if u can land a plum post near the top. Lower down and middle are not happy places to be.Chances of growth are not very great.OH ! AND PROMOTION IS DEPENDENDING ON HOW LONG YOU HAVE WARMED THE PRESENT CHAIR THAN ACTUAL MERIT.So people working else were may have a greater advantage than home groomed dudes.

Attitude:
U have lots of independence and free thought when u live among strangers away from home. Once back home its all relatives and close family friends.So all are going to butt in to ur life, making independence a non entity and life less than thrilling.

College degrees being less than the expected standards : no question. its true.

There is a difference in the employement oppurtunity for metro city Vs rural youth. A large part of it being the upbringing and education received.Kerala is a big middle class who wants to invest only in blue chip bonds and never ever take a risk let alone allow there kids to go into some area which they are not sure of. The other factor is the surrounding.There is no library in my village.A proposed building has been converted to office for the expanded panchayat.School library- lets not talk about it.None of my teachers ever asked me whether I have read a good book other than the text nor have i ever remember writing a note on "a book that I read".I read Alice in wonder land at the age of 30 and I didnt like it(no more capable of simple dreams may be).Have things changed with the new curriculum ? I hope so. Kids are asked to write two line poetry during exams now - own there own- on a given subject not the old "regurgetate from this line to that".
So the option of taking literature and aspiring to be a journalist/writer was pretty low then.How many of the free thinkers have gone in to teaching schools.Who are gonna inspire the next generation? A benefit of so many TV channels is probably giving those rural youths a chance for new dreams.Well all the new dreams are not good and some have tasted bitterness in its pursuit.

Old Kerala syllabus (i dont know of the new one) Vs CBSE / ISCE:
My math teacher in tenth used to take tuition for some cbse students and she used bring in some of their text problems to give us a better understanding and skill. Now looking back I think I owe her a lot for thinking that we deserved more and she got to give us more.

Things are changing and more working people returning after experiences outside would ultimately change the system from with in.
Good luck.

Lindsay Lohan said...

best site
http://www.lindsaylohan.co.in/

WHISTLEBLOWER said...

@ PCM
very well said paradigm.It truly reflects the profile of the Keralite cross section.You will never find a medically qualified person heading the Health Ministry , in spite of having doctors in excess.Same is the case of other ministries as well. It must be frustating for qualified professionals to put their views across to these ministers as they will be seldom understood! The recent dilemma the Kerala health minister faced with the issue of Chikengunea epidemic and how she fumbled in communicating with the press regarding the control measures & the drug's name exemplifies this.
Unless any administration is headed by educated people with vision and worldly wisdom a society cannot progress.
@sj
I fully agree with your views.One tend to lose one's independent views & thought process ,when you are in Kerala; because the views of elders & relatives are thrust upon you. Others dictate your social conduct & behaviour.Even media like TV potrays the Kerala society in a bigoted way in it's never ending family serials!
Poeple are always comparing individuals and anyone's "Sucess" is only measured purely in terms of financial gains.The Keralite middle & upper classes have become totally insensitive and have lost their humane touch.This can be a great tragedy for any progressive society.

pillai said...

There are more serious problems in Kerala that worrying about IT parks and dowry.

Anybody thinking seriously about the farmers committing suicide in Kerala? I doubt!

Maveli Keralam said...

'I feel, it's very easy for all of us to blame everything on someone's attitude but all attitudes are the result of situations and that's what we should concentrate on changing'.

Everyone seems to think and act alike. More like a herd of sheep. I wonder why? "
This is a trend that is dictated by Society and
'One tend to lose one's independent views & thought process ,when you are in Kerala; because the views of elders & relatives are thrust upon you. Others dictate your social conduct & behaviour'

The key points in many comments are that there is very little promotion or acceptance of independant thinking in Kerala's institutions, social (home)or eductional. Absence of independant thinking kills freedom, originality equality and humanity. And the sum total of all these is responsible for the Kerala 'attitude' which is causing lots of its underdevelopment.

Yes, our educational system does not encourage the teaching and learning of the disciplines in the humanities such as history, languages, and so on. Nobody wants to expose Kerala's true history for behind the false history a lot of the truth can be covered.

Yes nothing can be solved through blaming each other, but no problem can be solved until their cauaes are correctly identified. It is like a medical treatment. if a doctor cannot diagonise a sickness correctly no solution is possible.

The situation of slavery and forced oppression has a long history in India and in Kerala. it was imposed on Kerala through foreign migration. Foreigners occupied Kerala's culture and history and sqandered on Keral's wealth and pushed back its majority as backward and heathens.
Yes, presently there is little calss/racial distinction in Kerala,but the disparity and discrimiantion still continnues but with a difference. The so called weak sections have taken a new form. The present weak are the children, females, and so on. Keralas' poltical system is an extension of its past social disctinction.

Look at the Kerala dowry,how can a civilised society justify this dowry system? Females are killed and abused because they have no voice of their own. If the females use their dowry money 5 or 10 lakhs and invest on their own how much revenue they can make. Instead a man has to come and marry her becaue she has no freedom, individuality, or business acumen because she does not get any skills for the such from her home or through education because they are considred the weak.

It geos on like that.

So the first step to save Keala is to find the true causes of the mentioned lack of individuality, original thinking and all such.

Yes, the NRKs can do a lot for Kerala.

abhishek said...

@pillai

It is hard to say something on the topic of farmers' suicides that hasn't already been said. Having said that, you are always welcome to broach it and present your views in this forum by contributing.

pillai said...

@abhishek

The blog is concerned with the issues seriously affecting kerala . I guess. That is why I pointed out a single serious issue which I think need more attention of the present malayalee youth living outside Kerala.

As far as dowry is concerned my viewpoint is that it’s a custom what we call"nattunadappu" to give something to a girl going to stay in another house. It was a way to ensure her life out there will be safe and secured.

Now what happened. I am very sorry to say that NRI population of kerala changed this "nattunadappu" into a more luxurious and expensive one. This forced others in the society to make marriage a more expensive one.

We can change this. If we would say that we will do only register marriage thereby putting the so called maha marriage sambhav into history books. But honestly saying how many among us will do this in real life.

Now coming to the farmers issue.

1) Lets think about what we can do to help these farmers?

2) How effectively we can make this blog to send their issues to the public ?

3)Is there any way to create an NRI forum to take this to the Government?

How we can make sure that there won't be any single death in kerala out of starvation?

If we could achieve this, we can say a proud malayalee and think about IT parks.

abhishek said...

"Now what happened. I am very sorry to say that NRI population of kerala changed this "nattunadappu" into a more luxurious and expensive one. This forced others in the society to make marriage a more expensive one.

We can change this. If we would say that we will do only register marriage thereby putting the so called maha marriage sambhav into history books. But honestly saying how many among us will do this in real life."

Are you sure that weddings weren't already expensive to begin with? Perhaps in migrating outside Kerala, more people than ever before have benefitted from overseas wages and more can afford such expensive events. I don't think such expenses are wasteful because they generate employment for cooks, musicians, videographers etc. On the other hand, they are harmful to the extent that they influence others to spend beyond their means to maintain a certain "status" symbol. But, let me pose two questions then:
1) If you spend beyond your means, who is more foolish: you or the person whose so-called "status" you're trying to match?
2) If you're compelled to spend more on account of someone else's wealth, who is best positioned to change that behaviour? You or the other person?

Any person who believes that the answer to both these questions is anyone other than the person who is being questioned is deceiving himself or herself. Because at the end of the day, it is entirely up to you to choose how to live and how to consume. If you consume beyond your means, you damage your own cause. It is the lack of personal responsibility that has driven our society to wasteful displays of wealth, because in my dictionary, wasteful is living beyond your means.

The reason I brought this is due to a famous column written recently in a Malayalam paper about an NRI who put up a palatial house. You might ask, why build such huge houses? That's his or her choice. We have no business meddling with his choices of personal consumption as long as he's paying for it and it doesn't cost anyone else anything.

This NRI's neighbour, an unemployed idiot, tried to match his wealth. Perhaps, he felt jealous or perhaps, he felt he had an inferiority complex while comparing his modest dwelling with his neighbour's. In any case, the fool took out an enormous loan at a usurpious interest rate. And finally paid for it with his life. He committed suicide when he couldn't fulfil his interest payments and the lenders started pursuing him. Foolishness is the only word for it.

Darwin would say, let such people perish, because if you reward foolishness, you perpetuate it.

abhishek said...

"Now coming to the farmers issue.

1) Lets think about what we can do to help these farmers?

2) How effectively we can make this blog to send their issues to the public ?

3)Is there any way to create an NRI forum to take this to the Government?

How we can make sure that there won't be any single death in kerala out of starvation?"


@Pillai

Thanks for bringing up this topic. It certainly merits discussion, but perhaps, we are digressing from the topic in this post.

So, tell you what, let me think about it as well. And I will post my views in the future and try to answer your questions to the best of my ability.

As for question (3), we have the beginnings of a forum here. But I can tell that you want to put together a team with real members. Some of the blog team members are working behind the scene on such a forum. That is what I meant when I said that we are looking forward to mid-2007 when we launch this new team.

We are hoping this will complement SaveKerala in the sense that people can discuss issues here anonymously without the fear of being reproached (although, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself). We are also hoping that it will take us in a new direction in that it will organize people in real life to take on initiatives and create concrete solutions.

Maveli Keralam said...

I do not find anything wrong in a person who could afford to spend lakhs or millions on his or his daughter's marriage. But there are female children who become sore points to their parents who cannot afford to pop out the amount a boys' family demands in return for marrying her. If every parent of a boy dream about the money the girl that is coming to their home can afford to bring that is OK. That she should bring an amount that they have bargained for on a strictly business like style and call it a nattunadap is a bit painful. Of course a girl has rightful claim on her family property and wealth.

How many Kerla (Indian)youth in our place or elsewhere would come forward and put their neck on the block and say'look I want to marry a girl with whom I can relate with in my life. No matter how poor or rich seh is". In a way such marriages are marriages of values, meaning and mutual rsponsibility. And the children born in such relationship have more chances to have individuality and originality in their life and endevours rather than the children prototyped in so-so relationship which are currently happening.

Vinod/Kakka said...

About Dowry: I think that women have a huge role to play here. Not the bride though, but the mother-in-law-to-be. Mothers should take a role in shaping the attitude of children, both men and women, to make clear that dowry is unacceptable in a family. As long as this does not happen, and dowry is asked for the marriage of a son, this custom will continue.
About Farming: It is painful to see the grief of the farming communities. Small landholdings will make it increasingly difficult for people to make a living from the land. Realistically, it is time for Kerala to think of itself as a post-agrarian community. More investment is needed to make more non-farm jobs available, and also to make the transition to a post-agrarian society smooth.

MC said...

@ everyone - to not divert from the current topic, i think we need two new posts to discuss dowry and farming.

PCM said...

@MC
You are right. Let us not digress from the issue. I have a lot to say about dowry and farmers, but I will wait till two new blogs are opened.

WHISTLEBLOWER said...

@MC
We need seperate forums fo these issues. Before you close this blog, some more "reflective thoughts" from Kerala!
A couple of days back, the state education minister's car got blocked by a KSRTC bus near Attingal.The poor driver & conducter got arrested & passengers were ordered to get out of the bus by the security personnel accompanying the Minister's convoy.
Tail piece:- if this event has happened in the Western world, the involved minister would have been thinking of finding ways to beat the traffic congestion; than taking it out on the poor driver! A quetion of attitudes & priorities I suppose!

PCM said...

@whistleblowe
Interesting? Then, take notice of two other incidents: An MLA,Alphonse Kannanthanam, IAS-turned politician, got his car blocked in front of a bank by the Security guard for five minutes. The guard was immediately transferred to a distant area under pressure from the MLA!
The Education Minister was surrounded (gheraoed) by his own partymen for two hours at Nilambur, preventing him from participating in a function which was chaired by a congressman!
Well, if you don't get enemies, paint your own people as enemies and attack them!

Cecilia said...

Well written! Exactly my sentiments:)

Di said...

i agree so very much! Im a bangalorean but am attached to my native place in kerala...Its sad the students there have to look elsewhere for opportunities... :(

avan said...

Interesting post, tinkerbell. I spent the first 23 years of my life in Trivandrum. Studied at the state's leading engineering college and then went on to join the country's leading management school.

Over the last several hours, I have read through many of the posts on the Save Kerala blog, so these comments are on the blog as a whole and not just your entry.

The Save Kerala blog is a great initiative to get minds thinking about what needs to done to further the development of Kerala. Kudos to all the people who contribute on the blog, both posts and comments

@Tinkerbell
There definitely is a perception in Kerala that Engineering and the Medical profession are the best and students do get pushed into joining these courses. But is it not true that these are two surefire ways to get a high paying jobs in our country? Parental pressures to join these professions will probably ease off as people become more financially secure.

Also, is there something inherently wrong with educated Keralites working in other parts of the country/world than Kerala? Job creation has not kept pace with the spread of education, but the education has given Keralites the tools to go out into the world and compete. I think that is a pretty fair deal Kerala has given its youth.

@mc, abhishek, alex and others
Your descriptions of the ills of politics in Kerala are spot on. The question is, what is the reason behind the degeneration of Kerala politics into a self serving activity? Especially when one realises that the much maligned leaders of today, both UDF and LDF, are the same people who have worked hard in earlier days for Kerala's development. A case that comes to mind is how a number of the current LDF ministers led the literacy campaign in the late eighties with great vigour and effect. Am sure there will be similar instances in the UDF as well.

The fact is that the political class has enormous organizational skill and execution ability. Perhaps what is lacking among Kerala's current crop of politicians is a vision/cause to strive for. How do we make "raising Kerala's GDP and creating quality jobs" an attractive cause for our politicians? Hope to see some discussion around this. I will be happy to contribute to the blog on those lines.

pillai said...

@abhishek
I really appreciate ! Full support to you from Mumbai.Let me contribute to those two forums you mentioned. Keep in touch and giving my email mmpillai_2000@yahoo.com

Tinkerbells said...

@ everyone: Here's hoping all the readers of this blog had an amazing x'mas and wishing you all peace and prosperity in coming years...I'm happy with the amount of healthy debate that we have in this forum. and also about the newer issues like farmer suicides and dowry that ofcourse merits serious thoughts and actions...
@avan: if equipping people to compete with the world is giving a fair deal...people world over will not be worried about 'brain drain'. I agree that we need to be globally competitive ....but I feel, it is equally important that local opportunities exist for the land to progress !!!
Once again thanks to everyone for making me welcome here. This will be my last comment on this post... Next post soon...

Anonymous said...

The real issues surrounded kerala education in the early 1990's are yet to be reflected here. Hope someone would enlighten this area.

i am sure that people from early 90's educated in kerala can certainly understand the concepts surrounded education. There has been magical recognition about doctors and engineers while professionals from many other streams of education had to be satisfied with a less recognition in the society. I do not understand still why that had to happen! Very recently I happened to see parents of a keralite doctor working with the state health department, now looking for opportunities abroad. It was quiet surprising for me to know the kind of money a doctor like him makes at his best. Seems that the glory continue to remain with this profession, but not the monetary advantages anymore. To share with a frank thought, I thought Call Center Staff from banglore at their teen ages are far better earners compared to doctors. People don’t recognize the amount of money they throw behind while chasing the dream recognition of a Doctor. Often students are been pushed in to this profession to satisfy their parent’s hunger to have them recognized by their means. The flow of money goes behind completing the glorified profession of a Doctor later makes them to think about compensating for the same once they enter in to service. You know how it works once they are in to Service. You will have one more doctor who is merely useful and hardly responsible to the society he is serving. Having known the flurry of professional colleges across south inida and their operating structure, the effectiveness and talent of these doctors are another area of discussion.

Now, what has happened to those who were left out of the race to become a Doctor or Engineer? In the early 90’s there wasn’t much career options available in Kerala. To the worst, there was no such thing called “career guidance” which in result caused so many to go unaware of their career options. Many opted to channel their education in one blind stretch only to complete their bachelors regardless of their area interest. Once they are at the end of road holding a masters degree at the age of 22 or 23, they go out to face the world as a job hunter. No experience.. no exposure to real working environment.. now they are set to suffer a blow in the real world scenario.

In western countries, you go in to doing a Masters with sufficient experience and thereby the skills you gather with your Bachelors are polished before you go in to your masters. This is one thing we lacked in our educational system resulted in the creation of unfit human resources. Recently in an interview in Abu Dhabi, a European GM was surprised to know that his candidate is having an MBA in International Business at the age of 22. He took that as a sign of excellence in his candidate. The Candidate knew his problems ofcourse. The westerners dare to go into doing masters without having adequate experience.

A friend of mine was here in UAE couple of years ago as a job hunter. The company hired him found it’s difficult to make him fit in to the job he is assigned for and eventually terminated his service just after 3 months. He talked to me about the effects of his education without having experience in sidelines.

Now there are signs that one can stay hopeful about the way education is changing in Kerala. Hope this would continue to make progress.

Sabu Ismail

WHISTLEBLOWER said...

@ anonymous
Thank you for bringing the pitfalls in Keralite eduction.When there is more emphasis on quantity than quality,you have a huge drop in standards.Life skills and nurturing job skills are not part of our curriculumn!
A friend of mine who owns a Travel agency in Kerala was recently interviewing candidates for the front office. He told me even though most of the candidates were PG holders with MA Eng: etc; none of them could speak English properly! The system is no way different when it comes to teaching medicine; the emphasis is on text book based & theory based medical education than on patient oriented bed side clinical medicine taught in the West. There is no encouragement to do research & people who do research are frowened upon by the rest of Keralite intellectual mercineries!
After all the years of hard work & toiling an MBBS doctor in Kerala is offered a starting salary of approx:Rs5000/-, where as his friend who dropped out of college gets a hefty pay packet of approx:25,000/- sitting in his cushy call centre office in Bangalore! The government does'nt do any thing to win back doctors,that's the reason why most of the Kerala state health service posts are vacant!To make matters worse there are no facilities in rural heath centres other than aspirin & tincture iodine!

tpraja said...

Have you seen the new India search engine www.ByIndia.com they added all the cool features of popular products like MySpace, YouTube, Ebay, Craigslist, etc. all for free to use and specifically for India. Anyone else try this yet?

ByIndia.com First to Blend Search, Social Network, Video Sharing and Auctions Into One Seamless Product for Indian Internet Users.

Anonymous said...

These write ups are giving a very good insight in to the mind of the people of kerala. There is a mass hysteria at work. God bless us all.

Anonymous said...

Oh I would love to contribute to the marriage soap / story what ever you choose to call it ....

Hmm... sharing wealth with daughter , Its perfectly fine . No body would disagree , but this should be on the parents wish and not becoz some greedy in law monkeys want it. There it should be a distinction . And its girls share ,so only she should be bothered about it , not the extras in marriage who come and drop in BIGGGG. hints .. " Oh !! I have kept aside 30 lacs of my daughters marriage ( oh ya , sure .. u were minting money for gov of india ) ". And I think this sharing property should be after the parents have lived their life . Its them who have worked hard for all of it . So let them have good time with it too .

With this property share , responsibility should also come along. Taking 30 / 40/ 50 lacs in cash and jewelery and going ABROAD (oh ya sure fun, who wont love it), but who is going to take care of your old parents . Oh!!!! , this angle you never thought off . And I don't really appreciate girls who say this is what happens in kerala , what can I do .So very SPINELESS, off course . Well good enjoy money , else you would never been able to make this yourself and your able husband , "The NRI price catch " LOL . Your parents who tried to make you good and able with education . Cared all your life with love and affection . Sure thats not enough ,SHARE is your birth right .Thats what matters .Well!! god only can help your mind.

I have seen mallu guys saying "if your friend is poor , its not your fault but if your father-in-law is poor , Its your fault". These are not ordinary jobless guys, but the cream that qualify as " price catch in India" , plus off course the NRI's .WOW!!!!!, It summaries the celebration of marriage so nicely.This social activity otherwise so much fun in other cultures is a money trading platform here .

This can only change when the girl enables herself with education ( already there in kerala) and bit of self esteem .Make a career , and be proud of what you are . You do not need to BRIBE somebody to marry you or do you ?.Say no to such thugs. Parents ,do not get into the trap of showing social standing .You cannot prove yourself richest by doing so . So please do not sell yourself for this .Please do keep your daughter's share separate for her.Make a proper will and do so .

And to guys , what should i say ? If you want money for your marriage then god only can change you mind . May he help you mentally and make you able enough to earn that yourself.Thats hard I know , but at least give it a try.

So many young and bright mallus, well educated , well grommed outside india , should put some effort if getting rid of this. Not encourage it and make a social norm .I have hope that new breed will come out of it soon . Have seen few bold people and kudos to them . We need so much more of these .



Happily married to a mallu without dowry (love marriage , love the culture except this dowry thing !! ).We are able to build a good life even without taking the SHARE. He is not a "NRI price catch!!!!", Thank god for that.

Terms of Use and Disclaimer