Sunday, August 05, 2007

Kerala This Week, Vol 4, August 2007

The last few weeks have been rife with examples of illiterate leaders ruling over a supposedly literate Kerala, a state full of people who are ever willing to be donkeys for the sake of politicians and the all powerful, invisble, super power, called the society.

Topping the list, and creating headlines (pushing aside the Munnar rampage and the demolition squad which fizzled out in front of the AKG center and "party offices") was the release of a Madani. Charged on some 23 accounts related to the Coimbatore blasts some years ago, the beloved leader is now back directly from jail to front page politics, as though he fought for India's independence. And the state politicians have been wooing him with utmost devotion. His "rally" in Trivandrum was "emotional" and "fiery", and was chaired by two ministers. I have nothing against or for Madani, but the ministry "rallying" with him is a bit shameful in my opinion. And the government is sponsoring his "treatment", that too in a private hospital.

This is the same government thats "helpless" when its people are dying because of some fever which they are yet debating and referring textbooks for, the same set of leaders that blame the central government while doing nothing for its flood ravaged people. So where does all that concern they have for Madani disappear when it comes to the people of Kerala?

The other most interesting show happening now is the "fight against retail chains". We have had hartals, demonstrations, threats, stone-throwing, etc against Reliance, Walmart and other retail chains entering Kerala. While on one hand we gloat that we have Spencer's (since decades) and Margin Frees', in the same breath we also oppose these new companies (just like we opposed Coca Cola and Pepsi while drowning ourselves in alcohol and smoking beedis). The reason? That we still need to be mistreated by the local shopkeeper, and his total lack of interest in us as customers (or even your existence in his shop when you go to buy something!), and that we still need to be forced to take only what the Vyapari Vyepasaris dictate.

There was a debate on "Nammal Thammil" on Asianet last night. One educated (not literate, mind you) professor argued that over Rs. 100,000 crore worth produce is wasted ever year in India due to lack of proper distribution, sales or exports, and that these retail chains will only boost sales and reduce this wastage. The men from the VV samithi, dressed in the evil khader uniform, as usual responded with their snideful retort, saying "we all know" that Reliance and the likes have paid money to educated people to speak like this and argue on their behalf in public forums. You can never argue and win a point with such people, forget making them understand. Like they say, never argue with idiots, because they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

It is the same "experience" that wins accolades for leaders in Kerala for being irresponsible. Take for example, how our minister shirked responsibility and said he will picket the PMs house if the central government doesnt help the flood hit state. He pretended he had nothing to do with the state, he said its all the center's fault, and we, the people, clapped. It is also the same experience that sent Special Task Forces to demolish buildings across the state, ruining crores of rupees, instead of acquiring them and running them as government buildings. (The STF is now without its two poster boys; both have been sent on extended leaves for "treatment")

Some from the VV samithi say, only at Narayanan's shop do we get the local feel and homely atmosphere, but not at any retail chain. But not everyone wants to hear Narayanan or Keshavan or George or whoever gossip anymore, or waste our money on substandard stuff, or even sniff the stink of local politics anymore. And for those who do, Narayanan will surely be there. He doesnt survive on sales of Kellogs or Dove. It is the same irrational fear that was instilled when Telecom and the airlines were privatised. Today majority of the people use mobile phones, and that includes the likes of Narayanan. Indian Airlines has become cheaper and at least tries to offer better service.

Its time literate Kerala went back to school and realized that our illiterate leaders are simply taking us for a ride. There are scores of promises and projects that are "proposed" and "planned". But what has happened in reality? Nothing! Except for all the investments the private companies make. Smart City (which was claimed as a victory), Vizhinjam Port, Technocity, Road projects..all are still being planned and destroyed. Planned for maximum benefit for the leaders? What change did the new government bring? Did the farmers benefit? No. Did the fisherfolks benefit? No. Only the party and the political goons and criminals benefitted and continue to benefit. And if we dont realize and change, its not that change is not going to happen. It will. Its just that we will be the losers. And the politicians will be the only people who gain.

The Central Government took over the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology in Trivandrum couple of days ago, and saved it from the politicians in Kerala, who have not even completed school but desperately fought to become its Chairman (for what??). Wonder why these people want to infiltrate all domains and positions. Havent they messed up enough? Its similar to Pawarji who cant even walk straight being the president of the cricket council, and ensuring that Indian cricket is a mess.


quills said...

How can our ministers be so short sighted? I mean there is this whole viral fever epidemic and chikungunya, and other than our ministers passing on the buck there seems to be little progress in controlling this fever. It spreads so quick and half the people are off work...the impact of this on the economy is just going to show up soon. Wonder when they will realize this? Terrible!

binu said...

the pic is funny

Madhavan said...

I do agreee with Qulls for the lack of concern showed by the health authorities to the infective fevers whipping the state. Some of the senior doctors at the helm of administration concede that they find it even difficult to effectievly communicate with the health minister; as her highly politicised brain has no space to think or worry about these epedemics.Kerala is now a living hell, with spreading epidemics, decadent administration.bad infrastructure & a society that has lost it's will to react.
Recently there was programme in BBC about changing India; in which the programme's presenter Sanjay Bhaskar, showe the marvels of developments in India's big cities and concludes this hour long programme by visiting Kerala for a holiday break.In the back ground of Kerala's backwaters Sanjay says"this is a debt ridden state and developments that are happening across India has'nt reached the shores of Kerala. This makes kerala an unspoilt, idyllic vacation spot"
Not to mention North Indian businessmen branding Kerala as the "Bihar of the South"

silverine said...

Great post!

Rakesh said...

Sensible post. Have a look at this very interesting short story about Kerala unions

shruti said...

Good post and was heartening to read the same . The group of people I work with are also disgruntled with similar behaviour across the country though at varying levels . My exposure to the activities being carried on by this group across India at various levels has exposed me to some realities and some tools which can be powerful in the hands of the common man .
One such tool is the RTI . We as a group have filed many RTI applications and seen a positive and measurable change . When one files a right to information application the same is sent across to various personnel within the heirarchy ensuring that whoever is resposible for holding up a particular development work is taken to task by the senior who might be unaware . Also the government has to reply on a stamped paper which can then be used as evidence in court of law. Any query can be asked and we have been training people across sectors including villagers on how to file an effective RTI application that will trap the goverment to reply in a manner that it has to restart any work that had been stalled indefinitely . Incase anyone needs more information on the same I can send across material and try and guide to the best of my abilities .
Secondly the change that is reflected in society has to begin with oneself and as I am so is my nation is one of the core values of this group . To this effect the group I am involved with had also taken another initiative ( we have a set of initiatives of which this is a part) where we have conducted sessions to bring a change in the lives of our administration i.e the IAS officers. The response recieved from some officers has open up flood gates for training and conferences in change for 3000 plus top level administrative officers in Karnataka and we are conducting back to back sessions for them on weekends . Incase anyone is interested you can attend a weekend conference to see how the change is effected and how society and India does have a hope for improvement .
This group is not limiting and is open to anyone who wants to bring a positive change around them and has chapters across India . I am very active in the Bangalore chapter which has trustees and people associated with it for 37 yrs right since the time Rajmohan Gandhi first introduced the concept in India in 1960's with a march across India and the stories of change that have been shared whether it be naxalites in jamshedpur or union leaders in TISCO has left all inspired by the power and effect of helping others to change as well as making them realise their potential for change that lies within each one of us . In case anyone feels very strongly about Kerela and wants to bring a change in their state , change that would be marvelleous and which has happened before in other states and which can happen if efforst are made you can get in touch with me . Being not of Keralite origin and unable to understand its complexities I cannot contribute but I can share our expereinces in Karnataka and other places and put you all in touch with the people I am sure are working in Kerela as well and maybe we can actually realise that dream that each of us see everyday of an India and a world that lives in peace and harmony .

MC said...

@quills - its not a matter of short sight, but rather sight in the wrong direction. the ground situation in kerala today is so pathetic with violence, aggression, theft, goonery setting in on top of a apathetic (or pathetic) administrative machinery. this will hopefully remind the people the importance of education (as opposed to literacy) and discipline in governance, and not just political gimmicks.

@ binu - yes. hilarious.

@ madhavan - so true. i mean what are we, which includes the government, doing about the flood or the fever. almost every family i meet has someone down with fever. yet the leaders are focused on crap like retail chains, private professional colleges, infighting (faris?), and committing blunders like Munnar. It will be surprising if we dont end up worse than Bihar with the government totally paralyzed when it comes to crime. Not to mention how many criminals, mostly party backed, were pardoned and sent out from the jails in the last one year.

@ silverine - thank you :)

@ rakesh - unions. they are the bosses, because they are tomorrows ministers. a bunch of people who want everthing free, and claim it as their right.

MC said...

@ shruti - excellent thoughts. and its so nice to hear about your groups activities. please send me the mail with the details.. personally though, karnataka has a less politicized population. in terms of politicization, kerala is probably the worst. and thats the reason why any initiative is met with strict resistance. you start something, just 10 people can get together and say its against the "mass" - where the mass in this case includes on local politician and his goons who may have taken some money from a person with vested interest. its definitely not to say things will never change and we have no hope. but along with the initiatives like your group does, its also important to change the mentality - and thats the sole purpose of this blog. as you may have noticed, even people who blog and are supposedly educated can have flawed views - this includes me. the idea is to streamline thoughts and actions into a similar direction.

i thank you for always participating here with your deep thoughts and valuable suggestions. although this blog is focused on kerala, the larger interest is always our beloved nation.

shruti said...

I agree with you . We are just one of the different ways that people are trying to bring a change . Its commendable to contribute in any way possible either through a blog or discussions . Just wanted to share another viwpoint and have sent a detailed mail to that effect .

Thanks so much for being so kind towards all my participation in your blogs . Lets together make a difference to this world !

Tinkerbells said...

interesting post. I have permanently shifted base to Kerala and can now see more closely the pathetic state of affairs.
One interesting thing, I noticed with regard to the retail chains was that the recently opened 'Big Bazar' outlet in Trivandrum is quite crowded most of the time and that too with ordinary people. So, it is very clear that the masses are ready for a different shopping experience. And these chains also provide employment opportunities, where working conditions are better than the local kirana shop where usually the shop owner orders around his subordinates and even the pay is miniscule.
As you rightly pointed out and as is evident from teh experience of other states, the kirana stores can and will coexist with the bigger chains as the target customer base and the retail format is vastly different in both cases. As usual it is only the political parties who want to create issues where none exists.

PCM said...

You have given the answer to these problems in your blog itself:never argue with idiots. I am reminded of a story in Panchathanthra: A monkey was feeling very cold. So, it gathered a few dry leaves and caught hold of a firefly to ignite the leaves. He was blowing hard with the firefly under the leaves, when a bird which saw this idiotic act asked him what a foolish thing he was doing. The monkey was angry and asked the bird what courage it had to advise him. He caught hold of the bird and killed it!
This is what happens in Kerala. Madani is a hero greater than all the freedom fighters; political parties furtively and openly try to get into his good books. Do you remember the history of Bhindranwala - how he was nurtured by Indira Gandhi and later on turned into a curse?
Another hero that has sprung up now is Pharis. Nobody has a clear idea about his shady deals, but he certainly deserves to be congratulated for becoming such a multi-millionaire at the age of 35!
Well, if he has a clean history, surely he has caught the 'tiger's tail' by trying to help Keralites. Now his name will be dragged into all sorts of mire, until he runs away with his tail afire.
Another person who is inviting trouble upon himself is Dr. Bahuleyan from US who is trying to help out his villagers by investing 80 Crores in Chemmanakary near Vaikom. Politicians are only coming to know about him. Let us wait and see how his name will be tarnished!
One member of the Minority Commission recently described the politicians in Kerala as 'Koopamandookams' - frogs in the Well. They have absolutely no idea what is happening outside and what is meant by development. But, to know that you need at least Primary education!
I remember an old traditional 'Vaidyan' of my younger days. Whenever he was ushered in to treat a critical patient, the first question he would ask was 'Soochi vecho?' (Whether an injection had been taken) If that was done, according to him, there was no chance of saving the patient.
Our politicians live in that age, perhaps.

Vinod/Kakka said...

Agree with the post on most things. The case of Rajeev Gandhi Biotech institute is a bit nuanced: It was started off as a NGO by G. Karthikeyan. I still have not figured out how this came about. It was not started off as a Congress thing either. Anybody know more about the history, and background of this instituition?

Earlier, there used to be an attempt by political parties to manage a perception of being "clean" - esp. political parties. Now, this has become one more step abstract: They just need to maintain a perception that they are trying to manage a perception. They are happy with the fact that they are corrupt, and can no longer even maintain a perception of being clean, imaginative or trying to do what is right for the population. They are ok with the perception that they are either crooks, or imbeciles or goondas or all of it.

Dr. K. Kishore Kumar said...

Thanks for the email to me.
We just cannot blame our leaders for all. For example, the bold step taken by Oom... Chandy saved at least UDF followers from Chicku, now attacking only the LDF ones. It is learned that the Mosquito God had a secret deal with Oom... Chandy and the mosquito God have promised him that UDF criminals will be spared. If the mosquito God had not shown that presence of mind, our Chandy would have gone in for a fast till death and our Achu uncle group would have passed a bill (ordinance) to KILL the mosquitoes.
For more visit
Carry on the good work. Regards

Madhavan said...

I recently saw an opinion poll in this blog site about the next Kerala CM. For the participants you had given only 2 options viz, Achudanandan Vs Ooomen Chandy.We know both are 2 sides of the same coin. It would have been appropriate to have apolitical options like Mr.Babu Paul IAS, or Mr.Madhavan Nair, Director of VSSC.
I think most of us bloggers in this site are sick of political parties and politicians; and our hopes & aspirations are with the learned, cultured middle class to lead us in future.
I hope a revised opinion poll on this regard will prove my point.

unnikrishna said...

hi hall, i believe we are all here to have one aim in mind:"Save Kerala". but are just digitally barking in the darkness? can we all come up with concrete suggestions than can transform into reality? i mean real issue based suggestions. i think VS has atleast some spark in his mind to do some stuff, though his comrades(?) does not allow him to do anything.
how can we react effectively? young guys out there please shoot your suggestions.
one more thing, just incase if you support VS please visit
and click"loveIt".you have to register but it's free. go ahead guys, do it.

vishnu said...

have got any recognition for this blog? y dont u show it off to newspapers... ?? i want this blog to be a hit... SAVE KERALA guys... u can do it...this idea is awsome!! all the best.. .

Desert Roses said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Desert Roses said...

Its high time kerala realises the sensible part of globalisation. wake up kerala before your left out by the left or right. its 21st century.

PCM said...

Recently I had to travel from Palghat to Ernakulam by road. To cover a distance of less than 150 Kms, I spent five hours because there was no road at all! Instead, there were small and big potholes filled with mud and water, through which my car had to wade through. Nobody realizes that this predicament is owing to overusing our roads nearly ten times their capacity, let alone the bad repair work done every year to fill the pockets of some people. If we had the Express highway, most of the traffic would have been diverted through it. Think of the fuel and hours of journey saved thus. But, no, we will fight tooth and nail to stop the Express Highway from being realized!
On 15 August, all roads in all towns were overflowing with a procession called Navbharat Yathra organized by a youth wing. Traffic was blocked for many hours and violent fists pumped the air for nothing. If only this manpower and wasted energy were used to clean the cities, it would not have taken one hour to complete the job. No, we will fight the nuclear deal more vigourously than the epidemics!

Anonymous said...

As usual just left bashing instead of properly weighing out and listing advantages and disadvantages. and calling others literate but not educated!! Why dont u rename this blog as left bashing blog. I am no left sympathiser.I hate their goonda policies but in you I see nothing but blindness and of course lot of amens from your so called buddies who hang around and support each other blindly..

MC said...

@ shruti - nice to see the spirit in you..if we could all have that kind of energy and enthusiasm i am sure we will achieve what we dream for india in no time.

@ tinkerbells - good to know you shifted base to kerala..although i dont know how good you feel :) big bazaar is crowded, and every local politician is carrying a mobile phone, most likely reliance, but we still have to fight against "retail" while the common man is dying from an unknown fever. thats the irony of the dog's own country.

@ pcm - so right..every day while watching news from kerala i am reminded that our ministers seriously lack education..most of them..and its very evident in what they say, do and how they behave.

@ vinod - no idea how RGCB started..but atleast its heartening to see the kind of activity going on there. very true about political parties and image..right now its hit rock bottom. people are not bothered, why would the politicians mind? people are fanatic enough to still clap for these clowns.

@ dr.kishore - thanks for visiting this blog. your comment is a bit cryptic though. good to see the web initiative you have started.

@ madhavan - welcome here..the opinion poll was a prepoll thing, so thats why we did not include anyone else. we will probably have a new poll soon.

@ unnikrishna - "digitally barking in the darkness" sounds like the kind of stuff that happens when politicians visit our Technopark or InfoPark.

"lovemarks for VS achu" what could sound more cheesy? yikes..are you serious? :|

@ vishnu - now thats a very enthusiastic response we rarely see here! :) thanks so much.

@ desert roses - yeah we are trying to go back to the 20th century here..

@ pcm - what a reality check.. our evil politicians make believe our dumb people that anything new is only for the rich..and call for them to oppose it..and in the process the politicians get rich and the people remain donkeys.

@ anonymous - your comment was hilarious enough to make me respond to all these comments.

i cant help it if the left is getting bashed..its only because there are more pigs there than in the right probably. i am no right sympathiser..but its just that we are looking at moving forwards..not backwards..who is blind is evident from the current state of affairs in Kerala..

amen :)


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kp_Sumesh said...

When we talk of kerala ,bashing the politicians is the first trap we all fall in.The arguments and counter arguments to hoist the most foolish politician on the top by participants in discussion programmes on our channels are nothing more than BP boosters.
Hope and wish no deaths have been caused after watching 'nammal thammil' or cross fire kind of progs so far..

I would like to add one more unique event of our state to the list of the many uniqueness of our state being mentioned in this site

As soon as the railway budget is presented in the parliament the next day we will have a rail roko in our DOC ,an annual event in the life of an average party worker or the PLPs- Politicaly literate Person as they proudly call themselves, what have these agitations got for us as a state is totally forgotten year after year.How are the other states getting ahead in the Rail arena none of them care.One roko over,when is the next is all they seem to bother.

The day we learn to get over this style of agitations and graduate to express ourselves in a more assertive manner to achieve whatever is the reason for the agrevation,we as well wishers of this state will only end up as the most depressed race ever to have walked upon this beautiful planet before becoming extinct.

I suggest DOC to invite the budding promising young politician to a live chat here,or atleast get them to react to so many thoughts that have come to this site from all over the world and sow the seeds of a moral responsibitlity in their minds so that when they become 'the boss' of their party some day ,they will try to bring the change which we all are yearning for.
Wishing all DOC fraternity a very peaceful and happy onam .

Anonymous said...

Why to waste valuable time like this......

Bedi Philips said...

can we somehow get these horrible politicians in our fist? Atleast the telephone numbers of those insane? I wish to fire them for my own satisfaction... enikkk ithokke ketitt thala perukkunnu... kalipp therranilla.....

Can somebody help me in collecting the phone numbers of the youth congress or youth league "bhranthanmar"...??

Bedi Philips said...

Everytime the elections approach, the people if India gathers more hope than yester years! This year voters are more enthusiastic in voting for a true leader. I believe in team work toward a common goal regardless of the party suffix they carry.

Antony said...

The article written by MC was excellent. There are lot of things happening around us in Kerala and we ignore these things saying that "whatever I do won’t make a difference". This is suicidal and this will make things easier for those who take us for granted. There is a judicial system which controls each and every one in the country. Even the person who smokes in public has to face this judicial system. I am so ashamed that I am ruled by a government that thinks that law is not applicable to them as they have a group of people who can walk into places and destroy any thing. I personally don’t want to comment on the launch of multinationals in retail sector but what was bothering me was instead of opposing it in a democratic way they were sending in people and manhandling the shopkeepers and they were talking about this in public with great pride. The same thing happened in the past, people who had other crops in their own land were ideology policed by a group of so called party workers. What on earth gives them a feeling that they can directly make people do whatever they want them to do? If the government is not respecting the judicial system how can they expect others to do the same? The same thing happened in munnar. They think that they are above the law. I personally believe that the communist party has done lot of good to the state once upon a time. The evolution of the party was a necessity, but now the party doesn’t have a purpose of existence. The party policies were made before a bulb was found and they still talk about the same and throw out people who talk about changes. A bunch of stupid people sit together and discuss something stupid and impose it on people the way they want it.

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