Monday, February 27, 2006

Poll Update

We have barely 30 days left for the Blog-o-poll to end, and its time to take a look at what is happening.

Ommen Chandy is leading by a whopping 59% of the votes over his nearest rival Achumama who has 10% of the votes. Sadly, we are not even sure if Achuthanandan will be the CM if at all LDF comes to power.

Party-wise, UDF is leading with 59% of the votes, single-handedly under the leadership of OC, as compared to 17% of LDF and 4% of BJP.

Heartening fact is that so far nobody has voted for any DICK heads.

Disturbing fact though, is that 7% people said they Wont Vote, and another 4% did not have a voter ID. Thats 11% together, which kind of reflects the mindset of the people during an actual poll. Unless we reduce this as much as possible, things in Kerala will be remain the same.

So if you have not voted yet, do so, right now.

P.S - in case anyone was wondering, 2 people were disqualified and their IP's banned for trying to vote twice. The banned persons demanded the resignation of the CM and observed a hartal in Kerala in protest of the brutal action of the police and injustice shown to them. They called the action a curb on their democratic freedom.

Also, there were minor incidents of skirmishes and verbal abuse at the poll station. Police is maintaining a strict vigil to ensure a peaceful poll process.
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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Muthalalies go back

Is frequent usage of words like "Muthalaali", "Thozhilali" does any good to our state's interest? Aren't these words representations of attitudinal problems that is holding back our state's economy?

I feel pity on those "kutti muthalalies", who want to hear themselves being called this majestic title by their payed servents; and those employers who treat their employees without respect. No wonder! if those people were "Garaavo ed" by the local union dudes in town. I am not trying to justify the political union activities in kerala (I strongly oppose it), but it is important that keralites are aware of certain cultural problems that caused and still causing such resentment against employers, and should try to correct them.

Generally speaking, keralites are big-time Ego Maniacs (Within Kerala of cource) and therefore extra sensitive about every nitty-picky things that happen around them. Unfortunately, Ego clashes are extremely bad for business. No matter who is the real villain behind spoiling the labor-management relationship, it is up to the management to take up the burden of responsibility to concede and to introduce professional courtesy in the workplace. Professional courtesy can by achieved by narrowing the perceived gap between the management and the employee, treating employees like customers, using politically correct language etc.
In kerala, I don't think managements, at least the traditional once, are not proactive enough on being sensitive to their employees. Instead, they run away from their own responsibility by blaming the militant unionism ( which of cource deservs a part of the blame) for their failures. In Kerala, only those businesses which can build strong constructive relationship with its employees can cherish. It is in everybody's interest if the management recognizes this fact and work harder for achieving harmony in workplace... Words like 'Muthalalie', 'thozhilali' are counterproductive in this sense! These words carry so much luggage of antagonisms of the past..
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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Kerala Empowerment through Entrepreneurship

I was thinking about a positive story to write as my first blog entry here. Fortunately, I thought of a couple, that gave me very bullish hope about the future of our state. Gok is implementing (successfully I should add) two very innovative initiatives to tackle the root causes behind our state’s stagnation. The best thing is that these programs are creating and nourishing thousands of entrepreneurs across the breadth and width of the state.

First of these programs that I want to highlight is the famous Kudumbashree program that has turned into a real up-lifter for the rural women in the state. Through this program, Gok is trying to combine one of its greatest strength, in implementing grassroots social programs with the ultimate recipe for development for any place- entrepreneurship.

I know in my village back home, lots of BPL women have changed the way they earned income and managed their finances, with the help of Kudumbashree. Now, more than 1.6 lakhs of Neighborhood Help Groups (NHG) have been operating in the state, involved in various enterprising activities. According to Kudumbashree financials, about RS: 1360 Cr worth of loans are outstanding to these units and about RS: 591 Cr of thrifts are being managed by them. They are involved in anything from contract farming, garbage disposal, food processing, live stock care to direct marketing, computer repairs etc. So far, most of the operations of NHGs are relatively small in scale in terms of individual capital expenditure but just the huge number of economic activities Kudumbashree is involved in will make it highly effective.

Foundation of any modern economy is built up on its so called ‘mom and pop’ enterprises, in Kerala Kudumbashree’s “mom and mom” micro-enterprises are taking up this role and silently revolutionizing kerala’s economy, along with empowering women socially, financially and politically. I am sure that as time goes on, these units will become more complex , entrepreneuring , innovative, independent and will contribute to the economy in even greater way.

The second initiative that I want to highlight here is the creation of Entrepreneurship Development Clubs across the colleges in the state. This is another brilliant program aimed at rejuvenating the culture of entrepreneurship in Kerala. I don’t know too much about the overall performance of EDC clubs in every college campus but from what I can tell, the faculty, the government and especially students are doing a great job for the success of this initiative. Our campuses badly need more productive clubs like this and our state need more programs promoting local entrepreneurship.

In the future, as a result of the programs like these, someone/group in Kerala are much more likely to take up the risk of starting their own business and thus will provide employment for otherwise unemployed. I am very optimistic that, one day, positive energy from local entrepreneurship will transform our state for better both socially and economically and that day is getting closer and closer!
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Friday, February 17, 2006

Just Ice

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Feb 15: The two persons who were found guilty of murdering a KSRTC conductor during the violence unleashed by the RSS activists in the city in July 2000 have been sentenced to life imprisonment and fined Rs 15,000 each. Twenty-three others, except the Hindu Aikya Vedi leader J. Sisupalan, were sentenced to up to four years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed fines for various charges, including conspiracy, unlawful assembly, destruction to public property and rioting. Thiruvananthapuram Fast Track Court judge Y. Tajudeen announced the judgment on Wednesday.

Kochi,Feb 16: The Kerala High Court today suspended the sentence of 23 accused, who were awarded imprisonment upto four years in the case relating to the murder of a KSRTC bus conductor during the violence allegedly unleashed by RSS activists in Thiruvananthapuram in July 2000.The fast track court, Thiruvananthapuram, had yesterday convicted and sentenced 25 accused in the case. While two of the accused were sentenced to life imprisonment, 23 others were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment upto 4 years.


It is interesting to see how things can change in less than 24 hours.

It took over 6 years to prosecute the guilty and for justice to prevail, and that too by the action of a "Fast Track" court. But to undo the work, the High Court for a change showed excellent merit and speed, speed quicker than any Fast Track court. Speed contrary to the usual rate at which "justice" is usually served on a platter, speeds which have given rise to Fast Track courts in the first place.

Whether the High Court has shown particular vested interest in this case to overturn the decision of a lower court is open to debate, and best not discussed here, and lack of evidence is too common a citing. But how do we depend on such a judicial system?

I absolutely and whole-heartedly believe in justice and I hope justice prevails everywhere and on everyone.

But can the judiciary keep over-turning and alternating its verdicts? Are the judges in the lower courts less qualified? Are they just there for the heck of it? Or are they proponents of injustice? Or do they take bribe? Or is it the other way round? So many questions keep popping up when you see judgements like this.

Would doctors be allowed to make decisions like this? What if a doc thought someone had brain tumor and removed a piece of his brain and tomorrow another doctor asked for it to be stitched back? What would we have? More judges? But seriously, would people tolerate it? If that would be negligence, why are judges not accountable for such merry-go-round decisions?

Anyway I did not write this post to question the judiciary, because I am not competent or knowledgeable enough. But definitely its something we all need to think about.

More painful is the state of the system of the state.

Take the verdict by the Fast Track Court - which was anyway suspended by the HC - in the backdrop of the actual incident:

The incident occurred on July 13, 2000 when the Sangh Parivar organisations turned violent during a protest march. The parivar (in the name of God, ofcourse) caused massive destruction to government and public property worth crores of rupees. (I remember the incident and scores of vehicles were destroyed, buildings rampaged and public beaten up.) Meanwhile, some of the agitators broke into the KSRTC bus depot at East Fort, Trivandrum and attacked the workers there. The deceased Mr.Rajesh, a bus conductor, who was caught unawares, was brutally beaten up using maintainence tools lying at the depot. The next day at hospital he passed away as a result of his grievious injuries.

How can we tolerate such incidents? Imagine a person, doing his duties and earning a living for his family, being beaten up by a bunch of criminals in the name of politics and religion. Put yourself in that situation. I shake my head in shame when I think that such incidents occur on a daily basis in the state of Kerala, and the rest of the Keralites like imbeciles tolerate such political and religious (of any community, and not just one) organisations.

If I was the judge I would have ordered these cold-blooded criminals to be punished with maximum penalty. Perhaps thats why I am not a judge, because my emotions overwhelm me when I hear of such heartlessness. But how else can we stop such brutality, various tones of the which seem to be instilled in the daily life of Keralites.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006

There are many shades between Black and White

Economic Review 2005 updates for the State of Kerala

87.86 per cent of women in the state were literate, 33 per cent above the Indian average. Female literacy rate was growing at 1.69 per cent (1991-2001) as against the male literacy growth rate of 0.58 per cent.

Out of 48.42 lakh students enrolled in schools in 2004-05, 49.07 per cent students were girls.

93 per cent deliveries in Kerala took place in hospitals or other healthcare destinations, reflecting the awareness of the population.

9,053 suicide cases were registered in the state during 2004, 27 per cent were those of women.

This reflects a suicide rate of 27 per lakh population, which is three times higher than the national average.

The number of crimes against women in the state since 1991 has increased exponentially with incidents of mistreatment by husbands and relatives increasing alarmingly, even among the educated and literate.

The largest number of 3,222 (41.95 per cent) crimes against women involved cruelty by husbands and relatives, followed by molestation with 2,260 (29.42 per cent) - together making up for 71% of the crimes against women!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Absolut! Kerala!

It’s said that Keralites spend more money on liquor than on rice: while the liquor industry is worth Rs 7,500 crore a year, rice consumption is worth only Rs 2,880 crore notwithstanding the annual hooch tragedies and innumerable people going blind.

Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in India and is among the drunken leaders of the world, at a mind-blowing consumption rate of 8.3 litres per person!

Successive Governments have failed in eradicating poverty, building infrastructure, ensuring drinking water to all, but it is certainly generous in providing alcohol to all, instead of increasing the tax on alcohol and tobacco. But why blame the Government alone?

The mindset of the Keralite is such that one drinks and gets sloshed but in the morning after they go on a protest against pub culture, "western culture" and what not - hypocrisy at its best - like a drunk father beating his wife and chiding his son against having a beer. I have even seen youngsters from Kerala visit pubs and bars of Bombay and Bangalore, getting sloshed, misbehaving and creating havoc there, only to return to Kerala and lament on how "westernised" and "spoilt" the youth of these cities are. "The limited avenues for enjoyment in the state could be one reason for the rising level of alcoholism in the state", said some very sensible psychologists. If you think a bit further, the avenues are limited in Kerala for almost everything, there are no choices we have and do we really care? We are so laidback and will settle for anything, like a perpetually sloshed drunkard on a fallen chair and broken bottle.

I personally dont have any issues against people drinking and enjoying the evening, and I do not mind drinking occasionally too. But when it becomes an obsession, your whole life goes down. From the Kerala perspective, Alcoholism has been proven to responsible for the increasing domestic violence and even suicides in the state. There is a strong association between alcohol consumption and physical assault. Also, approximately 60 percent of fatal traffic crashes involve alcohol. Alcohol is also supposed to cause loss of productivity due to alcohol-related illnesses, premature deaths, and crime. These are facts and figures beyond the proven deleterious health effects of alcohol.

Every evening that I drive around the state of Kerala, I see long queues at arrack shops, liquor outlets and packed bars. It is like a daily ritual for men in Kerala. I have seen women cry in despair when they talk about their alcoholic-unemployed-husbands beating them up for money.

I am not entirely sure that creating ruckus to ban alcohol like anti-liquor lobbies (most of which have some ulterior political agenda!) do is the perfect solution. What about people who want to drink responsibly after their hard day at work? Or the weekend get-togethers and parties? Banning alcohol will be a definite injustice against such people and I dont think it is correct.

There-in lies the now much publicised difference between literacy and education. Hopefully some day soon, there will be less unemployed youth in Kerala, more job opportunities than just being the temporary recruit at the local zindabad camp, more entertainment than just gossipping and eve-teasing, so on and so forth. You get the pic? Cheers!
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

United Colors Of India

Facts Of India.


One Bengali = poet.
Two Bengalis = a film society.
Three Bengalis = political party.
Four Bengalis = two political parties.


One Bihari = Laloo Prasad Yadav.
Two Biharis = booth-capturing squad.
Three Biharis = caste killing.
Four Biharis = entire literate population of Patna.

One Punjabi =100 kg hulk named Pinky.
Two Punjabis = Pinky with his bigger brother Twinky.
Three Punjabis = assault on the McAloo Tikkis at the local McDonalds.
Four Punjabis = combined IQ equal to one.

UP Bhaiyya

One UP bhaiyya = a milkman.
Two UP bhaiyyas = halwai shop.
Three UP bhaiyyas = a fist-fight in the UP assembly.
Four UP bhaiyyas = mosque-destruction squad.


One Gujju = a share-broker in a Bombay train.
Two Gujjus = rummy game in a Bombay train.
Three Gujjus = Bombay's noisiest restaurant.
Four Gujjus = stock market scam.


One Andhraite = chilli farmer.
Two Andhraites = software company in New Jersey.
Three Andhraites = Naxalite outfit.
Four Andhraites = song-and-dance number in a Telugu movie.


One Kashmiri = carpet salesman.
Two Kashmiris = carpet factory.
Three Kashmiris = terrorist outfit.
Four Kashmiris = shoot-at-sight order.


One Tamil-Brahmin = priest at the Vardarajaperumal temple.
Two Tamil-Brahmins = maths tuition class.
Three Tamil-Brahmins = queue outside the U.S consulate at 4 a.m.
Four Tamil-Brahmins = Thyagaraja music festival in Santa Clara


One Bombayite = footpath vada-pav stall.
Two Bombayites = film studio.
Three Bombayites = slum
Four Bombayites = the number of people standing on your foot in the train at rush hour.


One Sindhi = currency racket.
Two Sindhis = papad factory.
Three Sindhis = duplicate goods shop in Ulhasnagar.
Four Sindhis = Hong Kong Retail Traders Association.


One Marwari = the neighbourhood foodstuffs adulterator.
Two Marwaris = 50% of Calcutta.
Three Marwaris = finish off all Gujaratis & Sindhis.
Four Marwaris = threaten the Jews as a community.


One Mallu = coconut stall.
Two Mallus = a boat race.
Three Mallus = Gulf job racket.
Four Mallus = oil slick.

This was first sent to me last year by my cousin, though am not sure who the original whacky author is!. Anyway, it has become an immensely popular forward in the e-world and thought it had a place here.
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Enter Sandman

Something’s wrong, shut the light
Heavy thoughts tonight
And they aren’t of snow white
Dreams of war, dreams of liars
Dreams of dragon’s fire
And of things that will bite
Sleep with one eye open
Gripping your pillow tight
Exit light
Enter night

That's the song most Keralites should be singing considering the trend I could assuage from my short time spent among the Gods and Dogs in Kerala.

Despite amazing changes brought in by the current government, most people in Kerala, and even the so called "educated middle class" seem to be acting like pea-brained retards when it comes to facts. And Keralology, a term discovered by me to describe the unique subject that Kerala is, seems to be a science more complex and intriguing than we ever imagined.

There is a large group of people in Kerala who seem to be predicting and hoping for a victory of the Leftist parties in the coming elections. If it were based on sensible thoughts and facts, I would not be so worried. But their views and decisions are based on ignorance and hair-brained politics.

Always creating roadblocks for industries and labor focused sectors, the leftist trade unions have ensured millions worth of investments have been scuttled from the state and nation for the sake of votes. But the current government smartly created new Information Technology policies that ensured that the growth of the state in the coming years will be driven by knowledge and service based industries.

Frankly I am getting bored writing about the pathetic and disappointing affairs of the state, and I keep hoping against hope all these efforts will do some good in the long run. I keep worrying if soon I will become another politically obsessed whacko with thick moustache, wearing a mundu and shouting slogans! I hope not! Because thats not me. I love my otherwise pleasant and busy life! I have no political allegiance. I love my hobbies. I love my friends. I love my India. But this blog is just based on my hope for Kerala, where I was born, because I really believe its now or never for the state.

And no, am not quitting this blog just yet :) If anybody is willing to join this blog as a member please let me know. You can participate with your articles, thoughts, views and at times silence, rather than have the let things be attitude. I am sure every word and every thought will be worthwhile.

I just hope everyone reading this can make better sense of the facts and it will in some way reflect in the coming elections!

The Facts

The Economic Review 2005 of the Kerala government states that the state economy had a phenomenal growth rate of 9.2 percent during the financial year 2004-05 as against the Indian economy which grew at 7.5%.

Per Capita Income of Kerala became Rs. 27,048 as compared to the Indian average of
Rs. 20,813

The industrial growth rate, which was negative in 2002-03, increased by 7.14 percent in 2003-04 and by 5.77 percent in 2004-05

Rs. 35, 429 crores of investment already approved in the next couple of years across all sectors

The tourism industry flourished with foreign tourist arrivals increasing by 17.28 percent

Kerala also has reason to cheer with suicides declining by 4.08 percent over the 2003 figure of 9,438

The last couple of years have seen an increased participation of scholars and scientists in policymaking bodies, a welcome trend that may pave the way for the integration of scientific knowledge in programmes and policies that affect the society

Kerala continues to lead in key health indicators like birth rate, infant mortality and life expectancy

The number of unemployed came down from 4 million in 2003-04 to 3.7 million in 2004-05, a great achievement considering the fact that it has only increased every year until now

Stats from the Economic Review 2005
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