Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yehi Hai Right Choice

Update: This post has resulted in a heavy dose of heated debate. As it rages on, thought we might do well with something to chill a bit :) Here is the malayali version of the popular "hot-stepper" I received via email: Very funny, and kind of throws at us something else we need to tackle right at the school level - communication (voice and accent training especially), behavior and other soft-skills.

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Every now and then I get this urge, as well as requests from readers, to change the title of this blog to just Save Kerala and not Dog's Own Country. But it doesn't take long before there is an act by our beloved "mallu" brethren which puts most dog's to shame. Acts which make you feel like hiding your face under a pillow and want to make you forget that you are a Keralite too.

The latest came in the form of student political outfits rampaging through Coca Cola and Pepsi warehouses, and damaging the properties and stocks. This was their response to the High Court order quashing the Kerala Government's order banning "manufacture and sale" of Coke and Pepsi company products in the state. Kerala was the first and the only state to comprehensively ban the colas in the state, and even the West Bengal government, another Left ruled state, managed to think a bit more sensibly. The Kerala government has decided to engage in further legal wrangles by challenging the High Court order, which is fair enough. I would have agreed had the government decided to ban it from educational institutions only until the court decided.

But how can we let vandalism and goondaism rule the state? Who is answerable to the losses of the distributors, owners and the companies? Who is answerable to the further damage in Kerala's image as an investment unfriendly state? These goons from the supposedly political parties had a free-for-all with camera-men and TV channels airing the footages as if it was something glorious. And strangely, there were no cops in sight. Two days after the incident, no arrests have been made. Ofcourse, we know who is ruling the state. Or have these party outfits taken over as the Kerala Police?

If Coke and Pepsi products contain pesticide residues, it is obviously from the ground water. Dont the government and its policing activists have anything to do or say about that? After all isn't that what the common man drinks? Shouldnt the government be more concerned about providing potable and safe water to the entire state? In any case, Coke and Pepsi have conducted independent studies that show their residues are much lower than the required (even European) standards after their purification processes. And the BIS standards the CSE (again not a Government body) has used, is not applicable to bottled drinks. IF at all we decide to have it as a standard, are we going to have the same standard for our Corporation water, which the majority of the people drink? Are these goons going to stop drinking water then or break the Corporation water tanks?

If these "people's party" leaders are really concerned why are they not breaking down warehouses and shops that house liquor, arrack and toddy - which is what the people of Kerala prefer over Colas or even water, ofcourse. (Perhaps the government is just endorsing that preference by these outrageous acts.) The country-liquor and toddy made in Kerala has perhaps in the worst possible standards: and every now and then we have people dying and going blind. But they dont fight or campaign against alcohol: ofcourse for them it is part of a "local industry" and has to be supported. Why arent these "activists" breaking down Beedi factories and tearing up Cigarette packets, when the whole world knows tobacco is carcinogenic and harmful? There are larger political interests surely behind all these anti-Coke, anti-Pepsi campaigns. After all its easier to make the people of Kerala a willing bunch of donkeys.

And the leaders of the party outfits said they are making people's voice "heard". Isnt that the lamest reason you could ever hear in a state that gloats under the umbrella of 100% literacy? If the people have a voice why dont we let them decide? We can just choose to NOT DRINK it, or DRINK it. We dont need third rate scoundrels or their parties, or even the government, make such decisions for us. I have a right to think, consider facts and decide which is safe and what I want to drink. It is unacceptable that a party makes that choice for the people. The people should have the right of choice, and that is what would have made us seem more literate, democratic and cultured.

Imagine every now and then you are thirsty, and you ask : Dear politician, shall I drink Coke, Pepsi, Corporation water, Arrack, well-water or Smirnoff today?

So much for the "Peoples Voice".



quills said...

Mindcurry, you have echoed my sentiments exactly. And I am extremely happy that you wrote a post on the matter. Excellent!

Watching the morning news today, I was appalled to see a bunch of goons attacking warehouses in the name of justice for the common man. What kind of justice or service are they doing here, when the common man does not get a right to make his own decisions? And it seems the biggest issue that concerns our Government, is getting cola banned from the state instead of creating more jobs, better infrastructure, supporting industries, promoting investment etc.

These colas wars are nothing new. I read an article that was written in 2003, where a prominent medical scientist says banning Pepsi and Coke from the state is a part of the anti-war campaign against US which he ardently supports. It is alright to make personal choices and refrain from using a particular product or service based on one's idealogies, but to force them down the throat of an entire state, and then when their tactics don't work, to resort to goondaism is not the way any cultured democratic society would behave.

Shameful it is, when the Government instead of condemning these criminal acts and arresting these thugs, instead remains mute on the topic and continue to justify their actions.

Will we Malayalis ever grow up and behave like responsible citizens and take on differences of opinion in a civilized manner, instead of resorting to behaviour even the prehistoric man would have been ashamed to even consider?

Mind Curry said...

@ quills - after posting i did wonder how many people thought about such incidents as deeply as you and i did..probably very few..and that is why such pitiful things happen in our state.

i agree, for the left government its more about anti-MNC war and other peripherals. i especially like the article you sent me from Financial Times about how LDF can create so much ruckus about Colas, but then never do anything for the common-man in reality - the same common-man who they supposedly stand for and get elected each time promising wonders.

thanks for the support.

Arun said...

Actually there are mistakes in both sides.
The governments's side and the cola's side.
Cola is being sold to "millions of people more" than those who drink liquor or smirnoff. So they should behave responsibly. I dont want to know whether milk contain pesticide or water contain that. Its not an excuse to sell cola too with pesticide.

Moreover the Govt. is also making people fools by not booking the cola companies on solid grounds .

Its such a shame that people are being taken for a ride by colas and govt..

The Lost Wanderer said...

excellent post, mind curry.. the current political scene being what it is, i just hope this is not a sign of worse to come....

Unknown said...

I read this and saw Achuthandan speak on TV...its an utter disorder happening in our state...I fear its going to the dogs...

hope and love said...

i feel that the govt is just trying to blackmail the companies..
it is very easy to destroy something.. to ban something..
alcohol and nicotine is sold but cola is banned..!!
there is always dirty vandalism and goondaism when the left comes into power..
i am not saying the companies r right.. but their motive is only money.. one can understand that . but what is the motive of the govt..? to make people drink pure drinks..? unlikely..

Praveen said...

nice post mindcurry...
the dyfi , sfi and all those leftist organisations have always been against the industrial development of kerala...and what they did yeterday is purely a load of shit....
but, i wud like to say in the same breath that the cola companies are not so innocent....colas shud be banned...but this is not the way to do it...attacking the hapless wholesale dealers is not at all a solutuion to the prob....

Mind Curry said...

@ arun - so you are also assuming there is high content of pesticides in the colas..that itself is a disputed fact..if at all there is pesticide residue it has to come from the ground water right?

in any case, what i am saying is the right to drink or not drink should be with the people..not DYFI or LDF or UDF.

@ the lost wanderer - welcome here..

yeah the current political scene is a sign..DYFI people beating up anyone who goes against them..remember a couple of weeks ago the bank manager who lost his eye coz he didnt pay them donation?

@ rockus - welcome here too..i am sure you had a good laugh watching tv :)

@ hope and love - absolutely agree with you. if one were to ban cola companies then i think its obligatory we dont show double standards and we ban everything thats potentially harmful to humans..

its pure hypocrisy and political a state where scores of people were affected by stuff like the banned endosulfan , the government is trying to gain mileage! pathetic!

Mind Curry said...

@ praveen - i agree..if the government can bring out a standard for colas or any bottled drinks, and THEN if the companies dont match those standards, they can be cannot be because some third party agency did a study and an entire government acts on that basis. and that too selectively on MNC companies.

what about cell phone studies that show they emit radiation that could cause cancer? artificial sweeteners that are also carcinogenic? pan, cigar, beedis and cigarettes? why arent we banning them too?

all said, these goons have no right to destroy someone elses property..this sort of violence and lawlessness should be clamped down with maximum force. else our state will surely go to the dogs sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

What's the use of writings all these things in an English blog?. If somebody has expressed the concern to change the title and content of this blog, that will be from a wise person. Apart from showing off your language skills, your blog doesn’t serve any purpose. I am dam sure none of your readers are people who indulge in any of these activities. I have not seen any other blog where they call their own people dogs. The only thing this blog doing is create a bad impression of Kerala among outsiders. And mostly it will be a group of armchair revolutionaries who use these content to pound Malayalees.

Please change the title of your blog. This is a request. If you are really keen to bring up these issues, start writing a blog in Malayalam. In fact, that too is not going to serve any purpose because, as I said earlier, none of them are going to read these stuffs. Moreover the things you are discussing, to certain extent, is very superfluous. .

Please stop bullshitting Kerela. As they say, the change should come from inside. Stop being a dhobi who wash Malayalees’s dirty linen publicly.

Mind Curry said...

@ anonymous - the fact that you have read what i had to say is good enough. thank you :)

i am sure someone can translate all this for people who do not understand.

The only thing this blog doing is create a bad impression of Kerala among outsiders.
thats the most stupid thing about Keralites..they just want to pretend they are the best, no matter what happens within or inside their houses. false prestige or something.

i dont see any point in hiding anything. you can choose to visit this blog or not visit it. the choice is yours.

Anonymous said...

I read this news today and was appalled at the turn of events!! Does the new Kerala govt. know anything about governance in the new economic climate? Everything we consume today is laced with dangerous chemicals. We have the highest pesticide content in foodstuff, even before the Cola giants entered India. Why didn't the Left protest the Endosulphan related mutilation has left generations of unborn affected!!!! Why is human life so cheap, unless some mileage can be gathered from it? I am so troubled by all this.

Anyways I think you and Quills are doing a great job here!!! Keep it up.

Mind Curry said...

@ silverine - thanks so much dear. its always great to see a sensible comment.

exactly my point..if the government wants to have a great quality standard, thats perfect. but it has to be uniform for all drinks..and as you rightly said the foodstuff.

Anonymous said...

Isnt that the core LDF ideology what they cant do by law they achieve by their youth goons. When the self financed college managements got a stay against the hastily passed govt law they let out their little goons who went on a rampage destroying the college properties. Now they let them loose against the cola companies.
As of cracking down the liqour sales what else could feed the beast that our govt has become only the tax earned from the monopolisitc liquor sales. And about the illeagal ones that the one that powers the party and also keeps the little goons tipsy on their feet.

Anonymous said...

Mind curry, don’t you feel ashamed to white wash Pepsi and Coke. Those who live in India and watch the media (press and visual) can easily understand the decision to ban Coke and Pepsi. People from many streams from Hindutwa to Green activist, (not just leftist and ultra leftist) wanted to ban Pepsi and Coke. It is banned by Indian parliament inside its campus. Our great UPA leaders (Manmohan Gi , Sonia Gi and others) are just concerned about their health. It was a good decision by Kerala govt – they atleast thoght if it is to be banned inside our area, it should be banned through out the state.

High court just said that only Union Govt has the privilege to ban them. It is ridiculous to make argument in favor of Pepsi and Coke based on this verdict, when Indian parliament itself banned these colas because of same reason posed by Kerala govt. It is a just a foot ball match. Sate govt. , UPA govt. and The judiciary enjoys the match though its is “already fixed”.

Those who sell the bottled water and beverages should purify the water they use. They should either use non contaminated water or improve their process to purify the water they use. Your argument about contamination of ground water in favor of Pepsi makes one laugh!!! There are companies which make drinking water out of sea water and sell in bottled form in Saudi Arabia, does that means they can sell salty water in their bottles???

More over the complain about Plachinada plant was that, it is contaminating ground water with harmful chemicals. Many activists in Kerala was asking govt. to do more than just ban – to obtain the compensation for those who live in Plachimada.

The violent strikes DYFI and AIYF are to help Pepsi and Coke. They are just stalling the possibility of wide spread, collective and effective movement against the court order, which can even grow to a public boycott of these products. They will soon stop this struggle, when they get some thing else. They are just stealing our opportunity and right to strike against this hypocrisy of our system – legislature and judiciary.

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

Coke seems to be banned and boycot for different reason too .
Seems like they are criminals.
Let us not drink blood of brothers.!!!

Mind Curry said...

@ kuttan - yes kuttan. kerala will be held to ransom by these people if such acts continue unhindered. its very evident from the footages how cops were silent spectators. sad..

@ open eyes - no i dont feel ashamed or anything. it will be good to always read and understand whats written first before shooting comments.

parliament banned colas after a vote : thats democratic, thats a choice, thats acceptable (though the reason for banning it again is more political than any concern for safety)

i will not respond to your comment on the judiciary being "fixed", because i have no knowledge of it. you may like to share more details, unless its just an assumption.

i didnt say contaminated ground water absolves Pepsi or Coke. it was just a counter-question to the government who is hellbent on banning colas washing off their hands: once again, i said, if at all there is pesticide residue in these colas, it would have come from the ground water: and shouldnt the government be as concerned about cleaning up the drinking water for the public, as much as they are enthusiastic about banning colas?

plachimada complaint was that coke is using up all the water and there is no water left for the residents. "overexploitation of the groundwater reserves in the plant area" is the original petition. pollution was only secondary and came up when the campaign against coke became more political.

for your understanding, the idea of the post was to say that "the violent strikes" by those goons should not be tolerated in any way. those "violent strikes" are becoming very common under the present government and the police are becoming mere spectators.

whether the people want to drink coke or pepsi should be THEIR OWN choice. just because alcohol is available not everybody drinks it, does it? or just because milk is available in the market and its good for health, not everyone drinks it. the choice is yours. that is my only point. what you described as "public boycott" is fine, but not the kind of uncouth behavior shown by the so called activists.

ofcourse i support Coke and Pepsi, or anyone for that matter, to the extend that we should have a level playing field. just because they are MNCs we cannot target them. if there is a standard for purity and quality being applied for Pepsi and Coke, it should be applied to all drinks in the market, including all water consumed. once that is done, its ok to ban those who do not qualify. but then surely it wont be just Coke and Pepsi.

Mind Curry said...

@ true-lies - please post comments in the form of coherent thoughts..try to avoid multiple posts with random information.

thanks for the links. i will read it. and then decide for myself if i want to drink coke or not :) i am sure most of the sensible people will also do the same.

Anonymous said...

Hi quills,
You can not call poepls as un civilised when they protests.

Protests are everywhere.

look at

Mind Curry said...

@ true-lies - i saw the link you have pasted shows the french rioting fearing loss of job. here we have goons rioting because they are jobless.

any case, just because someone else rioted does it justify unwanted violence here? just because murder happens in new york, are we gonna pardon murderers in kerala?

talking about uncivilized..our CM Achuthanandan was on tv responding to the DYFI violence; he said: "its a natural response" from comrades.

quills said...

True Lies, thanks for the link.

As MC has already pointed out, I don't think anything justifies violent acts against others. If you look back in history, the reason why Mahatma Gandhiji won the battle for freedom, is because he protested but in a very civilized manner, winning for us our independence. Violence begets violence and is a vicious circle that should be prevented right from the start. In any civilized society, I am sure you agree, a problem is not resolved by beating up someone or by destroying public property or someone else's hard earned efforts. They can have protests but through peaceful demonstrations instead of the deliberate criminal acts the AIYF and DYFI goons engaged in. For sure, make your voices heard, but not at the cost of injury to others. And to make matters worse, when our CM goes around supporting such violence as a "natural reaction" and " display of public's emotion," I hardly think we can call that a civilized response and that he is speaking for the entire public for that matter.

abhishek said...

Mindcurry has touched a raw nerve in his post, and kudos to him for bringing up the topic and arguing it in such a methodical fashion. It's amazing to watch how quickly the State Government pounced on Coca-Cola as soon as some lab in Delhi, CSE, brought out a report against them. There was no independent verification of the fact. I personally, try to refrain from drinking Cola because it is a sugerated product. Natural drinks are always better than soft drinks. But I've already heard this a million times in school as well in our science classes, from our teachers and our parents. The problem arises when the government takes on the attitude of the "ma-baap" position. This is the same machinery that created "babudom" and the "license-raj". I don't trust the State Government of Kerala to tell me what to drink and what not to drink since they haven't even considered testing the product themselves. Of course, that would be wasting valuable taxpayer money. No, let's spend some on hiring lawyers to tie up the courts in this case forever.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi have always represented the "foreign influence" to these politicians and viewed distrustfully. While it is always good to exercise caution, outright xenophobia is uncalled for. If we go by buying swadeshi products all our life, then where do Christians and Muslims go? Aren't these imported product? For that matter, where does most of the Hindu pantheon of gods go? Aren't Indra and Varuna "Aryan" gods? No, this is just another political exercise to draw our minds away from the real issues at heart - unemployment, alcoholism etc - that plague Kerala.

To the comment on how people should not air their dirty laundry in public. I am sorry, but look at the roof of every house in Kerala - you would be hard pressed to find that one doesn't air its laundry. Oh, you're speaking figuratively? Well, politics by nature is public. Do you think that people can bring about change without acknowledging these problems? This is the same attitude that forced such social evils that exist in our society for so many centuries - casteism, sati, domestic violence etc. Speak up if you have a view. At the very least, think about the kid in the Monsoon Wedding movie. When she was abused by her paedophilic uncle, she chose to speak up and unlike her aunt who faced similar abuse, she was rescued from a childhood of shame because her parents identified the problem and ostracized the wayward relation. Let's banish our social evils by pulling off the veil we've casted on them.

Anonymous said...

The people of Kerala are now ruled by Stalinistic regime and no one is objecting to this. Everybody has to suffer because of these antisocial AIYF, DYFI, SFI and CPM. These people are actually civilized form of terrorists, taking law into their own hands. They are hippocritic lot too. Every Keralite has to break this shackle of Stalinism.
So much talk about bringing Dubai Internet city, but look at the pathetic condition of the road that links Technopark with NH47 - It is just a village road with lot of potholes and 1 feet deep on both sides of the 'tarred' surface. Kerala is really Dog's own Country - caused only because the common people is not concerned about the exploits of the present
Stalinistic regime.

Brijesh Nair said...

Good post. I was planning to write one such post. The issue here is not banning the coke/ Pepsi. But the real issues are two here- one the tendency of youth wing of CPI(M) when things doesn’t go in the way they think. They attacked the self financing colleges when verdict went against government. Now they are attacking Pepsi/cola for the same reason. This is the typical attitude of the Marxist people. They believe what they think is “ALWAYS” correct and try to impose on it by any means. I have seen that a lot in my college from SFI. If we start arguing with them they will start telling useless stuffs like Cuban revolution etc and go away from the subject. As long as this kind of attitude exists among Marxists party in Kerala, we will suffer.

Second we have a Chief Minister who cannot appreciate the changes happening around. Why didn’t the other states ban the Coke/Pepsi completely? Kerala did that just because Chief Minister and other Marxist leaders see Coke/Pepsi as representing “imperialist” America. Banning is just political gimmick. Chief Ministers of other states know how foreign investment is important for the development of their state and acted wisely. What more can we expect from a 4th standard drop out?

Anonymous said...

i really dunno how to congratulate u coz u just told what exactly was in mind, what u said is 100% absolutely right, unless or untill these commies r there in our state , dont even think of any huge investments!!!!!and generations of mallus have to beg job's elsewere.......


Anonymous said...

Is the title of this blog is called the "Dog's own blog?"
What about your election survey?
Your blog reflects the wasted attempt to demoralise the LDF goverment as I have observed always!
You don't know anything about Kerala and it's history!
You always project that the UDF is good for the state, but they are only good for their pockets!

Babin said...

Communist ideology can not survive without the help of rough enforcers like DYFI,AIYF...

with one hand, they preach "compassionate" ideology of communism to the innocents but at the same time, they intimidate people with an iron fist.

They(Marxists) have a very well run institutional setup to say the least, to justify their hypocrisies.

Mind Curry said...

@ quills - thats very well said quills. in kerala, this type of goonery has become some sort of shot to fame. they just revel in it. and cameramen cover them as if its some exclusive performance.

i guess all these political parties and their scums want is attention. and they dont care how it comes - whether they are causing damage, loss, injustice or anything at all. and to that extent, they succeed every time.

@ abhishek - thats very well written abhishek. not because you supported me, but for being so outright about what is what.

you are right..its not that anyone of us drink cola all the time. i think everyone knows about their carbohydrate content and health hazards. but what we are trying to tell them is about their double-standards and absolute lack of vision.

and to the last line on "dirty laundry"..clap clap..that was great. i notice this is a big problem with keralites. they are known for suffering in silence. and as long as the neighbour and society doesnt know their plight, they are the best. reminds me of the saying "he didnt commit suicide because he was worried what his neighbour will say"

@ anonymous - dont know about stalinism and all brother, but justice and injustice need to be seen clearly by the people.

@ brijesh - thats so true have brought out another "quality" of some keralites. they can never "Agree to disagree". if you dont see it their way, then all hell breaks loose.

@ anonymous - its not that we are pro-right or anything..we just bring out the issues that plague kerala.

@ anonymous - the earlier comment would seem a perfect ploy for you. but you can read my response to the earlier comment again.

@ babin - yeah..and they expect us to not to say anything against them..they will just brand us as anti-left and brush us away, but will never see our point.

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

I think these DYFI activists will be having Smirnoff mixed with sprite / coke after this tiresome ramapaging .. Heights of hypocracy

Anonymous said...

During the cold war, The United States and its allies could handle all their enemies by branding as Communists and Stalinists. They killed many democratically elected leaders – Allende in Chile, Mossade is Iran . They killed millions of people all over the world including 500,000 in Indonesia in one year. They promoted goons in almost all countries with the help of their MNCs like Coke. They created Osama Bin laden and armed him with generosity to fight against progressive government of Afganistan. They could justify all these by the name of “Communists” and “Stalinists”.

But now they could not wage war even in just two countries: Iraq and Afghanistan”. They are facing stiff opposition every where, their allies are pulling back from Iraq. Why because cold war is over. The “threat from communists” cannot be sold to people now. The new theory about the new enemy “savage civilization” which threatens the “great western civilization” is not yet effective.

Those living in western countries or in Middle East may be afraid of being identified with a cause which is alleged as “communist”, especially when they are aliens seeking a fortune. Enormous torture happened in these countries,especially in US, against the “communists”

I fact FBI is created for that in US. Read the following…

“Hoover's division became the F.B.I. In 1919 the bureau staged the first of what became known as the "Palmer Raids." Agents invaded the offices of suspected radical political organizations and labor unions. These raids rounded up thousands of legal aliens who had committed no crime, but were suspect only because of their political beliefs (many were Communists or socialists) or their immigrant backgrounds (many had Russian or German ancestry). Since they lacked U.S. citizenship, many were deported without indictment or even a trial.”

“Despite a lack of evidence that the suspected radicals were actually a threat, in January 1920 the F.B.I. staged its infamous "New Year’s Raids." This time, in addition to entering offices, the agents invaded thousands of people's homes, largely without search warrants. Approximately 6,000 individuals in 23 states were arrested and jailed. Most were never charged with any crime, and were denied legal counsel.”

“It's ironic, of course, that the nation's chief law enforcement agency was denying American citizens their Constitutional rights. Arrests were made on the basis of subscribing to Communist newspapers, reading Russian novels, eating in restaurants that served foreign cuisine, and simply because someone "looked like a radical," according to published sources.”

Look at:

Fortunately I am not living in those countries. I live in a place where I cannot be detained or jailed for political reasons. I oppose Coca-Cola. I support the ban on them.
May be some communists also says this, you may want me to be detained as a communist, if I were in US, for this. I don’t care. I support the ban.

Anonymous said...

Hi Abhishek Nair ,

You wrote : "Coca-Cola and Pepsi have always represented the "foreign influence" to these politicians and viewed distrustfully. While it is always good to exercise caution, outright xenophobia is uncalled for. If we go by buying swadeshi products all our life, then where do Christians and Muslims go? Aren't these imported product? "

Is n't stupid to make such a comment when discussing about social matters in Kerala.?

Mind Curry said...

@ ajith - its more like hippo-crazy! :)

@ i dont care - the name you chose this time says a lot as compared to open-eyes and true lies..

so its quite obvious that the fight is against US, MNC and the likes than against health-hazard, public concern and all.

that was pretty much my point too..thanks.

@ true-lies - what abhishek said is very outright and blunt, than stupid. and it kind of brings out the real war happening here : against MNCs than against pesticides. i guess it exposes the communist mentality - ideologies projected for the sake of politics than any acute concern for the people that elect them, which hardly ever does any good for the people in the just keeps poor people poor for the sake of politics.

Anonymous said...

Mind Curry,

I too opposed the violence by made by DYFI and AIYF. It is just to close the issue at its present point, by bogus protest and to let the issue die down and help Coke and Pepsi.

Ban on these products happened in Kerala in the back ground of widespread protests against Coca Cola plant in Plachimada for overdrawing water, for cheating the farmers by selling harmful chemicals as fertilizer (reported by BBC after chemical testing) for environment pollution. The protests made all over India after finding harmful pesticides in Colas was also significant, because this made almost all political parties, people from all walks of life demanding for banning Colas.

Unfortunately your blog did portray a different picture, hinting some justifications in favor of colas, hinting that the decision to ban is made hasty and for political reasons. You rightly denounced the violence committed against Coke and Pepsi, but remained mum about other modes of strikes against them.

Now you are telling that the ban made by parliament is good and ban made elsewhere is bad, banning in education institutions is ok but banning it entire state is bad.
Coke is banned several places through out the world for a series of reasons. But you seem to attack only the Kerala govt. Kerala govt. ban on selling these products can be attacked based on advantage of doubt, but ban on producing them cannot be termed as a hasty decision. No major political party or leader, (including Ummen Chandy) opposed the ban, no major cultural figure /organizations opposed the ban. No one who believes in democracy can oppose it, but cannot condemn it as hasty.

Here comes the disastrous DYFI and AIYF violence to the majority of people in Kerala who support the ban. They indirectly, (who knows may be deliberately) helped Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola. It is ridiculous from their part. But your political bias to an MNC against the wishes of the majority of people living in Kerala is striking. I just want to high light it.

Anonymous said...

In my previous post I wrote
" No one who believes in democracy can oppose it, but cannot condemn it as hasty."

I am sorry , I mean any one.

Open Eyes.

Mind Curry said...

@ open eyes - either you never understand what i write or you are trying to twist it for convenience:

i am still saying the same things:

1.the violence and activism against Coke/ colas in Kerala is more political than about public safety.

2. people have the right, sense and wisdom to choose what they drink and eat. if the government thinks people dont, then everything from cellphones to alcohol and tobacco should be banned.

3. having an industry standard for food and drinks is good. but then it should be applicable for EVERYONE: not for Coke and Pepsi only.

4. the ban by parliament is okay i said because the members themselves voted and decided not to drink it themselves: they didnt impose it on someone else.

5. banning from schools sounded more reasonable considering kids may not be "wise" enough to choose whats good or not (this is based on an assumption that colas DO have residues.)

phew! :)

and you confuse things further. you say DYFI and AIYF are helping Coke and Pepsi. But arent they also part of the LDF machinery who are just keen on banning the colas and all things american? or have they developed different tastes?

Mind Curry said...

and..i dont have political bias towards any MNC..i am neither political nor a MNC supporter :)

abhishek said...

@ true-lies

Your comment has accurately brought out the ridiculous stance that our leaders take on anything that may seem to be foreign in influence. Yes, it does seem stupid to mention Christianity, Islam or Hinduism as imported, doesn't it? We take these faiths to be sacrosanct and permanent, but we forget the fact that even these religions had a beginning and origin in other places. So why don't we rebel against them? Because we are in a society that has already assimilated, nurtured and most importantly, contributed something of the native element to these faiths. Did we need a government that told us which faith to embrace? I am merely saying that instead of resolving all the other outstanding issues with the Cola factory and their water usage issues (if there are any) through peaceful, scientific and democratic processes, our government has resorted to a proxy/street war on the MNCs.


MC's stand is not hypocritical. His point is that the Parliament banned Cola through a democratic process by a show of hands, and that too, on its own premises. However, the current government in Kerala did not even bother to exercise that democratic process. It was both hasty and undemocratic. Why do people not bother about the issue? Well, when you have goons supporting the government, who is not afraid to speak their mind? Notwithstanding these facts, it remains that the government has ignored the rule of law. Let me ask you this, who do you trust more to be guardian of law in this land? The High Court or the government? If your answer to this question is the latter, I believe that is the issue you have to resolve first. Because all hell breaks loose when you don't follow the rule of law. Just take a look at the warehouses and the livelihoods of the workers at the plants. No one seems to bring up their problems. But then, who cares if people go out of work, right? Who cares if some children go unfed?

It is one thing if those people have broken the rules by selling dangerous products according to the courts, but it's a sham when someone arbitrarily decides that something is unsafe. In most countries, there is an agency that monitors the safety standards of consumer products. Ours, long mired in bureaucratic tape, has remained silent on the issue.

The issue is whether Coke and Pepsi products are harmful to the environment and consumers. But this should be an issue decided in the judiciary, not in the executive.

An online petition lies at this address to the CEO of Coca Cola.

Note what sort of corrective measures these democratic, responsible citizens are asking for. They are asking for investigations and tests. Not goondaism, violence or outright bans.

Anonymous said...

mind curry,
you wrote "4. the ban by parliament is okay i said because the members themselves voted and decided not to drink it themselves: they didnt impose it on someone else."

It is wrong. Coke and Pepsi is banned in Parliament campus.

Govt. has around 2/3 memeber favouring it in the assembly. Your argument about not passing a legislature in the assembly does not sustains.

You guys keep mum about the vigorous campaign made by different sections of activists in Kerala - inlcuding anti communist new left movements like - Adivasi kshema samithi, green activists, feminist like sthree veedi.

You are unnecesary making it a MNC versus LDF issue. In fact LDF is small party in the struggle. The local body
headed by LDF in perumatty panchayath refused to cancel sanction given to plachimada plant months and years after the campaign started. It took a lot of pressure from different groups from left, right and others for them to revoke the license. Mostly same thing will happen now LDF will simply sit on the high court verdict and do nothing. It need a lot of pressure from the people to see the justice done against an MNC. LDF or UDF , who ever in the power can be brought over by big MNCs. LDF , being left has to do some gimmick.
I support the ban, not the LDF nor its tricks to walk away from the problem. So far no action taken by the govt.

I am not for LDF nor for UDF. But for those who opposes Coke and Pepsi in this case. (not MNC as a whole)

In fact you guys may be sitting far away from Kerala. Your are missing the mood of the public in Kerala. You guys still seems to see things as LDF versus UDF. Things are moving beyond that. In mny issues LDF is reluctantly following the people's demands and mood . Not the other way.

Emmanuel said...

hey, really nice post.....nicely written....
and read the comments too....i must say that a nice discussion is going on here......

i'm standing at a point of time where i have to hate everything that happens in my state. the simnple reason: nothing happens good there......

when somebody declared that ours is the state with high rate of consumerism, we took it as a credit.....actually it was a sign that we were becoming a zero in industrial production and we have become so. we don't have anything to boast of now. regarding the strikes and bandhs, we enjoyed and celebrated hartals which was old wine in new bottle.

i don't know what politics does to our state......the last LDF government(1996-2001) started the Plachimada cola factory. during UDF govt.'s tenure, left started strikes and now LDF govt has banned it. Their youth wings attack the cola godowns. The question is not whether it is pure or not....why did the same people helped something to flourish and later say that it causes harm? The way of raising "people's voice" makes everybody ashamed. when the problem of endosulphan happened, we didn't see raising of "people's voice"......why???

when we also hear that even the milk that is given to infants has pesticide level higher than that in colas, will they ban milk????

honestly and frankly, i like communism. also i feel that if implemented perfectly it is one of the best in the world. but not the way it is being used here. it is not so easy to implement it, as we can see that the result is haywire in many parts of the world except some countries with storng leaders. so it is not the question of principles. it is regarding what the politicians want. they want hartals, strikes, some vandalism and goondaism...they want to make people under their feet after they get elected to higher positions........

kerala is having 100% literacy, naturally gifted conditions etc......but when it becomes a place where industries "fear" to come inside......there must b some problem......

this link says that coca cola is the biggest brand in the world.....if we treat such a brand with such hostility what is the point in lamenting that we r becoming a big zero...........

to conclude, in 1994, Techno Park was the first of its kind in Asia itself. But where are we now in IT???.....

clash said...

What is this entire ruckus about? Goons and lumpens and what not? Why not an armed struggle for what you believe is correct?
May be that is not what Gandhi taught us, But Gandhi dint teach us to wear Armani and Dolce n Gabbana too?
What economics are you talking about when you refer to colas?
How many keralites work in these companies; seems like they offer a coffin full of employment?
Why do we need colas?
To show that we have a good investment scenario?
It was a great decision by our kerala Govt, but people whom they send to validate it in the National News channels stuttered, why are they so scared to tell, it is more of the ideology that worked than the pesticides?
They are working in a democratic atmosphere and everyone in kerala knows about their ideology and that is why they are elected.
So why not ban colas on an ideological basis?
There is absolutely nothing wrong about it. They stuttered; and felines like the owner of this blog take advantage of the intellectual void that is circumventing kerala politics.
Sometimes when the judiciary validates draconian rules; like the way it happened in many Latin American nations; we are not left with anything other than armed struggles and it happened in many places, but unfortunately many of them failed under the might of money.

Do colas pay money for the water they dig out and sell? Is this what you call fair business? Why is the business not fair? Why are enormous subsidies given to farmers and many of the industries in the west, when the wriggle many of the international laws to abolish it India? Why are the champions of fair business not speaking here?
Our Finance Minster- the disinvestment king and his ally Montek struck a deal to make the worn out and debt ridden Enron project to be part of Maharashtra electricity board? Why couldn’t he sell it off to their pet under the table- Reliance? Why are the champions of good investments and fair business not speaking? Is cola an issue? Nothing; what if they are rampaged; who cares? Gurucharan Das? Is he the apostle of Investments in our country? What... What are you people speaking?

Mind Curry said...

@ abhishek - sometimes people deceive themselves by continuing to argue against things that even they believe is wrong..lets leave such people alone, and hope atleast the people with some sense left in them realises things as they are, sooner or later.

@ open-eyes - its not that we made it any MNC-Left war, it was always that and its quite evident from the comments here as well.

hope we will all open our eyes soon :)

@ emmanuel - good thoughts emmanuel. if you choose to call justice, prosperity and equality (and other things that make up governance) as communism or socialism or capitalism or anything else, it doesnt matter. but as long as those components are missing, its unacceptable. thank you for your good insights.

@ clash - we missed you and the fun.

here is an extract of the benefits of an MNC like Coke in India:

- Coke and Pepsi have invested nearly $2 billion in India over the years.

- Eemploy about 12,500 people directly and support more than 200,000 indirectly given their huge purchases of India-made sugar, packaging material, and shipping services.

- Coke is even India's No. 1 consumer of mango pulp for one of its local soft drink offerings.

you asked about money for water:it comes in the form of taxes. increase the taxes if the government thinks that is the problem.

But thats not the point of this post again dear friend..

Your so called ideology is good to fool people and keep them poor. It is in the interest of communism that there is always a rich-poor divide and resent against the so called rich. They never encourage hard-work or equality, which is what makes us rich or poor.

why do we need colas? good might want to ask why we need any peripherals in life..or for that matter why do we need alcohol and tobacco?

i agree its healthier to drink milk or juice, than cola. but that doesnt mean you force milk down anyones throat. colas, as companies, have a right of existence. its for the people to decide whether to drink it or not.

if the left are strong on ideologies they project, they should ban alcohol and tobacco in Kerala first, before banning colas. i will vote for them if they can do that.

Nothing; what if they are rampaged; who cares?
excellent..achuthanandan, the CM of Kerala, asked the same question. you might want to read this post again and again till you find out.

abhishek said...

Someone once told me that when people resort to jingoism without clarity, it means that they have long left the path of reason. That's why I loved clash's post because it represents the extreme set of points that I am countering. And what's best about his post is that he offers absolutely no data to back his claims and no coherent line of thought. When I read through his post, I could almost imagine him sitting in his easychair and muttering nothings into the air. Congratulations clash on presenting the most intellectually void argument for communism! I have seen much better arguments expressed by my left leaning friends. Having said that, I want to clarify that I believe in only one -ism and that's humanism.

"But Gandhi dint teach us to wear Armani and Dolce n Gabbana too?"

What could that possibly mean? Are you mocking yuppie culture? Armani and Dolce and Gabbana are just brands like Bombay Dyeing, Ramyond's, Parthas, Kalyani Silks or Karalkada. Heck, even the coconut chopper in my grandparents' town has a brand. He's very sought after because he's honest. That's why people are drawn to good brands - because they represent something more than just a name. Of course, such things would just pass over your head because you have completely missed the Marx boat. You stuck to the name, but missed the message.

Clash did make one fair point - the point on agricultural subsidies in the West. This is probably the most unfair aspect of a global trade deal. But, Clash, exactly that's why the last three WTO rounds have failed. You don't see the respective WTO members taking their protests out on to the streets in an "armed struggle". What would you be struggling against? The right to force our agricultural goods down their throats? No, the best you can do under those circumstances is to agree to disagree. And continue to talk.

Armed struggles and democracy don't fit well together. We don't need armed struggles. I am prepared to let the current government stay its term because as you quite rightly put it, the people elected it. But, I have no patience for the people who ransack gowdowns and public property in the name of the government. That is just plain violence. In fact, if I had to sum up the people I really view as dangerous to our country, they are the ones who resort to violence. We earned our independence without them and we can certainly build a better society without them.

Anonymous said...

Please have a survey of revolutionaries, who went for armed struggles in late sixties thru early eighties in Kerala. They ignores issues in the door step and went to far away villages – like Pulpelly in Vayanad - to find extreme exploitation which can justify violence.Where are they now???
(no struggles starts with a violence in mind, genuine struggles rarely turned out to be out right violence, violence may just happen in a struggle in unavoidable cases or rarely spontaneously. I like to add : Non-violence is not a slogan. But spontaneos charector of the masses. Their stregth , their force is their power. ).

If any one who starts the fight against modern govts (huge pool of armies, sophisticated communication and transportation system, highly advanced and automated weapons) with violence is giving the enemy a chance to annihilate the
Struggle with minimum effort to justify. Democratic system is the most ideal system to struggle (even Lenin said this).
Present struggles in Kerala highlights this. Our democracy is flexible enough to provide scope for meaningful and effective struggles. If some one is corrupting the struggles with wrong rhetoric they are from main stream Left parties. This blog started because such a foolish move by some in LDF youth wing.

Look around , clash. You see the struggle in Kerala, analyze it work along with it and strengthen it criticize it, contribute it. Throw away your dreams of violent revolution. The court order is just a set back. Struggle has to continue.
These kind of struggles won’t yield quick results, even violence cannot yiled results. Revolutions are made by the masses. Masses may become violent here and there, they never start with violence – but with other forms of struggle.

Anonymous said...

mind curry:-
It is you, who made this an issue between LDF (govt., DYFI, AIYF etc) and MNCs.

Left does not mean LDF.

In fact many people from the right has supported plachimada strike - eg:- Sugatha Kumari.

Today, in Hindu news paper a statement from Sri Vayalar Ravi, a minister at centre and no 3 in Congress in Kerala blamed the LDF govt (1996-2001) to allow MNC like coca cola to set up in Kerala.

It is in fact the whole Kerala (with an approximation - at least the majority of Keralites) versus Coca Cola.

quills said...

@open eyes: I think perhaps you need to read the post again to clearly understand what the post is trying to convey, instead of just freely throwing allegations.

abhishek said...

Considering the volume of responses, I think this topic deserves a poll. And I would suggest two questions:

How should the government rule on this subject?
1) Ban Coke and Pepsi
2) Follow High Court's ruling and wait for Union Govt.'s instructions.
3) Confirm pesticide levels through a government/independent lab

Is the violence (i.e. ransacking Pepsi and Coke factories) justified?
1) Yes
2) No

silverine said...

Me first! :)

How should the government rule on this subject?

3) Confirm pesticide levels through a government/independent lab

Is the violence (i.e. ransacking Pepsi and Coke factories) justified?

2) No

Babin said...

My take:

How should the government rule on this subject?

3) Confirm pesticide levels through a government/independent lab.

If pesticide levels are confirmed objectively, govt should not only ban the companies but also impose heavy fines.

As long as government set clear objectively verifiable standards, then it is free to go on a banning rampage against the companies that don't comply! There is no question about who is the Boss (ie. government or a company.) Government IS the daddy:)
But it has to be fair and shouldn't be discriminatory against MNCs.

Is the violence (i.e. ransacking Pepsi and Coke factories) justified?

2) Absolutely No

Brijesh Nair said...

Why cant we have a formal poll set up like what we did during elections?

Ganja Turtle said...

Am amazed that so many people (among the commenters)continue to be blind to ground long are we going to smash up bottles?? for how many products?? amazingly insipid solipsistic wordl view, what!

"let us not drink blood of brothers" - note the fantastic assumptions..coke is already the blood of our brothers, by drinkingt it we commit a crime! encore! encore!

you have handled all extreme comments in a very mature way, mc - keep up the good work -someday, kerala will see the light of the day! I know two former SFI leaders who were chairmen in their colleges -some of the best in Kerala...both work in multinational companies at senior positions...the way these protests are staged, arrangements are made with police and arrested goons are released has to be heard to be believed...

I think your blog embodies perfectly what Gandhi said "what you do may be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it"...or words to that effect...

keep writing!

Mind Curry said...

@ abhishek - its good to have you on always bring a lot of clarity and depth.

particularly liked your take on brands..thats so true..

and violence..i can sense a kind of unruliness and arrogance set in kerala..people disregarding law and thinking they can get away with anything..politicians influencing the local police..goondas beating up policemen..people living in fear..

we are not headed in the right direction.

@ open-eyes - i am tired of repeating the same things again and again brother. my post was meant to convey something very different from the things you are now stuck on.

as for sugatha kumari,i am not bothered about her being left or right, but shes got totally distorted views about most things in life.

vayalar ravi did not blame LDF for allowing factories in the sense that you are conveying..he just accused the LDF of allowing the factory themselves, and now warring against them; which is quite ridiculous.

@ quills - thank you dear for the support. i think the whole concept of this blog and its posts is mistaken - either due to lack of understanding, or deliberately.

@ abhishek - i guess the majority of bloggers agree that the government should bring out an independent assessment of the pesticide levels.. AND the assessment should apply to the water we drink as well in my opinion - even the corporation water.

once the government can have a standard for drinks, it should apply to ALL, not just pepsi or coke.

as for the violence, its only silly, immature people who will justify it. and its shameful our current CM is one of them.

@ silverine - hey..good to hear from you..i know you have been reading all this and smiling to yourself :)

@ babin - big daddy should see all the companies with the same eyes. thats all. and when the government, who is the custodian of the law and the one who should be curbing violence in any form, themselves say "its natural" and pardon thugs, its a sad state of affairs.

i keep bringing this up, but the way a banker and his son were beaten up by DYFI people for not giving them money (the banker lost his eye) is something we all have to remember. its that kind of threat that will prevail in every household if we keep silent.

@ brijesh - i think it may be a bit late to configure a poll now that we have had most people respond already. but i can do that if most people still think it may be worthwhile.

@ ganja turtle - welcome here..and i am yet to do your tag i remember :(

i should say its the support from the commenters and a few good people that has kept this blog going. and a comment like yours will go a long way in seeing such an initiative through. i thank you on behalf of everyone here.

"what you do may be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it"
thats a great inspiration..

Anonymous said...

Just to support that
it is not LDF , or left versus MNC.

and it is not LDF versus Coke-Peps

Multinationals in retail sector will affect common man: Vayalar Ravi
Haste in banning colas resulted in reversal'
He said the UDF and the Congress were also for banning Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

I am busy now. I will get back.

quills said...

LOL..MC, I agree. The debate was getting too hot to handle and "hot-stepper" certainly stepped in at the right time. :)

silverine said...

lol...I got this some time back as a forward too and lost the file, so it was nice to hear it again. It seems to have cooled things down a bit.


Mind Curry said...

@ open-eyes - thanks bro..i rest my case.

@ quills - yes, hot-stepper has put a stop to all the heat :)

@ silverine - hope your pal AA also finds some solace with the song :)

chicken-gonya wonly..

@ vamanan - we already have the link provided in the links section below the comments.

starscream said...

That was a good post. Kerala is becoming increasingly susceptible to goonda politics while the police do a disappearing act.
Considering that AIYF and DIYF are registered entities, we should have a method in place in which the elected leaders are held accountable for all destruction and loss caused by the party. Considering that magazine editors are arrested for anything objectionable that appears in their publication this should be a very reasonable course of action.

But considering that laws are made by the very same people who encourage the vandalism, there is absolutely no chance of this happening !!! :((

Alex said...

You have brought out a very valid point. Though Kerala claims to be the most educated state, i really wonder where our education is.
Acting like hooligans and destroying things.

If cola is to be banned, then so does cigarettes, liquor, vegetable with pesticides, meaning all the stuff in the markets.....

Why cant people be left to make rational choices? Moreover, we are a liberal country. What is taking place in the name of freedom is plain and palpable illiberalism.

Anonymous said...

i totally agree to what mind curry has written.the commies r out of control. all da good projects initaiated by the old govt has been ditched. they will take keral bak 20 years.

plz check da link below and reply.its in orkut posted by me

congrats n well done

Anonymous said...

@Mind Curry

First census taken for metorpolitan cities like Calcutta,Delhi,Mumbai have shown 100% ground water polluted.In Chennai it is 92% and in Kerala it is less than 40% . Also European and US standards of Coke are using exactly the same level of pesticides as instructed by international standards.In India the level is above International standard. Even US embassy in New Delhi drink Coke from US made not Indian made. Are Indians fools?????? Leftist activists damage the warehouses to protect people's interests and healths. Even world study shows the damage Coal products will be causing in people's life in later stages. What Leftists doing is not gundaism even after state banned ,before copurt order came many warehouses were trying to sell , what they think of givernmnet , such anti social elements shuld be given such replies.Left activist have always tried to echo people's voice and unlike rightists they are not interestd for vote banks.
Pinne you mentioned about baning liquorand cigaratte. 2 thettukal undnekil 2 cheyanm allenkil onnum cheyanda ennulla manobhavam alla vendathu.oru thettu kurakanenkil athreyum valuthu . Liqour is not causing that damage to people but still Liquor is causing huge consumerism for Kerala people and large amount of money wasted in liquor.I am of the opinion that another revolution has to undergo to ban liqour or atleast control the level of prodution or usage by large level.............

Anonymous said...

" they will take keral bak 20 years." ----> u know how was Kerala 20 years back???????????? atleast think of the sense of what u r writing before jumping into conclusions.what u know of Leftists????????????

Anonymous said...

Hello dear friend, if you think Kerala is lagging 20 years back, just travel to villages in other Indian States. Our state is a model for others in many aspects so dont think Coco cola and Westernisation is developent. Kerala model development is hailed by Sociologist around the World. Again remember because of the leftist land reformation led by EMS our working class is well off and freed from slavery. Thats why 'theetam chavittathe nadakkan pattunathu'

Anonymous said...

Mindcurry, at least someone is taking the initiative to save Kerala. You are absolutely right about Kerala going to the Dogs. Well, I call Kerala, "Devil's Own Country" coz things are not the same anymore like they used to be when I first set foot in Kerala in 1984 from Malaysia. People were more cordial and lived in religious harmony but now people have become selfish, greedy and self centred. Things have changed for the worst. And we are being governed by a bunch of corrupt creeps who are more interested in filling their pockets. They don't care how many Mallus die or suffer coz of their negligence in maintaining the health departments, roads, etc etc. They deny any kind of Mafia network in Kerala but we all know they do exist plus terrorism is not far behind. And the goons are having a field day in Kerala coz they are being patronised by our very own Leaders. It has been acknowledged by an official in the Center. And whenever a new investment is planned by a company, foreign or Indian, it is quickly shelved coz of the notorious trade unions. And we lose out to the other states. I have been staying here and seen alot, red flags springing up the very next day a new business is opened. And the next moment it is shut down for good, all thanks to the trade unions. So, what are they waiting for. Do they want another Kashmir in the making???????Or a banana state or lawless state like Bihar???????

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