Saturday, October 25, 2008

To be a critic or not

I have been watching this debate from the sidelines for a while now. I am not jumping into the fray at this point to pick sides. I am not here to defend MC. He is capable of doing that on his own. But I want to talk about what I understand to be the purpose and message of this blog.

First, because I want to preempt any criticism that I'm an NRI so I don't know what it means to be a Keralite, I'm going to state that part of my livelihood is in Kerala. You might ask, does that mean you live in Kerala? No, but I have lived here and visit Kerala very frequently. Just because I find opportunities to work overseas as well does not mean I am any less capable of talking about Kerala. That bit was for those on this board who think "Non-resident Keralite" stands for "Non-Keralite".Pick issues with what I have to say, not where I come from.

Second, as a Keralite, I am used to being the recipient of a great deal of admiration for Kerala's achievements. And I am proud when I hear it because it is an uplifting chapter in the story of India's general social stagnation. But no one on this board or anyone still alive is directly responsible for this success. Oh yes, we have teachers, a newspaper savvy public, ambitious parents etc, but these are all the products of an infrastructure that was laid down more than fifty years ago. So what, you might say, we are still the most literate state in India! Well, the thing is, once you become literate, you should cease holding yourself to the standards of less fortunate states. You should hold yourself to the standard of self-progress. Put very simply, have you expanded the opportunities in your immediate environment to grow? I believe the answer to that for the past few decades is a resounding no.

It is one thing to be proud of a reformist past and another to be a reformer. MC is not claiming to be a reformer. As he has made it plain, he is just a commentor. But he is not resting on his laurels either. I would take that perspective any day to any Keralite who is wilfully blind to our political stagnation. I don't think DOC has ever pretended to be a "get your Kerala news here" blog. If that's what readers want, they are better off going to a newspaper. What MC has done here is to carve out a little niche to bring up Kerala's problems and to take our leaders to task. And that is still a just cause. I can tell you from experience too, I hear a lot less praise about Kerala than I did in the past. Literacy and healthcare are growing in other states. And others are becoming better informed about Kerala's poor political culture. Pretty soon, it will be no miracle to be a literate, healthy, non-violent and civilized state in India. When that happens, I would be disappointed if it weren't Kerala because that would mean we squandered our head start.

Third, we have a long list of social and economic problems. Which state doesn't, you might ask. But that is the wrong question to ask. One should ask, why do we have them at all? Why is it that even when we are a largely educated population, we still cave in to the threat of a hartal and stay at home? Why is that many of our college campuses, not all, are still beset with political violence? But most importantly, are we asking the right questions? That is, should we even be concerned? To me, the single most glaring example that some things are wrong in Kerala was last year's Onam. While hired hands went around town curling their moustaches and enforcing a city-wide ban, state-sponsored stores made a killing at the expense of the consumer. I seriously wondered (to myself mostly, because the people around me have been rendered numb to all this from age), are these hartals conducted for the benefit of opposing "imperialism" and the thousand other causes we have been told, or for the people who exploit the cracks in the systems that is our public food supply? Do not tell me we have the most efficient public distribution system in the country. Tell me if we have an efficient public distribution system to begin with.

Fourth, this blog's title. I had my personal debate with MC a while back over the blog's title. I would still like to see it changed, but it is merely a superficial concern. So superficial that I have left it to him to decide. I still write here, because you cannot judge a book by its cover. Isn't that the main criticism hurled against so-called money-grubbing NRIs? That Kerala can't be judged by its cover...that you have to live there to experience it. I believe that applies to everything. Just because our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters toil away in other lands doesn't mean you somehow forget that once upon a time, there were no jobs in Kerala but government jobs. Just because we are the healthiest and most literate state in India doesn't mean we sit on our laurels and don't criticize our leaders when they fail to provide us with more than literacy and healthcare.

It is human to idle, human to criticize, but divine to reform. Do we have any angels on this board? I don't think so and I don't think any of us should stop being just critics till one of us shows the way.


MC said...

very timely and apt post. as you said, this blog is not about a few of us and definitely not about NRKs versus RKs or any such thing.

one excellent point raised is about the achievements so far. it has a lot to do with our previous generations. and instead of building on those advantages, we have just let it pass.

and more importantly, we have had zero contribution from the governments over the last few decades for making progress from where we were. its purely because of the people's resilience that they have managed to pull on or find their own unique ways of survival in the state or go abroad. and thats the saddest part.

but the political parties continue with their vested interested, least bothered about the future of the state. instead they are more focused on party agendas and their own betterment.

silverine said...

Well said!!! And nice to see you posting here after such a long time! :)

p.s Anyone wants a fully generalizable system for simulating the fate of reformers in Kerala? Look no further! :|


@MC: I think the past few days at this blog has shaken the over confidence of many. At least amongst the people I sent the link to. Kudos! It was not my intention to rattle anyone. But people have to stop taking things for granted here and prepare for eventualities. And I am thankful that someone is thinking about the next generation of employable Malayalees!

silverine said...

p.p.s As the festive season comes breezing in, its time for...

Enjoyment and fun,
connecting and celebration,
love and affection,
success and inspiration,
laughter and [of course] vacation!

Wishing you and the entire Save Kerala team a truly joyous, prosperous and a wonderfully happy Deepawali! :)

Anonymous said...

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

But Kerala model criticism is a different thing itself. One classic example is the Express way project. After more than five years newspapers reporting that the express way project is essential for the state and the LDF government are seriously planning to revise the project.

When the Project was announced during the UDF rule, there was a huge criticism about it. In a state where literacy was high such thing happens. But crtisie a project for the last 4 to 5 years and coming with a solution that it is needed is taking a huge toll in the development of Kerala.

It’s very sad to say that some leading dailies were sphere heading the campaign. One of the major criticisms was it will divide the state. The same argument was raised when the first railway line came in Kerala. Another argument was to develop existing national highways. You can’t simply widen the existing national highway because it’s thickly populated on each side. Arguments continued and we lost precious 5 years for a project that was supposed to be a basic necessity for the future development on any front.

Constructive criticism is good and much needed in a society existing in Kerala. But criticize everything for the sake of criticism is what happening in Kerala and in most of the cases we are loosing time and lagging behind.

abhishek said...


Thanks MC.


It feels good to be back; I hope to be writing more, although I've sort of run out of stuff to write on Kerala, so will have to be something else. Thanks for the support.

Happy Diwali to you and to all the contributors and readers!


You couldn't be more right. In fact I believe you are talking about the other side of the same coin. Criticism can be a poison too, an excuse for lack of will. I hope you understand though that I was defending a very different sort of criticism. I think it is very clear that if we criticize the powers that be for their lethargy, we will be accused of lack of patriotism. But if we criticize the progress that could be, we will be feted as leaders and champions of the oppressed, although the latter are never in the picture.


If you are reading this, I want you to keep a couple of things in mind any time you hear someone criticizing a cultural/social evil in Kerala. The first step to an open mind, is putting aside the origin of the criticism. The second step is using your personal experiences to contextualize the criticism, i.e. has anything happened in your life that would agree or disagree with the criticism. And finally, the most difficult of all the steps of introspection, put yourself in the feet of the critic. It is difficult because no two people's lives are alike, but you get better at imagining someone else's position the more you talk with him/her, the more you listen and the less emotional baggage you carry of your own to the conversation.

Having said that, let me recite here an incident one of my close friends recounted to me.

Some fifteen years ago, well before sex education came to India's doorstep, but none too soon after Sanjiv Gandhi's sterilization left a bitter aftertaste of family planning, my friend found himself travelling through Kerala with his family. Found himself, because as a kid, you have very little say in where you get dragged along. But as with many things in life, the family's taxi failed to show up. So, they had no choice but to opt for a KSRTC bus to get to their destination. One of those superfasts that sends rain spraying into your face like hail. Unfortunately, the bus was overcrowded and my friend spent the whole time standing up. About a half hour into the trip, without going into too much detail, my friend felt an awkward sensation near his private parts. Owing to the crowded situation, he had very little space to maneuver. But shift he did, and the sensation went away. But about ten minutes later, it returned. He had the most awkward feeling then.

The reason he brought this up with me is that something in our conversation had triggered this long suppressed traumatic memory from his past. Now, the way I recited this incident, you would have very little idea of the embarassment and confusion he went through. But place yourself in his shoes. This might be easier for some women, unfortunately, and you might just begin to understand the shame of a victim of sexual abuse.

The conversation we had shortly before my friend admitted this revolved around the movie, Monsoon Wedding. If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it, if not for acting value, at least for its potential to shock. In this case, reality is worse than fiction.

This is what happens in a state under the pretext of an overcrowded population, public buses for the masses (hence underfunded capacity) and a ban on so-called sexual miseducation. When several teachers tried to introduce sex education in our supposedly literate state this year, our political leaders caved in to the demands of ignorant, complacent and conservative voices in the state. As a result, millions of our children walk around vulnerable to pedophiles. Now, if we don't criticize this, then how are we as parents, let alone these kids, going to protect them?

Believe me, MC has only begun to hit the top of the iceberg. And if it seems that Kerala receives more than its supposed share of criticism, then remember this too - Kerala also has more than its share of literate, and therefore expressive citizens. And action begins with expression.

MC said...

absolutely great points mentioned by pillai. when the criticism is genuine, we find that our clan react by abuse or violence. and its most typical of our politicians.

a classical example is of the recent agitations and campaigns by the LDF folks against the central ministry for forging closer ties with the US. in a few days, one of the main campaigners, our own industries minister, is leaving to the US to attract investors to the state. how laughable is that?

definitely we need investments and development. the politicians are making fools out of the people when they play these silly games. when we call ourselves literate, its at least necessary that we stand up to think for ourselves and reason out things. its that sense of empowerment and collective action that we need.

@ silverine - thank you. you have always been a source of strength :)

@ everyone - happy diwali. may our lives always be filled with bright colors and sprakles.

Anonymous said...

good break from the comment war in the last post. i guess some of the "critics" here have already realized the good intentions. happy diwali to all.

Annemarie said...

Happy Diwali to all DOC!!

Keep up the clutter breaking work!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the actual HIV+ figures in Kerala? Patients are afraid to reveal and the government is not interested in revealing.

A recent investigation in selected areas of Ernakulam District, by an NGO whose membership consists only of HIV+ men and women [current membership is 300 - no, they did not get it from sex work] revealed hat East Cochin starting from Thoppumpady has alarming figures. [I deliberately do not give out the percentages here]. Chengamanad and Nedumbassery Panchayaths saw manyfold increase after Airport crimainality came in [the numbers are just below the five figures now]. I pray that the NGO's figures are wrong.

Because the government is not admitting any reasonable figure, millions of dollars freely given to fight HIV go to other States now.

We must have more Tourism and Industrialisation to make Kerala a health paradise!

MC said...

@ anonymous with HIV comment - well i dont know what you were trying to imply. perhaps HIV is under-reported and also government may not be doing enough despite the much publicized campaigns they make. i am not sure of either.

but i dont think we can blame it on tourism and industrialization! to blame every issue on progress and modernization is a typical (and very stupid) logic that is prevalent in kerala - thats really narrow minded.

i am sure its a larger debate regarding how the virus spreads in kerala and its definitely attributable to several factors.

maximum HIV cases are in South Africa and the virus did not spread there because they are very industrialized or have a great tourism industry.

i remember how keralites used to blame and associate the disease with the westerners in the 90s, as if to say we are so pure that we will not get it. its such hypocrisy that we need to weed out first.

again, its important to be more forthcoming about the issues that we face and there is absolutely no sense in covering our flaws thinking they will just disappear one day.

The one who has loved and lost said...

@Abhishek - nice post.

" I don't think so and I don't think any of us should stop being just critics till one of us shows the way."

My only question is, do you really mean that ?(about 'till one of us shows the way' part)

Some commenters here tried their level best to take the discussion forward. But whenever questions like 'what can be done' came up, the discussion was closed and now we have a new post.

I don't have much disagreement to what you have said here although your article is biased towards MC's version of the story. I will not comment on the comments posted here - it will be a 'dog fight' again. I'll comment on the post "To be a critic or not".

It's great that the people of our state feel strongly about issues. It is very evident in the comments section of this blog :-)
My only question is this. Is this feeling of resentment and angst new? Hasn't this feeling persisted for quite some time now? We have had too many critics, anguished writers blaming the evils prevalent in our society. And yet nothing seems to change. Could it be because most of us shun our duties while crying hoarse for better rights and benefits?

As some blogger I regularly read said.. do your own bit - no; criticize - yes.

Criticism/constructive criticism is never bad. It becomes bad when the critic refuses to offer solutions/accept solutions. When there is such a huge crowd of passionate people involved, so many things can be done. I read in another post where MC tried to popularise a cause through newspaper. I felt so good reading that. Young men and women trying to make a statement. I wonder where his enthusiasm disappeared in the last few posts.(Please don't tell me to read the comments section to find out what happened)

For quite some time now, it has been angst driven statements and generalizations.
I have one suggestions. The team behind DOC being so educated and all, I request you to initiate a discussion at the end of every post. The comments section can follow from there and let's see if something positive comes out of that. And if something does, let's be open minded to try it out.

Happy Diwali all!

Sankar said...

@ layman - so the question is what are you and the rest of you who questioned the motives of this blog doing about the issues we discussed here? most of the comments were directed against bringing up issues since it would bring a bad name to kerala. by remaining silent or not even talking about it we are not saving ourselves from any disgrace. and irrespective of this blog, we have lots and lots of major issues in our state that needs to be sorted out. and i am not talking just about industries and agriculture, but even more basic stuff such as behaviour and attitude.

a lot of us who support this blog definitely believe that this initiative will have some impact. discussing the issues will definitely lead to some positive change sooner or later.

the commenters are free to bring up constructive debates and suggest solutions. why should that onus be only on the writers? so participate and join in if you wish.

as mr.layman knowingly or unknowingly admitted: "When there is such a huge crowd of passionate people involved, so many things can be done." exactly. maybe this blog will create a biggg crowd of passionate people.

The one who has loved and lost said...

@Sankar - do you want to hear me say 'nothing' to your first sentence? :-)

"so the question is what are you and the rest of you who questioned the motives of this blog doing about the issues we discussed here?"

I don't know about others but I'm trying to see if we can do more than write about it.

"a lot of us who support this blog definitely believe that this initiative will have some impact. "

I'm trying to say it can create better impact because there are so many others who are interested.

"discussing the issues will definitely lead to some positive change sooner or later."

I believe this is a lazy man's attitude. Keep talking about it in the hope that someday everyone/everything will change (gradually.. whatever). I believe actions create better impact and that this blog has an audience who would be interested.

"the commenters are free to bring up constructive debates and suggest solutions. why should that onus be only on the writers? so participate and join in if you wish."

Sankar, read the comments in the previous post and in some earlier posts.

"as mr.layman knowingly or unknowingly admitted: "When there is such a huge crowd of passionate people involved, so many things can be done."


However if the scope of this blog is purely discussion and debate, I don't know what to say. Let's continue until all of us get fed up.

Sankar said...

@ the layman - yes, we are talking about the same thing. what i am trying to say is that you can come up with suggestions for "actions" as much as anyone else here.

just because mc or someone else did not mention an action plan (but instead only brought up issues in their posts) does not undermine his or her good motives or this blog. like you very rightly said, its for all of us to debate and arrive at action plans.

and as mc said, action will not happen suddenly or overnight. its not as though a few of us can get together and take out a march or do a satyagraha. and as many of us mentioned, a lot has to do with our mindsets and attitudes, so even that has to be changed. the passion and inspiration for change has to spread. and i think this blog is doing an excellent job of that.

Anonymous said...


I stand corrected.

Nevertheless, please Search industrial pollution effects on people's health in Ernakulam District during the past 40 years, if you ever get time. Are your relatives at Ernakulam if any, all healthy? KWA says that the water they drink is full of faecal matter and acids. The air is all poison anyway. It is stupid to complain about such things, I agree.

Also, the ill-effects of tourism on the morality [a la sex scandals], environment etc of Kerala.

HIV can wait. Unofficially, only 23% are positive till now. There is plenty of time to discuss the matter yet. Even HIV often gives upto 15 years' life easily.

And it was not in the 1990s that Malayalis used to blame foreigners about STD; the fools were saying that the Portugese gave it to them, calling it Paranki-ppunnu. Then after the 2nd WW, the disbanded soldiers were blamed. In the 1990s, HIV was given to Kerala by NRIs and lorry drivers, according to stupid sociologists.

We really are stupid!

Anonymous said...

HIV history is known to us all. HIV/AIDS timeline began early in 1981. In July of that year, the New York Times reported an outbreak of a rare form of cancer among gay men in New York and California. This "gay cancer" as it was called at the time was later identified as Kaposi's Sarcoma, a disease that later became the face of AIDS.

About the same time, emergency rooms in New York City began to see a rash of seemingly healthy young men presenting with fevers, flu-like symptoms, and a rare pneumonia called Pneumocystis. This was the beginning of what has become the biggest health care concern in modern history.

Westerners say that the HIV virus originated in primates living in Western and Central Africa, and that it was probably transmitted to humans in communities where people eat the meat of primates. However, alternate information sources blame Americans’ using the African continent to test their medical and bio-warfare inventions, and leaking some of it in New York itself, as the cause of the epidemic.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous - it could be that frustrated mallus went berserk in bombay and got it home.

"We really are stupid!"

yes, sometimes its so obvious!

Anonymous said...

Good post! This blog was beginning to resemble a Kerala street fight with typical characters. Thank god this is a blog or Ms Seema may have done a mundu pokkal! :-) Sorry to be crude but her comments left a lot to be desired!

I do not understand Laymans bewilderment when he says that "if the scope of this blog is purely discussion and debate, I don't know what to say. Let's continue until all of us get fed up." This blog has been around for close to three years now. That is sufficient time to understand its scope!!

To add to the discussions on HIV, I know a Doctor in Trivandrum, an Oncologist at the Cancer Institute who has amassed a lot of money by hiking up HIV figures and getting aid from foreign agencies. Most of these figures are pumped up by NGO's and private bodies for cash inflow.

Anonymous said...

@ Ravi

No, Sir. Even the figures 'pumped up' do not represent the reality. Things are far more serious than we might even imagine.

Merely check/watch people around us in Kerala disappearing from active life because they are 'tired and bored', and passing shortly thereafter. I suggest this as a ridiculous layman's tool.

My fears are for the Mallu IT wise-kids in spots like Bangalore. The 'disappearing-from-life' symptoms are amazing.

Anonymous said...

I am not disputing what the Anons before me have presented. Merely pointing out that people do present high figures for getting more aids. If people are disappearing then it is indeed alarming! .

confucius said...

Good and a very valid post.

I used to think how political parties can function like this…only for their selfish goals. I remember the Rajini incident ( I think that was her name ) …the girl who committed suicide because a bank denied her student loan. Entire state was burning for that single person. Nobody cared to listen to the bank manager who denied the loan. He said that the girl, even though from a poor family had taken the seat in Management quota…had failed in 7 of 9 subjects in first semester. What should a bank’s manager do in such a situation…just give money when he has every right to believe that its not going to be returned. What was the entire furore about? And how much did our state loose for that goondaism. A leading car manufacturing company (Volkswagen or BMW) was there in Cochin to see the site for their new unit. They never returned after seeing all this. Why will they … when there are plenty of sane ppl in other parts of the country.
Remember the Express Highway project. V.S Achuthanandhan, the now Chief minister had an interesting comment on TV about Express Hwy. He said that the EH will divide the state into two.. And what would two lovers on either side of the divided state do…they cant even meet (he said this on a lighter vein. …And the wordings were more or less like this if I remember correct). I had to stare hard at the TV to make sure that it was not some comedy program … It was not … that was when reality struck…. These political parties wont allow this state to prosper…never.
Its very painful to read about hartals and bandhs in our state….the goondaism…etc. I heard that our Home Minister walked to a wedding (some celebrity wedding) on the day of the hartal. Isn’t he the home minister…isn’t he supposed to save ppl from all these crimes…
I have lost hope…long ago…100 % literacy..My foot…as long as common ppl doesn’t start thinking beyond these parties…we are doomed. Because…the fact is that…its not ppl like us that decide who rules us…it’s them…the common man (Thanks to one of Silverine’s post – I got this from there)

Anonymous said...


The Bank Manager was wrong in denying the Loan. Rules permitted the Loan. No Bank Mananager in India has been sction-ed against during the past 35 years for non-repayment of Education Loans.

The girl had failed because she was born to Coolies. It is to bring such people up that affirmation is needed. She had only asked for a Rs. 25000/- to pay hostel dues before being expelled therefrom.If an Assistant Manager goes to Mumbai and stays there for two days on 'official' duty, his Bill comes to more than Rs. 25000/-. AGB press conferences cost lakhs!

Banks in Kerala are all controlled from outside the State and the executives there have a grouse against brilliant Keralites. Even the scheduled banks like FB, CSB etc are now controlled from outside. Have you ever wondered why no Bank in Kerala has ever achieved the Benchmark stipulated for Agriculture, by RBI itself?

There is a racial reason for denial of Bank vredit to Malayalis within Kerala by the executives. I am not going into that controversy here.

If the girl had offered to bribe the 'arranger' at the Bank, she would not have had to die. Poor girl did not know that.

Anonymous said...

"No Bank Mananager in India has been sction-ed against " - actioned.

"for denial of Bank vredit" - credit

Sankar said...

@ anonymous - just because the banks have a big budget general body meeting, it doesnt mean that they can lend out money to anyone who applies for it. if that was the case, all banks would be bankrupt by now.

i am sure the politicians would love to control the banks too! is that what you meant by saying the banks are being "controlled from outside"? would you like to see a local party committee member control it so that he can lend money for the party workers?

Have you ever wondered why no Bank in Kerala has ever achieved the Benchmark stipulated for Agriculture, by RBI itself?

no, but i have wondered why agriculture in kerala is so messed up. and i think its because of our farmers got corrupted by the politicians! and in the end we are begging with everyone, right from the central ministry to our neighbouring states.

Vinod/Kakka said...

This is a great blog, no question about it. But somehow, it (and a lot of political/social blogs about Kerala) get bogged down: Start with a lot of promise, and then get caught in a cycle which is difficult to escape.
It is good to know what is wrong. But we also need to get from knowing what is wrong to doing something that corrects this problem.
I like the dedication of the DOC team, but I would like it to evolve to be more like an advocacy group. That is a difficult step to take. But without taking that step, without taking the ideas to the general public, it is just going to be a collection of writings of people who think a certain way.

I say this knowing fully well the amount of time and thought that goes into keeping a blog up, and what I said is not trying to take anything away from a fantastic effort.

confucius said...


I still believe that eucational loan is for deserving candidates...not candidates who are permitted in management quota and has flunked for almost all subjects. Do you really believe that the entire state deserved to be burned for this !!!!

Anonymous said...

Banks have rules and it applies uniformly to all states. Scientific evidence has shown that almost all people who take their own lives have a diagnosable mental disorder, or severe depression. Did anyone in this 100% literate State pause to ponder that? No, instead they behaved like 100% illiterates! Even Biharis and UP'ites dont act like this!

State No 1! Paah!!!

Anonymous said...

1. No, Banks do not apply rules in the same way from State to State in India. Individual discretion is allowed.

2. The girl got it in Management quota because she , with her background, could not score at the Entrance, as an NRI child with Coaching from Std 8, can.

3. Her Caution Deposit would have been paid by the government . She had asked only for living money.

4. Go to a Bank as an NRI living abroad. Come back and settle in Kerala. Then go to them for a Loan. And watch the difference of treatment.

5. You have heard of the Credit Guarantee Corporation? Do you know how Banks lend deliberately carelessly to Big people? Then, when the Loan becomes bad, compromise-settle for lesser amounts years afterwards? Even Pratibha Patil has been a Bank scammer.

6.I wish you would all go to some Bank for a legally eligible Loan, and find things out for yourself.

7. I could have shared the incident of a PSB Bank Director with a difference, sending his son and 5 of his friends [all with Admit papers for MBA] to 21 Bank branches in Trivandrum city just before the Rajni thing broke. The boys did not reveal their relationships and connections. All the 21 branches shooed them away. You do not of course, believe this; do you? That is the Mallu that trusts only Total 4 U and Manchium stuff!

I state again that Kerala Banks are anti-Kerala, and largely corrupt. Do not believe me, though.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous about kerala banks being anti-kerala

Its always been the function of the state(union govt) to make sure the growth throughout India is even, on the whole (takes a lot of effort to achieve even mild success).

Till 80's the startegy was observed by socialist congress where the raw material will be in bihar or jharkhand while the industry will be somewhere far away,maybe in gujarat. It was to make sure that worse off states (in this case the states with little raw materials)get some amount of benefit too.

(and recently there was an article about this by a chattisgarh based MP in IE complaining abt the same)

There was an element of even handedness w.r.t states, and it was then that kerala had surged in social indeces.

After liberalisation, many avenues of "credit sources" went to private banks.Which had an agenda of their own, which was to develop the cities at any cost.Alas, the cost was at the expense of the rest of India.And in that process, not only rural areas were left high and dry (farmer suicides for instance) but also those states which were more interested in equitable development, for eg, kerala and WB.Kerala and keralites were given piecemeal credit.

Some might say it was because of political parties, but a deeper anaylysis would even suggest a nefarious nexus.While so many industries in mumbai &other metros(mainly mills)were closed down during 80's, (due to business cycle reasons), other forms of industries sprung up, mainly due to the availability of credit. But there was no such renaissance for Kolkata, as the credit growth for kolkata reamined stagnant at 10% while mumbai's went from 12% to 32%by the end of 1999. It is indeed a miracle what credit could do and a tragedy when it is withheld.

National private banks with their own agenda have curtailed the present growth, to the extent that the many states are fast catching up on kerala at the present stage. Our future depends on OUR people'S EDUCATION and their development as a human resource.If the present non-abvailability of credit to the people are any indication, the trend of kerala lagging behind is a no-brainer.
With less of credit to run the Kerala Inc, we are at a disadvantage, which will never be solved by the divide seen among ourselves with one group forever accusing and cavilling the present system, which is in itself a victim of unscrupulous lending practices.On the other hand, the other group meekly acquiesces, accepting its own imaginary fault hanging its head for no fault of theirs.while there is some resistance from certain people who do not see their land like some dog moderators do, the silence seems to be complete in taking the blame on us and our progeny for something beyond us.

SG Padinjare.

Annemarie said...


I like the Anonymous mela here! :-P

MC said...

@ anonymous padinjare - i dont think its rocket-science to understand that banks, private or public, will only lend to people who are in a position to work and pay back the money OR at least show the potential to pay back - irrespective of whether the loan is for education, business, industry or personal use. if a student keeps flunking in exams or does not score good marks in school, banks will be hesitant to offer loans. i think its the same principle that guided families in the olden days - the hardworking child who showed promise got preference for education while the others were asked to work with their parents and uncles.

its hilarious to blame the situation in kerala on banks. i admit that i do not know in detail about the banking sector. but from what i have seen the banking and financial sector penetration in kerala is quite good, and its mostly because of the NRK money pouring in.

sadly kerala didnt cultivate the atmosphere where businesses (or agriculture or pretty much anything else) could be developed in the 80s. why should a bank lend money to a keralite now? to buy liquor? or to stage a hartal? and when you say kerala and WB are in the same situation, its almost like blaming the communists.

Anonymous said...

"why should a bank lend money to a keralite now? to buy liquor? or to stage a hartal?"

Well said!

Anonymous said...


"i am sure the politicians would love to control the banks too! is that what you meant by saying the banks are being "controlled from outside"? '

No, no! All Kerala operations of PSBs are controlled by executives from outsode Kerala. In your own SBT, the top 100 people have only 13% Mallu representation.

Their main complaints about Mallus are that Mallu Coolies speak in English, and Mallu farm labourers wear clean clothes, take baths and send children to school, unlike the species in their own places. I have heard it openly spoken by them. So, no Education loan as a policy, no farm loans! They must not be given a chance of getting smarter!

In the 1990s, a TVM industrialist approached a Kerala PSB for a loan to bottle water from the Neyyar. They made him 'walk' for 6 months and finally refused the loan. He then went to a branch of the same Bank in Kanyakumari. The loan was speedily sanctioned though the Unit was in Trivandrum and the raw material was from Neyyar.

You give an Education or Farm loan; you do not get get any bribes. You give it to a businessman or a Realtor.....

Anonymous said...

@ MC:

"but from what i have seen the banking and financial sector penetration in kerala is quite good, and its mostly because of the NRK money pouring in."

Yes, they take your money and lend it to their own in other States.

Sankar said...

@ anonymous - sorry, i find that really hard to believe. ofcourse, that one malayali finds it hard to see the progress of another malayali is quite known. but i doubt all that you said about someone not liking that malayali farmers being clean and stuff is nothing more than perhaps an isolated incident or your own bad experience - which ofcourse is very sad if its true.

i am not sure about SBT (and i have no clue why you say "your own") employees now. but in the 90s it must have been more of malayalis. and apart from the top 100 people, there are several 100s of malayalis employed by them. i dont know if thats good or bad though. all these nationalized banks are as bad as government offices and they care the least for their customers. they forgot to change with the times, just like a lot of our people.

confucius said...


Make me the bank manager and I will only give loans to qualified ppl..I'm damn sure that bank manager has a big responsibility over repayment of the loan. When I needed an educational loan, I needed to show that I was doing well in college eventhough we were ready to provide security. If you are searching for a perfect socialist economy, please note that its not possible.Socialism had promised prosperity, equality, and security and we have seen that it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny.
Why do the so called socialist leaders travel in S class benz and their voters travel in rikshaws...there is socialism for you.
For argument sake, Let us agree that the bank was supposed to give loan and they didnt. We could have taken action against the bank manager .. taken action against bank...we could have passed strict orders which could ensure that no such incident takes place again..and what did we do. Burn the entire state...for what?? The banks are functioning the same way as they did in pre rajini who benifited from all these bullshit.
And a party gave some 2 lakhs for her family...and we saw her father coming on television and saying that government killed his daughter..( yeah..right ). Where was this father when this girl needed good clothes, books etc. The guy was visibly drunk during this interview also. This is a common thing in our state...dont do anything in life, just drink, abuse your wife and kids and relax..and then blame someone else for your life.
Ppl should open their eyes and see whats going on... if its too hard to do..close the eyes and blame banks !!!!

Anonymous said...

Kerala tops in education loan disbursement. I myself have taken one for my MS without bribing anyone! And Rajni's father drank all the compensation money.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected.
We must not let any drunk's children come up even if they have got admission to professional courses without 7 year coaching from Trichur. Coolies' kids must never come up. If anyone has an MBBS, we might consider giving him a Loan for MS.

Anonymous said...

Rajni killed herself because IOB refused her Rs. 25000/- to continue her education.
Please check IOB's site for the rules.

Should be an Indian National.
Should have secured admission to professional/technical courses in India or abroad.
Rajni was eligible.

Quantum of loan:
Maximum of Rs. 10.00 lakh for studying in India and Rs. 20.00 lakh for studying abroad.
Rajni wanted Rs. 25000/-

For loans upto Rs. 4.00 lakh: Nil

For loans upto Rs. 4.00 lakh: Co obligation of parents. No security

Repay the loan in equal monthly Instalments for a maximum period of 5 - 7 years excluding holiday period.

Holiday period:
6 months after getting the job or 12 months after completion of the course whichever is earlier.

Repay the loan in equal monthly Instalments for a maximum period of 5 - 7 years excluding holiday period.

Interest servicing:
It is left to the option of the student either to service the interest during the study period or pay it along with the principal over a period of 5 - 7 years to commence from 12th month after completion of the study.

The Bank Manager did not follow the rules. A Bank Manager becomes accountable for non-repayment [if at all] if rules have not been followed. The Bank is protected even then, by the Credit Guarantee Corporation.
Bank unions do not allow disciplinary proceedings for non-performance; that is to say, refuse a loan and you are safe either way. You get paid and promoted for not doing the job that you are paid for.

Many have committed suicide before. Only Rajni's became public. So, collective feelings against the atrocity flared up.

{Geethanandan, associate of Adivasi leader CK Janu turned Left only because his future was destroyed by a Village Officer that refused him an Income Certificate for a Scholarship]

University Grants Commission site says "Government of India in consultation with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banker's Association (IBA) has framed a Comprehensive Educational Loan Scheme to ensure that no deserving student in the Country is deprived of higher education for want of finances.

All professions are conspiracies against the laity. Banking is also a profession. A good Banker is one that offers you his umbrella when the Sun is shining and takes it away as soon as it starts raining!

You may check the Bad Loan figures of banks and ascertain the miniscule share of Education Loans in them. In India, Bank Managers are not proceeded against even when procedural irregularities are seen. Only when deliberate malicious intentions are established, Managers are punished. Even then, the VIP borrower usually saves the Banker.

[Sorry if I am boring you.]

Anonymous said...

Who said anything about drunks or coolies children not allowed to come up. Drunk and bankrupt men can be found amongst the middle class and once rich now poor class too. Drunks ruin families and family wealth. Don't play the "poor" card here. There are many poor kids who have availed education loans and doing well in life now. They all had excellent academic records.

For arguments sake let us say that Rajni got the loan even though her academic record was poor (students who apply for these loans will need to have an excellent academic history). It would be a partial loan as the bank or financial institution will not fund the entire amount of your education. You will be expected to fund a part of it. Where will Rajni get the rest of the money from? And with her academic record, when and how would she repay it back? The bank has to consider all these before it issues a loan!

Where were the rioters when Rajni did not get the loan? Do these SFI, DYFI, KSU and SUCI have a student body to counsel student seeking loans? If not why? What is the point of student bodies if it cannot help students? If they can organize a riot then why cannot they organize a education loan counseling cell? Because the reality is that they do not care about the students but only for power and money. Thats why!!

Anonymous said...


I thought the comments are moderated. How come there is a comment which included a word like 'mundu pokkal' allowed, was that not personal attack and foul language. well according me it is!

That comment does not suit a blog which is so much worried about 'mallu's attitude towards women'. How can you allow such cheap statement which is no better than the so called 'street language'???

Anonymous said...


I thought the comments are moderated. How come there is a comment which included a word like 'mundu pokkal' allowed, was that not personal attack and foul language. well according me it is!

That comment does not suit a blog which is so much worried about 'mallu's attitude towards women'. How can you allow such cheap statement which is no better than the so called 'street language'???

Anonymous said...

"It would be a partial loan as the bank or financial institution will not fund the entire amount of your education. You will be expected to fund a part of it."

No margin, say the Rules. No margin means fully funded.

"And with her academic record, when and how would she repay it back?"

No stupid girl gets selected into a professional course. You say her academic career was bad? In all professional courses, even the best students have supplementaries at first. It is to uplift the poor that we have Loans classified as Priority sector. It is not for the Tatas and Ambanis or Nehru-Gandhis.

The Bank was obliged to help her get the education, become an Engineer instead of a Coolie like her parents, earn money, get ahead and re-pay the Loan.

Do not be fooled by the Bank unions' talk. They plead inability to lend to the deserving because such applicants cannot be made to bribe. I ask again, go to a Bank for a genuine loan and face the music.

In an earlier post, I mentioned a Bank Director. He went to one of the Banks that refused, withdrew Rs. 5 lakhs from his deposits there, put it in another Bank in his son's name, for his Course. The Bank Manager touched his feet not to report it.

After Rajni, Bank Managers learned that they were accountable to the society. Things were slightly better for some time afterwards. Now, however, the Loans are arranged by the Colleges/Agencies themselves; like car dealers' arranging finance. The bribes are thus streamlined and bankers are also happy.

Question is not whether your political parties are honest or holy; question is whether you get Education loans when the RBI has made a Scheme for it.

confucius said...

Abhe are turning a blind eye towards the facts. The question was .. " Do you justify what happened in Kerala after the Rajini incident?". Why are you beating around the bush and giving us bank manuals...For argument sake lets agree that banks were wrong in not granting the loan...what about all those things that happened...How do you justify those ? I would like to see you answering to this point for once...

Anonymous said...

'Mundu pokkal' is as much representative of the Malayali as is the "Nila Vilakku".
Our similar other racial characteristics are 'olinju nottam', 'paradooshanam', 'thinna mitukku', 'pongaccham', 'kaapatyam' etc.

Anonymous said...


I refer you to the 'textbook' issue. If our padres are that good, will our politicians not be equally good?

Anonymous said...

This is a common thing in our state...dont do anything in life, just drink, abuse your wife and kids and relax..and then blame someone else for your life.

And live on the wife and daughters earnings and become another parasitic generation living off its NRI host! NRI and NRK's have to stop supporting relations in Kerala so that they realize the value of money and labor!

Anonymous said...

Would the NRIs continue to support their parents here, at least?

MC said...

@ skp - i think there are many answers to your question: an anonymous has given you one. from my side, i am really happy that you have recognized that it can be termed cheap/ foul/ street language. very good.

Anonymous said...

@ MC - LOL

"Krishna kare to chamatkar hum kare to balatkar"

Some anon showed their real culture and u have identified that to ur blog... Great going ...

confucius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
confucius said...

@anonymous ..

"And live on the wife and daughters earnings and become another parasitic generation living off its NRI host! NRI and NRK's have to stop supporting relations in Kerala so that they realize the value of money and labor!"

Very true...I dont think our state will learn the value of labour in the near long as our political parties supports that view..

thoughts said...

I was reading through the Blog and teh comments, and i am just wondering every body seems to criticise the system such as government,TU etc etc but i think teh problem is in our society itself we are so selfish as a individuals and we actualy dont care about teh society and the corrections needed in teh society we are so politicised such that we find political problems for each and every thing from crude oil price to the price of vegetables i dont know why, but one thing as a society we are much better in so many things like education social political awareness etc etc and even the politicaal paries are much less corrupted than tehre couter parts in other state which is truly i think because of our political awareness we need to sspread that awareness to teh beurocratic and social stuctures then we will be able to prosper, actualy trade unoins in kerala is not a big problem i think because counries like Germany and france got much more stronger trade union i think the biggest problem is our media which are polarized either left or right and not trying to actualy work as teh fourth estate

Anonymous said...

you started this particular blog sounding apolagetic about being an keralite can or should discredit the service done by nrks - the cleaners working the toilets in the big malls in,the nurses, the cooks , the waiters ,the taxi drivers ,the masons , the carpenters,the accountants,the engineers,the doctors,the entrepneurs both male and female in riyadh ,jeddah, dubai,telaviv,baghdad,london,tokyo,honkong,shanghaior washinghton.they work their lives away so those back home can live better.they send home their hard earned money which makes one of largest chunks of overseas inflow of money which props up the kerala economy.hence every nrk who feels for his land has the right tospeak up for himself and the land he loves however far or often he is removed he is from it.if kerala had a sizeable economy that could employ the talents she produces there wouldn,t be any nrks all would be living happily in god,s own country until then one would have to live in a state that has gone to the the look of things our leaders not only the political class but all leaders be it social ,religious,economic be it any field has made such a mess (its too light weight a word to attribute to the situation we are in) of things that one can expect the next four to five generations being nrks.

Anonymous said...

Now Kerala Government is ready to take care of the welfare of NRKs.

Read about Kerala legislation here.

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