Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai braves

Our hearts go out to those in Mumbai. For the brave and innocent who lost their lives in these attacks, we shall never forget....

Readers, if you have been in or around these incidents, kindly let us know how you are doing.

-The SaveKerala team

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kerala This Week Ver 2.05, 2008

After a few relatively interference-free years, the much hyped-about IT growth in Kerala is all set to come to a halt. After resisting trade unions and veiled attempts from other looters for the last few years, just as things were beginning to look brighter for Kerala's IT exports, trouble has surfaced for IT companies who have invested in the state in the form of the much-dreaded labour politics. Latching onto the dismissal of a few employees (apparently for under-performance) from one of Kerala's largest IT companies and one that is based in Kerala as well (we would have thought such companies were our pride and should have been promoted and encouraged!), the cancerous political system in Kerala has successfully breached the protective layer that allowed a fair amount of growth and prosperity in the last few years.

Politicians and ministers jumped on to this obviously private matter of the company and issued enquiry orders and investigations, and call for action against private companies. On television, one notable personality, while spewing venom against private companies, stated "This is Kerala!". Yes, this is Kerala dear friends. Dont invest here or think you can work and earn your living comfortably here. We, the jobless, are here to loot from you, in the name of the poor and downtrodden. We dont differentiate between industries and sectors. If you work and prosper, we need a share of it. So much for Smart City, Technocity, and Technopark, and IT parks in all the districts. Now we can conduct party meetings in all these places.

A little further south of the capital, Trivandrum, another mega-project that was hyped and celebrated is gathering dust. After blaming everyone from USA to China, and the central ministry to the Tamil Nadu government initially for lack of clearances and approvals for the Vizhinjam International Port, now that we have the green signals from all quarters, we are faced with our biggest enemy: our own politicians. The tempo behind the project is slowly waning, and the project is being opposed by the local political outfits disguised as "protectors of the downtrodden", trying to fit in their own interests.

The lessons to learn are repeated almost every week. The politicians spoiled our own harvest and let crops worth crores get damaged while they played their cards in the name of the workers. Later, as the workers and the people of Kerala suffered, they went on a begging tour to the center asking for more support and to stop the negligence. Wonder when the people will ever wish that our own politicians stopped neglecting the state first. The irony didnt end there. Ending a week long protest against USA and after several rounds of "West-bashing", some of our top ministers are on an international trip to find investors willing to put their money in Kerala. And no points for guessing where. The West, ofcourse, and specifically, the United States of America.

While they are away, crime and violence continues unabated and Keralites were being hauled up from across the country for terror-connections. A section of the top police officials had more important things to attend to, and were reportedly gathering at party offices and meeting political godfathers to plan a strategy for the next elections, and how they can connive.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wag the Dog?

Many readers have asked here, why we have such a name for the blog? I ask them, why not? What do they understand from this title? When we rave about Kerala saying its "God's Own Country", do we really think we, the people, are Gods? Hopefully not. Similarly, it is not to call anyone a dog, but its rather a phrase to depict the negative aspects that are really horrifying and unbearable, especially the unruly behaviour and attitude of some malayalis, that not only ruin our progress and development, but bring shame to us as a community. I think the latter kind of people are our worst enemies and need to be isolated if they are not willing to change.

This blog is only a small initiative against the shackles that are holding us back from making advances as a community, state, and therefore, the nation. But I also want to clarify that this is only a blog (atleast as of now) that wishes to expose these lackings and issues, and discuss and debate them in a constructive way, so that it creates awareness, and hopefully inspires people to change or act proactively to foster change. So for people who ask, what is this blog doing besides "talking" about change and the negative issues, I have only one thing to say: I sincerely hope this blog and our collective efforts will make us ask the question, "what can WE do?" some day very soon.

But for now, as long as people are reading and thinking about whats written here, I consider this blog is a success. What this blog will lead to, and how we can collectively make changes, is the next step. But before we draw action plans and try to influence policies more vehemently, we need to unite and make sure that the majority of the people have a common vision and inspiration for our state. We need to ensure that our mindsets change. Development and progress is not just about industries and infrastructure, but its about civility and character too. You and I still may not be able to influence the entire state. But we can influence our neighbours, our relatives, our co-workers, our local rickshaw driver, or the local shopkeeper. Thats something we can do.

One of our biggest challenge and the main factor that hampers the progress of the state is our political interference and polarization. I dont know how long it will take for our "100% literate" people to understand this basic fact. It is evident in our day to day life how deeply and adversely this has affected us and ruined ourselves. Whether its the criminal who gets away with the crime from the police or its one of us wriggling out of a traffic offence, or the dispute between students getting settled in a group clash, the political influece and the wielding (and misuse) of power backed by politicians is very clear.

Ofcourse, we need politics and politicians for running the state and governance. But thats where it should end. We should eliminate politics and political interference in areas such as religion, education, judiciary, and in particular our own civility and conduct. I think in general we, especially the youth, are disillusioned by baseless ideologies fuelled by too much politicization. If that ends, things will begin to look much greener again.

In the movie Rang De Basanti, there is a character Laxman Pandey (played by Atul Kulkarni) who blindly believes in the political ideologies of the party, and unknowingly becomes their best tool for selfish and communal activities. It took a great awakening for him to realize how flawed the politicians are and how empty and hollow the ideologies he was made to believe in were compared to reality. We need such an awakening in Kerala.

We actually need politicians and leaders who are educated and qualified for this perception against politicians to change, and politics to become a mainstream and dignified path that people who are truly dedicated can take. It may be oft-repeated, but in a world where we insist on minimum educational qualifications even for posts such as peons and aids, how can we allow uneducated people with dubious backgrounds rule our state(s) and imagine that they will ever take us forward? This is a very important thing that each of us need to consider and work towards collectively. Do we really need politicians who get selected on the basis of their crime records, wiliness, and past atrocities.

What is the sense in being so proud about (falling) social development indices if we cannot respect eachother, and we forget basic human values in our day to day life? How can we claim to be cultured and refined if we cannot respect our women and treat them as equals? Why do we call ourselves 100% literate when we still cannot resist selfishly motivated political and religious influences?

Would we prefer to continue to wag the dog?

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