Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kerala – a Mystery, a Contradiction, What?

I had written an insider's view about Kerala here. Now there's a debate going on in South Asian Literary group about the achievements of Kerala in literacy, life expectancy, savings rate, etc.

  • Kerala's birth rate is 14 per 1,000 females
  • Kerala's infant mortality rate is 15.3
  • Kerala's adult literacy rate is 91 per cent
  • Life expectancy at birth in Kerala is 75 years

All very fine. I am not against Kerala. In fact, I love Kerala, its people, its culture, its everything. For me a day spent in Kerala lazing on the roof of my house is something like heaven. Everything seems okay from the surface. There is a good primary healthcare system, there is a good education system (though teachers in government schools have to chase students to come and study in their schools [you ask why? Or they will lose their jobs, stupid]), there are good roads in even the remotest villages. But there is a murky and muddy undercurrent, swift and treacherous. To be realistic let's look at the other side too:

  • Kerala has the highest suicide rate
  • Kerala has the lowest concentration of industries and businesses
  • Kerala's maternal mortality rate is poor: 262 for every one lakh live births
  • Kerala's famed agricultural output is dismal considering it has to import grains and vegetables from Tamil Nadu
  • Kerala has a high unemployment rate

See, every good point has a paradoxical bad side. So what's Kerala? A mystery, a contradiction, an enigmatic land of a very rich language and a very ingenious people? A subject that's the focus of my study "To God's Own Country – A Serendipitous Journey to Kerala." Don't know when I can polish it and offer it for publication. Any takers?

1 comment:

Greener Bangalore said...

There is neither mystery nor contradiction! We mallus work hard once we cross the borders and hardly work in our own state....and in spite of our high literacy rate, contrary to the general belief, we are so 'closed' and reluctant to change....and always think GOVT JOBS are the only real JOBS…..Of course the state is clean and hygiene just because we have a ready-made NO to industrialization. So no point in rattling about our backwardness that and those certain fields related fields. We can’t keep the umbrella and ourselves dry at the same time. We were the front runners and the 'beginners' to create an IT PARK as a concept as early as in 80's though we did 'our bit' to make them run away from our state to our neighboring states where they are received with red carpet. Now we envy our neighboring states and woo FDI, IT and other industries. And now after all these years we started realizing that our neighbors’ have already swept away all the ‘riches’. And in spite of all adversities we can see many northern states doing well in terms of economic growth. Just wondering what will be our state’s state if the nature was not kind to us (unlike many of our states which are often hit by floods, earthquakes, extreme climatic conditions and so on).

When will we ‘Grow’???