Friday, November 03, 2006

Post Kerala Piravi Delirium

Kerala piravi is over.

now we can shed the mask and ask ourselves – what’s is wrong with us?
why didn’t we have the graciousness to set aside the strike at least on that special day which is or should be an emotional one?

the answer is simple. our hearts are so hardened that we FEEL no more.

we have become a barbaric people. no. worse.

we are sub human.

strong words, I know. but well deserved. well earned.

a private bus owner association official goes public with such profundities as, “getting killed by a speeding vehicle is just another disaster - like the tsunami. it is nature’s way of checking population growth.” !!!!! that’s the Malthusian theory for you. customized, kerala style!!

and why not? we are, after all, a highly literate populace.

literate, yes. and we have that rare honour of reversing that taken-for-granted theory that literacy is the key to development.

kerala has proved that literacy brings out the worst in human beings.

Let’s take a quick look at what literacy does to the keralite:

it deprives him of all civic sense. look at the waste skirting the prestigious MG Road in Kochi or streets in posh residential areas. each man keeps his house in order and dumps waste on public roads. affluent denizens of cities creep out of their luxury bunglows with food waste in their imported cars and stealthily dump them on roads!!!!!!!

literacy teaches him not clean up his mess but leave it behind for the world to see. wash rooms in bus and railway stations and airports will testify to this.

it makes him self centred . nay. self obsessed. obsessed with his rights. indifferent to his duties. angry at being called to account. it’s each man for himself. my rights at the cost of my neighbour’s.

it creates a cockeyed understanding of the dignity of labour. a maniacal, touchy obsession with the dignity of the LABOURER – but a supreme contempt for the labour he is paid for. thus we have attimari, umpteen breaks( extended chai and lunch breaks, beedi breaks, back –stretch breaks, nature’s call breaks, warming up breaks, winding up breaks – you name it) in between the 9am to 5pm working hours, additional grease for the palm which receives payment from the taxpayers money - - -

it causes aggression to be imported into his language and body language. and cynicism too.

and the casualty is refinement, self respect and respect for others – and productivity.

our education is all skewed. our educational system has given us literacy divorced from education.

sheer coincidence. I was brooding over this issue when I stumbled upon the chapter on education in Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj. he challenges our educational system which was created for a different culture and imported into India during the colonial days. he does have a way of hitting the nail on the head!

but then, that’s a subject for another blog. should be treated with the respect it deserves.


  1. this morning my google alert on hind swaraj brought this blog up...i will await the post on hind swaraj.

    Much of what you have said for Kerala holds good to rest of India too and if anything I at times think Tamilnadu where I live can only be one step lower.

    My blogs start from

  2. Hard hitting ! and a lil too harsh...but your overall point abt education is very valid and true too. but i still believe we have a lot a good in ourselves, i meant malayali's psyche as a whole

  3. our educational system has given us literacy divorced from education... couldn't have put it better!

  4. Awesomeness MOM! I'm LOVING it! Wonderfully put accross the thoughts... The attimari, supreme contempt for labour, the breaks... Yup, Kerala is unique and sadly so. How I wish Kerala was a little less beautiful and a bit nicer in return. literacy divorced.. as chand said... beautiful! tell me its your orignial!

  5. Don't you think that because, we (as in keralites) are among the front runners in literacy, we tend to benchmark ourselves a bit higher? I still feel Kerala is much better than many other places I have been to. Though still skewed and warped in its own right - which needs correcting.

    And about the education bit.. I truly agree with you

  6. @ chands
    thanks. coming from a man of few words, that's indeed a compliment

  7. @ math
    you are loving it, eh? like Mac's burgher?
    original? dont worry. i wont do a kavya viswanathan

    @ naan
    maybe you are right. we tend to be over critical about ourselves.
    guess tha is the first step towards correction

  8. i live in mumbai.
    the city is not any thing like Gods own country...
    mundane,grey and drab.
    but any day its streets are cleaner than keralas winding roads
    laced with plastic and decorated with banner rags six months old.
    BMC has workers,supervisors.
    they do their job,neat and earnest.
    those back home have better things to worry about.
    their world is bigger,aspirations higher.
    educated work force,sans civic sense.

    my colleagues travel 60 kilometers oneway
    to the office
    but they are at their desks in time.
    they have 60 kilometers to trudge back home
    but never attempt an "early permission"
    but i have seen Venad filling up at 4.30 from Alwaye onwards.
    with or without permission,i really do not know.

    my driver reports at 9 if i have to leave at 9.30
    my maid serves the purpose of an alarm clock.
    on diwali last she came as usual
    but dressed up in her best
    doing dishes and cooking as usual.
    i couldnt help thinking of my maids back home who make themselves scarce
    and grumpy drivers who keep you waiting
    for his grand entry at 10.30.
    and we call ourselves educated!

    i negotiate before stepping into the 3 wheeled monster
    or else will end up at the receiving end of the monsters masters wrath
    at the end of the trip.
    have received choicest abuses for not specifying my destination
    with the exact latitude and longitude
    thereby depriving him of his rightful fare
    which is always in multiples of ten.
    i realise the that the unkempt bihari and the up bhayya
    and the young marathi lad
    are much better educated than my brotheren back home!

    Literacy divorced from education
    my friend,i cant agree with you more!!

  9. @anon
    back home in kerala, this would be labelled a bourgois definition of education!

    wonder what the kerala blogger would respond to you.

  10. God, give us this day not our daily bread, but the wisdom to deserve our daily bread.

  11. Wishing a happy and prosperous onam.

    Once upon a lifetime in kerala


Dear visitors, dont run away without leaving behind something for me :-)
By the way, if your comment does not get posted at the first click, just click once more.