Sitting far away from the State I was born, Kerala, I feel nausea watching the Malayalam Television Channels and glancing through the vernacular newspapers on line. The land of what is officially mooted as “Gods own country”, is, as Vivekananda said more than a century ago is indeed a mad house. A mad house, a mental asylum and incorrigible inmates! The genetic spawning and evolution over the past one hundred years since Vivekananda glossed has not affected any discernible change in the Malayalee mindset- “irredeemable”!
The only far reaching thought that entrenched in Kerala and that aided immeasurably in transformation of social and economic livelihood of the dwellers of the State was the philosophy of Communism and socialist ideology. These revolutionary ideals did trigger social emancipation in the mid and later part of the twentieth century. But now the same philosophies and their excess are a challenge and a liability. The communist ideology is now defunct and irrelevant socially, economically and environmentally, but spoils the Mallu mind as much as the far right views. The Malyalee acts aggressively and negatively to any situation and he has no sense of priorities that assists in betterment and quality of life.
No election in Kerala , though a cent percent literate (sic) State has had social , economic and environmental issues as vital subjects in the agenda and upon which a political party or a candidate was judged or chosen into the legislature. The pathetic state of affairs in a State that boasts of all-round health care and forward thinking populace is blatantly obvious if one cares to gently remove the exotic muslin veil of the cliché ,”Gods own Country”.
Mallus love sleaze, vitiated pleasure as much as they love alcohol. A State minister and a talented one at that as well as an achiever in the portfolios he handled so far, is proclaimed first by a debased political henchman of having been at the receiving end of physical assault by the husband of his alleged paramour. The eternally misdirected press and the predatory visual media laps it up in glee and sautéed with further innovations and ingenious masala takes it to the salivating masses. After much hullabaloo and opportunist acrimony orchestrated by the infertile and impotent opposition, the story takes a twist with a new plot and it turns out that the minister was indeed assaulted but by his own wife, an accredited doctor of medicine and not by any stranger. The minister is accused by his wife of incessant physical and mental torture (she nevertheless bore him two boys during their seventeen years of marital cohabitation). The bottom line is that the whole episode that was scripted and dramatised, had the tacit approval of the minister’s maverick father who wanted his son out of the government so that the foot soldiers that stood by him all many years can access trappings of power that was denied to them by the young minister, his son.
The bottom line is the print press and the visual media in the State are gaga over the la affaire and anchors are vying to show off their skills at insinuation and innuendo. The State Assembly had to be dispersed for as many days now as the opposition created melee demanding the resignation of the minister and the Chief Minister who they accuse of tacit complicity in the minister’s conduct.
The pressing problems of the State – the utter chaotic state of sanitation and garbage disposal, the abysmal state of motor ways, perennial transport bottle necks, the apathetic government health care and dispensation, the lost case of water resources and potable water, the rising cost of living, the degradation & rape of environment, the lawlessness, free for all acts of muscle men with political clout, corruption, so on and so forth, are as always in the back burner, usurped now by the marital discord in the life of a State minister.
It was buffoonery and pathetic to see on televisions Sate opposition leaders boycotting Assembly proceedings and congregating on at the Assembly gates braying for the resignation of the minister and the Chief Minister over the issue. They hardly ever thought of demanding that the total breakdown of garbage disposal in the State be attended to, or ask why the tiny State with three International Airports will want another one in Aranmulla on pristine farm lands, while motorable roads are in dire straits of disrepair. Or the precarious perch of a ubiquitous white elephant draining tax money- the KSRTC .
The state of affairs in Kerala may not be an exception, but a random sample of the country at large.
Long, long ago Winston Churchill the arrogant English man remarked why he saw Indians unfit for Independence. “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters; all Indian leaders will be low caliber and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air & water would be taxed in India”
The man may have harboured racist mindset, but jingoism apart we must admit he prophesied and did that fairly well. Perhaps Indians are vying to prove him right and Kerala is leading the charge of the light brigade.
The visionary English commoner!