Friday, November 23, 2007

Quo Vadis, Kerala?

My post Onward, Kerala on June 3 was about the book Kerala’s Economy: Crouching Tiger, Sacred Cows, which was a compilation of the papers presented by eminent friends of the State at conference at Trivandrum in 2005. Since that meeting, not much water has flowed down the Nila (Kerala’s historic river Bharathapuzha) because it is a dying river now. But many changes have taken place in Kerala during that period.

On the heels of the State Chief Minister’s attack on the judiciary (In the news today) came the media coverage of a woman leader of the CPI slapping a lady police constable in public at the Capital, Trivandrum, during a demonstration. This happened on the 20th. She was arrested and taken to the Police Station. Policemen are very clannish when it comes to assaulting a member of the Force.

But this script is different. The State Secretary of the CPI arrived at the Station. Two ministers and a member of the legislature followed him. They pressurized the Sub Inspector and made him release the culprit. Two days later the Chief Minister says he does not know the details! But he tries to justify the action of the politicians! One can imagine what effect this has on the morale of the Police Force.

It appears that no case has been registered against the offender. The Indian Lawyers Congress has appealed to the Governor to remove the two ministers involved. A private petition has been filed in the court. The Nationalist Lawyers Congress has sent a notice to the Director General of Police.

Another interesting news today is that the former Communist leader KR Gowri has sold her paddy fields. She was one of the moving forces behind the land limitation legislation that fragmented large holdings. You know, ‘land to the tillers’ economics. In reality it resulted in drastic drop in rice production in the State. Now a new bill on land is on the anvil and may cause further damage to the economy. It is something like trying to correct one mistake with another mistake.

Gowri’s reported reason for the sale: non-availability and prohibitive cost of labor. Un-ploughed lies my land !


Also see: Savage Kerala

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