Devil’s Own Country
Thomas Bracken, sometime in the 1880's wrote a poem about New Zealand where that country was referred to as God's own country. This title God's own country which has been used by New Zealanders to describe their own country for more than 120 years, has been stolen by us to describe our own State. Most of us do not know this. And all the while, we were thinking that the term was coined by some intelligent Malayali, out of his love and respect to the state. With all its natural wealth, and beautiful surroundings, probably one would assume this could be true. Keralites with Indian voting rights and living abroad are out numbering the citizens living within Kerala. When the very owners don’t claim the nativity ,it is the ultimate responsibility of God to take care. That could be the only reason to call this place by that name. There is no one else to take care of this place.
"Culture is the cry of men in face of their destiny". Commented Albert Camus,years before the Clean kerala and Go Clean missions started in Gods own Country. Tourism promotions here are on the up and up.But come here,see and experience 'the culture' as one which is roughly 'anything we do and monkeys do not'.
If St.Thomas, the apostle arrived at this place, it doesn’t mean that this was the best place. As someone preached, Christ sent his precious apostles to the places that were worst on earth, so that mercy comes before judgment. Ours is a society that can learn what is professionalism, courtesy, tone down our sarcasm, harassment, controlling and manipulative mindset, in favor of development, in favor of enterprise and in favor of freedom.
The most befitting name would be ‘ Devil’s Own Country. We have a Chief Minister who often looks constipated and take ages to articulate some thing because he cannot remember what he says himself. His tongue doesn’t need the help of his brain and blabbers itself.Himself and his fellow intellectuals who have made it a fashion to wear beards, think they have invented Communism themselves. Their communism is quite different from that of Karl Marx. They haven’t yet realized that communism is becoming extinct elsewhere, and there is no longer any other country in the world who could be called communist. Beard has been made a sign of wisdom of communists, and is used as a cover up for their ignorance. Veliyom Bhargavan makes more observations on information technology than Bill Gates himself. Thomas Issac acts as if he is the economist of the world. I don’t know where all these geniuses were hiding till the party got in to power. When devils rule a state, what better name is there to call it? When these small devils leave the chairs, the next band of bigger devils are all getting ready, shining their shoes and ironing their Khadi shirts. This white Khadi shirts they wear is an insult to the principle behind it. Many of these leaders change the stiff shirts even three or four times a day. It is the most difficult to clean and iron. These leaders must be spending quite a lot of money for laundry. But it comfortably hides their dark minds and dirty intentions. Mani is suffering from chronic itching of ass, and his clan is busy helping him at it, because he developed keloids, sitting at the assembly for years together, without leaving the chair to any one else.
Now, what have we made this place in to?
Malayalis are notorious for their critical mind on any thing and every thing. We despise the rest of India for lack of cleanliness and education. Keralites claim to keep their own houses and surroundings clean. But their 'surroundings' end at the entrance to the road. We used to call Tamilians as Pandis and used to make fun of them. They have overtaken us in every field decades back. Their cities look much cleaner, they cultivate their own food, they host most of the industries, where Malayalis go around begging for jobs. They don’t have epidemics like we have in Kerala. Is there any other state in India which can boast of so many epidemics round the year? Along with the rains, come all the unheard of illnesses, and the Health Minister finds it the best time to study health planning in America!
Yesterday’s newspaper was full of news about the epidemics. There is Dengue fever, Chikung Guinea, Swine flu, Rat fever ,Malaria and other un named illnesses. The pathetic part is that all these illnesses are related to unhygienic living conditions. Malayalis claim to be cleanest of the lot. The cleanliness is just superficial. We don’t hesitate to get out of home and then lift the dhoti and piss on to the next wall. All our lakes and rivers are full of scum. Drinking water is a scarcity. A state which gets flooded every year, Isn’t this a joke?
We are blessed with naturally lovely backwaters and rivers. An intricate network of innumerable lagoons, lakes , canals, estuaries and deltas of forty four rivers that drain in to the Arabian sea. Greenery everywhere, but all full of dirt and scum
If reading alphabets is called education, we could say Malayalis are literate. But is it true education?. Education brings culture and civilization. Decency and manners. Etiquettes and formalities. It teaches to respect others and to learn from others.
Swami Vivekananda was not insane when he called Kerala an Asylum of lunatics almost hundred years back. And that is exactly what we have become. We have probably the highest suicide rate in India, highest number of mentally ill people, the largest number of drunkards and addicts, a satisfactory number or rapists and molesters, the largest number of bandhs and hartals, and consumes the highest amount of medications among other states, and sell the highest amount of fake medicines, have the most violent political crowd and highest number of political murders….not enough reasons?
Hooligans gain admissions to colleges under the patronage of political parties. Their only mission is to disrupt classes and organize crimes. The recent attack on the CMS college at Kottayam is a good example.
Politicians have looted and encroached every inch of governmental land and wealth. Themselves or their bynames own all the illegal businesses in the state, and they ensure that no legitimate businesses or industries come to this place. Unemployment is a necessity for existence of communism, and so industrialization is an obstacle for their creed.
Do I need to say that we have the most perverted mentality in the world? We talk of morality a lot. We act as the Moral Police of the world. Everything is prohibited. Sex is a crime here, except for politicians. But we have the most perverted attitude in dealing with any problems related to sex. Prostitutes are arrested, but raped by policemen themselves. They sponsor brothels, in return for services. Even consenting adults, or legitimate couples cannot go to a hotel or resort, it could become a headline story the next day. Like everything else, for the majority, the only option is the roadside or the bushes at night time.
For any one who is coming to Kerala for the first time, the ordeal starts from the airport itself. I haven’t seen such mean immigration officers any where else in the world. Totally antagonistic. They make it a point to shoot silly, irritating questions at the passengers. Once outside, the picking and pulling of beggars, and the suffocating crowd, followed by the harassment of taxi drivers. And then, do we have any thing worth calling a road to go on ?
My friend Mr C V is a well known figure here, and is very proud of Kerala and wastes no opportunities to brag about the wonderful place called Kerala, to his colleagues. And he landed in to lot of problems once. His co workers, two Egyptians and a British man ,were so impressed by his descriptions that they decided to visit Kerala with CV during one of his vacations. After escaping the picking and pulling of beggars outside the air port, they were headed towards Kumarakom. It was rainy, and at many places, the roads looked like rivers. At the junction where they turn from Kottayam to Kumarakom, is the big sign board “ Kerala,Gods own Country”. Impressive board. It was when the visitors were reading the board when the car fell, with an exploding sound, in to a big gutter filled with muddy water at the middle of the road .They had the fright of their lives. And one of them yelled
” Is this God’s own country for sure?”
It took many hours to pull the car out of that gutter. Some thing had broken under the car, and they had to engage another car to continue their journey.
There are no good roads. It is pathetic that with all the kind of problems in that place, our people and politicians have not yet realized the value of good roads and high ways. Our state has the worst roads in the world. Some times we cant even differentiate, where the road starts or ends. The state which depends on tourism doesn’t have even the basics of facilities for tourists.
My friend Mr CV was once sitting in his shop at Adoor while he was on vacation. One of his staff came and said, “Sir, there is someone who asks something in English”. They were a British tourist couple who had just got down at the Adoor bus station and were desperately looking for a toilet. The toilets at our bus stations are notoriously unclean. Our literate community have learned to urinate on to every wall outside the toilets, and never in to. For one reason, they cant reach the toilets, because they stink. My friend then guided them to a nearby tourist hotel, because he said, the looks of that woman was really pathetic, and she was in tears of agony.
I realized how backward we were in these kind of facilities, all the while we brag about the beauty of the place. Places which survive on tourism, like Maldives and Egypt are not rich. But they give excellent facilities for the tourists. We don’t know even the basics that there should be comfort stations along roads or highways. Or do we expect the tourists to learn to urinate and defaecate at the roadsides, like us?
We are always slow to learn lessons. Sometimes we never learn. We are after Chandrayan and Rasool Pookutty, as if these are world’s biggest wonders. We make big stories of big nothings like this and find reasons to celebrate. We don’t have roads, but we are planning to send man to the moon, decades after many other have done it, and dedicate the valuable public funds for that purpose. We have mockers of actors, who we think, are the best in the world, because we don’t see good movies. Life here, is like an Indiana Jones movie. Ancient and frightening.
We still live our lives , like frogs in the well . Isn’t it time to come out?