On May 11th in Kerala

Elias John (Aniyara,Surya Tv),May 2001 :

“Inspite of all the criticism this programme has aired against the Nayanar government,we feel sad today.Because Kerala is losing yet another left front government.Because our past experiences tells us not to expect anything in the next five years”

five years since,its seems malayalam telivision’s Ed Murrow was in a prophetic mood that day.

A change is inevitable in gods own country.Because we’ve had enough of dysfunctional governance.Because we’ve had enough of aya ram gaya ram squabbles.Because we’ve had enough of ice cream parlour rapists.Because we’ve mortaged most of the state.Because all our exam papers leak.Because we dont need muslim league and its casanova kuttis.Because we’ve become a land of mafias.Because the father,son and the holy spirit suck.Because the chief executive is a convenor of corruption.Because Devils own land is a tagline in the making.
Not to forget we have one of the highest consumption of liquor,highest suicide rate and high unemployment as well.

In his book,Development as Freedom,Sen compares US,China and Kerala.I read again,its US,China and Kerala.It was a pleasant surprise.This was not the first time the Kerala model was being touted as a road map for all the developing world,time and again the green strip has been on the radar of global think tanks.

Kerala is a land where social development has gone hand in hand with economic and political development,rather it has overtook the two.Its Human development index compares with North America and Europe in many parameters.Areas like medical care,education,social harmony,rural infrastructure and political vigilance have reached a point where developmental economists sit up and take note.

Because Kerala has the least mortality of infants.Because kerala has the highest sex ratio – which means if you are a girl child,you dont get killed down here.Because kerala has one of the worlds highest life expectancies.Because kerala is one urban stretch of four hundred miles.Because ink pads dont sell in kerala – they use pens instead.Because kerala is one place where extinction of lion tailed monkey or the ghat deer can bring down cabinets.Because the ubiquitous tea shops discuss ‘mandari’ disease in coconuts and lula of brazil with the same concern.Because people on an average read three newspapers down here.

If one looks at Kerala’s political history – the state is 50 years old,the left front has been in power for around fifteen years.(excluding the right wing left front party).The congress lead governments ruled the rest of the years.Now if you look at path breaking reforms that made all the above possible,it was more or less during those fifteen years.Be it the land reforms,educational reforms and wage reforms brought about in 1957 by the EMS government (the first democratically elected left front government in the world).The coalation politics dharma of the sixties – another first in India.The literacy campaign of the eighties – another first in India.The peoples plan of the nineties – ditto.

The last term of the left front saw the Peoples plan campaign,stretching four long years.The idea was to eliminate centralised power and centralised planning.How could a beurocrat or a minister sitting somewhere in a capital city know what is good for a far away village,whether they need a bridge or a school or an internet kiosk.All across the state people met in schools,everyweek and made their list of developmental demands,based on ground realities and burning needs of the time.Village roads and bridges were built in places not even on the surveyor of India maps.Power percolated to lowest levels of society.Development and its benefits were not anymore confined to the urban shopping centres,goverment offices and kitchen coteries of the men in power.Every village and every town in kerala felt energized,it was probably the greatest leap forward in the history of development in Kerala.

It surely increased the overall debt of the state manifold and drew a lot of crticism from world bank and the Asian bank.Today after five years when one looks back at the days of Peoples Plan (the brain child of late EMS Namboodiridpad)we realise the good it has done to the state,it was an astute marxist’s understanding of kerala’s developmental needs in a economy which was getting liberalised from all the sides,it was a theoritician’s insightful comparison of Kerala’s present state with meiji era Japan and pre-reform China.

The new left front government which I believe will take oath in May,will have to lead Kerala from a support led success story to a growth meditated success.As a close adulator of kerala model and its politics,I am excited at what will be in store for the state this time around.I am optimistic about change because these guys been there before,they’ve delivered before.On May 11 th Kerala will have its tyrst with destiny and ‘hope’ may be retuned to us after a long wait of five years.

Good Night and Good Luck !

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