Hiding Kerala`s true Life By Doctrote fellows ???????

Sir, What about the dalits who are living in colonies, fighting for lands in Chengara and the unwedded mothers of Attappady, and the Land alienated Tribals of wayanad……………………………………………?????

Email This Page Print This Page

– A cautionary tale for the policymaker


Far from idyllic

Per capita income, once regarded as the best index of the welfare of a society, has long since been dethroned from this status. People have argued persuasively that it is a measure that ignores not only income distribution but also the quality of life. Alternative approaches have been designed to explore these nuances of measurement and alternative indices constructed. Amartya Sen has developed a ‘capabilities approach’ to the question of relative levels of well-being that focuses on the capacity of people to function effectively in various spheres of life. The human development index, inspired largely by Sen’s work, highlights three aspects of life: longevity, education and the standard of living. More subtle criteria of capability have also been designed. All such measures however emphasize, in addition to life, liberty and per capita income, various components of health, education and gender equality.

When the relative performance of the different Indian states is gauged by these yardsticks, one state, Kerala, emerges as the clear winner on all counts except that of per capita income. It has the highest life expectancy, the lowest infant and maternal mortality, the best public health facilities, the highest literacy, the best performance in almost all educational indices, the best gender ratio, the best record in female education, health and empowerment and the lowest total fertility. With such a record of performance in areas regarded by outstanding thinkers as crucial to the quality of life, Keralites must surely enjoy the most satisfying lives among all Indians. Right?

Wrong. Kerala also has the highest rate of suicide among all states, no less than three times the national average. It has the highest rate of alcoholism and possibly the highest rate of drug addiction. Instead of living in idyllic happiness (diminished just a bit by a not-so-high per capita income) relative to all other states, the population of Kerala brims over with a seething discontent with their lives that far exceeds the levels of dissatisfaction reached in any other state of the country. No doubt the authors of the capabilities approach and the HDI were only summing up the factors that, according to their values (and those of many others), seemed highly desirable ethically. They were not creating a prescription for happiness. But should a highly successful application of their prescription (whatever its aims) have been associated with unhappiness of this intensity?

The Kerala conundrum raises two troublesome questions for economists and policymakers. First, what accounts for the coexistence in Kerala of indicators of high and inclusive capabilities and human development with signals of the profoundest misery? Second, what light does this paradox shed on a policy debate that has not yet entirely died out — a debate on whether policy should concentrate initially on income growth or focus primarily on the development of human capabilities.

Perhaps a clue to a solution of these puzzles can be found in yet another feature of Kerala society. The Keralites are a population of would-be émigrés. The Malayali exodus abroad, or even indeed to other states, far exceeds, in per capita terms, the outflow of other linguistic groups from their respective homes. The people of Kerala are in desperate flight from their homeland, that paradise of inclusiveness, good medical care, excellent educational facilities and gender equality, not only abroad but also to other states where similar facilities do not exist.

There is of course no mystery in this at all. What the emigrants are looking for in alien environments is employment and higher income, things that their state with all its human development has signally failed to generate. The high existing rural density of population limits the absorptive capacity of agriculture. And industry is hamstrung not only by a poor endowment of industrial natural resources but, more importantly, by the militancy of labour unions and the indulgence of the government and the judiciary towards the latter. The consequence, of course, has been that investors avoid Kerala if that is at all possible. Anyone entering the state by the land route will have been struck by the cluster of industries on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, just outside the reach of Kerala unions and Kerala courts. The major industry of Kerala of course is construction, fuelled primarily by remittances or by the home-building investments of returning retirees.

In the very long run, this stagnation of employment opportunity could perhaps have been taken care of by the contraction of Kerala’s population resulting from a total fertility rate below the replacement level. In the immediate present, however, with employment opportunities at home severely restricted, the Keralite has little option but to explore wider horizons elsewhere. In this, his superior education is an asset, enabling him to invade and capture segments of the medium-skilled labour market in India and abroad. Indeed, the Kerala education system, beyond the basic primary level, is driven by the hope that higher education would create the possibility of an escape from the narrow confines of the Kerala job market. It is inevitably a system of education for export.

But what of those who cannot accomplish this transition to a broader labour market, who swell the ranks of the educated unemployed or are forced into jobs which, because of their education, they regard as beneath themselves? For them, Kerala promises nothing but frustration, a diminished sense of self-esteem, drowned occasionally in alcohol or narcotic bliss, leading possibly to suicidal depression.

The Kerala story is a cautionary tale for the policymaker. There have long been two schools of thought regarding development priorities. One advocates a strong focus on output and income growth. It suggests that rapid growth trickles down rapidly to the lagging segments of the population and that free choice, through the market or the political process, of an increasingly prosperous population generates a demand for better education, health and a cleaner environment that the market or the government finds worthwhile to fulfil. The other school questions the effectiveness of trickle-down or demand-linkage: it proposes instead direct investment in human capability, implying, if not openly asserting, that for an empowered and capable population, income growth is inevitable.

In the Indian case (unlike African or Latin American examples), a distinctive twist is added by the fact that our contemporary growth is part of a massive global shift of manufacturing and labour-intensive services from the advanced world to labour-abundant East and South Asia. A major feature of such growth is increasing demand for labour, both unskilled and skilled — implying increasing participation of the low-wage poor and a rising demand for better education and health facilities. Unless we insulate ourselves from this global trend, therefore, rapid growth in India is likely to be both inclusive and oriented to the development of human capabilities.

The Kerala experiment seems to suggest that the alternative strategy might not be quite so successful. Right from the days of the rajas of Travancore, successive governments of Kerala have followed a policy based on the development of human capability. Unfortunately, this has not been matched by, nor has it induced, a similar expansion of Kerala’s industrial structure. Therein lie the seeds of Kerala’s tragedy.

The author is professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

1 billion people need decent shelter..please join the movement..let us move them out of Slum into Homes.

Trouble with links or images? Want to share this email? View this message online, click here.
Habitat for humanity -- matching gift challenge for world habitat day!

Help families in need of decent, affordable homes -- donate by october 4, and your gift will be doubled -- donate now

Dear Member:

One billion people.

That’s the number of people living in substandard slum conditions – many without indoor plumbing, vulnerable to disease and malnutrition, and lacking opportunities to thrive academically.

By 2030, that number is expected to double. It is simply unacceptable that so many families throughout the world, whether in urban slums or rural villages, struggle daily in deplorable living conditions.

But with your help, Habitat for Humanity is making strides to improve lives, homes and communities. Today, I ask you to continue your partnership with us by making a donation to our World Habitat Day campaign.

Together, this October 4 – as we mark World Habitat Day – housing advocates will draw attention to this growing crisis by raising our voices to speak out against the lack of decent, affordable housing – and by working hard to help families overcome their housing hardships.

We are very excited about the buildup to this important day. The 27th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project will kick off World Habitat Day with events from October 3-8. Additionally, in special recognition of World Habitat Day, an anonymous donor has generously offered to match all donations dollar-for-dollar – up to $15,000 – made by midnight, October 4.

After you make a donation for World Habitat Day, we invite you to put yourself on our “giving map,” adding your name to the many others who believe in the vital role decent housing plays in stronger communities.


Jonathan Reckford
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity International

To contact us:
Habitat for Humanity International
121 Habitat Street
Americus, GA 31709-3498
©2010 Habitat for Humanity® International. All rights reserved.

Share this message on facebook Tweet this message

HRDA – Sign an Open Letter to the CJI to secure proper judicial accountability and support Prashant Bhushan

Australia: letter to the Office of the Attorney-General re disgusting website

“Dalit parties fail to represent Dalit cause”


Tamil Nadu – Madurai

“Dalit parties fail to represent Dalit cause”

Staff Reporter

Major political parties are deviating from highlighting issues

MADURAI: Dalit movements and major political parties in the State are
deviating from highlighting the issues affecting Dalits and have
largely failed to represent them on many major issues in the recent
past, said Dalit Gnanasekaran, founder, Dalit Liberation Movement.

Delivering a special address on a discussion titled ‘Remembering Poona
Pact,’ and a book release event at Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary on
Friday; he talked about his experiences as a Dalit activist in Madurai
and southern districts during the mid 80’s and early 90’s before
relocating himself to the northern districts.

In his speech he talked about his experiences working among the Dalits
during the 1989 Uthapuram riots where they organised close to 46
walkathons and protests demanding justice for Dalits.

He reminded how much difficult it was during those days to create an
awareness and he cited one incident during the late Chief Minister
M.G. Ramachandran’s period who introduced a scheme and provided ‘free
chappals’ to poor and how many Dalits in the rural villages got those
chappals but were never able wear them.

However, after many protests in a lot of villages the Dalits finally
were able to wear chappals provided by the State. Earlier in the
event, he released a book titled ‘Poarali Enum Adhikaaram’ which talks
about arguments and debates on Uthapuram Wall Issue from a Dalit

One of the essayists, Stalin Rajangam in his speech talked about the
dearth of substantial works in Tamil on Poona Pact and stated that
Dalits of Madras Presidency were actively involved during the colonial
period (prior to Round Table Conference) by making major interventions
through sending telegrams and letters to the British Government on the
status of the depressed classes in the country demanding adequate

The first major work on Poona Pact was published by Ambedkar Study
Circle in Chennai in the year 1965; the book was authored by Anbu
Ponoviyam and in the early 90’s Dalit writer Ravikumar came out with a
work highlighting the need for separate electorates.

J.Balasubramanian of Dalit Intellectual Circle said that Poona Pact
remains as an important event in the history of Dalit movements as it
was the first major event where Gandhi’s status as leader of the
masses and Mahatma came into question.

Jaganathan said that the Dalit parties have become non-functional,
many Dalits were murdered recently in the southern districts and Dalit
officials targeted but no major Dalit party organised protests or


The Second Round Table Conference in 1931 saw Dr. Ambedkar emphasising
the need for political power and Gandhi insisting upon protective
measures as it would divide the Hindus.

The conference ended with the then British Prime Minister Ramsey
McDonald announcing the Communal Award on 17th August 1932.

The depressed classes were granted separate seats in the Provincial
Assemblies and the right of double vote under which they were to elect
their own representatives and to vote also in the general

This arrangement was to be for 20 years. However, on September 20,
1932, Gandhi undertook a fast unto death in protest. The Poona Pact
was signed by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, the principal signatory on
behalf of the caste-Hindus and Ambedkar on behalf of the depressed
classes on 24 September 1932.

« Older entries