Archive for July, 2010

God’s own nagging question!

To find out why, all u have to do is to stay in Kerala and follow state news for just two weeks.

After my final year project, I had exactly two weeks at home  before I go to work. And I did just that.

When I began, the hottest news was an ongoing rabble between the Left govt in Kerala and NHAI. Apparently the NHAI wants to increase the width of national highways in Kerala to 60m. A noble cause indeed. Obviously, the Left govt said NO. Getting out of the reflux response, they later said this: NO, increase width only to 30m. But according to NHAI 30m wouldn’t qualify so much as an NH and therefore was unacceptable. Mind you, its very difficult to get land to increase road width in a state of such population density, especially when an average Malayalee spends the wealth of his lifetime building  garish bungalows right next to a highway (Its illegal to build it on the highways). But the govt doesnt want 60m width even on areas where it is actually possible. This probably is due to the Kerala CM’s latest finding: “Roads are actually not that important for industrial development”.(Yup..He said this). Anyways the row was finally settled for a 45m road width and don’t even dare to ask what the existing width of a highway in Kerala is.

Right after the fight for narrow roads were won, came another blow. Straight from HC, an order essentially attacking everything that a mallu stands for. The HC order banned people gathering on public roads causing inconvenience to passengers. So if anyone wants a public gathering, they should arrange it in open grounds or halls. Not on roads, disrupting traffic. But how are we supposed to protect our right to strike/protest/dharna/hartaal/bandh without gathering on roads??. In fact causing inconvenience to the public is kinda the whole point of all these. Judges must be kidding. This was exactly what some of the ruling MLAs and ministers thought. They wasted no time before gathering on roads, publicly discrediting the judges by even calling them names. Lets just say I improved my Malayalam vocab.

Fight against foolish HC judgments itself would have occupied the news longer. But sadly we were distracted by an even bigger scam. Fuel price hike. Traditionally in Kerala after a fuel price hike, the next working day will be a hartaal. Thus came the first govt sponsored hartaal of the academic year. Ppl celebrated the holiday in their homes drinking and watching TV. What the Govt din realize was that this was a national issue. So of course there would be one more national level bandh by BJP and Left. Big question was, should Kerala now be excluded from Bharat Bandh? Considering that there was only one hartaal in that week for the same cause, it was decided that there was no need for an exclusion. Thus Keralites happily shut themselves down once more by sitting in their home drinking and watching TV, simultaneously expressing solidarity with the striking nation. The state govt found the decision of Tripura left govt which excluded itself from a second bandh for the same cause incomprehensible. Our CM asserted: “No regret for having two bandhs in a week. There will be more if possible”. Please note that here I hvn’t considered the local hartaals at all. e.g. the day after state hartaal, there was a BJP hartaal in Wayanad district alone.

You cant blame our CM coz its quite possible that the revenue from beverages corporation on the day before hartaal could be larger than any loss hartaal would cause to govt. It could also be possible that in a communism infested state, its more profitable if all the industries are shut?.

Or maybe, its all in our culture. In Kerala, the government employees who earns a living by doin as little work as possible are the most respected class. Where as the private company employees who earn by actually doin something productive are the cursed exploited class. Even if they earn more. But this is the case with most of India. So Kerala’s addiction with hartaal/bandh requires more serious scholarly study.

By now, any reader wouldn’t be surprised to know that as many as 1/3 rd of Malayalees work outside Kerala. They work really hard.  Save money.  Send it home so that their family can spend. So as long as there are no hartaals outside Kerala, say in Bangalore or in Dubai we will do just fine without working.  So right now we wait for the day when TV channels introduce “Hartaal Day special programmes”.

So is it the frequent hartaal thats making any hardworking Keralite leave the country? What if you don’t wanna sacrifice the greenery and pleasant weather just because of a few hartaals. Well in that case, u better be not an MD of any company.

Mathrubhumi news report: Keltron MD quits months before retirement. Official reason: he needs to take care of his children’s education in B’lore. Extra information: A trade union leader calls MD asks him to recruit 40 ppl he went to high school with. MD replies that if he does that, company will be at loss and he does not wish to head such an organization. Union leader of course has no idea why would an appointed  MD care about a govt  company. Leader threatens. MD leaves the state for good.

Another report after a few days : KSRTC MD submits resignation letter. I din bother to read the rest.

On the last day of my vacation: Radical Islamists (read anti-social elements or goondas if u r a “secularist”) chop off one hand of a college professor (a Christian) who set a question paper allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammad.

I hear the evening news where our education minister M.A Baby says the professor was such a fool to end up in a situation like that.

Thankfully my two weeks were over.

Kerala in a nutshell is an air conditioned theater with a very bad play. You either sleep peacefully or leave. I am just concerned about those second class audience who still watches the play hoping for a twist or a good climax. Believe me..it ain’t gonna come unless you demand it.

Consider, if you will, this blog as one of my chappals thrown just before leaving.


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