Last night, that is the night of 29th March 2016, twitterati started trending #SaveKerala. When I went through few tweets on the hash tag, I realized that the tweets were regarding the 2016 Assembly elections. All tweets were asking voters of Kerala to make an intelligent choice of rejecting both the fronts of Kerala politics, UDF & LDF. Most of the tweets wanted the voters to elect the BJP led NDA to rule the state and #SaveKerala. I too did my part and contributed few tweets.
But there was one tweet with a video contributed by Meena Das Narayanan (@MeenaDasNarayan) which has made me write this article. The video is available here. In this video Meena talks of how she had to be away from her hometown as her parents felt that Kerala did not have opportunities for the future. The words that Meena spoke were not mere words, but the feelings of many Keralites like me who are staying in different cities outside Kerala for the lack of opportunities there.
We are called Marunadan Malayalees (Malayalees living in other states).
First let’s look at number of Malayalees working/living in other countries. As per the estimates of 2008, there were around 2.5 million Malayalees in the Gulf countries alone. Let’s look at the other countries where Malayalees live, 600K in USA, 100K in UK, 46K in Israel, 25K in Australia, 22K in Canada, 22K in Malaysia & Singapore together. Surprising of all is that, there are around 6K mallus in Pakistan(Source)
Now coming to Malayalees living in other states of India, we do have 700K in Karnataka, 500K in TN, 400K in Maharashtra. There are few living in other parts of the country too. What has led to these many people leaving their homeland and working in places of least interest to them? Leaving their loved ones, family, friends, paddy fields, rivers and temples wouldn’t have been an easy task, then why did so many people make that choice.
My father is a member of Kerala Samajam (Avadi) which in turn is a part of Confederation of Tamil Nadu Malayalee Association (CTMA). I have spoken to many members of the association and the one reason they give for leaving Kerala is the lack of opportunities. My father left Kerala because he made losses in his business (School Canteen) and had to pay people back. Once he had made money and paid all of them back, he stayed back as he wanted to give us quality education. (We still run a Tea Shop in Avadi, Chennai)
Kerala got its first democratically elected government in 1957, formations/front led by both Congress & Communists have been ruling the state every five years. Still we have so many people working/living outside Kerala. I have my cousins working in the GCC & the USA. My friends from Kerala have been working in UAE for salary equivalent to 20K INR, they toil hard in the sun to make that money. If the UDF & LDF had kept politics aside and thought about the welfare of the people of the state, we wouldn’t have seen such huge number of Keralites leaving Kerala.
UDF & LDF boast of them being the reason for 96% literacy rate in Kerala. But they do not talk about the quality of education which is very pathetic. I have seen B.Tech graduates from Kerala working in call centers for 10-12K salary. If the education was good, they would have been in reputed companies earning handsome salary.
The LDF has been against privatization, they are against corporates, they are against MNC’s, and they are against common man too. You may ask me as of why I call the LDF led by the people’s party CPM an anti-people party. The answer lay in two words “Nokku Kooli” or “gawking wages”. I have not known any people’s party in the world that would like to harass the very own people it says it represents.
People have been killed in Kerala for shifting political loyalties. The murderers have mostly been cadres from CPI(M). There are instances where RSS/BJP workers are also involved in murders, but if one notices it has mostly been a revenge attack. I do not justify the acts of violence by the RSS/BJP, I am against any kind of violence for that matter. However, its always best to know what led to violence. CPM does not want to lose its vote base and the one way it knows to keep its base intact is instilling fear in the hearts of people who think of leaving the party.
UDF is no saint either. Corruption, appeasement, lack of governance all these have been the trade mark of Congress led UDF. The state has seen the most corrupt government with the CM & FM involved in scandals like Solar & Bar Bribery. The government had an education minister who changed the name of his official residence just because it was a Hindu name (now think of media coverage if it was a BJP minister)