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God’s Own Country

Few years back, I just started college, a friend of mine asked, “Aren’t you from Kerala? I have heard it is a very difficult place to live in. ” I was surprised by this and rubbished the claim. Didn’t think of it much and forgot it. Just thought he had got some wild idea from someone.

Over the years I realized that this was not just him, there are many others who think so – and a significant proportion of our country’s population. Not just misinformation, they had hatred for the state. And in recent times, this hatred is more pronounced.

Perhaps the most significant event was the Sabarimala issue when the Supreme court allowed entry to women of all ages to the revered shrine. LDF state government, bound to respect SC verdict and being progressive enforced this. Not surprisingly protests broke loose throughout the state and country, mainly by Hindutva outfits. During this period many news trying to show Kerala is anti-Hindu did rounds in social media. Again, people asked me why Kerala is such a difficult place to live. Being more informed now, I tried to make them understand this is not so and argued what was really happening.

The hatred didn’t spare even tragic floods in 2018 and then in 2019. Some news channels ran the news that this is happening because people in Kerala eat beef. Let alone many more similar posts in social media, demonizing the state and its people.

During the recent lockdown in the country imposed in March, Karnataka didn’t allow patients from Kasaragod district to travel to hospitals in Mangalore. Border was manned not only by police but also volunteers from a Hindutva outfit, not letting anyone pass. At least eight patients died trying to get to hospitals in Mangalore as a result.  Since time immemorial, people of Kasaragod closer to Karnataka border have depended on Mangalore for healthcare, employment, shopping, entertainment, etc. So, this has come as a rude shock to the people of Kasaragod.

And lastly, regarding the recent death of a pregnant elephant, which sparked outrage nationally. Here too, many known figures, especially BJP ministers tried to paint a bad picture of Kerala. Ironically, one of them is responsible for the environmental disasters of unprecedented scale. A BJP MP also tried to communalize by giving false statements.

All these incidents point at a planned agenda to Malign Kerala, time and again. However, in recent times, the frequency of such attempts has increased. So, what exactly is the agenda here?

Kerala is one of the best states, in terms of quality of living in India as per many indicators. By this, I am not just referring to the quality of life in cities. Almost the entire state has good basic facilities like health, education, roads, public transport (which is the key to all this), reduced corruption, rich art and culture and likewise. The state has achieved multiculturism, which is unimaginable in other states of India in the foreseeable future. Overall, Kerala is a model which the entire country can follow, or even in a few other countries as well. But then, why the agenda to malign the state known as ‘God’s own country’.

The motive is clear. The state’s success is largely dependent on movements by workers and unprivileged, thus, communism. The majority of people are educated, politically aware, capable of thinking critically and know their rights. Such a population cannot be ruled by the corrupt easily. Moreover, communism is a word which the rich and the powerful despise. This could make their existence less relevant. What if the rest of the states follow the model of Kerala? This will be a major threat to Capitalists who exploit workers and natural resources for profit. Also, this will render many establishments that thrive on exploiting religious beliefs of people to extort money, irrelevantly. And these are the very people who influence the government and its formation, as the previous experience of governance evidently attests.

These are bitter but harsh truth, which the state is facing. A similar campaign is happening to malign West Bengal, the details of which can be written in another blog. Don’t know how far this agenda is successful, or how long it’s going to continue. But it’s clear that if this continues the current governance and policies will result in destroying India as we know it.

The author wants to remain anonymous.

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