“God's Own Country” means a country supposedly more favoured by Nature and its origin can be traced to the description of Wicklow Mountains in Ireland by British writer Edward du Bois in 1807. Over the years the same tag was hitched on to fourteen countries in the world including Kerala. The sole purpose of christening places as “God's Own Country” was promoting tourism.
Kerala, one of the most idyllic places in the world, has attracted people from all over the world from ancient times but remained as a land of rare spices till 1980s when the then Kerala Government decided to place it on the world tourism map. The same tag “God's Own Country” was adopted officially in its tourism promotions and it became a global super brand of highest recall. Being the land of rare spices and exceptional natural beauty, this title fits well with Kerala. By 1986 tourism became an industry in Kerala.
I was working at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, when Kerala was flashed frequently on television screens as “God’s Own Country” evoking hilarious responses from viewers. But one among them blurted out, “God’s Own Country but Devil’s Own People”. All in the small gathering in the TV room had a hearty laugh and forgot about it; but within a year the tag “Devil’s Own People” referring to Keralites in Kerala, appeared in Indian Express in a short write up. Now if you type “God’s Own Country and Devil’s Own People” in Google, the site brings out about 3,38,00,000 entries in 0.64 seconds. Going through some of those entries, you will find almost all of them are referring to the people in Kerala.
Glancing through some of the entries you will be struck by the number of facts reinforcing new designation of “Mallus” a popular term referring to Malayalees.
Mallus are politically too sensitive and hysterically hyper active evidencing in their frequently enforced Harthals and Bandhs often with extreme violence. In 2006 a record of 223 harthals were executed in God’s Own Country resulting in an estimated loss of 2000 crores. The pattern is the same: paralyzing the economic, social, political, educational institutions and freedom of movement and livelihood works of common people in State. Between 2005 and 2012 there were 363 harthals called by different political parties alone. As someone said, “I t takes only two Mallus, a flag and a mike to form a union to strike a strike”. Frequent and irrational harthals paralyses the public life; above all it promotes a culture of hooliganism destroying public and private properties causing injuries to people even unto death. Often harthals and bandhs become street battles between rival groups. Harthals promote the “ Thodu-phodu” (break and destroy) culture among Mallus making them more devilish. “ Kerala Tourism is badly hit by harthals” is the prime news in most TV channels on 13th Jan, as I finish this write up.
Unbridled consumerism with very high level dependency on imports of all essential items in life is another devilish character of Mallus. Rice was the most important food crop grown in Kerala. Now the area under rice has fallen from 8.82 lakh hectare in 1974-75 to 1.96 lakh in 2015-16. Except rubber all other crops are slowly disappearing from Kerala. Being an agronomist I can say that every crop in the world can be grown in Kerala if Mallus are ready to soil their hands. Today soiling the hands in Kerala is meant only for migrant workers from other states. Devils always eat on others’ labour but they never seem to realize that they are living in a very fragile economic system: Invisible Injustices.
The rate of sex crimes is another characteristic of the devilish people. Kerala is reportedly the sex-region of India. The Mallus are so sensitive to sex that an unrelated man and woman cannot sit on the same seat in a public transport, cannot talk in public places. But most men there seem to be sex starved and become red-hot with high voltage sex-electricity at the sight of a female. A total of 16,960 cases of crime against women and children, including 2,568 rapes, have been reported in the year 2016 in the state. As India today reported on Aug 5, 2002, Pornography is a big business in Malayalam film industry (cultivating pornography instead of food items). The irony is Kerala has the highest number of religious institutions like churches, temples and retreat centres per square kilometre in the world: Mallus are wallowing in pharisaic spirituality.
It is a land of political parties in splinter groups; Kerala Congress in its own birth place has already cloned into a dozen splinter groups. “In Kerala two people can make three parties” is worth pondering. It has become the land of political murders.
Another characteristic of Mallus’ land is that it is spotted with nearly 2000 foreign liquor shops and 6000 toddy shops. The peculiar thing is that Mallus have to publicize their over-drinking with abusive languages on the street and violent behaviours at home inflicting sorrow and shame to their own family members. Kerala government has the dubious distinction of generating huge revenue by selling liquor and breaking families. Drinks and drugs go together. The excise commissioner of Kerala recorded over 900 cases of drug smuggling in 2014 while in 2016 the number went up to 3000 cases. In 2017, the provisional figure of drug cases filed in Kerala was 9,242 while the same were 2,391 during the first three months of 2018. Investigation by revealed that 80% of those involved in drug abuse cases registered were teenage school children: devils are being formed in schools.
“ Supari Gangs” known also as "quotation groups" are mushrooming all across Kerala. Businessmen and politicians engage them to assault or kill their rivals; construction firms hire them; parents ask them to bring back runaway daughters; liquor barons use them as enforcers of discipline; financiers hire them to recover debt from borrowers; hawala dealers engage them to ensure their money has a safe passage. “There is a parallel economy in Kerala creating huge demand for criminal groups”, says Dr. James Vadacumchery, a former criminologist with the state police. According to him, a sense of insecurity coupled with a lack of faith in the legal system has resulted in a section of society turning to these muscle groups, and many feel that assaulting a rival is easier, cheaper and faster than resorting to police and legal system.
Long standing rivalry between various Christian denominations is Kerala still continues and often it breaks out into most unchristian behaviours by priests and people of rival groups. The rite problem divides not only the churches but even the religious congregations. The bitter struggle between Malankara and Jacobites began from 1599. “Are they not all followers of Christ?” is the question asked by any non-Christian in Kerala.
The Mallus’ craze for gold is proverbial. The per capita investment in gold among rural people of Kerala is 6 -11 times that of their counter parts in other states and for the urban people it ranges between 4-7 times.
Kerala’s lungi -clad loading and unloading workers demand wages for watching someone work; strikes by staff in the essential services, sabotaging development works, destruction of public property, colossal loss making public transport system, massive protest by government employees against punctuality in work are some more of the devilish ways of Mallus.
The Sabarimala event is the acme of devilishness of the irrational and fossiled brahminical superstitious rituals. It negates the essence of womanhood and motherhood without which even the arrogant religious fanatics would not come to life. “The orthodox Hindu is a strange Fossil of humanity” wrote Ananya Vajpeyi, in Hindu, 12/1/19. When Goddesses are worshiped the Fossils are ignorant that sexually active women folk are the Generative Principle of the Sanctifying Creativity of humanity and they are the ones most deserving to enter Sabarimala or any other holy places of any religion because ever since humanity originated they were and are the Generators and Guardians of the Eternally Evolving and Expressing Energy (God) embodying Itself in every being in this Universe. Fortunately this “Devilishness” is not applied to Mallus outside Kerala. Same Ayyappa in Maryland US welcomes females of any age proving Naishtika Brahmachari is a contradiction and a frozen fossiled belief.
(The writer is a retired Professor, XIM, Bhubaneswar. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)(Published on 04th February 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 06)