All is not so well in Kerala as Shirin Shirin says….
Shirin Shirin over at Asia Times blow up Kerala as a rosy, rosy state in India from where the world leaders can take some cue in surviving the economic crisis. Obviously he has cited the examples of education, health care and other social indices which we have heard quite a lot about, while speaking about Kerala.
Let me list some facts before we start analysing this. For all those websites and loonys who openly campaigned for “oomen chandi” and his cronies to power, as he is “development friendly”,I would like to remind them that, if Left was not present in Kerala, the world would not have been speaking about Kerala and its facets these days. If congress was the dominant party in Kerala, my state would have turned out to be one among those dysfunctional states, where the govt employees don’t get their salary, where there is dismal literacy rate and the most vicious : the society would have been utterly communally polarized with so many riots and caste strife to boast about.
Be it militant or political presence, the presence of left has largely checked the communal polarization of Kerala society. The land reforms though not very pervasive has created a different situation for development altogether. Investments in public health care and education has certainly reaped rewards. Education has helped people to be pragmatic and judgmental about issues and that is why even the vociferous campaign by the neo-liberal, neo-rich mallus whose presence overwhelmingly grace the internet did not help Oomen chandi and his cronies to get back power.
Today Kerala is poised at a juncture where the effectiveness of Kerala Model is being questioned. One of the main problems of this model was that it did not create enough opportunities for the public that the social spending did not really reflect in the over all growth of Kerala. The Kerala model which is an eventuality of the decisions taken by the first elected government in Kerala did help Kerala in various facets but failed to address some serious problems.
So the people who were influential for such development has taken a volte-face and is vying for neo-liberal methods for industrialization and job creation. To be very precise, the Kerala Model is not anymore in existence or in practice. Kerala has changed from its mould, where it used to spend a lot on education and health care. Private players are thriving in both these sectors these days and are ripping apart the public. In every corner in Kerala, there are private multi specialty hospitals cropping up, where as in the education sector all lumpen and retrograde elements have made their presence felt by drastically challenging the government run institutions.
The sudden influx of spurious money has created a vibe in the market all across Kerala. Be it real estate or consumer spending, in effect Kerala has been dragged in to neo-liberal conundrum long back and is now experiencing the same amount insecurity as any others in India.
So it is not all that rosy as Shirin Shirin is trying to potray it as. Yes, there has been remarkable achievements that has been earned through the Kerala model but now it has reached a point where serious questions are raised about the Kerala model and its sustainability.