Monday, May 19, 2008

In the news...Kerala

God's own country is again in the news for all the wrong reasons. This time its around the Swamis.

Decades ago the Kerala Model of Development (KMD) hogged the headlines. I remember, during my college days, we were told many a time, many a facet of this KMD. Though, as I realised later, many of these were not cent per cent true, if one were to do a hair-splitting analysis of the whole KMD achievements, we used to feel a certain sense of pride as a Keralite.

Malayalees , as the Keralites are fondly called, are still considered a unique and special populace for right as well as wrong reasons. Funny and thought-provoking jokes weaved around Malayalees and Malayalee psyche and capabilities were in one way reflections of this uniqueness(One joke is when Americans landed on Moon, a Malayalee came to welcome him with a cup of tea. The 'fellas' were stunned to see the 'fellow' running a tea-stall there!). Though a joke it amply conveyed the entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking psyche of Malayalees.

The sad thing now, is the same lot of people, once appalauded and appreciated, is now ridiculed and despised. The growth and development of Malayalees (in materialistic terms) has had a direct and inversely proportional effect in their moral and spiritual lives. This has percolated into their daily lives so much so that they have gone into a spiritual bankruptcy. In this context, the remark of a senior IPS Officer is very in place: "The people of Kerala are willing to get cheated and are profferring themselves to get cheated".

The Swami cases is just an off-shoot of this despicable condition. Ironically, its another Swami's comment that describes the malayalee mindscape in a different light: Of the venerable Swami Vivekananda. Is it that he had the uncanny ability to foresee Keralite's psyche would be, down a century or so, that prompted him to compare Kerala to a Mental Asylum.

It is painful that in the whole melee even the genuine swami and swaminis come under the clouds of suspicion and mistrust.

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