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Showing posts from 2013

Caught Cochinitis?

The Gulf’s lunar hold on Kerala has been long and defining but Kochi’s race to become a “second Dubai” is sending the Malayali, ever chary despite his wanderlust, into a tizzy. The gold souks were always there but the cityscape is suddenly all-new: the once-quaint little coastal city is chock-a-block with hypermalls, fancy cars and designer boutiques. Its main artery, the MG Road, is crammed with ever more jewellery shops—as if gold can be panned right out of the Arabian Sea. And the parallel highway is hemmed in, even visually, by gigantic car showrooms, five-star hotels, fancy hospitals and what have you. These two lifelines culminate in that ultimate orgy of retailism, the Lulu Mall, touted as the “biggest” and fanciest mall in India.

As is the wont in Kerala, this obsessive consumerist behaviour has attracted its share of caustic comments from soc­­ial scientists who fear it’s causing a “cultural erosion” and “intellectual pov­erty”. One abiding symptom is the regularity with whic…

The Suryanelli Girl: Her Story

Suryanelli: The place of no sun. 
  Roofs weighed down by rock bags to keep the wind from blowing them away
Off the Kerala state highway that connect the small, brash towns giddy with foreign remittances, sits an unassuming, modest home that goes by the name: Lovedale. A septuagenarian couple, a retired postmaster and a retired nurse, live here with their younger daughter and, a ghoulish past that continues to taunt every waking moment of their lives. The 33-year-old daughter smiles shyly revealing an innocence frozen in time. 17 years ago, the daughter, then a 16-year-old girl, had left home wearing a skirt and a blouse to go to school and returned sexually violated and terribly traumatized: her transformation from a carefree school girl to a bloated individual was violently shocking. The girl had been kept captive, fed sedatives and alcohol, traded for sex and raped by 42 men in a span of 40 days in the months of January and February 1996. The family’s tryst with rapists, the police, …

Kerala women unsafe in a patriarchal society

Kerala is one of the two states in India (the other is Puducherry) to have a higher population of females than males. It also takes the top position in female literacy but these statistics are not indicators that women are safe in the state. In fact, incidences of rape and assault on women in Kerala are highly reported. Two sensational cases of the 90s, called the Suyranelli and the Vithura cases, where minor girls were gangraped, are still languishing in the courts:

The comments of the politicians and the judiciary are grossly insensitive that exposes the biased mindset of a patriarchal society. The lawmakers and lawgivers believe men can do no wrong or can do just about anything. On February 9, Justice R Basant, the former Kerala High Court judge, who was part of the two-judge bench that tried the Suyranelli case in 2005 made shocking comments against the rape victim. The bench had ac…