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Following in dubya’s footsteps

For a state that has, for decades, claimed ascendancy over the rest on a plethora of development indices, it cannot be denied Kerala also has a chip on its shoulder.

Published: 14th September 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2017 12:45 AM   |  A+A-

For a state that has, for decades, claimed ascendancy over the rest on a plethora of development indices, it cannot be denied Kerala also has a chip on its shoulder. Eschewing the time-tested agrarian-manufacturing-service economy model, Kerala has tailor-made its own by parachuting itself directly into the final stage. The spin-offs have been many: If the country is satisfied with its NRIs, Kerala boasts of NRKs; the state, unsatisfied with service provided by the national carrier, has been for many years pushing for Kerala Airways; if given a chance, it would redefine the National Highway width … the list goes on.
Therefore, one would expect an ecosystem that nurtures diversity and  liberalism in tackling basic issues.

Not really. For some time now the tendency in Kerala has been to either shout down or lampoon voices of dissent, if it goes against what’s spelt out by those who set the agenda on issues that engage the public. Therefore, it irks them when the likes of cine stalwarts Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Sreenivasan say they believe Dileep is not guilty in the actor abduction case. The result: the ace director is publicly reviled, and the thespian has black oil poured on the walls of his house. CM Pinarayi Vijayan gets lampooned for hosting the new Minister for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam for lunch because of the political divide.

It is said, and rightly so by intellectuals—a number of them claim domicile in Kerala—that they are worried about fascism taking roots in the country. Sure, it is a worry when diversity in thought and culture gets muzzled in any sphere of life. This theory also holds good for what is happening in Kerala where its own brand of ‘political correctness’ gets to decide what is okay and what’s not for the general public. The result: the rise of a new generation that is intolerant of divergent views. A state that mocked former US President George W Bush for his “You’re either with us or against us” statement of 2001, is in the danger of following in his footsteps.

Eschewing the time-tested agrarian-manufacturing-service economy model, Kerala has tailor-made its own by parachuting itself directly into the final stage. The spin-offs have been many: If the country is satisfied with its NRIs, Kerala boasts of NRKs; the state, unsatisfied with service provided by the national carrier, has been for many years pushing for Kerala Airways; if given a chance, it would redefine the National Highway width … the list goes on.

Therefore, one would expect an ecosystem that nurtures diversity and  liberalism in tackling basic issues. Not really. For some time now the tendency in Kerala has been to either shout down or lampoon voices of dissent, if it goes against what’s spelt out by those who set the agenda on issues that engage the public. Therefore, it irks them when the likes of cine stalwarts Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Sreenivasan say they believe Dileep is not guilty in the actor abduction case. The result: the ace director is publicly reviled, and the thespian has black oil poured on the walls of his house.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan gets lampooned for hosting the new Minister for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam for lunch because of the political divide. It is said, and rightly so by intellectuals—a number of them claim domicile in Kerala—that they are worried about fascism taking roots in the country. Sure, it is a worry when diversity in thought and culture gets muzzled in any sphere of life. This theory also holds good for what is happening in Kerala where its own brand of ‘political correctness’ gets to decide what is okay and what’s not for the general public. The result: the rise of a new generation that is intolerant of divergent views. A state that mocked former US President George W Bush for his “You’re either with us or against us” statement of 2001, is in the danger of following in his footsteps.



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