The Malabar Synthesis

I am now bringing to light the fact that, as a family, we seldom had vacations outside. We used to go, but not to any place we completely didn’t know about. Although there have been some trips, but there sure was no ‘family holiday getaway’ as such..! The main reason is that, my dad is not a very big fan of adventure trips and unplanned fun, but instead he plans his every move from now on to the next five years! I’m serious, each one of them. It’s like, for a 6:05 PM flight, I’m dropped at the airport at 2:30PM. So yes, my dad defines “prudent”. But then, it’s not that we couldn’t afford a holiday, but one of the reasons is because of that ONE fact that we are the people from God’s own country, Kerala. (Nobody knows why a state is called ‘country’) Yes, it’s my ‘being malayalee‘ post. It’s about how the people in this amazing state have such exceptional unity in everything amidst all the dangerous political discord and it’s about how astonishing it is for me, that how mallus (short for malayalee) settled outside Kerala manage to go home every year. I think it can actually be safe to assume, that the already surplusly populated state of Kerala, has 20-30 percent extra people in June, than other months. (June being the summer vacations month for most Indian schools. And what about the Middle East malayalees? Trust me, all offsprings of malayalees there, study in Indian Schools)

People may argue, that what is so surprising in this? Home is any day home. Yes I agree to that; people settled outside their homes go home very often, or on vacations at least. That in true sense is a fact of life. Bt going home so often? My dad has spent thirty years in the north, and still he goes to Kerala every two months. It was once a year before. He couldn’t afford that also. Most non-resident malayalees yearn of having property and a house in Kerala. (Preferably two-storeyed) And all of them want to get their daughters, who in 80 percent cases, are nurses, married in the most glamorous big fat Kerala wedding ever, and come back to Kerala some day after retirement, settle in that house they’ve built and live happily ever after with the wife. This is called living the “Malayalee Dream”. What I’m coming to is, the diverse, but yet, very united/similar behavior of all malayalees. Everybody is educated; everybody likes the same food, the same TV serials, reality shows; same festivals, same movie superstars and even the same way of dressing up. (By ‘everybody’ I mean ‘most of the population’). Mallu unity reaches to such an extent, that whole of the state reads one newspaper every morning.

It’s no joke, that malayalees are there everywhere in the world. It’s commonly said, that in the Middle East, throw a stone in the air randomly…WHOPP….you just pasted a malayalee with a stone! Literally, they’re everywhere! What stupefies me is that, they make up a considerable part of the population of many states of India and other countries. My dad, when he finished his master’s degree amidst so many difficulties, decided to come to the north of India in search for a job. It was the year 1984. He had no idea, what to and what not to expect in a foreign land like Chandigarh. He dint have any money neither did he know anybody. I remember him telling me, his horror when he was travelling from Kerala to Chandigarh in a three day train journey with only a small briefcase of clothes and metric certificates. He dint even know any language other than Malayalam and English, and he was going to a place where most people won’t even understand what he is trying to tell them. This amalgam of fears amplified when during that very train journey he learnt that the then Prime Minister of India Smt. Indira Gandhi had been assassinated, riots have broken out in Delhi and Chandigarh and that he was headed to a hellhole. But yes he came, did not turn back, faced life as it came, took up a job, rose through time and became the great man he is today. Not just dad, but almost all malayalees outside Kerala tell a similar tale.

But why do people move out?

India went through so many major setbacks after independence which was in 1947. But amidst all this, Kerala was actually away from all the ‘action’. Partition from the west, wars from the east; even though our subcontinent was rattled by so much hostility, Kerala was one state which was not affected by these dreadful events that followed independence. One major policy of the government of Kerala was to educate people, even in thick and thin. That is why Kerala, now has a literacy rate of 99% which is way higher than the national average of 60%. Technically, everybody in the state can read. Starting from the Brahmins, the kings (who technically no longer hold power now), the daily wage workers, the milkman….everybody. They read newspapers, have cell phones, have bank accounts and operate ATM machines and what not. So hence, the public and the private sectors in Kerala cannot keep up with the job requirement. This is why the people, move outside. And by outside, I mean all over the world. Be it New York City, or the deserts of Australia or the tribal areas of central India (don’t ask me what they do there); one will any day, any time find malayalees. People of Kerala are so literate, that most of the government policies get mixed reactions, and hence these policies don’t succeed. Everybody feels the urge to raise a voice against/for the government strategies, even if they are good or bad. Statistically speaking, development in terms of human capital, critical infrastructure, regional competitiveness, environmental sustainability, health, safety and other initiatives is hence very slow in Kerala. We are so literate, that we find it difficult to gel along with the generally less educated north Indians (no offence to any northies here, it’s the bigger picture that I am talking about. We talked about the literacy thing already). So all malayalees tend to stick together and one peculiar thing I’ve noticed is the presence of malayalee associations everywhere. I can bet you, that there is not a single major city or town in India which doesn’t have a malayalee association. Mallus literally hang out together. In my college, there is this huge group of malayalees and no kidding, we have a malayalee association in here too. Me being one myself, I kinda interact with them sometimes, and attend Onam celebrations with them. It’s just virtue that they are together, a kind of unity that has no compare.


Know more about the picture. Only happens in Kerala.

People who now would sit judge me for my prejudice in this post, should know that I am not praising the people of Kerala as such (or neither am I interested in) or saying that it is the best state in India, but I am just trying to elaborate the diverse brilliance in the eye of the beholder, that a malayalee portrays. Comments are welcome for sure. But I would end by saying that it’s just something that other people can learn from- the power of homogeneity and harmony. So what if it’s at the bottom, Kerala is sure the canopy of the country.


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