Kerala- God’s Own Country indeed!
Land in India and ask anybody about Kerala; jokes about the Mallu accents and the love of Keralites for coconuts might probably be the first things you get to hear. But folks, trust us, Kerala is much much more than just that! Even though it is only the twenty-second largest state in India, 34.3 million people from this small south Indian state are much different from others in the country. It is known as ‘God’s Own Country’ for a reason.
Talk about sex ratio, the women nailed it in here!
For a country, which has a troubled past of bloody footprints like the Sati, female foeticide and dowry deaths, we Keralites have a swooping lead of 1048 females for every 1000 males in terms of sex-ratio against the national average 945:1000, which is the highest in the nation. Right from the Vedic times, women and non-Brahmins were also part of the education and learning system; so one need not wonder about the reason behind Kerala standing highest in terms of literacy rate, falling just a little below 100 per cent.
Breastfeeding, we do not pronounce it in muffled voices, but with pride!
Welcome to the most baby-friendly state in not just India, but the world, as declared by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). A mother’s milk is the healthiest food for a baby and we, Keralites, know it’s definitely not something to be shy about. Is it not a splendid way to celebrate motherhood! And that’s not all; Kerala has also to boast about the lowest mother-infant mortality rate as well as the highest Human Development Index (HDI) rate in the country. There is another advantage of living in Kerala. We do not have our governments stressing over our heads on controlling the number of babies we need to have. That is because Kerala has the lowest population growth in India for the past decade.
Let the rainbow flag fly high! Treating the transgender community with pride and respect.
The transgender community are just people like you and me with flesh and bones like ours. They do not deserve all the ostracism. So, we intend to stand up for them with the state’s transgender policy. Here they need not beg on trains and roadsides but will have proper jobs. Kochi was the first place in India to start a school for transgenders. The prestigious Kochi Metro Rail project wrote history by hiring 23 members of the ‘Hijra’ community as employees.
Mornings you wish, you could wake up to, every single day.
Kerala is a place of greenery and natural splendour since the beginning of time. Kerala’s unique geography makes it one of the biggest beneficiaries of the south-west monsoon. It has an equable climate all throughout the year. We might as well save the extreme climates for the other states. Blessed with 44 rivers and the mighty Western Ghats, it should have been a “must see” destination for ages. But the National Geographic Traveller Magazine realized it only recently. From the backwaters of Alleppey to the unblemished forests of Silent Valley and the hill stations of Munnar, she is quite a chick among the 29 sisters. So close your eyes and take a day to breathe it all in and maybe also pamper yourself in the home of Ayurveda.
Communal violence? Religious intolerance? Forget it, you are in Kerala!
Although it is a Hindu majority state, Kerala has we never come across any communal issues on cows and other things. And yes, the beef ban could not touch Kerala. The state where the first mosque in India, Cheraman Juma Masjid was established is also home to the oldest of the Indian Jewish communities; where namaz and holy mass is conducted side by side; where one set of people indulge in prayers and mourning for the good Friday, and another set of people celebrate the Hindu new year by bursting firecrackers on the exact same day. Faiths and Gods galore, yet the first democratically elected communist government in the world! Irony? Not quite; it’s rather the way we live!
ART-A Reversal of Time
The theatrical representation of epic stories of gods is part of Kerala’s art culture. Koodiyattom is one among them. It was announced by UNESCO as the human heritage art among many others like Krishnanattom and Mohiniyattom. These dance forms have evolved over the centuries in Kerala.
The state is a fine blend of the classic and the contemporary. It offers a wonderful kaleidoscope of fascinating history, rich culture and unique architecture. Because of its mystique charm, Kerala culture has attracted explorers like Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Marco Polo and Fa Hien. It is quite possible that is has also attracted many more from the unrecorded history.