Two massive calamities, tremendous losses, continuing signs of serious ecological destruction impending — yet all we Malayalis seem to have produced in response: two reports, and even more frenzied strategic calculation. There is little doubt that the disasters happened in the first place at least partially because of the latter, but there seems to be no rethinking. Instead, we have strategic agents refurbishing their strategies to the new circumstances.
What else explains the Kerala government’s Rebuilding Kerala Development Programme Report (RKDPR)? It popped up all of a sudden around the end of last year, after the UN-led Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Report (PDNAR), and even members of the Chief Minister’s Advisory Council were caught unawares. The economist K P Kannan, whose life’s work has been focused on Kerala’s economy, a member of the Council, remarked in a recent interview in the Sastragathy that they did not know of it until the third meeting of the council. None knew who put it together, and there is no mention of this in the report itself. It draws heavily but selectively on the PDNAR, but also perhaps on the projects that were prepared for World Bank funding – and Kannan reaffirms this impression. The draft report was made available online for comments but there is no clear idea about these experts or the public consultations. Continue reading Two Reports and Many Strategic Agents: Post-Disaster Thinking in Kerala
This is a guest post by ROBY RAJAN
Epic. Biblical. Apocalyptic. These are some of the words that have been used to describe the floods and landslides that have wreaked havoc in Kerala over the last few weeks. Entire towns and cities were submerged, and entire rivers altered their courses overnight. Continue reading Brackish Reflections on the Great Deluge of 2018: Roby Rajan
- Kerala is the land of my birth, and my life is intertwined closely and inseparably with the lives of all fellow-Malayalis. I will respect and remember this truth and will never think of my life as totally unrelated to nature, my neighbours, and the government that we elect to rule us.
Continue reading A National Pledge for Kerala after the Great Deluge of 2018
By now everyone knows what the Sanghis, probably not just outside Kerala, but also inside, have been up to when others were battling the deluge, saving lives, working round the clock to organize relief: making Lord Ayappan look like a stupid brat (or, actually, painting him in their likeness), spreading idiotic claims that only the rich were affected, or that the Christians/Muslims/commies/everyone who isn’t a Hindutva bigot, are responsible for this catastrophe, and circulating fake photos, from relief work in Gujarat or somewhere else as RSS relief work for Kerala. Really, how we wish we could persuade them all to migrate to the Hindi heartland where ecological disasters are unheard of and will never ever be! Continue reading A List of Little-Knowledge Theories about Kerala in the Wake of this Disaster
[Before you read this post, you might want to read KR Meera’s brilliant portrait of the average Malayali middle-class Sangh supporter, in her story Sanghiannan, which I translated as ‘My Brother Sanghi’, published by Juggernaut at : https://www.juggernaut.in/books/088d472b19d745d29492560654250e15 . I recommend this also because she sketches beautifully the spirit of deep compassion that inheres in the thought of Sreenarayana Guru, who tried to imagine the faith outside the brahmanical framework of caste. This will help you to get a sense of that section of Malayali middle class I address here.]
Continue reading A letter to Sanghiannan in the wake of our common woe
In Malayalam, the usual way of referring to virulence that feeds on negative experience is paashaanathil krmi — or the maggot that is fattened by poison, instead of getting killed by it. Over the past few days, many of us have lived completely on the edge, bereft of sleep or ease, tossing about in a seemingly-unending nightmare, as the rain, floods, and landslides uproot not just our physical world, but the very culture of smugness and complacency that took over our deepest selves over the past twenty years or so. Continue reading Beware of Poisoning-Eating Maggots in Flood-Hit Kerala