Respected development tourists, leftists and scholars from the West who have been coming here seeking your heterotopia, welcome to the city of Thiruvananthapuram.
Yes, you are here to see that Kerala which gives you relief from the relentless decline of the left in your part of the world.You have been honouring us with such visits since the 1970s. We have been happy to oblige, cast and recast to suit your projections. When ‘social development’ was fashionable in the UN circles, Kerala was indeed the space where you found ‘social development’ thriving. But when ‘human development’, the theoretical and political provenances of which are quite different from those of ‘social development, became your preference, Kerala transmogrified itself most willingly into the paradise of ‘human development’. And then you came to be fascinated by ‘participatory development’, we diligently turned into the very fount of ‘participatory development’. Thank you very much for keeping us afloat in the imagination of Western left developmentalist intellectuals (though I do see that the oodles of ‘agency’ showered upon us by you may actually be your way of compensating for the shrinking of your own agency in the face of the triumphant march of neoliberal capitalism in your homelands) Continue reading Letter from the Stinkcity of Thiruvananthapuram