The Great Kerala Circuses – Varghese Pamplanil

Various type of circuses have come to town. The tents are agog with trapeze acrobats, hoopers, tightrope walkers, unicyclists, jugglers of  every kind, jokers of all sorts with  outlandish outfits and wide open painted mouths stretched to the ears. You may have guessed what is being meant? 

Any election especially that in Kerala is one of its kind. Probably no where in the world so many “myself and my immediate family member” parties exist. Many parties have only a leader, no followers . No principles; power grab, by hook or crook, is the only aim.

The joke circulating in Mumbai in the early 1960s. “A crowd of 10,000 U.P. (Ulattta Pradeshies) won’t have any opinion”; 1,000 Maratthies shout in unison: “Amcha Chavan Zindabad” (Our Y.B. Chavan Zindabad). For 100 Keralites, there  could be 200 political parties;  300 Malayali associations; 600 presidents, 750 treasurers, 50,000 buckets for collecting money (no receipt; no accounting, mind you). 

The Kerala politics, by large, is all about power grabs,   influence peddling and cornering of government jobs for near relatives and cronies. Above all, money making with out any limit. More plundered, even more is stolen. This lucrative enterprise requires no investment in the form of capital, technology and other inputs. No minimum educational qualification or  knowledge of state craft or pubic administration either. Persons most adept in telling black lies (kalluvecha nunakal), capable of hurling filthiest of abuses and innuendoes at the opponents are the most successful. Criminals, jail birds, goondas, smugglers, black marketers, prostitution racketeers, and other antisocial elements dominate the scene. Some of these characters would not have even entered the premises of any educa- tional institution —school/college — except for throwing stones. 

Why this craze for government jobs? Simple. On becoming part of the system, no worthwhile work need to be done;  files accumulate dust for years together. “Kumbakarnaseva” till retirement. Bribes flow in torrents. No accountability. Government business is nobody’s business. “Deepa stampam mahascharyam namukkum venam panam”. Political parties have vested interest in having more government babus, more babus more of trade unions, compulsory levies, vote banks and control over the levers of power. Recently the High Court of Kerala pointed out the unhealthy practice of salary revision every five years for State government employees as a matter of routine.    

Sky is the limit for remuneration and other perks to ministers and MLAs. All medical expenses, including purchase of very expensive spectacle and top end sun gasses. Even for common ailments, ministers fly out to U. S. A. and other foreign countries as if going to the nearest primary health centre. 

Life long whopping pension for MLAs. Astronomical amounts are spent for modifying bungalows used as residents of ministers. No desi car would do. Top notch imported aerodynamic limousines to travel 

The colonial British regime’s main activity was tax collection. This mind set still prevails. The district head is still called “Collector”. Economic development is not the priority. The babus, by and large, are obstructionists (objection makers) and not facilitators. The entire revenue collection is utilised for paying salaries, perks, pension and other post retirement benefits for government employees. A petty trader or a  vegetable vendor or a subsistence agriculturist or a wage earner has no unpaid holidays, leave travel facilities. 

Even for obtaining telephone/cellphone connection, ration card, cooking gas, bank account and other essential services  AADHAR card is a must. A day may come that even for using public conveniences, presenting the AADHAR card would be necessary.

BUT FOR ELECTING PEOPLE TO GOVERN US THE AADHAR IS NOT UTILISED . Why?Simple: bogus/multiple voting will be out. Why not dispense with the election identity cards (with a photos looking like that of Gabbar Singhs)?

Election process in US is spread of many days. Mail voting is allowed. Voting in U. K. starts at 7 a.m and ends at 10 p.m. pubs are sometimes polling booths.  No identity card. No police or law enforcement authorities. The candidates rarely visit voter residences. No processions, sound amplifiers, no disfiguring of walls. No victory celebrations either. 

Even in the most technologically advanced countries voting  not done through EVMs. Paper ballot is the norm. Attempts  to use EVMs failed in Germany and other advanced countries.

 Can any one guess the quantity of booze flow during election time, thousands of barrels? Huge  amounts are  spent for buying  votes? Penniless loafers who become politicians amass wealth to last for 10 generations, all unaccounted. A good number of politicians are uneducated.

Who foots the bills for the luxurious life styles of politicians? You and I, by paying taxes for even essentials such as food grains, cooking oils and fuels for preparing food.

Why this has happened? In the paradigm of an educational system of learning by rot or simply mugging up, degree certificates have little value; it does not enable gainful employment. The occupations of many: running money chains, cheating companies, smuggling, quotation gangs, prostitution rackets, peddling of drugs, attimari, Noku-  kooli , goondagiri and such other antisocial activities. 

Space X and Tesla car fame Elon Musk does not give jobs to graduates. He recruits people who can do the  work he needs.


Varghese Pamplanil. 


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