November 1st , which is celebrated as Kerala day will offer something special for every Keralite to cherish in the form of a Malayalam varsity. This decision which was taken at a high-level meeting attended by various senior officials and ministers has gone down well with the general public.
The Malayalam university will be developed as an international research and study centre for ancient arts, heritage and literature of Kerala and will not just be a centre of excellence for promoting Malayalam language. The varsity which will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister on November 1st will offer degree and post-graduate courses and will also have a heritage museum. The vice-chancellor of the university will be appointed soon and an advisory board comprising of 26 members including noted literary figures like M T Vasudevan Nair and C Radhakrishnan will be at the helm of affairs of the varsity which will have 10 schools offering 15 courses.
The impressive achievements of Kerala in all spheres might have failed to grab the attention of the common man in Kerala and the administrators too never thought it is important to feature it in the textbooks of students in Kerala. However, it is heartening to note that laurels came from half way across the world in Harvard where the Kerala model of development is a study topic that comes up for debate and discussion on a regular basis.
Harvard has chosen a study titled ‘Building local democracy: Evaluating the impact of decentralisation in Kerala’ conducted jointly by Patrick Heller of Brown University, K N Harilal of Centre for Development Studies and Shubham Chaudhuri of World Bank in 2007, as a recommended reading material for the students of an Urbanisation and International Development course offered by Harvard University’s graduate school of design. Kerala was chosen as a subject because it is one of the most prominent examples on decentralisation and democratisationa on a global level . Students of subjects including international comparative politics, political economy or urban policy are familiar with Kerala.
Michael Hooper, an assistant professor of Urban Planning at Harvard, said that over 60 students in two batches discuss the topic Kerala and its decentralisation model every year. Interestingly the students also include employed executives, senior officials from government or international organisations and other subject matter experts from all parts of the world, which make these classes diverse.
It is ironical that most Keralites are not aware that Kerala model of development is a topic in Harvard though it is a matter of pride to each one of us. Interestingly, even Harilal, who co-authored the study, was unaware of the fact that it is a study material at Harvard for long.As responsible citizens of Kerala, we should all be knowledgeable about the impressive feats attained by our tiny state and only by including these topics in the curriculum can we ensure that the future generation gets a clear perception of Kerala. Instead of including controversial topics in text books with an eye of vote bank, the administrators in the upper echelon of power should apply a well balanced approach while setting up the curriculum.
The Kerala youth who have become more beauty conscious than their predecessors in their attempt to enhance complexion shun sunlight more then ever before. This in turn has set off a series of life style related disorders caused by the deficiency of Vitamin D, which is activated only with the exposure of sunlight.
The modern life styles that require people to remain confined in offices , flats or indoor gyms have been responsible for this alarming situation. According to a latest report over 90 percent of the population in Kerala suffers from Vitamin D deficiency, which is more common in the affluent class and in someplaces in North Kerala where women cover their bodies in full length gowns.
Deficiency of a balanced diet and low exposure to sunlight coupled with overprotective clothing have all resulted in Vitamin deficiency that can lead to various disease conditions like osteomalacia and hypocalcemia, cancer, tuberculosis and heart ailments. The required level of Vitamin D in a healthy adult should be 30-60 nanogram per millilitre where as a Keralite has only 19.4 ng/ml.
So next time when you fuss over the tan caused by the sun rays beating on you, remember that you will be missing out on the beneficial aspects of the sunshine vitamin by shutting out these natural rays.
Ernakulam is all set to become the first district in Kerala to have a bank account for every adult, which will be yet another feather in the illustrious cap of this district. The business capital of the emerging Kerala already holds the distinction of being the first district to achieve the milestone of 100% literacy. “Each adult will have an access to credit based on his banking history at nominal interest rate and an insurance coverage,” Jayaprakash KR, Lead district manager of Ernakulam told FE.
As per a recent survey report of Kudumbasree Mission, nearly 20% adults in the district do not have any bank accounts. Banks will be offering the remittance services and micro-insurance policies to this segment of people to ensure a 100% coverage in the district. This ambitious project that is expected to be completed by end of October 2012 will usher in a new chapter in the city’s impressive track record.
Toddy is not just the home brewed drink of Kerala but is considered as harmless too as it is tapped from coconut tree. Toddy is one of the many attractions for the foreign tourists who visit the State as they love not just to savour the tangy taste of the freshly tapped toddy but also are awe inspired by the intricate art of toddy tapping when the dexterous hands of the toddy tapper draw out the frothy toddy on to special mud pots fastened on to the palm trees.
Toddy is low priced and is considered as the poor man’s beverage who line up outside the toddy shops tucked away into the village roads and alleys to get a spike at the end of a hard day’s work. The toddy tapping industry provides employment to many people both directly and indirectly and with the ban of arrack, toddy has become the only native drink of Kerala. However with the instances of adulterated toddy is on the rise , the Kerala high court has come out with a suggestion that it is high time that the govt ban the production and consumption of toddy, which it thought does not go well with the modern life styles. It is ironical that while not many people seem to have any issues with the mushrooming liquour outlets all over the State, toddy shops are being targeted.
The Kerala High Court is supporting mild beer while the government places it cards on the palm brew of toddy. The court came up with suggestion as it was disposing an abkari case against a toddy shop which had sold the killer brew, resulting in the death of a few people. There has been a fall in the procurement of pure toddy due to the paucity of the tappers and the changing tastes of tipplers who seem to prefer the heady Indian made foreign liquour to the mild brew of toddy. The Excise department officials admit that daily production is nearly 25,000 litre while the demand is 2,00,000 lakh litre .
Toddy tapping is the customary vocation of the Ezhava community, which makes up over 40 per cent of the population of Kerala and make a major vote bank too. So all the political parties would choose to tackle this issue diplomatically so as not to rub them on their wrong sides. All political parties except IUML had opposed this suggestion of the court, which could mean that this brewing issue might last for many more days to come.