Kerala has set the living standards of the distant Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finlnd as its paradigm of development over the next 17 years. Kerala has decided to let go the standards set by Asian Tigers, which have long been benchmarked by developed states like Gujarat for its dubious human development indices.
As per the new paradigm, Kerala will have to make a quantum jump in its per capita income from the current $4,700 to $19,000 in the next 20 years at a compound growth rate of 7.5 per cent. Though the standards of Norway with a with a PPP of $54,000 appears distant, Kerala is aiming to achieve the $ 36,000-37,000 income bracket of Finland and Denmark. The immediate priority in this regard will be to scale down the income inequality spread score from over 40 to 23 per cent.
With the foreign remittances slated to plunge to a minuscule 4% of the State’s GDP by 2030 from a whopping 50% now, Kerala should have a well set plan to achieve this paradigm. With a qualified manpower resource to fall back, Kerala can rely on start up businesses and trading activities though Kerala is not known for its entrepreneurial credentials.
Tourism, health care and education will be the niche segments under spotlight for Kerala in the coming decade. Apart from retaining the growth rate, Kerala has to think about innovative ideas and business plans in these segments to keep the coffers full. Will Kerala leave its indelible imprints in the league of some of the most prosperous countries in the World in the next few years? This million dollar question will stir up debates, opinions and counter opinions in the coming days for sure. Meanwhile as responsible subjects of Kerala, everyone of us should strive to pitch in our best to make sure that Kerala attains this commendable distinction!
A flat tummy was considered as a sign of penury and starvation by the old fashioned, but not any more! If tummy tucks, the latest fad doing the rounds is any indication, the day is not far off when the fashion conscious youth wouldn’t mind shelling out a fortune to get a perfect tummy line.
‘Bariatric Surgery,’ as it is medically known, can reduce the size of the stomach, which enables the person to cut down on his food intake. Apart from ensuring drastic weight loss, Bariatric surgery also give a perfect figure.
Koshy George one of the most popular bariatric surgeons in the state gets a regular clientèle from far and wide and help people manage their weight through this surgical procedure. People often consult him inspired by the amazing results that this surgery has made in the lives of others. Obesity has become a modern life style disease among the city dwellers that is mostly because of the fast food culture and sedentary life style.
India and South Asia now have almost as bad an obesity problem as the US, where 60 percent of all adults are obese. Since 2011, WHO has recognised obesity as a disease.
Though genetic factors play a role in making someone obese, change in life styles have evolved to be the main causes of obesity. This surgery has helped even the diabetic patients to stop medications or cut down the dosage. The surgery , which just costs around 2.50 lakhs works out much cheaper than in many foreign destinations as well. Bariatric Surgery,’ a could thus be the latest fad in health tourism itineraries in Kerala in the days to come.
As the Kochi-Muziris Biennale continues to hit the headlines , Kerala gets ready to host an all-Kerala Children’s Biennale, which is though to become equally popular than its bigger and popular counterpart.
The organisers of Biennale have decided to display the prize winning works of the children’s works that are adjudged the best at a forthcoming art contest. The preliminary round will be open for students between Class I and Class VII and would be held at Aspinwall House at 11 a.m. on January 19. The children can work on any medium and theme of their choice and the time for painting will be over two hours. The participants will get a chance to visit the biennale free of cost with their guardian.
The Kochi Biennele has been attracting a steady stream of visitors including both the common people and glitterati alike . The last few days saw many matinee idols like film director Jayaraj and actor Padmapriya at the show and appreciated the quality of the exhibits on display.
Come December 16th, Kochi the emerging financial capital of Kerala will be hosting the much acclaimed International Film Festival at five different venues in the city. The first edition of this film festival will stand out for many reasons. Apart from featuring a panorama of world class films from all over the world, the organisers have roped in a young German film researcher, Alexandra Schott to curate and organise the panel discussions for the festival.
Alexandra is well experienced in organising panel discussions and has been associated with a majority of Indian International Film Festivals held overseas. The team will be engaged in curating discussions on contemporary films and potential solution on socio-political and environmental issues with an underlying theme of ‘Discover India through films.’
The session will be paying tribute to the centenary year of Indian cinema with special focus on Malayalam, which will be represented by some of the stalwarts of Malayalam film industry. The interactive sessions will make the film aspirants aware of the latest film making technologies and the changing trends in world cinema and the evolution of universally accepted themes and treatments.
Alexandra opined that even today there are many independent film makers who are still not aware of the international film festivals where they can showcase their films. Film festivals like the one to be held in Kochi not only will help to bring good cinema to the audience but will also provide the much needed platform for the aspiring film makers to screen their creations to a creative audience.
With more than 100 movies to be screened including the well rated movies like Holy Motors, Love, Me and You, Sister , the film festival will be a unique event to the movie lovers of the State. Organized by Cochin Gateway Entertainment and Management Society. This film fest will bring some of the best movies from world cinema before the curtains are drawn on 23rd December .
The Kochi Muzris Biennale, the first-of-its-kind in India, will have a colorful start at the Parade Grounds at Fort Kochi in Kerala on Wednesday. The cultural extravaganza that extends to over three months will feature 80 artists from all over the world. Kerala will be represented by 22 artists and there will be an equal number of arts and crafts persons from the other parts of India. One of the star attractions of the Muzris Biennale will be the sand creations of The Kerala-born artist Paris Viswanathan,who will be making his comeback to his homeland memorable by recreating a nearly four-decade-old masterpiece.
Some of the artists who will be gracing the occasion include Ariel Hassan (Argentina), Amanullah Mojadidi (Afghanistan), Rigo23 (Portugal) and Ernesto Neto (Brazil) and Jonas Staal (the Netherlands among others. The well known Indian artists Subodh Gupta and Vivan Sundaram will enhance the mood of the event by creating themes on Kerala including country boat, which is closely associated with Kerala village life. While Sundaram plans to bring back memories of the lost Muziris port of Kerala through his creations.
The biennale will also have various other cultural events including film screenings and performing arts. The organizers and patrons of Kochi Biennale are upbeat and confident that this event will will stand out in the golden pages of 117 years of the biennale’s history.
This is the sad story of an ashram in Kollam, in South Kerala which is striving to continue its humanitarian services against all odds. Almost cut off from the society for the past many years, this ashram is a treasure trove of many priceless manuscripts and ayurvedic medications. The ashram is looking for Tamil scholars to decipher the century-old palm leaf scrolls with enthamizhu or Kodumthamizhu inscriptions. These rare palm scrolls are thought to contain the secrets of rare and precious medicines for various ailments.
The seer of Avadhoothashram, Sadanandapuram, Kottarakkara,Chidananda Bharati wants to make sure that the priceless wisdom is made use of for the welfare of the community. The seer who took up the charge of the ashram 2 decades back is concerned at the apathy and the lack of attention being shown to these ancient manuscripts. The ashram also has many clay jars with ancient medicinal concoctions. However as the labels on the jars are completely lost, it might require the services of ayurvedic experts to identify the medicines. Many rare books and scrolls have been damaged in the onslaught of time and immediate action is needed to preserve whatever is remaining.
The Swami earnestly wish that Tamil scholars who can unlock the secrets come forward so that these pearls of wisdom is not lost forever. Over the years, the ashram has lost most of its 300 acres of premium land and it now holds only a little more than a hundred acres of land, sixty per cent of which has been retained as natural forest, which forms a natural habitat for a range of wild animals including porcupine, flying squirrel, mongoose, fox, Asian palm civets, snakes, and a large number of birds including peacocks.
The ashram is still involved in producing authentic ayurvedic medications as per the original texts as wished by the founding seer of Sadanandaswamikal. The medicines are hugely popular among people for its premium quality. The ashram premises also has temples of Lord Krishna, Durga, Saint Dhanwanthari besides the samadhi of the founder seer Sadanandaswamikal who set up the Ashram in Malayalam calendar year of 1075.
The sanyasins are averse to the idea of converting the ashram’s resources for materialistic gains, which has in a way made the ashram obscure and hidden from the lime light. Most people are not even aware of the activities of the ashram and its potential has largely remained unexploited till now. The ashram is in desperate need of concrete policies that will bail it out from the present limbo. Sadly for want of disciples, the ashram is also facing the risk of closing down. It will be a shame if the wails for help of this ashram fall on deaf ears as Kerala, considered as the cradle of this oldest system of medicine known to man. The apathy of the administrative machinery and the lackadaisical attitude of the general public have largely been responsible for this sorry stage of affairs where quacks and dubious operators fleece tourists in the name of ayurveda while authentic ayurveda practitioners are left in the lurch!
If everything goes off as planned, the Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Keltron) would be launching a ‘Central Monitoring System’ (CMS) in a few months time. It is a novel project to bring all establishments including government offices, banks, shopping centres and business firms under the surveillance of security cameras in a month’s time.
Thought to be the first-of-its-kind in India, this project would cost the exchequer around Rs 20 crore, in which over one lakh cameras will be installed in various locations within five years. The expenses will be met by Keltron and the project is likely to be implemented in January next. To make use of the system, the firms will have to pay a fee, which ranges from ₹ 2000 or more, which will help Keltron to recover its investment on the project. The cameras will ensure round the clock monitoring from an exclusive control room, which would be set up in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.
Keltron is hoping to rope in around 10,000 customers in five years. In a firm there will be one to 10 or more cameras depending on their surveillance needs. Anything shady that is caught on camera will be immediately passed on to the concerned police stations. The camera monitoring would not just ensure the safety of the establishments but will also be helpful in bringing down incidents of burglary and other crimes. Other add on security features like glass breaking sensors will also be installed along with the cameras. Those companies that have already installed surveillance cameras, will also have the choice to be covered under the Central Monitoring System. The proposal, which is in the final stages of implementation is awaiting the approval of the government.
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 historic town of Thripunithura that still bears the imprints of the royal grandeur, erupted in a riot of colors on Tuesday during the Atham processions. Thousands thronged the streets to bring alive the nostalgic memories of the rich past. Various folk art forms , processions and street shows marked the beginning of the week-long ‘Athaghosham 2012’.
The ceremonial flag hoisting and the lighting of the lamp in Atham Nagar was followed by a colorful parade along the streets. The colorful pageant was accompanied by caparisoned elephants, traditional folk and classical dance forms such as Theyyam, Kummatti kali, Kolkali, Mayilattom, Pulikali, Kathakali and Atakavadi among many others. The Panjavadyam added a frenzied fervour to the procession, while the modern dance forms added a contemporary touch to the milieu. Floats depicted many social issues raging the state including alcohol abuse, Shawarma and food poisoning and the Mullaperiyar issue among others. As always the mythical stories and legends remained the crowd pullers this year too.
Apart from the religious fervour and festivities, the Atham festivities highlight the religious harmony among the people of Kerala. Onam , which is the biggest festival in Kerala has always been celebrated by everyone irrespective of caste, creed or colour. Though we tend to forget this message of love and brotherhood in the flurry of activities like shopping and food festivals, Onam has always remained as the biggest bonding element in the lives of every Malayalee all over the world.
Who doesn’t like puppetry? The magical art form where the finely cut paper figurines create an intriguing shadow play as the adept hands of the puppeteer pulls the strings. In some cases wooden puppets are used to enact scenes. Now an innovative puppeteer from Kasargod, K V Ramesh and his troupe have adapted a human theatre form Yakshagana to puppet show.
The dying art of string puppet play of Kasargod in North Kerala has taken an interesting combination by incorporating the highly difficult folk art form of Karnataka , the Yakshagana, which is similar to the temple art forms of Kerala like koodiyattam and chakyarkuttu.
In the last few years, the Yakshagana puppet troupes in Kasargod have come down drastically and at present there are only two active troupes including K V Ramesh’s troupe Shri Gopalakrishna Yakshagana Bombeyata Sangha. Typically puppet shows feature stories from epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagawatham where different characters are represented by the colourful costumes of these puppets. Some of the puppets can measure up to 18” in height.
This intricate art form that dates back to over two centuries has become a dying art form for want of puppeteers. Only by infusing fresh themes and creating an interest among the audience can this art form sustain itself. In Yakshagana, the story is narrated through chorus songs to the accompaniment of percussion instruments. The wooden puppets are made to dance and act by a well trained team of men and women to convey a whole range of emotions and passions where the puppets represent a range of characters through their diversely colored costumes. Let us make sure that these ethnic art forms that had been handed down the generations are preserved for posterity.