Kerala, The land of Coconuts-A Study
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page" -- St. Augustine.
Kerala was formed on 1st November 1956. It is a great destination every traveler needs to explore and experience. Let's have a study here on the state. I mainly narrate here the history since 1956 and will definitely write about the pre-1956 history on another hub at a convenient time and of course as and when the mood strikes.
The name 'Kerala' was derived from the Malayalam (the language of Kerala) word 'Kera'. Kera means coconut. As the state is rich with the thick cultivation of Coconut trees, it naturally got the name 'Kerala'. In fact, Kerala got its extreme charm because of this largest concentration of Coconut trees on her soil.
The state has got an area of 38,863 Sq Km. It's Capital is Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). The state has a population of nearly 33,387,677. Thus, the density of population is on the higher scale. There are 14 districts in the state which cover 1364 villages and 159 towns. The major cities are Calicut (Kozhikode), Cochin (Kochi), Trivandrum, Thrissur, Kottayam and Alappuzha.
Kerala is the only state in India, where women outnumber men in the population with a sex ratio of 1058 (1058 women for 1000 men!). It has got 91% literacy. Since above 90% is considered as cent percent, Kerala can claim 100 % literacy confidently. The 14 districts are as follows: Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kannur, Kasargod, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Wayanad. The largest district is Palakkad with 4480 Sq.Km. and the smallest being Alappuzha with 1,414 Sq.Km. Kasargod, Kannur and Wayanad share its border with Karnataka and Wayanad, Malappuram, Idukki, Kollam, Palakkad & Thiruvananthapuram share the border with Tamil Nadu.
The language spoken in the state is Malayalam. Apart from Malayalam, Tamil, Tulu and Kannada also widely used in border districts like Kasargod, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and Idukki. The state is being ruled by Congress-lead UDF (United Democratic Front) under the leadership of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The CPM-lead LDF (Left Democratic Front) is the main opposition party under the leadership of V.S. Achuthananthan. Both these parties rule the state alternatively every five years. The main other political party is BJP (Bharatiya Janatha Party). But till date they couldn't even send a member to the 140 seat Legislative Assembly.
Watch this video (stills) capuring Kerala's enchanting beauty
On religious line, Kerala has some unique features as all major religions have a strong presence in the state. Interestingly both Christianity and Islam first started in India was in Kerala. Hindus, Muslims and Christians live in harmony here. India's largest population of Christians is in Kerala. After Hindus, the major religion is Islam followed by Christians. The state has a population of Jews, Jains and Sikhism too. Kerala is famous for communal harmony. The festivals of each religion are being celebrated by members of all faiths. 'Onam' is the national festival of Kerala. People unitedly celebrate Onam with great enthusiasm.
Hindus visit Churches and Mosques for prayers and offers. In fact, the kindness of ancient Hindu Kings was the root cause for the arrival and spread of other religions in the state. Both Muslims and Christians acknowledge it with thanks.
On the entertainment sector also Kerala shows a colorful picture. The classical dance form of Kerala is Kathakali and Mohiniyattam. The Film industry is so vibrant with a lot of talented personalities and production of world classic movies. Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, Shaji Karun and John Abraham are well-known personalities and watched by film folks elsewhere in the world. On the literary circle too Kerala stands tall. Arundhati Roy (She won the Booker Prize 1997 for her first novel "The God of Small Things") and Anita Nair are famous writers in English from the State. M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Thakazhi, Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer, Mukundan and Zakaria are reputed Malayalam writers as well.
The people of the state are well educated. Still unemployment is a problem for many. Naturally, a good share of them of having migrated to UAE and other Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. The migration of the well-educated folks is to the USA and Europe. Kerala's economy mainly depends upon agriculture followed by the inflow of the money sent by the NRIs. On the health field also Kerala has achieved tremendous growth and that even match with the prestigious European standards.
One of the main disappointing factors about the state is the never ending agitations and unrest in the trade sector. The state suffers crores of rupees every year on account of Hartals (a kind of protest strike). The strong presence of the Communism and Marxism may be a reason for the same. At the same time, I don't forget the fact that their strong stand on many issues did help Kerala to achieve some progressive milestones that still remain as a dream for many other states in India. It may be amusing to note that Kerala once witnessed an Hartal in protest against Saddam Hussain's hanging by the US force a few years back! The only place in the world to do so!! Another alarming factor stare at Kerala is its high suicide rate. Why people adopt this cruel path is yet to be researched.
The state's main USP is its enchanting beauty and that must be why the land is called "The God's own Country". Thick forest, rivers, good rain, backwaters, sea, hills, mountains, total greenery, except snow Kerala has got all the exciting ingredients required for a good holiday spot. Travelers, historians, researchers, Pilgrimage and nature lovers, all have something to learn and share from this tiny land situated on the southern tip of India.
Hiuen-Tsang, Marco Polo (AD 1298), Ibn Battuta (AD 1333), and Vasco da Gama (AD1498); they all clearly certified it centuries back.
- Kerala Population and Religions: Amusing Features
Kerala is a unique place in India with lot of amusing features. Both Islam and Christianity started here and spread to other part of the country. Kerala is also noted for communal harmony.
- Christianity in Kerala
In India Christianity is believed to be started from Kerala. It spread to other regions of India from Kerala. Christians have done tremendous work in the field of education, healthcare and helped Kerala to reach in a high level standard as we see tod
- The Dress Code of Malayalees (Keralites)
Cultural study is an interesting topic. Here we go into a small research on the dress code of Keralites better known as Malayalees. Their love for saris, mundu and love for traditional attire are discussed here with suitable photos.
© 2012 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth