Gearing up for a 'Happy Birthday'
NOVEMBER 1 is just two days away, the birthday of our State, Kerala - a day that induces varied emotions in the citizens of the State. Nevertheless, most people do speak of the day with a verve that approaches passion at times. Here's what our Kochiites feel about November 1.
"It should indeed be a happy day for Kerala," says M.A.Thomas, Secretary, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "However, the social and political condition of Kerala today does not give much scope for happiness," he adds ruefully. Thomas hopes for a day when Kerala's society will enjoy the same bliss as that provided by nature here.
"I am an optimist and I believe that the troubling events and the occasional crises will blow over and a better period will be ushered in," he asserts. "One thing must definitely come to pass and that is, a willing cooperation between citizens and contributions by all towards Kerala's development," Thomas hopes fervently.
"We must definitely celebrate Kerala Day in the grandest possible manner," says Jayanthi Nandakumar, a teacher at Cochin Refineries School, Ambalamugal. "We should send a strong message to our children, inculcate patriotic feelings in them and instil in them the importance of the day", she adds.
Jayanthi has a suggestion - "Parents seem to have little time for their children these days but it is on occasions like this that they must take their children to places like the Museum of Kerala History, for instance and impart to them real knowledge.''
There are many professionals who are very unhappy over the state of affairs in Kerala and November 1 reminds them of many problems. Venugopal C. Govind, Managing Partner, Varma and Varma says, "The day only serves to highlight our great disappointment. The educated, talented people in our State have destroyed or damaged every aspect of life here. The economy, the moral fibre ... everything has been affected." He, however, lays the blame squarely on all sections of society.
"Politicians, students, professionals, ordinary people - all have created the situation we find ourselves in today. The mindset of the Malayalee has become so terrible," he says. Govind says that November 1 should serve to remind us of our past values. "It should be a day of rededication as we have fallen badly behind other States in all spheres," he adds. "We had our advantages but we have lost them and even our education system has become eroded. We definitely need new energy," he concludes.
Pauly George, Assistant Manager, The Federal Bank Ltd. says, "The day definitely has its historical importance but over the years the message has become distorted or dulled." He points out that the traditional clothes worn by many employees and citizens at various institutions on November 1 indicates that people still attach some importance to the concept of Kerala day. "However, the pace of daily life is such that most citizens do not have the time to ponder over the significance of days like these", he comments.
Senior citizens have their own opinion on the day's significance. Radhakrishnan, who has watched the changes taking place in society over the years with avid interest, says there was tremendous enthusiasm at the prospect of bringing Travancore-Cochin and Malabar together. "After unification, synergies were not developed or generated and sectarian interest took the upper hand", he laments.
"It is indeed true that common people from different sections were able to mingle with each other. But we lost a golden opportunity to build a great State," Radhakrishnan says with more than a touch of sadness. "The day, November 1st, only reminds us of lost dreams and opportunities" he remarks.
Housewives also speak fervently about the significance of the day. "On November 1 we must evoke strong feelings about the condition of our State," says Radha. "On other days we hardly have enough time to think about these things," she adds.
"It is very necessary for schools to conduct programmes on November 1 that increase the awareness of students and the same can be done in other institutions also. I feel that the media can play an important role in helping people know about the true conditions in their State through articles or programmes that are analytical and intelligent. ," says Radha.
Ramesh, who has just finished his studies says, "Politicians have created all the problems in the State and on November 1 we are reminded of this even more strongly". "In other States, the people at least seem to care for development and progress. Here it is not so.''
Points, indeed, for most of us to ponder over even as we realise that time has flowed on since 1956.
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