Parvathy Thiruvoth Kottuvatta has an unenviable body of work to prove that she is one of the best actors of our generation , but it is her outspoken nature that has kept her in the news for the past few months. It is true that most of her interviews are cringe worthy and over the top , but the points she tries to get across needs to be heeded to. With her misogyny remarks she is questioning the very foundation of the Malayali society which prides itself in being the most gender egalitarian one in the country. Such a serious accusation needs to be probed into.
A society’s evolution from poverty to prosperity involves many visible and invisible changes . One of the most important of them is the change in gender dynamics. With education and economic development women would start taking up jobs outside of the household , resulting in a visible changes in the gender equation. But Nairs of Kerala are an exemption. They were a Matriarchal caste which over time turned patriarchal and hence by the time of attainment of statehood we were all under patriarchy. The communist movement and the entrenched socialist values were the first to challenge the status quo. Their initial commitment was on breaking the caste barriers which were successfully dismantled by the 1970s and that is when they started focusing on the gender conundrum. It had become a complicated maze by then. women were literate and many had jobs , but their position in the society had remained the same. The initial burst of Feminism, supported by the liberals was welcomed by the menfolk but by the 1980s resistance was palpable , especially after the rise of Machismo.
In olden days Masculinity was usually identified with chivalry . By the advent of Mustache in the 70s Masculinity started to get associated with Machismo . By the 1990s Kerala was at its patriarchal zenith as seen from the umpteen number of male chauvinist movies produced every year. The socio-economic Indicators of our state are comparable to Middle income countries of South East Asia , Latin America or Middle East .This could have meant a more gender neutral society . Sadly we are the worst in terms of gender equality outside the Islamic world.
The hypocrisy of the malayali society is evident from the Gender stereotypes that have become so deep seated in our psyche that many try to justify it on the basis of tradition and culture. If a man or a woman acts inconsistent with the predefined gender norms , he/she is ridiculed and even their sexuality is questioned. For eg: A man is supposed to be aggressive and a woman docile . A docile man is called a woman and an aggressive woman an outcast. The appearances,mannerisms and costumes are also important. A man with so called “feminine” mannerisms is called chandupottu and a women with coarse features is called a Hijada. If this is the case with straight men and women imagine the trauma of being a gay or lesbian. The Malayalam media which prides on being the most vibrant in the country have never discussed the issue relating to article 377 in a positive light.
This is what parvathy talked about and we as a society must heed . The world is moving forward and gender equality is the norm. If we remain fossilized in the 1990s the malayali society is doomed.
“SAVE GAZA” posters are a common sight in Malabar these days ,These posters usually contain horrifying images of victims of the Israeli airstrikes followed by a warning hinting at a possible retribution . They also blame the western powers for turning away from the ground reality and usually end with an anti imperialistic slogan questioning this double standards followed by these powers. Though the Palestinian crisis is one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the past century , the hue and cry made over here miles away from the conflict zone is questionable . Two main groups are responsible for the wide spread dissemination of these “messages” in this area with sizable Muslim population , one being the communist party of India (Marxist) and the other are the various Wahhabi organizations that have sprung up in the region . Taking political mileage out of an international crisis is nothing new to Indian politics , in fact it was The Father Of our Nation who started the trend by supporting the Khilafat Movement .From the umpteen number of communal clashes since 1930s , including the recent ones in Gujarat , we Indians are also familiar with the fact that Religion and politics is a highly explosive mixture . Still we abundantly mix the both whether it be Sangh Parivaar , the Wahhabi or as in the case above even the communists. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Malabar aided by the oil rich countries of the Persian gulf is a reality that we cannot shy from , the same is true with the visible tilt among the Hindu youth towards the Sangh . Posters like these whether well intended or not will only fuel the further polarization of the region . What is sad is the fact that the communists are using the desperate polarization tactic to break into the core vote bank of the Muslim League at the expense of its ideology . This article is not meant to delve into this situation but to the double standards we adopt with respect to a group of ” DEVIL WORSHIPERS ” in Iraq called the “yazidis” .
Independent India according to Pandit Nehru was to become the voice of the oppressed . But over the years , electoral compulsions have made us more selective of the causes we support . Though the mainstream political parties and the fringe groups may highlight the Palestinian cause , they never issue a poster condemning a non sectarian issue like the extermination of Yazidis by the ISIS . Yazidis are a minority in northern Iraq , who are one of the few remaining tribes in the middle east who have not yet been islamised . Like the Druze , a minority community in isreal , Yazidis are stuck in the Jew-sunni-shia conflict unfolding in the middle east. The ISIS have already given the ultimatum for them to convert to Islam or die , which if happens , would be nothing short of the holocaust..
we malayalees carry the pride of molding a perfectly secular society on our sleeves .But over the years we have become more compromising of the true ideals of secularism. The fear of being branded communal have made us hide our real feelings behind this mask named tolerance . To break out of this glass house let us lend our collective voice to the yazidis and start placing “SAVE YAZIDI ” hoardings .
this week saw the lowest level to which malayali society could fall , at a felicitation event at the trivandrum airport , mrs sunanda pushkar was attacked by a few perverts , at the pretext of welcoming her. this is not an isolated event , in a state where women out number men , the ego of the minority are always on show , whether it be the crowd at the bus stop or the ranjini haridas haters on facebook it all boils down to the ideal concept of what a woman is supposed to be. ironically these so called traditional values the moral brigade dwells on is not even indian , but a crude imitation of the victorian society. what else could explain the fact that in a region where women rarely covered the upper body , the women are crucified for the dressing choices they make and where a matriarchal society always existed a free willed woman is considered a whore. all this comes down to the way we as a society have evolved post independence.
this attitude is more an issue in the southern districts of kerala and among particular communities of malabar. the south was the region first to embrace the missionary education and the accompanying value system of the victorian era .these new set of moral guidelines were worlds apart from what existed , the imbibition of these so called moral values where slow and steady . on the heels of christian missionaries the hindu reformation movement also adopted a similar stance resulting in the universal accreditation of these practices. and sadly it still remains as the ultimate authority.muslims of malabar were the most egalitarian of the sect in india , women were the pillars of the community , sadly the gulf boom put an end to that world. malyali men in arabia saw a different brand of islam which they adopted with vigour , introducing purdahs and hijabs. within the span of a decade the community have become more global in following the extreme views of islam , abandoning the moderate views which it developed over centuries. a whole new generation have been brought up in this fold , that is why one of my lady friends who exceled in studies commented on the sunanda pushkar episode as “if she would have worn a purdah this would not have happened” .
a reformation of these archaic laws must and will happen as we as a society become more globalized , till then these acts are bound to increase , what we can hope for is nothing like this turn more brutal.
iam extremely delighted to announce that valluvanad times just had an “encounter of the third kind” . we were contacted by an inter galactic organization which calls it self ADAS with its headquarters on planet Uranus.the message sent to us talks about an active ADAS cell on planet earth which was contacted regularly till 1976 , the cell being at Kuravilangad Devamatha college , Kottayam. it is also known that there was an intra organizational upheaval at its headquarters which temporarily disrupted the functioning. i was able only to decode the message partially , it is requested of the alumni of the Devamata college ( 1974 – 1977 batch) to contact valluvanad times to help decipher the message in whole.
most cities in india dream of one day becoming “Shanghai” – the heart of chinese economic miracle. they all dream of a future where skyscrappers and expressways will replace slums and gutters. it’s not what we palakkad-an’s dream of , we just want to be the next malappuram the fast developing Shanghai to the north .
why is our district the most backward ?. is having a 70 hindu population the reason? or is it that we are supposed to be always the picture perfect valluvanadan villages for the mollywood? what ever the reason , we the people of the district are the only ones to be blamed.
yes i am envious of malappuram , envious of the pace at which they have rushed past the economic stagnation of the 80s , envious of the kind of leaders they elect and the say they have on the way the state is run. the infrastructure development is astonishing, almost all the major roads are rubberized and broad , they have some of the best hospitals in the state , shopping malls and hangouts are world class . you have MLA s fighting to better the achievements of their predecessors , ministers promising medical colleges , political parties fighting for the ‘right number’ of ministers. wow…
your neighbour to the south , us , we are proud of being the largest district( by area) , for being the hottest region and many other trivial stuff , and ya for being the most illiterate district and the one with the worst sslc results. our leaders don’t care and we care less, hence we elect anyone who runs on the “party ” ticket . green or white we will always vote red , hence we shornurites voted a lady whose track record as sreekrishnapuram MLA was shameful with huge majority . yes it is true that we don’t have the “vote bank” or the gulf ” black money” but at least we could elect someone capable , can’t we? . iam not a communist hater or a congressman , i still believe that the best MLA kerala has ever seen is mr v.sasikumar of perinthalmanna , but the cpm in our district always field weak candidates , congress is no exception but mr c.p mohammed of pattambi is a clear exception.
the infrastructure in the district is dismal , we are in dire need of a good hospital ,the two major railway stations urgently need a face lift . education sector needs critical attention , we cannot afford to be the worst in this knowledge era . protests wont work , actions needs to be taken , if not we will always remain the laughing stock of kerala.
bjp state president Mr p k krishnadas told yesterday that the party have made improvements in the vote percent in the three assembly segments where the by elections took place on November 7th.there was an increase of 1% in kannur to 5% of total votes ,in allapuzha an increase of 1% to 3% of total and in eranankulam to 7% from 5%.the party which have always been alleged of selling votes to ldf and udf is largely supported by the upper castes.