Sabarimala Episode and Kerala Politics

Economics in action

I have written about, and broadly supported, the majority judgment of the Supreme Court of India in this case. However many people inside and outside Kerala have not expected such a strong opposition to the judgment within the state, especially the one orchestrated by the right-wing forces. There is an expectation that the majority of Keralites could be progressive since they are educated and hence would welcome or accept the judgment.

Though I don’t want to discuss in detail in this essay, the expectation that higher levels of education, per se, would make people liberal and secular, or the view (held by an number of educationists) that if education does not lead to such an outcome, it could be due to its failure, is incorrect empirically and historically. We have looked at the documented evidence in this regard. The summary is that it depends, not only on the content of…

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The Airhostess from Darjeeling

Economics in action

When we travel by budget airlines in India, the probability of having an airhostess from Darjeeling is very high. I have been noticing this for some time. This probability is as high as that of having someone from metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore, and much above from Kolkata or Chennai and almost all other cities in India. This is remarkable considering the size of Darjeeling. What does enable many girls from this place to be an airhostess in the airlines of India?

We should start by noting the transition of the job of airhostess in India. Though the nature of this job has not changed much during the last 40-50 years, its `social status’ has changed a lot. Until 1980s and 1990s, an airhostess in India could be seen as part of the upper- or middle-class. However the expansion of air travel, the arrival of budget airlines, overall…

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A Crude Comparison between Bengalies and Malayalees

Economics in action

I am aware that this is a politically and academically incorrect effort. However I am not constrained by these senses of correctness in my writing here. I have a larger point and to make that in an accessible manner, such a comparison is useful.

Though I am a Malayalee, I have some exposure to the life and ways of Bengal. My close friends – Achin and Indrani – are from there. Then there are colleagues, former students and research collaborators. Kolkata is the only metropolitan city in India where I feel spending some relaxing time. I have also carried out research in parts of Bengal including Sundarbans, many years ago.

If we take the intellectual and academic achievements, Bengalies are a few miles ahead of Malayalees. Internationally recognized intellectuals like Tagore or Amartya Sen are somewhat absent in Kerala. This is true in almost all sciences too – physical and…

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There is a notable improvement in the quality of schooling in Bhutan

Economics in action

I may have visited a number of schools in different states in India and also in Brazil and Indonesia during the last 6-7 years. How do developing countries attempt to improve the access to, and quality of, school education by overcoming the constraints in terms of (under)development is a major concern for me these days. As part of these visits, I have spent the last 10 days visiting government schools in different parts of Bhutan. Though I am not an educationist, it is not that difficult for me to see the improvement in the quality of education in government schools there.

As a Keralite, I should not be alien to the schooling in Bhutan. Almost everyone that I have met there who is older than 25-30 years has been taught by one or other teacher from Kerala. One of these teachers wrote several popular articles and a Malayalam Novel based…

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