Globalization and the Dilemma

Anti globalization campaigns are hot items these days. Especially this is very much true with the state of Kerala as the news papers, left intellectuals, social groups of all kinds are engaged in discussions on social issues, globalization, imperialist and colonial designs of IMF, WB and Western powers. Interestingly no body discuss about the questions of unemployment and increasing suicide rate among the youth.

It seems that the above mentioned group and youths of an upper age group which belong to the age bracket 25 and above are against everything and often look at things with doubt and suspicion . They discuss and discuss engage themselves in futile discussions all the day long. But the new generation which are in the colleges or in the age group of below 23-24 are relatively free from the above malady. Where as the people above such an age bracket more or less very negative and doubtful . This is not general. There may be exceptions.

Recently there was a Global Investors Meet (GIM) initiated by the government for attracting investment and to project Kerala as a business& investment friendly State . Even though there was a kind of agreement among major political parties about the need for having a good investment climate still many groups attempted to create troubles. Ayankali Pada, CPI(ML) Red Flag and youth groups of CPIM & CPI and recently formed Kerala Social Forum are the major constituents that oppose the policies of the government on liberalization and reforms. But who oppose the reforms, liberalization and globalization more vehemently than the above mentioned groups is non other than state government employees and those who are in the organized sector.

Major employer in Kerala is the state government and its departments. So the workers attached with this see reforms and liberalization with doubts. They think reforms, liberalization and globalization as a threat for their livelihood. Reforms reduce the Bribe (rent) seeking possibilities for them. Rent seeking behavior was a typical feature of the former communist states or wherever there exists high state control. High state control gives tremendous chances for making extra money through illegal way for the corrupt government officials . But with liberalization and reforms there will be more transparency and in the liberalized regime of industrial licensing system there is no need to bribe any one.

So most of the trade unions that represents the interests of state government employees are against liberalization and reforms. A more apt case is the teaching community alone. This is not only true with Kerala but true with other states as well. For instance public sector bank employees across the country often call strikes against privatization fearing VRS as well as more disciplined and strict work environment .

Idle mind is devil�s workshop. This is true with Kerala�s youth. Lack of involvement and engagement lead them to varied non-productive activities. Many commit suicides due to frustrations. When one sit idle and in the event of failure to find a job often turn for political involvements with the hope to find a livelihood by serving the public. Many others engage themselves in discussions. They attempt to change and transform the whole social system. In this attempt they waste a lot of energy.

Who are interested in the sustenance of this habit of Keralites in Kerala ? News papers and writers are of course interested in having these kinds issues. Largest circulated daily Malayala Manorama is also interested in this game. For magazines which covers only social and political issues of course survive with such �known non-issues�. Recently there was rumor that Government was planning to sell the Periyar river water. What followed was serious discussions on this and many were speaking so emotionally. As if some Americans came and shifting the Kerala river water to America to finish it for ever. There were television discussions on this. Experts took part. Many were arguing . But public got confused over the whole issue.

Sustenance of the intellectual community much depends on such discussions. If such news no more appear in the papers who will read newspapers? For the writers to write and comment some decent subject is required. Writing about common topics sometimes could be interpreted as something below dignity.

Teaching community after all interested in sharing their wisdom with others . That is their hobby and they are supposed to do that. To support them there are comrades ready with their wisdom properly backed by Marxian logistics and to add to the spirit of discussions there are local intelligentsia with their social analyses based upon different party ideologies, newspaper stories and magazine articles. Moreso common intellectuals who shaped their thinking upon the words from men of letters like Sukumar Azhikkodu, Sara Joseph, Sugatha Kumari, other poets, short story writers and novelists etc. In short these are the groups that play a crucial role in creation of public opinion in Kerala and more over they play an important role in shaping the social thinking.

With the liberalization and reforms taking deep root in Kerala society many social actors are not so happy about it. One classic example is teaching community. They are as such not very happy with the new developments simply because students are no more in a mood to call strikes everyday. Students have to share a portion of the cost of education these days. That itself changed the mentality of the student community. Moreover they have become more career oriented these days.

Few years back even in the 1990s too, colleges were having more holidays than working days. But today that has changed. Again teachers are not so happy. With less strikes in colleges and universities, workloads of the teachers have gone up tremendously. Students are no more interested in outdated ideological and futile discussions. Youngsters of Kerala these days are more pragmatic than their seniors. While the elders go for serious discussions, youngsters want to engage themselves in something that gives results.

So the restless teaching community along with state government employees declared a strike that went on for more than one month. But it did not click as they expected. Naturally this generated a whole lot of frustration. One youth activist and ideologue who is in his late 30s said that now the government is so arrogant and with the failure of that one month strike calling such kinds of strikes in the future will be difficult.

Gone are the days. Once upon a time a protest meeting arrange by the trade union movements used to attract thousands. But today the size of the meetings arrange by trade unions are very small. Tragedy of Student Unions are another interesting case. students are no more getting enrolled in to the student unions. It is no more easy for student unions to find candidates for college union elections. Kerala campuses were once upon a time used to be centers of many extra curricular and co curricular activities. But today things have changed.

But then who suffers from all this? For the politicians it is a set back. They are not getting young blood for campaigning for their elections. Youth leaders in the age group of 25 and above also suffering a lot. They are unable to put pressure on the party leadership to accept their demands. In fact there is no need for youth wings for the political parties as there is very little followers for political parties from that category. Whether any body these days coming into public/social service ( politics) other than from political families with any ideological commitment from among the youth is also a serious question. The thing is that people are no more interested in politics that we understand by the term. If politics is all about Development and Economic prosperity then people especially youth may take notice. Otherwise who will care for it?  


More by :  Dr. P Koshy

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