The Kerala Model for Equality
How Kerala, a bitter gourd shaped state in south India is setting an example through its progressive policies
1. Gender Equality
The national average sex ratio of India stands at 943, that is, there are 943 women for every 1000 men. Most states have significantly less number of women than men — national capital Delhi has only 868 and Uttar Pradesh, the largest state by population has only 912. But in Kerala, the number of women outnumber that of men. With a ratio of 1084, it is one among the only two states to achieve this feat.
Literacy rate in India is particularly skewed between the two genders. The national Male literacy rate is 82.14% and Female literacy rate is 65.46% according to Census 2011. In Kerala, the Male and Female literacy rates are comparable at 96.11% and 92.07% respectively. Female literacy is highest in Kerala.
Kerala was the first in the country to implement a transgender policy in India. The policy covers all categories in the gender spectrum and ensures them equal access to social and economic opportunities. Kochi metro, inaugurated by the PM on 17th June 2017 employs 20 transgender people as part of its work force in departments ranging from house-keeping to customer service. Kerala was also the first in the nation to open a skill development center to transsexual school dropouts, which will guide students through examinations upto higher secondary.
2. Equality and Tolerance between Religions
Kerala is an example for the rest of India for civilized coexistence among Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Keralites are first and foremost, Keralites. Onam is a festival celebrated by all religions in Kerala where Malayalees remember Maveli, an ancient Dravida king whose rule was socially just to each and every one of his subject. From Christmas to Iftar to Vishu, each and every one of them is celebrated together. Sabarimala, a famous pilgrim spot and Hindu temple is open to all religions and a shrine next to the main temple is dedicated to Vavar, who was a Muslim. Also, Varaswami’s mosque at Erumely is next to an Ayyappa temple.
During times when India was rioting based on religion, Kerala remained exceptionally calm. Sri Narayana, a renaissance leader and spiritual guru from Kerala adviced, “One Caste, One Religion, One God.” Obviously, all this has influenced how the culture of Kerala developed. Oh, and one more thing, most Hindus in Kerala eat beef and let others eat as well.
3. Proletarian Internationalism
When the entire world is growing xenophobic and anti-immigrant, Kerala stands out by showing justice to international socialism. Workers from all over the country flock in to Kerala for the prospect of a respectful job. They decide to stay here for the employment opportunities Kerala provide in construction labour sector. Malayalis themselves have settled in all nooks and corners of the world in search of jobs. More than a million Keralites toil in the Persian Gulf, mostly as technicians and construction workers.
For all the Biharis and Bengalis that migrate here, Kerala has become for them what the Gulf had been for job seeking adventurous Malayalis in the past.
The Kochi Metro found a unique way to thank the hundreds of migrant workers involved in the back-breaking job of building the project by honouring them with a traditional Kerala feast. The Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) served a sadhya — a banquet served on banana leaves — to nearly 800 migrant workers from states such as Bihar and Assam on Monday ahead of the June 17 inauguration of the Kochi Metro.