Wednesday, October 04, 2006

for those of you who do not know, i am a mallu. but except for having been born in mallu-land (or so i am told) i have had no major exposure to mallu-land. i did my entire schooling in pune and then college education in mumbai. even my accent apparently doesn't give away my mallu origins.

but, without sounding parochial, i find mallu-land a beautiful place. and i look forward to each visit there, official or personal.

ok, now apart from maharashtra i also spent a year in shonar bangla (kolkata, to be precise). and i was amazed to see the similarities between kerala and bengal. here're some that came to my mind -

1. both states are coastal states with very similar weather and the country-side looks very similar. people also dress very similarly - whites, dhoties, plain cotton sarees, etc.

2. the staple diet in both states is rice and fish.

3. politically both states have a strong communist base.

4. people declare strikes at the drop of a hat! both states have a strong labor movement.

5. both states have high literacy rates.

6. people from both states are football lovers.

7. the women in both states are strong & assertive. women's emancipation must be the highest in the country in these two states.

8. the people in both these states see themselves as the protectors of culture and arts in the country. they have a very high opinion about themselves. very high percentage of national award winners in art/film/literature come from these 2 states. most of the art films in the country emerge from these 2 states.

9. people of both states are devi worshippers - bhagawati in kerala and durga/kali in bengal.

10. people from both states have a large migrant population working outside the state. i would even go to the extent of saying that people from both states do very well outside their own states!

any more similarities you know of?

1 comment:

Ramkumar said...

Hey GP,

Interesting similarities indeed. . Just wanted to add -

1. Rightly or wrongly both think too much about their own state. If one calls it "God's own country" other calls it 'Shonar Bangla'. As if all other states were not God's or as if all other states were 'Koylar'!!

Well it actually gets more interesting. According to some, the similarities are because the Bongs came and settled in Kerala. And why did they do that? Because Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism after Kalinga (which was in Bengal apparently)and his men then started converting the locals as well. These locals were Devi worshippers who then fled and settled in Kerala. Hence you find people with fair skin in Kerala (!! ouch!), wear similar dress, eat similar food and worship Devi and all the other similarities you have described.

It must have been no mere coincidence then that the person who took on himself to revive hinduism (Adi Shankara) was born in Kerala!!

But then poor mallus. I can already see them squirm in their seats. For all the pride they have about the illustrious sons that their land has produced, it now turns out that they all owe it to Bengal !!

Anyway Happy blogging.