On May 16, Kerala is going to elect a new government. Parties cutting across the political lines are heavily depended on social media to woo voters. According to media reports VS Achutanandan a veteran communist leader and an Opposition leader of Kerala has become active on social media for the first time to leverage his campaign. Pinaryi Vijayan another communist leader and Polit Bureau member of CPI (M) made headlines when he came alive on Face Book using live streaming as part of his election campaign. Unfortunately these duos were part of an agitation against introduction of computer in Kerala decades ago. The fierce opposition of communist slowed the computerisation of Kerala and that affected the prospect of the State in this field. When adjacent states became rallying point of the world and hub of software industry, Kerala lost its bus. Further, Kerala was reduced to a mere manpower supplier to the industries located in Chennai, Bengaluru or Hyderabad. Highly educated and talented Kerala workforce is a major component of IT and related industry today. But such a highly talented and creative workforce never got opportunities in their home state. An unfriendly industrial environment created by communism which is not conducive for business is to be blamed for this dismal situation. Undoubtedly the negative attitude created by the communists in Kerala deprived Keralites of their due though promised paradise.
Today Keralites are a migratory workforce working across the globe to eke-out a living. Working away from home and their dear ones they send back whatever little they save to support the family. Thus this migratory workforce becomes the back bone of Kerala economy. We can call it “A money order economy”. Its much debated Kerala model is nothing but babble. Kerala has abundance of natural resources and a highly talented workforce. Despite these advantages it lags behind in industrialisation and is mired in unemployment or underemployment. Interestingly Kerala is one of those regions in our country which started industrialisation in the pre-Independence era itself. CP Ramaswamy Iyar a visionary Prime Minister of erstwhile Travancore state from 1936-1947 took initiative and established many vital industries in the state. But the communists opposed his initiatives and indulged in violence, only to capture power through so-called bloody revolution. This negative attitude adopted by communists since the pre-Independence era is being carried forward till date. Alleppy district where decades ago communist employed an armed struggle to create unrest was once a hub of flourishing industries with a port. But, within 60 years after Independence communist interventions and their trade unions made it a desert for industries. Meanwhile, shipping organisations deserted the Alleppy Port by an extraordinary decision. Moreover, once famous coir industries vanished in thin air when red flags and closed fists raised.
Not only in Alleppy, many industries accross the State closed in the past due to communist agitations and atrocities. Along with it frequent harthals also created the anti-industry image of Kerala. Today, industry leaders are not ready to invest in Kerala due to fear of loss. The real reason behind this fear of industry leaders is ‘some illegal practices’ invented by communist trade unions e.g. Nooku Kooli. It is a practice of charging exorbitant wages without doing actual work but just watching the work while it is being done, some times union leaders will appear and take money after the actual work is done by some others. Further, trade union members charge wages even when the actual work is done by machines. The practice of Nooku Kooli has become a nightmare not only for industrial owners but also for common man. In 2014 a CITU leader was arrested in Trivandruam after its members forced an IAS officer to pay Nooku Kooli for unloading the furniture and other household appliances. Again, in 2015 an American born artist Waswo X Waswo destroyed his own art installations in protest near to Cochin when trade unions, demanded exorbitant amount to load it into a vehicle. Though, this practice of Nooku Kooli is adopted by all trade unions, today communism is its real progenitor. According to Dr CI Isaac an ICHR member based in Kerala, communist intellect is still imprisoned in its nineteenth century imagination and theories; their mental block is the real reason of dismal situation of Kerala.
Not only the policies and programmes of communist party, their organisational ego and personal ego of their leaders also become reasons for shutdown of industries or their losses, e.g. in Northern Kerala, a private bus company with more than 60 buses had to shutdown their service due to indefinite strike and hostile situation two decades ago. Another, private bus operating group faced more than a month long agitation and huge losses in business when they dismissed a worker for repeated theft. Many organisations suffered loss or were forced to shut down in the hostile situation, Sree Shakti Paper Mills, Vaisali Pharmaceuticals, Cochin Polimer Ltd. etc. are testimony of this communist hostility.
The reason behind negative approach of communists is nothing but their hunger for power. In Kerala, the communists saw the proletariat as mere vote bank or as a crowd for their processions and agitations. Therefore, they never allowed or strived to improve the life of poor and working class. According to Durairaj, BMS national secretary communists are neither worker friendly nor industry friendly, they are only concerned about their party. This ‘party first’ approach of communists hindered the progress of Kerala in many vital sectors e.g. agriculture sector. The communists were against the use of agriculture equipments and machines. They cited lose of labour for agricultural workers to stall the mechanisation of agriculture sector, but the real motto behind this move was to keep their cadre base intact. The result of such an approach was disastrous. Unavailability of labour and increased production cost forced thousands of small farmers to abandon farming and many left their farms and paddy field uncultivated. This ultimately affected the food security of the State, today Kerala heavily depends on neighboring states for essential food supply.
According to popular belief Kerala is the first place in the world where communist party came to power through ballot in 1957. Thereafter, many times they were voted to power in Kerala, but they failed to deliver the paradise promised for the poor working class. Today, the educated Keralaites are in search of new destinations to find a job. A large number of Keralaites are employed in Gulf region, the new labour policies of Gulf States and slowing economy have affected the prospect of working population there. Many workers lost their job in the recent past, thousands are in uncertain situation. A crisis is looming over Kerala. If such an exodus happens, re-employing a huge workforce would become the responsibility of Kerala government. This would be the worst crisis Kerala would have ever faced by the anti-industry attitude adopted and practised by the communists for decades. In this context, Kerala needs a new approach and new culture of development to ensure employment for its people at home. A first step towards this goal is nothing less than making Kerala free from communist infection. Ever than before people of the State are aware of the empty promises of communists and the futility of electing them again. Hope that this time Kerala will not miss the bus!
(The writer is a student of