The respected prime minister of India described my home state Kerala as Somalia. Thank you sir for the metaphor you have used to describe my mother land. I feel immense pleasure upon hearing this.
I have heard foreigners describing Kerala as ‘God’s own country’ from the time I grew up. When there were strikes and hartals, I thought they were wrong. But when I went into the backwaters of Kerala and saw tourists enjoying the natural beauty of Kerala, I realized that it’s paradise. The Vemabanadu lake and the Asktamudi lake are not just sights for the tourists, but they are the abode of a huge number of common people who make their living out of the resources from those lakes and their banks. Yes sir ji, it’s Somalia. Yes, if you drain the entire lakes, burn whole of those house boats and stop the tourists from visiting the place. Yes it’s Somalia, if you stop people from soaking coconut shells in water and prevent them from making coir out of that in order to prevent them from earning. Yes sir ji, Kerala is Somalia if you poison our lakes and kill the diverse variety of fishes ranging from sardain and `karimeen` to squids and crabs. We have paddy fields and coconut plantations in our Somalia, sir ji. If you look down through the window pane of the business class seat in the flight while you fly through the skies above Kerala, you might not find them all. We are not from Somalia unless and until we have a rich soil and abundant natural resources.
People in cities go to shops to buy tea bags. But where do they come from? Haan ji.. Aap bilkul sahi bol raha he.. Vo jo chai aap peete ho, vo aata he hamaara Somalia se.. Those tea bags come from the estates in the highlands of Kerala. The hills in the high land regions of Munnar, Idukki, Wagamon and various regions of Kattappana are covered in the green thick blankets of tea, coffee, cardamom and pepper. Still, you call it Somalia. Yes sir ji, you are right. It would have been Somalia if our entire hills were flattened and concrete was laid to cover whole of them to prevent any plant or shrub from growing up. We have beautiful rivers flowing through the state. The Periyar which flows along the banks of Thekkady Wildlife Reserve is just one of our rivers. The broad Bharathapuzha with its broad banks is just another river in our Somalia. The Meenachil river which provides water to most of the taluks in Kottayam district needs to be drained and those rubber trees in our rubber estates needs to be cut down if you want Kerala to be Somalia. The Silent Valley Reserve and Nelliyampathy hills need to be cleared on grounds of enhancing the beauty of our State so that we could have it as Somalia.
Sir ji, I am not sure if you had seen our beaches. We have got beaches from north to south of the state. The Bekal beach in the north, holds history and stands up with pride. The Payyambalam beach in the north to Kovalam beach in the south are not just tourist spots but something that you might not find in Somalia. And sorry sir ji.. we don’t have those pirates like that in Somalia along our sea shores. Oh! You will neither be shot down nor be looted at gun point while you are at my home State which you described as Somalia. And yeah.. We have a literacy rate greater than 90%.. I am not sure if Somalia has that high of a literacy rate..
Haanji.. Aap bilkul sahi bataya gaya he.. Hamara state Somalia jaise hi he.. Those who reside in North India say that Kerala is like ‘karela’ (bitter gourd). Haanji.. Hum karela jaise hi he.. Just as bitter gourd, we are slightly bitter. We have got some problems. We have got some scams. But those are just some small issues. It’s not something that affects the living of many common people who make their living on their own by hard work involving lot of sweat. We are not from Somalia. And sir ji, kya aap hamaare state ko Somalia jaise banna chahte ho? Do you want us to fly half earth distance down there and cast vote for your party to make my state Somalia? As the nation’s prime minister, you can transform a state into Somalia or into another territory ahead of the United States of America. The decision is yours. It’s not just `Make in India`, but those which are already there in India can also be turned into something that reap gold or into something that is like s**t. The nation is in your mighty hands. I wish that you motivate the youth to rebuild the state and the nation into a developed nation rather than disrespecting its values by comparing it with an underdeveloped poverty stricken country.