THOMAS ISAAC T.M.'/MICHAEL THARAKAN P.K.'
Kerala—the Emerging Perspectives: Overview of the International Congress on Kerala Studies
Kerala has been in national and international attention for successful performance in key areas of human development, particularly, education, health and social welfare measures. Kerala's experience shows that conditions of life of the people can be improved even at a low level of economic growth through different forms of public action. What is not so well-known, however, is the grave crisis that has characterised the state during the past two decades. The spheres of employment and material production have been in the grip of stagnation. All around there have emerged visible signs of decay, resurgence of casteism and communalism, and a virtual political stalemate with the left failing to effect a decisive breakthrough, degeneration of popular culture and so on. Even the much acclaimed progress in education and health looks vulnerable. There is a growing feeling for the need to draw up a new agenda responsive to the changed reality; so that the new challenges can be met, the progressive heritage preserved and the cultural and material life of the people further improved.
Legitimate doubts can be expressed regarding the choice of a region as a unit for comprehensive socio-economic and political analysis. No agenda for Kerala can be drawn up independent of the changing global and national scenario. One of the opening symposium of the Congress, "New International Order, India and Kerala" attempted to contextualise the deliberations on Kerala within the larger context. Broadly, the implications of the new economic policies was a recurrent theme in many of the papers dealing with sectoral development issues. Despite the state being integrated globally and nationally, it constitutes a unit of analysis and action, given the spatial specificities of India's colonial integration, uneven development of capitalism,
Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum. Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum.
Social Scientist, Vol. 23, Nos. 1-3, January-March 1995