Saturday, February 22, 2014


Alleppey is my birthplace. It is where I was brought up. It is the place that made me what I am. I have every reason to love the place. And I have every right to dream too.

I have a faint idea about the affluence the town bathed in some time back. The two canals, the arteries of the town, flowing smoothly with crystal clear water, full of country boats laden with coir and other products, the surrounding area filled with the fragrance of pepper, cardamom and other spices, the shores bustling with the hum and fury of activities, its banks fringed by godowns and factories, the labourers overflowing the banks, the festivals that made the nights alive….. everything runs back into my mind when I think of my infant days. They were the golden days of Alleppey, but certainly, things of the past.

Gone are the days of trade and shipment. Envisaged as a port town by a great visionary the then Diwan of Travancore Raja Kesavadas, Alleppey served the purpose quite effectively till the development of road transport and the rise of Cochin as a major port. Yet, the downfall of Alleppey, the ill-fate that began to rule over the town, was not entirely the contribution of these. There were other reasons also.

The vast godowns on either side of the canals had no purpose, once the trade shifted to Cochin. The coir factories could not sustain themselves during the lean period after Independence. They had to be eventually closed down, as the Foreign owners who invested in these companies withdrew from here one by one. Local people had not gained the strength to take over the factories or run them properly.

Closing down the factories naturally resulted in unemployment. The political upheaval that shaped itself around Punnapra-Vayalar had its impact on the labourers too. They were becoming aware of their rights; they strongly fought for their due. But it all ended up in hastening the total collapse of industry in the area.

The effects of the frustration that arose out such a dire situation are, in my opinion, still prevalent in the Social Culture of Alleppey, at least psychologically. An empty mind is said to be the workshop of the devil. I would like to modify the statement somewhat to say that unemployment is the root cause of all divisive and destructive tendencies that crop up in the society. The highly charged political atmosphere which manifests itself in blocking all developmental activities in the area is perhaps the long-term outcome of this disillusion.

But that is not the point in question. The second thing that resulted in the ‘death’ of the once-busy waterways – the canals – is the construction of the Thanneermukkom bund. It was hailed as a permanent solution for all woes of the farmers of Kuttanad. It was then considered an engineering wonder and a man-made blessing that would free the peasants of all miseries. It was even thought that the Bund could forever provide self-sufficiency for the State in rice cultivation. It was believed that the onslaught of brackish water from the sea could be permanently blocked. The prospect of doing two or three crops every year was the promise.

I don’t have to dwell at length to describe how this ‘blessing’ has turned into a ‘curse’. The Bund itself was not completed, the shutters were not used properly, and the rest of the project was neglected. All this resulted in the total imbalance of Nature - loss of fish, increased use of artificial manures and pesticides, intense pollution and absence of natural cleansing. The eco-system of the area was completely upset. Needless to say, the Bund miserably interfered with Nature’s yearly process of making the land fertile and cultivable.

But its greatest impact was on the Canals and the surrounding areas. The natural ebb and flow of sea water was blocked by the Bund and it lead to the ‘killing’ of the Canals. The water became stagnant. And, as the saying goes, stagnant water pollutes. Add to this the natural death of their use as waterways to move country boats that carried things to be exported.

The Canals were naturally overgrown with weeds. The water got polluted day by day; People found them a convenient place for dumping waste. It is a happy breeding ground for mosquitoes and all sorts of water-born germs and pests. The banks of the Canals were a haven for their primary needs and anti-social activities. The false exercise of cleansing the canals of weeds and debris has been going on a yearly basis for the past thirty five years or so. I remember being a member of a ‘Sramadan’ team some thirty years back, but the situation has only grown worse. Crores of Rupees are pumped in every year for this useless exercise and the weeds continue to grow. What happens is that the disease is not treated, but only the symptoms are attempted to be removed. The problem really is lack of flow of brackish water through natural ebb and low tide in the sea. The path for this is blocked on either side – in the east with the Thanneermukkom Bund and in the west by the sea shore.

Well, the Canals have their own use, incidentally. They provide many with a reason and means for existence. The yearly cleansing process makes a living for many people. Make hay while the Sun shines. Make money as long as the canals are there.

The narrow bridges which were once constructed to enable the movement of pedestrians continue to be the same even during these days of heavy vehicular traffic, causing incessant traffic blocks. True, some of them have been widened, but the canals and the narrow bridges still make traffic movement hazardous.

The recent controversy over felling the trees on either side of the canals is another ploy to protect the subversive interests of some people. You can litter only a place that is already littered. The trees make good shade for anti-social activities. In any case, these were not planted in a planned scheme; they had just grown there in the absence of proper upkeep of the banks. But, environmentalism is a good hideout for blocking any developmental activities in our State!

And, then there are people who flock to preserve the canals and all the dirt around it in the name of Tradition. But they forget that the canals are only about 200 years old and they were man-made channels meant for the particular purpose of transporting the hill-produce to the shore. The canals served that purpose effectively during their tenure and that purpose is not going to be re-generated at all. They are now dead and putrefying; the only treatment is amputation as in the case of Gangrene!

What causes my greatest dismay is that none of these people who throng to protect and preserve the Canals and their stinking surroundings are worried about the lack of a proper drainage and sewage system in the town. Worse still, there is criminal unconcern about Solid Waste removal. The authorities have no time or means to organize these things, whether it be the Municipal Council or the Government Agencies. For them too, presumably, the Canals are a great solace as the stocking point of all dirt and waste. Interestingly, the Municipal elections are hotly contested, but the incumbents are more worried about their chairs than the welfare of the town. By the time a District Collector begins to study the situation, he gets transferred for ambiguous reasons!

My Dream Alleppey

In the Alleppey of my dreams, there is no Thanneermukkom Bund. The vast Vembanad Lake and its full expanse gets yearly nourished by the flow of the pure waters from the rivers and gets cleansed everyday by the ebb and flow of the tides from the sea. The farmers are content with one crop every year, which is more productive than the many crops they fail in. All sorts of Fish naturally grow in the backwaters and the seasonal birds do not come to any harm through pesticides and pollution.

All the expanse of the backwaters is studded with houseboats carrying thousands of tourists from all over the world. The water is so safe that they can even swim in it. The cool breeze during the day and the bright sunset in the evenings behind the swinging coconut trees enthral them with an exotic experience. The calm and serene surroundings, well in contrast with the din and bustle of the cities, persuade the tourists to stay on and on.

On the banks of the Punnamada Kayal, there are permanent pavilions to view Boat-races conducted many times a year in the fashion of Nehru Trophy Boat Race. Close to the pavilions, there are jetties for Transport Boats, Pleasure Boats and House Boats. The place is reachable by roads provided behind the pavilions. The ground floor under the pavilion houses any number of tourist offices, ready to help the tourists at cost-effective rates. Tourist guides are also stationed there, along with lifeguards. Of course, there are all facilities for the primary needs of the tourists within the pavilion.

In my dreams, the Canals are just not there. They have been laid with large drainage pipes and covered completely, leaving manholes at necessary points. All the dirty water from the buildings on either side flow into the drainage pipes and get disposed into the sea. The tops of the Canals are used to widen roads, and at vantage points, provide for shopping malls, theatres, fun centres and comfort stations at regular intervals. Safe and pure drinking water is available everywhere. There are no heaps of dirt and waste anywhere in the vicinity. All have been taken away during off-peak hours by men deputed for it in tipper Lorries.

On the outskirts of the town at the South and North, there are garbage collection centres. All the waste collected from the town is properly disposed off, either as compressed waste or organic manure.

The bypass on the National Highway has become a reality. The Railway line is doubled and electrified. There are Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs) plying between Trivandrum and Ernakulam through Alleppey. The KSRTC Bus station has been shifted close to the Highway. There are frequent town buses, both KSRTC and private, plying through all the areas of the town and touching the Main Bus Station and the Railway Station. Long distance buses do not enter the town just to satisfy the pranks of politicians.

Another bypass connecting Pallathuruthy to Nehru Trophy Ward also is a reality. People coming from Changanacherry cross over to NH 47 somewhere near Arattuvazhy without entering the town, if need be. This bypass is a busy thoroughfare, with scores of Hotels, Motels and Lodges to cater to the needs of the tourists. Either side of the road is highly developed to the extent of making it another township with perfect residential facilities.

The four-lane NH 47 has considerably shortened the distance from Kochi. Alleppey is fast growing into a comfortable residential area for all the high-tech professionals who are employed in Kochi and surrounding areas because of low-cost living and congenial atmosphere.

An Export Processing Zone has come up somewhere on the outskirts of the town. Coir is still the major produce of Alleppey. In spite of the major and mechanized Coir factories, there are thousands of houses and small workshops where coir products are made as cottage industry. There are co-operative societies that ensure proper price for the products in the EPZ. Container facilities are provided here. The fertile sands of the villages all around the town produce organic vegetables in plenty and they get exported in great quantities. Alleppey has also become a major exporter of readymade garments.

The change that has come over in Bhattathiripurayidom is incredible. There is first class 400M track, Stadium and all amenities for Sports and Games there. The Conference Hall and the Gymnasium and facilities for development of the Physique are of international standards.
What surprises and thrills me most is the change that has come over the Politicians. Politics is not their means of existence, but their strength to get things done for their native place. Differences of opinion and colours of flags are forgotten when it comes to the development of Alleppey. They all stand together and make hot bargains for the progress of Alleppey. It is not the craze for power that rules them, but their desire to do the best for their soil.

Finally, what I find in Alleppey is that unemployment has ceased to be a problem to the younger generation. Nobody waits for the paltry unemployment pension. The youth have realized the value of work and entrepreneurship. They have formed themselves into self-help groups and work day and night. Tourism-enabled jobs are in plenty. The youth of Alleppey know very well that even a ‘Thattukada’ with tasty items can make a living for a few. It has dawned on them that political processions, hartals and bundhs are organized not for the good of the youth, but to gain political mileage for some at the top.

I know that what I see is only a dream, but it is a dream from which I do not want to wake up!

Note: Most of my dreams continue to be a dream even after eight years, but I am sure somebody somewhere is thinking about making them a reality! Let us hope for the best.
(This article was originally published in one of my blogs on 09 July 2005. ) 

Sunday, January 05, 2014


       One of the easiest and cheapest ways to remember great men is forcing the government to name some roads already in use after the person some people like. Thus, almost every other road is named after #Mahathma Gandhi, which is shortened to MG. Other establishments that get named after are airports, bus stations and railway stations. Place names have already given way to names of people. You no more travel from Mumbai to Delhi, but from #Chathrapathi to #Indiragandhi!           
           Another easy way is installing #statues. Many people believe that the best way to remember a great man is creating a statue of that person and install it on the roadside. Anyway, the dead person is not likely to object. Such statues are often neglected even by those who caused it to be there. Nobody cares for it except when somebody attempts to destroy or desecrate it. Such acts are generally done to ignite the wrath of the group the person was supposed to belong to. The revered person stands a mute witness to all the atrocities happening around him. Have you ever thought how much money is wasted in this way, which could have been put to much better use, at least for providing basic amenities for the people living around. 
           Those who install the statues do it and go away satisfied. Nobody cares for them after that. Thousands of statues pave the way all across the country, only to be neglected, only to block further development. Politicians do not discourage  the installation of statues, since they don't want to hurt the sentiments of the groups behind it. They always have their eye on the 'supposed' vote banks!
           Instead of creating statues of great men on the roadside only to bear the droppings of crows and to block the easy movement of traffic, why don't the organizations which project them widen or create new roads to help people? The names of great men will be remembered thankfully at least by the users of the road!
         Statues have no significance unless the principles the great man advocated for are understood and practiced. When will the day come when the politicians and caste leaders realize this? Do we have any regard for that great person who said one temple less is so much superstition less. When will we raise the slogan 'One more toilet means so much more cleanliness'? 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Road development

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‘F¨htQ¢«L® ©Jjq’ i¢k¥¨T¨iÆ¢k¤« CY¤ o¡b¢´¡u Jr¢i¤©h¡? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones                                         

Every gadget comes with certain advantages, and troubles if misused. The mobile phone is one like that. Consider the benefits the Internet has brought with it and also the blame that it misleads the youth into doing wrong things. But when we compare the positives and the negatives, the benefit certainly outweighs the minus side.
The recent decision in Kerala to ban the use of mobile phones in Government offices is a retrograde step in the context of advancing technology. When the Government is trying to implement e-governance in all departments, the latest advances in the use of mobile phones is totally neglected.
Mobile phones are now not just a mechanism to talk to someone. Almost all functions that can be done through the internet can also be done through the phones. The smart phones that come out now are capable of replacing the computers, as has lap-top pushed out desk-tops.When the emphasis is on reducing the need for people visiting Offices, what can be done over the phone gets a lot of importance. It is well known how difficult it is to meet someone in an office because of the crowd gathering there, how convenient it would be if you have the mobile number of the right person and make enquiries about the progress of your file! In the modern days when even banking and payments can be done through the phone, and when even banks discourage people from going personally to the branches, why should people be denied this facility in Government offices alone? Also, think of the time and money involved in a person personally presenting himself in the office to get something done. And, how many times he will have to go there to get it done! In many cases, a person may have to take leave from his office many times to achieve this, thus putting his own office out of gear. When payment of utility bills, tax, etc. is increasingly being encouraged all over the world, why should Kerala alone go many steps backward in making use of modern technology? Communicating through the mobile phone will take away a heavy load of traffic from the roads and also help reduce fuel consumption to a great extent. It also reduces the chances of personal influence and bribery to a great extent.
Also, let us not forget how the mobile phone has helped the police to trace and nab hard core criminals!
It is high time that the untimely order was reversed and people encouraged to interact through mobile phones with Government offices.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Action Plan for Sabarimala

Action plan for Sabarimala
In the wake of the gruesome tragedy that occurred in Pulmedu this year, it is time for a rethink about the proposed Master Plan. Only Lord Ayyappa’s grace must have prevented such incidents till now, considering the apathy and callousness of the authorities in implementing the necessary precautions. Perhaps the Lord Himself must have been disgusted with the situation and He chose to signify His ill-will through this incident. At least now the authorities should consider this as an eye opener and discharge their responsibilities with due respect to the lives of innocent devotees and the money they pour in. Many people might have considered the Sabarimala season as an occasion for personal gains and filling the coffers of the Devaswom Board and the State Government. As the HC has observed rightly, there was no co-ordination among the different Departments of the State Government. Even after the unfortunate incident, these departments are entertaining themselves by blaming one another. The details are an open book before the public.
What happened in Pulmedu is the sum total of the greed of some people to make quick money, the haste of the devotees to get back to their places after seeing the Makarajyothi and the selfish manner in which they trampled over their fellow beings. Much money must have changed hands when nearly 2000 vehicles were allowed to park in the Periyar Tiger Reserve Forest where entry of vehicles is prohibited; how none of the authorities came to know of the 2 lakh+ people camping on the Pulmedu for hours together and how they got there unseen by anyone is a real mystery. Who gave the eco-development society permission to put up shops there to fleece the devotees remains to be seen. Nearly twenty people boarding an auto rickshaw, and it crushing under the weight blocking the narrow path, speaks volumes about the avariciousness of the people there.
The question whether Makarajyothi is man-made or divine is totally beside the point. The debate is initiated only to camouflage the real issue. There are hundreds of places where much bigger crowds assemble and disperse within shorter periods of time without causing disasters. Whatever be the outcome of the debate, the crowd is only set to increase during the coming years too. It is a question of faith and faith is not rational. People undertake the perilous journey to the temple in the midst of the forest knowing fully well that the legend of Lord Ayyappa itself is a myth. What is required is a systematic and professional approach to crowd management and the development of the necessary infrastructure.
Well, the attitude of the people who gather in such a place cannot be changed much overnight, but the authorities can do a lot to enable the pilgrimage a better experience without causing any reduction in their ‘official’ income. This requires proper planning in advance and executing the projects on a time bound basis, of course, with ample help and sponsorship from willing devotees. PPP should be ideal in this respect.
The Master Plan for Sabarimala should urgently include the following projects:
1. Make the trekking routes to Sabarimala and back one way. The present blockage of the incoming pilgrims is caused mainly by the returning devotees using the same path up to Pampa. The long queue of the devotees waiting for hours together to seek entry to the 18 steps can be avoided.
2. Construct a flyover from Sannidhanam to Pampa Hilltop to allow people to go back to their native places as fast as possible, because once the Darsan and offerings are over, that is exactly what the devotees want to do. This path will also help in evacuating the crowd in an emergency and carrying indisposed people to the hospitals urgently..
3. Make the system of collecting the ghee-filled coconuts and issuing aadiya neyyu in return more popular. Now the devotees climb up the 18 steps with the irumudi on their heads, and once they reach the top, they have to find a place to unpack it, pour out the ghee into pots and wait in a long queue for hours together to get the abhishekam done. The coconuts thus collected can be mechanically opened, the ghee taken out hygienically and offered for abhishekam, and the pieces of coconuts sent down through conveyer belts.
4. The coupons for all offerings should be made available along the entry route; the prasadams can be distributed by the side of the flyover during return.
5. The system of allowing people for long hours around the sanctum sanctorum should be discontinued. The only counter required there is the one collects the ghee-filled coconuts. They need to stay there only until the darsan is over, after which they should move over to Malikappuram and other places of worship and then enter the flyover for the return trek. They can collect the prasadom on the way. This will enable more and more people to come up the steps without being kept waiting.
6. The number of days on which the temple is kept open may be increased gradually. In addition to the first day of every Malayalam month, the temple may be kept open on Uthram, the birth star of the Lord. But it is certain that all such measures will not reduce the number of devotees thronging the premises during Makaravilakku.
7. Discourage people who come on a pleasure trip for trekking. I mean, those who go up the path through the forest wearing footwear like canvas shoes and socks, leather chappals or just rubber slippers. The path from Pampa up to the temple is sacred and need to be climbed barefoot. The police can easily prevent such people at the foot of the hill itself.
8. The ropeway to carry goods for use in the temple is a must. The foot route through the forest – both traditional and the other – should be widened, the sides well bound by concrete structures and the path properly laid with pre-stressed interlocking concrete bricks, which can be laid even during the rainy season.
9. The heavy rush in Pulmedu is experienced only on the day of the Makaravilakku. At the flat plane before Pulmedu from where devotees start moving on foot should be cleared for parking vehicles. No vehicle whatsoever should be allowed beyond this point. The trekking route to Sabarimala should be widened, leveled and cleared of all obstacles well ahead of Makaravilakku day.
It is high time that Sabarimala is declared a National Pilgrimage Centre and effective co-ordination between the State and Central Governments be enabled. There will be a great number of devotees and firms willing to provide the necessary infrastructure, once the Master Plan is finalized with the help of the experts in the field.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

നിര്‍ബന്ധിതമാക്കണോ മലയാളം?

നിര്‍ബന്ധിതമാക്കണോ മലയാളം?

മലയാളം മാതൃഭാഷയായിട്ടുള്ള ആരേയും പ്രകമ്പനം കൊള്ളിക്കേണ്ടതാണ്‌ പത്താം ക്ളാസ്‌ വരെ എല്ലാ സ്കൂളുകളിലും മലയാളം നിര്‍ബന്ധിതമാക്കണമെന്ന നിര്‍ദ്ദേശം.. നിര്‍ബന്ധിതമലയാളഭാഷാപഠനം മെച്ചപ്പെട്ട ജീവിതസാഹചര്യങ്ങള്‍ ഒരുക്കുമെങ്കില്‍ ആരും അതിനു വഴങ്ങുമെന്നതില്‍ തര്‍ക്കമില്ല. മലയാളമറിയാത്തതുകൊണ്ട്‌ ഇന്ന്‌ കേരളത്തിലാര്‍ക്കും ജോലി നിഷേധിക്കപ്പെടുന്നില്ല. പക്ഷേ, കേരളത്തില്‍ ജനിച്ചുവളര്‍ന്ന്‌ ഉന്നതബിരുദവും നേടി ജോലിയന്വേഷിച്ച്‌ മറുനാടുകളിലേയ്ക്ക്‌ വണ്ടികയറുന്ന ശരാശരി ചെറുപ്പക്കാരുടെ പരാധീനതകള്‍ക്ക്‌ ആരാണ്‌ പരിഹാരം കാണുക? മലയാളമെന്ന ഒരൊറ്റ സംസാരഭാഷ മാത്രം വശപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഉന്നതബിരുദധാരികള്‍ ഇംഗ്ളീഷിലുള്ള ഒരു ചോദ്യത്തിനും മറുപടി പറയാന്‍ കഴിയാതെ തല കുമ്പിട്ട്‌ തിരിച്ചു വണ്ടികയറുന്നത്‌ ആരെങ്കിലും അറിയുന്നുണ്ടോ? ഒരൊറ്റഭാഷാസമൂഹമായ കേരളത്തില്‍ ഇംഗ്ളീഷില്‍ സംസാരിക്കാന്‍ ശ്രമിച്ചാല്‍ 'യെവനാരെടേ, സായിപ്പിണ്റ്റെ കുഞ്ഞോ?' എന്നു ചോദിച്ച്‌ അപമാനിക്കുന്നതിണ്റ്റെ ഫലം ശരിയ്ക്കും അറിയുന്നത്‌ മറുനാട്ടില്‍ ജോലിയ്ക്കു ശ്രമിയ്ക്കുമ്പോഴാണ്‌. കേരളത്തില്‍ പഠിച്ച എല്ലാവര്‍ക്കും കേരളത്തില്‍ തന്നെ ജോലി ലഭിക്കുമെങ്കില്‍ വളരെ നല്ലത്‌. പക്ഷെ, അതിനുള്ള സംവിധാനം അടുത്തെങ്ങും ഉണ്ടാകുന്ന ലക്ഷണമില്ല. അതോടൊപ്പം തന്നെ കൂട്ടിവായിക്കേണ്ട മറ്റൊരുകാര്യവുമുണ്ട്‌ - കേരളത്തില്‍ പഠിച്ചവരില്‍ മലയാളം തന്നെ ശരിക്കു സംസാരിക്കാനറിയാവുന്നവര്‍ എത്ര ശതമാനം വരും? ടിവി യിലും മറ്റും പ്രത്യക്ഷപ്പെടുന്ന അവതാരകരുടെ കാര്യം ഒരു സൂചന മാത്രമാണ്‌. അവിടവിടെ ഇംഗ്ളീഷ്‌ വാക്കുകള്‍ കൊരുക്കാതെ ഒരു വാചകമെങ്കിലും പറയാന്‍ കഴിയുമോ മലയാളികള്‍ക്ക്‌? ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ അവസ്ഥ ഉള്ള മലയാളവും പോയി, ഇംഗ്ളീഷൊട്ടു കിട്ടിയതുമില്ല എന്നതാണ്‌.
ഇംഗ്ളീഷ്‌ മീഡിയം സ്കൂളുകള്‍ കൂടുന്നു, സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ സ്കൂളുകളില്‍ കുട്ടികള്‍ കുറയുന്നു എന്നീ പരാതികള്‍ ഉള്ളപ്പോഴും ഉന്നതവിദ്യാഭാസമേഖലയില്‍ എന്തുസംഭവിക്കുന്നു എന്നാരും അന്വേഷിക്കുന്നില്ല. അവിടെ പൊതുവെ അദ്ധ്യയനം മലയാളം മീഡിയത്തിലാണ്‌, ക്ളാസ്‌ റൂമുകളില്‍ പോലും. ക്ളാസ്സിനു പുറത്ത്‌ ആശയവിനിമയവും മലയാളത്തില്‍ തന്നെ. പരീക്ഷ എഴുതുന്നത്‌ ടെക്സ്റ്റ്‌ ബുക്കുകളില്‍ നിന്നും കാണാപ്പാഠം പഠിച്ച ഇംഗ്ളീഷില്‍. ഗുരുവും ശിഷ്യനും 'ഒരേ തൂവല്‍പക്ഷി'കളായതുകൊണ്ട്‌ എഴുതിവച്ചതിന്‌ ഫുള്‍ മാര്‍ക്കു കിട്ടും, റാങ്കും കിട്ടാം. പക്ഷേ, കേരളത്തിനു പുറത്ത്‌ അഭിമുഖപരീക്ഷയില്‍ 'മൌന'ത്തിന്‌ മാര്‍ക്കില്ലല്ലോ. കേരളത്തിലെ ബഹുഭൂരിപക്ഷം പേര്‍ക്കും മലയാളമല്ലാതെ മറ്റ്‌ ഏതുഭാഷയിലുണ്ട്‌ പ്രാവീണ്യം? ആകെ അറിയാവുന്നത്‌ മലയാളം മാത്രം. അറിയാവുന്നത്‌ അടിച്ചേല്‍പ്പിക്കേണ്ട കാര്യമില്ലല്ലോ. നമ്മുടെ നേതാക്കന്‍മാര്‍ പ്രസംഗിക്കുന്നതും നിയമസഭയില്‍ വാഗ്വാദങ്ങള്‍ നടത്തുന്നതും ഒക്കെ മലയാളത്തില്‍ തന്നെയല്ലേ? ആരെങ്കിലും എന്തെങ്കിലും ഇംഗ്ളീഷില്‍ പറഞ്ഞാല്‍, "എന്താ പറഞ്ഞത്‌?" എന്ന്‌ അടുത്തുനില്‍ക്കുന്നവനോട്‌ ചോദിക്കണം! മുന്‍ഗാമികള്‍ പണ്ടെങ്ങോ ഇംഗ്ളീഷില്‍ കുറിച്ചുവച്ച വാചകങ്ങള്‍ അര്‍ത്ഥമറിഞ്ഞോ അറിയാതെയോ ഫയലുകളില്‍ പകര്‍ത്തിവയ്ക്കുമ്പോള്‍ എല്ലാ നവംബര്‍ ഒന്നാംതീയതിയും "ഭരണഭാഷ മലയാളമാകണം" എന്ന മുറവിളി ഉയരും. സര്‍വകക്ഷിസംഘം കേന്ദ്രത്തില്‍ചെന്ന്‌ ഏതെങ്കിലും മന്ത്രിമാരെക്കാണുമ്പോഴും ഒരു ദ്വിഭാഷി അത്യാവശ്യം. ഇന്ത്യയിലിന്ന്‌ പ്രചാരത്തിലുള്ള പ്രാദേശികഭാഷാപത്രങ്ങളില്‍ മലയാളം മുന്‍പന്തിയില്‍ നില്‍ക്കുമ്പോള്‍ മലയാളം നിര്‍ബന്ധിതഭാഷയാക്കേണ്ടതുണ്ടോ? ജോലിയന്വേഷിച്ച്‌ മറുനാട്ടില്‍ പോകുമ്പോഴും അവിടുത്തെ ഭാഷ പഠിച്ച്‌ അന്നത്തിനുള്ള വഴി തേടുമ്പോഴും മലയാള അക്ഷരമാലയിലെ വൈവിദ്ധ്യവും സമ്പന്നതയും പ്രയോജനപ്പെടുമെന്നു തോന്നുന്നു. മറ്റുസംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളില്‍ നടപ്പാക്കിയെന്നു വിവക്ഷിച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന ഭാഷാപഠനപദ്ധതി കേരളത്തിനു യോജിച്ചതേയല്ല. ഒന്നാമത്തെ കാര്യം അവര്‍ക്ക്‌ ഉയര്‍ന്ന ജോലി അന്വേഷിച്ച്‌ പുറത്തേക്ക്‌ പോകേണ്ടതില്ല. തമിഴ്‌ മാത്രം പഠിച്ചവര്‍ അതുമാത്രം കൊണ്ടുകിട്ടുന്ന ജോലി തേടിയെടുത്തുകൊള്ളും. ഇംഗ്ളീഷ്‌ പഠിച്ചവര്‍ പുറത്തും ജോലി തേടും. അവരുടെ മാതൃഭാഷാപ്രേമത്തിണ്റ്റെ ജീവിക്കുന്ന രക്തസാക്ഷിയാണ്‌ കേന്ദ്രമന്ത്രി അഴഗിരി. നമുക്കും അത്തരം ഭാഷാഭ്രാന്ത്‌ വേണോ? കര്‍ണ്ണാടകത്തിലും ആന്ധ്രയിലും സ്ഥിതി വ്യത്യസ്ഥമാണ്‌. ഒരു ഭാഷയോടും അയിത്തമില്ല. കുട്ടികള്‍ പോലും മാതൃഭാഷയും പ്രാദേശികഭാഷയും ഇംഗ്ളീഷും ഭംഗിയായി കൈകാര്യം ചെയ്യും. ഒരൊറ്റഭാഷാസമൂഹമായി വളരുന്നതാണ്‌ കേരളത്തിണ്റ്റെ പ്രശ്നം. അറിയാതെ ഏതെങ്കിലും മറ്റുഭാഷക്കാര്‍ കേരളത്തില്‍ വന്നാല്‍ അവരെ 'ഗോസായി, പാണ്ടി' എന്നൊക്കെ വിളിച്ച്‌ പുച്ഛിക്കുന്നതിലാണ്‌ നമുക്ക്‌ ആനന്ദം. എത്രയോ മലയാളികള്‍ മറ്റുദേശങ്ങളില്‍ പോയി ജോലി ചെയ്തയക്കുന്ന പണം കൊണ്ടാണല്ലോ നമ്മുടെ ധൂര്‍ത്തും പരിഹാസവും. കേന്ദ്രസര്‍ക്കാര്‍ കേഡറില്‍ കേരളത്തിലെത്തൂന്നവര്‍ കഷ്ടപ്പെട്ട്‌ മലയാളം പഠിച്ച്‌ കീഴുദ്യോഗസ്ഥരുമായി സംവദിക്കേണ്ടിവരുന്നു. ക്ളാസ്സുമുറികളില്‍ അടച്ചിട്ട്‌ തല്ലിപ്പഠിപ്പിക്കേണ്ടതല്ല മാതൃഭാഷ.
എല്ലാ സ്കൂളുകളിലും പത്താംക്ളാസ്സുവരെ നിര്‍ബന്ധിതമായി മലയാളം പഠിപ്പിച്ചാല്‍ കേരളത്തിണ്റ്റെ പ്രശ്നങ്ങള്‍ തീരുമോ? അതും നൂറുമാര്‍ക്കും സൌജന്യമായി നല്‍കി വിജയശതമാനം വര്‍ദ്ധിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ഇക്കാലത്ത്‌? സ്കൂളും ക്ളാസ്മുറികളുമുണ്ടാകുന്നതിന്‌ എത്രയോ മുന്‍പുതന്നെ മലയാളം ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു! അതുപോലെ, ഹിന്ദി സ്കൂളില്‍ പഠിപ്പിക്കുന്നതു പോരാതെ എത്രയോ കുട്ടികള്‍ ഹിന്ദി പ്രചാര്‍ സഭയുടെ കോഴ്സുകള്‍ പഠിച്ച്‌ ഉന്നത പരീക്ഷകള്‍ പാസാകുന്നു! ആരും നിര്‍ബന്ധിച്ചിട്ടല്ല ഇതു നടക്കുന്നത്‌. ആവശ്യത്തിനുതകുന്ന ഭാഷകള്‍ ആരും പഠിച്ചുപോകും.
ഭാഷ വളരുന്നത്‌ ക്ളാസ്മുറികളിലല്ല, മറിച്ച്‌ അതിനുപുറത്ത്‌ സമൂഹത്തിലാണ്‌, അവിടുത്തെ പ്രയോഗങ്ങളിലൂടെയാണ്‌ പുതിയ വാക്കുകളും ശൈലികളുമുണ്ടാകുന്നത്‌. കാലത്തിണ്റ്റെ ആവശ്യം ഭാഷയുടെ സംരക്ഷണമല്ല, പകരം അതിണ്റ്റെ വളര്‍ച്ചയും വികസനവുമാണ്‌. ഒരു ഭാഷയും ആരേയും അടിച്ചേല്‍പ്പിക്കേണ്ടതില്ല. ആവശ്യമുണ്ടെങ്കില്‍ ഏതു ഭാഷയും പഠിച്ചെടുക്കാനുള്ള കഴിവ്‌ മനുഷ്യന്‌ ജന്‍മസിദ്ധമാണ്‌. അതുപോലെതന്നെ, ആരും പഠിപ്പിക്കാതെ സ്വയം വശഗതമാക്കുന്നതാണ്‌ മാതൃഭാഷ. ചുറ്റും നിറഞ്ഞുനില്‍ക്കുന്ന ഭാഷ സ്വാഭാവികമായും സ്വായത്തമാകും. കുട്ടികള്‍ ഒരു വയസ്സുമുതല്‍ സംസാരിച്ചുതുടങ്ങുന്നതും വ്യവസ്ഥാപിതവിദ്യാഭാസം ലഭിക്കാത്ത നിരക്ഷരകുക്ഷികള്‍ പോലും മാതൃഭാഷ അനായാസം കൈകാര്യം ചെയ്യുന്നതും ആരെങ്കിലും 'മലയാളം നിര്‍ബന്ധിത'മാക്കിയിട്ടല്ലല്ലോ. നിര്‍ബന്ധിച്ച്‌ അടിച്ചേല്‍പ്പിക്കുന്നതൊന്നും ശാശ്വതമായ ഗുണം ചെയ്യില്ല.
ജീവനും വളര്‍ച്ചയുമുള്ളതാണ്‌ ഭാഷ. വളര്‍ച്ചയുടെ വിവിധഘട്ടങ്ങളില്‍ മറ്റു ഭാഷകളില്‍ നിന്ന്‌ വാക്കുകള്‍ കടം കൊണ്ടും ആഗിരണം ചെയ്തുമാണ്‌ മാറ്റങ്ങളുണ്ടാകുന്നത്‌. അത്തരം മാറ്റങ്ങളാണ്‌ ഭാഷയുടെ ശക്തി. കേരളത്തിലെത്തിച്ചേര്‍ന്ന വിദേശികളുടെയും സംസ്കൃതത്തിണ്റ്റെയും സംഭാവനകളാണല്ലോ ഇന്ന്‌ മലയാളത്തിണ്റ്റെ പദസമ്പത്ത്‌. സംസാരിക്കാന്‍ ആളുകളുള്ളിടത്തോളം ഏതൊരു ഭാഷയും നിലനില്‍ക്കുകയും വളരുകയും ചെയ്യും. മലയാളത്തെക്കുറിച്ച്‌ ആരും ആശങ്കപ്പെടുകയും ഒന്നും അടിച്ചേല്‍പ്പിക്കുകയും വേണ്ടതില്ല. മലയാളം വളര്‍ച്ചയുടെ പാതയിലാണ്‌, മലയാളികളുള്ളിടത്തെല്ലാം അത്‌ പ്രചരിക്കുകയുമാണ്‌.അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ മിക്കവാറും എല്ലാ മലയാള പത്രങ്ങള്‍ക്കും മെട്രോ എഡിഷന്‍സും -പേപ്പറുകളും വേണ്ടിവരുമായിരുന്നില്ലല്ലോ.