The Left Democratic Front (LDF) of the south Indian State of Kerala, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), came to power for the second consecutive time in April this year, securing 99 out of 140 seats in the State Legislative Assembly. This victory broke a 40-year-old trend of incumbents losing the elections. One of the key factors behind this victory was the successful response of the government to natural disasters, such as floods, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The highlight of this response was a community-centered approach with thorough people’s participation. People’s participation has been a feature of many other important initiatives in the State too. The ‘Public Library Movement’ helped set up reading rooms and little libraries while the ‘Literacy Movement’ contributed to Kerala becoming the most literate State in the country.
Kerala, a state in the Indian union with a population of 35 million, has re-elected the Left Democratic Front (LDF) to lead the government for another five years. Since 1980, the people of Kerala have voted out the incumbent, seeking to alternate between the Left and the Right. This year, the people decided to stay with the Left and give the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, Pinarayi Vijayan, a second term in office as the Chief Minister. Health Minister K. K. Shailaja, popularly known as Shailaja Teacher, won her re-election with a record-breaking tally of over 60,000 votes, far exceeding her closest contender. It is clear that the people voted the Left government back in for three reasons...
Indian farmers and agricultural workers have crossed the hundred-day mark of their protest against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They will not withdraw until the government repeals laws that deliver the advantages of agriculture to large corporate houses. This, the farmers and agricultural workers say, is an existential struggle. Surrender is equivalent to death: even before these laws were passed, more than 315,000 Indian farmers had committed suicide since 1995 because of the debt burden placed on them. Over the next one and a half months, assembly elections will take place in four Indian states (Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal) and in one union territory (Puducherry).
On 1 January, 5.5 million women formed a 620-kilometre wall across the length of the Indian state of Kerala (population 35 million). This was not like Donald Trump’s wall across the US-Mexico border, a wall of inhumanity and toxicity. The wall of these women was a wall for freedom, a wall against traditions whose purpose is to humiliate. The immediate reason for the women’s wall was a fight over entry for women into the Sabrimala temple in southern Kerala. On 28 September 2018, the Supreme Court of India ruled that women must be allowed to enter the temple since the selective ban on women was not an ‘essential part’ of Hinduism but instead was a form of ‘religious patriarchy’.
Over the past month, the Indian state of Kerala has struggled with the worst floods since 1924. Over three hundred people have been killed and millions of people have been affected in this state of about 35 million people. There are many theories as to why these floods have been so severe, climate change amongst them. But, what is certainly very clear is that in the face of this devastation, Kerala’s society came together to ensure the rescue and relief for those who had seen their worlds be torn asunder, and life ‘rush into the past’.