Kerala

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Kerala is a state on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India.

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  • While India’s life expectancy figure of around 60 years compare quite unfavourably with China’s 69 years, Kerala’s life expectancy – about 72 years – appears on the other side of China’s achievement. Similarly, the infant mortality rate of 79 per thousand live births in India is very high indeed in comparison with China’s 31, but Kerala’s rate of 17 is much better than China’s. Again while India’s literacy rate is much lower than that of China, Kerala’s is substantially higher than China’s.
    • Amartya Sen and Jean Dréze in India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity, 1995, Oxford University Press.
  • Ownership inequality between men and women are is not a newly emerging inequality, in contrast with natality inequality, for example. It has existed in most parts of the world for a very long time. However, there are also important local variations in the prevalence of this of this inequality. For example, even though traditional property rights tend to favour men over women in most parts of India, nevertheless in the state of Kerala, over a long period there has been matrilineal inheritance for an influential part of the community, most notably the Nairs, who constitute about a fifth of the total population of Kerala and who has long been influential in the governance and politics of kerala. In the exceptional nature of Kerala’s social achievements, the greater voice of women seems to have been an important factor, and in this long tradition of matrilineal inheritance on the part of an influential segment of society has played a significant role.
    • Amartya Sen in The Argumentative Indian, Penguinn Books.
  • May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dust green trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun. The nights are clear, but suffused with sloth and sullen expectation. But by early June the southwest monsoon breaks and there are three months of wind and water with short spells of sharp, glittering sunshine that thrilled children snatch to play with. The countryside turns an immodest green. Boundaries blur as tapioca fences take root and bloom. Brick walls turn moss green. Pepper vines snake up electric poles. Wild creepers burst through laterite banks and spill across the flooded roads.

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