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Last Updated Monday July 17 2017 12:50 AM IST

Luddites' own Kerala

P Kishore
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Luddites

Even though Kerala is touted as God's own country, we are actually Luddites’ own country. Even though they originated in England in the 19th century, their descendents are now in Kerala more than anywhere else.

During the industrial revolution in Britain and Europe, new machines became a threat for traditional weavers. Under Ned Ludd, a group of protestors destroyed weaving machines. He and his followers were called Luddites. They were finally suppressed by the army after they continued to destroy machines from 1811 to 1816. The industrial revolution helped Britain become one of the leading textile makers and without machines that would not have been possible. These days, all those who oppose automation are called Luddites.

In our nation, a place known as the Manchester of the East also witnessed similar strikes against power looms. Even today there is no automation in coir and cashew industries in our state. Even the places owned by collapsed companies are not allowed to house other firms. While we heard promises about IT parks and technology institutes coming up at the real estate owned by Mavoor Rayons, the promises have remained so.

Luddites do not allow diversification of even farms and farmers are forced to cultivate only what they agreed to when they leased the land. During the Emerging Kerala meet, the maximum number of entrepreneurs was in the garbage disposal business. Technologies were presented from Germany, Switzerland and Singapore that promised power from waste. However, nothing has been started even though the whole state is reeking with the smell of garbage. It was believed that Kerala would make much progress if the LNG Terminal was built. The pipes have reached nowhere even though significant amounts of money were spent.

While Kerala was to receive 180MW of power from the Kudamkulam plant, we are still not able to install transmission lines. If the state had embarked on making a railway line, it would not have materialised. We need to thank god that railway lines were built in the last century.

Tail piece: Luddites in Kerala oppose online facilities during university exams. They oppose self management in schools and colleges. They are not even ready to allow a change in syllabus. However their kids study in schools and colleges outside the nation where all of these are the norm.

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