Sabarimala vs Kerala’s Women: How Literacy Has Failed the State

Social Commentary

Sabarimala vs Kerala’s Women: How Literacy Has Failed the State

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

I

grew up in the Gulf, fulfilling one of the biggest Malayali stereotypes right from the get-go. But until my family moved to India in 2009, Kerala was just a place where I spent my holidays. Over time, I did fall in love with Kerala and my identity as a Malayali, but it was only after moving here, that I realised that perhaps affairs weren’t as rosy as I’d been led to believe.

Like most NRI parents, mine displayed an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for home. When I complained about schoolwork, my father’s favourite rebuttal was, “You know, Kerala is the only state with a 100 per cent literacy rate?” The fact that our home state’s population was so well-lettered was a source of great pride for him, and that fact led me to believe that conditions in Kerala, especially for women, are better than many other states in India. And if you scan the numbers, you might be inclined to agree.

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