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Kerala Developmental Experiences

K. Saradamoni

Edited by R.K. Suresh Kumar and P. Suresh Kumar
APH Publishing Corporation, New Delhi, 2006, pp. 367, Rs. 700.00

VOLUME XXXI NUMBER 2 February 2007

The above book is a volume that has come out of a three day National seminar organised by the C.Achuta Menon Foundation , Thiruvananthapuram on 8, 9, and 10 December 2005. The volume has been deservingly dedicated to Comrade K.V.Surendranath, the founder secretary of the Foundation and whose first death anniversary took place recently. The relevance of the book also arises from the fact that the state will be celebrating fifty years of the formation of the state in its present form on November 1, 2006. In another one year the state would be celebrating fifty years of heralding a non Congress government in any state in the country as well as electing a communist government to power anywhere. During the fifty years the state has changed beyond recognition in certain matters, which includes both positive and negative sides. In fact, this is an apt time for the concerned political parties and people to introspect and assess the changes that have come over the state. Though one may expect such an assessment in the conference mentioned above, especially because it was organised under the auspices of the Achuta Menon Foundation, we do not find a serious attempt of that while reading the volume. True, more than one author has spoken highly of comrade Menon and his chief ministerial period, hailing him as a visionary.   Besides a paper which gives the backgound of the Conference the remaining twenty four papers in the book are brought under four parts, 1. A Society in Peril: Search for Explanations, 2. A Society in the Remake: Potentials and Possibilities, 3. A Society in Transition: Pertinent Issues and Concrete Suggestions and 4. Rebuilding a Society: Open Issues and debates.   Economist and member of the present state Planning board Member Ramachandran Nair concludes his Background paper thus: it is clear that an overgrown Political society, and a fragmented polity and conflictive politics have virtually spoiled the potential of good governance and development in the state of Kerala…….People just go to the polling booth and experiment with various political combinations to be put in charge of their governance. But in the process they ignore their POWER to correct erring leadership and erring rulers.   In the section on ‘search for explanations’ eminent historian M.G.S. Narayanan gives an overview of the world situation and concludes that socialism can evolve only after a fully developed capitalism. He is highly critical of Kerala’s experiments with ‘socialism/...

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