We wish you a happy and inspiring Onam.
Onam is closely associated with our agrarian culture, coinciding with the harvest season and the full moon, celebrated by Malayalees across the world, irrespective of cast creed and religion. The grandeur and glamor of the festivities are a reflection of the culture of our society during that epoch in our history – A society that had its heart and soul, so closely interwoven with nature and the agriculture!
Today we almost have no paddy cultivation and no harvest season. Boundless pastures of paddy fields, the embodiment of our suburban midland is disappearing. Climate change brings in the shadow of climatic vagaries on Onam festivities. Our landscape is fast changing, the perennial rivers, depleting water table, biological diversity of Western Ghats, all giving way to some alien features - so is the Malayalee loosing out his heart and soul to some alien culture!
Our flora and fauna are fast changing. The villages, once storehouse of a variety of plants and trees lay fallow and filthy, bearing the brunt of urban waste and effluent. Traditional species of plants and birds are disappearing from our terrain. Our own indigenous Thumba, the literary symbol of immaculate modesty, has virtually disappeared. This land is changing beyond recognition - so is the Malayalee, loosing out his heart and soul in this degenerating, unsustainable evolution!
In today’s cultural moorings of our society, Mahabali could be viewed as an administrative failure. A ruler who is giving away his kingdom to keep up his word shall definitely become a laughing stock in the present day complexities of democratic power maneuverings. Suicides, alcoholism, hypocrisy, rumormongering and abuses against women have become the hallmark of the present day social fabric of the state - The Malayalee heart and soul is transforming with the new culture.
Abandoning agriculture was at the root of this shift in our social, cultural and geographic fabric. The populist policy of wages for non-employment and the lowest return for farm produces brought with it this necessary backlash, an inevitable concomitant. Farming became non lucrative and inherently loss-making, large tracts of farmland lie fallow. Kerala subsists on rice, vegetables and agro produces trucked in from neighboring states, and the Malayalee bids adieu to his innate culture – his heart and soul transcends into a melancholic strain, as we celebrate one more Onam!
Cooperative farming is a practical solution to bring agriculture back into our culture. If the land laws could be amended to allow leasing out of uncultivated paddy field, fully protecting the rights of the owners, the present trend of leaving the land uncultivated could be stopped. By allowing local Cooperatives to cultivate such land, a momentum could be induced into the farming sector, energizing it into a movement and thereby synergizing the physiography of God’s own country. Environment Forums could, take up this issue to reengineer us back into the good old culture - restoring our heart and soul back into our own innate nature and the agriculture!!!!!!!
We wish you a happy and inspiring Onam !