The pursuit of private money, an eye on revenues, and an entrepreneurial zeal have not been post-Fifties Kerala’s calling card, and in the ideologically rooted days of the Left—the comrades have embraced capitalism now—were often considered less-than-worthy goals. In this environment of strikes and class struggle, the Kerala tourism story was birthed with government support. The state’s reinvention as a prime tourist destination and the successful marketing of its beaches, backwaters, ayurveda and the Western Ghats over the past two decades have been a huge success. The reasons to continue popping the confetti are fast disappearing though.
In our cover story, “Man’s own mess”, Govind Krishnan V finds that the state’s tourism sector has been in decline for the last three years. There are more rooms and houseboats than tourists to occupy them; the many who invested during boom time created oversupply problems. Now, indebtedness looms. The sector grew at a fast pace, often unmindful of regulations and long-term environmental effects. The government is in denial, quoting numbers that it says show there is no crisis—a claim rejected by everyone in the business and even independent researchers.
Our other narrative this month is the story of a changing Bangalore and how the fortunes of one of old Bangalore’s last remaining Jewish families changed with it.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s overzealous vigilantism against African students in Delhi’s Khidki extension, and the reaction of the English-speaking, op-ed writing crowd to its tells us a lot about the “brown liberals” and their own racists tendencies, writes Garga Chatterjee in his essay “A window to their world”.
Don’t miss Rahul Dhankani’s photo story on the nomadic tribes of Tibet and Ladakh, who move in a bare, harsh landscape of inescapable beauty.
April and May are election months, and there’s hectic last-minute deal-making going on. These last few days before the nation votes show the political parties in their true elements. All talk of ideology is forgotten, rapaciousness of a high order is on display, and alliances are being formed thick and fast on promised spoils of victory. The message Modi and other shadow prime ministerial candidates are sending is that is that there is no compromise too severe as long as it can fetch a few votes.
Remember that when you press the button.
Saurav Kumar, Editor