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Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 1 The Self-Help Discourse and the Question of Subjectivity An Analysis of the Narrative of Selfhood in Popular Self-Help Writing Dr. Asha Thomas11 & Amal Dev P J2 1. Associate Professor, Dept. of English St. Joseph’s College, Irinjalakuda 2. Researcher, Dept. of English St. Joseph’s College, Irinjalakuda [email protected] Key words: Self-Help Culture, Contemporary Life Styles, The Market and Literary Production, Constitution of Self and Other “It’s nearly impossible to live in the world and escape self-help” -Jessica Lamb Shapiro Self-help writing and the diverse discourses associated with it have engendered and nurtured a self-help culture that has become a decisive force in the social and cultural life of contemporary societies. Despite being kept apart from the canons of high literary merit or philosophical depth, these discourses are an undeniable and non-negotiable presence globally. Their wide reception and popularity among the general public are results of many conflicting social tensions that are peculiar to the time. Self-help cultures are not only products of social, political, cultural and economic environments but also pivotal agencies of meaning production in the contemporary scenario. Diligent observation would reveal that the discourses, narratives and worldviews that came along with various self-help traditions have been so intricately integrated into the social and cultural life of societies that they have a subtle, often invisible, yet significant agency in almost every realm of human life. Self-help has literally become modern man’s life philosophy. The form and content of self-help writing have kept on changing with time and so have the various self-help discourses. The philosophical influences on these texts and practices range from Biblical ideas to Buddhism, Darwin, to Freud, Vedas to Marx, from romanticism to existentialism and so on. The causes of such worldview shifts can be traced to diverse notions like the flux in the socio-cultural environment and in the present context, many specific reasons like post-colonialism, globalisation, capitalism, economic crises, the mass media culture and the internet. The interventions and modes of operation of self-help have also undergone drastic changes, making self-help a highly dynamic rather than static entity. Though many texts and discourses from the past can be appropriated to fit into the self-help genre Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 2 well, the self-help boom of the twentieth and twenty first centuries is associated with an apparently distinguishable discourse that encompasses a body of self-help writing, related practices and ways of life, mostly centred in the United States of America and gaining strength in various parts of the world. Historically, the post-war disillusionment, diminishing religious faith and values, the spiritual vacuum created by these, the capitalist turn, Industrialization, globalization and the emergence of human psychology as a significant branch of knowledge could be shown to be the prime reasons that have culminated in the self-help boom of the twentieth and twenty first centuries, especially in contexts like that of America. Thus the self-help discourse could be explained to be one among the results of modern man’s quest for grand narratives of life. There are distinct ways in which the literature of self-help narrates the idea of selfhood. The idea of the self-made man, the notion of self-improvement, finding purposes in life, finding one’s true calling, looking at things positively etc. are ideas that manifest on a quotidian level and draw heavily from the self-help discourse. The central concern of the proposed paper would be to problematize the notions of selfhood, otherness and community as observed in the highly influential self-help culture. There have been many theoretical perspectives from which subjectivity has been thought about and it is hard to say whether one approach is better than the other. Even the contrast between the terms identity and subjectivity arises from their respective assumptions of stability and flux. In this paper, selfhood is used as an everyday term that may more or less incline towards the characteristics of both identity and subjectivity. The point where most contemporary theories have reached a consensus while discussing subjectivity is that there is no fixed or original subjectivity. Almost all contemporary theories agree on the constructed nature of subjectivity; subjectivity as a product of things exterior to it. The notion of essentialist subjectivity gets challenged with the advent of such poststructuralist theories. Post-structuralist perspective challenged all binary oppositions and thus assumptions of a pre- existent subjectivity. As Chris Weedon observes: Identities may be socially, culturally and institutionally assigned, as in the case, for instance, of gender or citizenship, where state institutions, civil society and social and cultural practices produce the discourses within which gendered subjectivity and citizens are constituted. (6) Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 3 But despite being a comparatively recent cultural phenomenon, the notions of subjectivity or selfhood adhered to by the self-help discourse are rather traditional. One can observe the adherence to conceptions like the cogito and the transcendentalist notions of oneness with the universe appearing as modes of selfhood in the self-help discourse. Self- help writing itself is a vast genre and could be classified to categories according to the way they function. There are success oriented writings that cater to the materialist aspirations of the times. Making money, finding better positions on the power ladder etc. are the central concerns of these texts. These texts mostly assign central agency to the individual and rhetorically affirm the responsibility of one’s circumstances to oneself. That is, if one’s lived experience is not meeting one’s expectations; the individual is responsible for that rather thanthe environment or fellow beings. So, each individual through either mental change or through ingenious action, has to strive for betterment. Robin Sharma, a popular contemporary self-help author makes this position explicit in his writings: If you want to improve your life and live with all that you deserve, you must run your own race. It doesn’t matter what other people say about you. What is important is what you say to yourself, being comfortable in your own skin. Be true to you. That’s a key source of happiness. ― Robin S. Sharma, Daily Inspiration from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Amost popular Self-help book, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, also has discussed similar ideas. You are the masterpiece of your own life. You are the Michelangelo of your own life. The David you are sculpturing is you (Dr. Joe Vitale) ― Rhonda Byrne, The Secret Individualism can thus be a notable trait that the self-help narratives of selfhood hold onto. Another notable idea, a change of mind set and through that a change of lived Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 4 experiences, is a central idea promoted by these texts. A quote by Dale Carnegie, who is considered one of the most significant figures in the self-help arena, exemplifies this point: “Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions; it is governed by our mental attitude.” A large share of self-help writing appropriates this “mind over matter” outlook into its content. Here are some more instances: “You become what you think about most... But youalso attract what you think about most” (John Assaraf, The Secret). The world renowned author Paulo Coelho has also made such affirmations: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist). Another prominent category of self-help claims to have grown beyond materiality and propounds a deeper, spiritual outlook towards the notion of the self. While some of these texts employ oriental philosophies like Buddhism to support their principles, some others have worked out certain principles or beliefs to draw from. These kind of texts vouch for a universal self, of which there are no distinctions of self and other. For instance, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is considered one among the most significant personal improvement books, which actually revolves around one concept, the law of attraction. It associates selfhood with a sense of universal connection and reciprocity. The vibes the individual sends towards the universe are reciprocated by the universe according to this theory or the “secret”: “The truth is that the universe has been answering you all of your life, but you cannot receive the answers unless you are awake” (Rhonda Byrne, The Secret). A similar idea can be seen in the novel The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho which is also often categorized under the genre of self-help. But Alchemist gives the universe more agency than the subject; “And, when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist). One can see that these categories of self-help itself are quite overlapping, despite the claims for their spiritual nature; texts do discuss human desires itself and adhere to the ideas of material development. Sandra K Dolby, in her research on self-help writing, attempted to delineate a popular formula that the self-help discourses employ, which seems to be a valid observation. According to her, the motivational discourse revolves around the ideas of “lack” and “lack liquidated”: First, a suggestion that something is wrong with us, with the culture that Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 5 guides or programs us, or with our information about the world (lack); and a suggestion of what might be done to correct this problem (lack liquidated). (Dolby) The same formula is repeatedly exhausted by the inspirational books. The suggestion is that mental or habitual change and hard work could result in betterment, if improvement isn’t taking place; the individual is not employing the right methodology or isn’t trying hard enough. Thus assigning the individual the responsibility of one’s own life is the perpetually observed motivational mantra. Louis Althusser’s idea of interpellation explains how subjects are interpellated by social institutions; reductively explained as how certain social structures define the understanding of selfhood for people. Similarly, one cannot deny the cultural agency of the self-help discourse in narrating the experience of selfhood for a large share of the general public. The way an individual places oneself in the network of relationships, the individual’s sense of what/who s/he is etc. rely on many of these motivational narratives. And these constructions of selfhood as seen in these writings have also been deeply influenced by other socio-cultural tensions. While the world was facing the disillusionment of the world wars, economic recession and decay of value systems, self-help introduced a positively enduring narrative of the self, and while the West, or the globalised world demanded an escape from its crude materiality, self-help came up with a more spiritually and less materialistically oriented version of the self. A critically problematizable, dynamic give and take is on-going between the society and self-help, self-help and the constitution of selfhood. Referrence Byrne, Rhonda. The Secret: Daily Teachings. New York: Atria, 2013. Print. Carnegie, Dale. How to Win Friends and Influence People. New York: Pocket Books,1998. Kindle. Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2015. Kindle. Dolby, Sandra K. Self-Help Books: Why Americans Keep Reading Them. Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2008. Kindle. Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 6 During, Simon. The Cultural Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 1993. Print. Raveendran, P P. Aadhunikaanantharam Vicharam, Vaayana (Malayalam). Thrissur: Current, 1999. Print ---. Samskaarapadanam: Oru Aamukham (Malayalam). Kottayam: DC, 2002. Print. Selden, Raman et al. A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory. New York: Routledge. 2016. Print Sharma, Robin S. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable about Fulfilling Your Dreams And Reaching Your Destiny. Mumbai, India: Jaico House, 2014. Print. Weedon, Chris. Identity and Culture: Narratives of Difference and Belonging. London: McGraw-Hill, 2004. Print. Wilson, Scott. Cultural Materialism: Theory and Practice. Wiley-Blackwell, 1995. Print. Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 7 Kerala Floods and Marginalities Abhirami Ranjith Dept. of English and Comparative Literature Central University of Kerala [email protected] In the month of August 2018, the state of Kerala saw one of the most devastating floods the country has ever seen. All the fourteen districts in the state were under red alert. Out of the fifty four dams in the state, thirty five dames were opened. According to the reports of the government of Kerala, about 1/6th of the total population was directly affected by the floods and related incidents. With Kerala receiving 256% more rains than its usual annual rainfall, 483 people were reported dead and 14 missing. The government released reports saying that the state had a loss of 5000crores due to the floods. While the rescue operations were continued successfully, the political blame game did not abate. At a time when the whole state became vulnerable there arises a need to look at the marginalized during this state of vulnerability. Rapid urbanization, and highly lopsided distribution of resources have left the marginalized communities of the state to continue to endure social exclusion, says B R P Bhasker, social activist. The increasing control over land and resources, denial of basic human rights to the marginalized, and the violence against women in both public and private spheres continue in Kerala making the tribal communities, the migrant labourers and the women of the state the most marginalized. These groups have been relegated in to powerless positions by the society. Such a relegation to the borders of the society and the resulting invisibility emerge due to a hegemonic perception that certain individuals and groups are inferior to their gender, religion, class, caste, culture, behaviour and many other things. Movements like the feminist movement, the Marxist movement and others arose as a result of the continuous positioning in the peripheries of the society, after having been denied all their rights. The Enlightenment Humanism and Marxism were the beginning of the inclusion movements. With the post colonial and post modern turn which asserted the differences, things took a different path. The politics of marginalization is itself a construction of a sense of order and priority based on the ideology of the dominant order. The tribal community in the state is still one among the most illiterate groups in the state. They have their own unique culture and civilization. Development, in the terms of the society today, has not yet been a part of the tribal lives of Kerala. Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 8 At the same time, the rise in the number of migrant labourers in the state is the result of a ‘development aggression’ which took over the state. Women in Kerala, in spite, of the high literacy rates that the state claims to have, are still overpowered by their male counterparts and is yet considered as only the ‘second sex.’ This paper looks at these marginalized communities in Kerala in the light of the recent Kerala floods and the different phases of social inequality which persisted even when the state was at an impasse with focus on the women, tribal community, and the migrant labourers. Marginality relates itself to colonial and post-colonial discourse. Theorists like Bill Ashcroft believe that the making of a margin is in itself calling for the endorsement of a structure. A binary between the centre and the margin is created naturally there. In case of the state of Kerala, patriarchy and caste system works hand in hand thereby involuntarily creating a structure imposing itself in the centre and pushing the others towards the margins. Often, the lack of political agency is seen as one of the major factors of the making of marginality. Even though several attempts were made to deconstruct the binary structures of the centre and the margins, the condition still remains the same. The marginalized are still the marginalized in the country. Inspite of the claims of increasing literacy rates and social and economic conditions, the centre still holds all the power. The marginalized are often devoid of a voice of their own. They are silenced using the age old demonic practice of caste divisions and untouchability. Marginalization has turned to become a defining feature of the Kerala society. Universal, yet unknown, women and tribal communities have been facing centuries of oppression. In a very highly religious community like Kerala, these differences and inequalities are concreted by the beliefs of different communities. Even though the condition of women has witnessed changes in the recent past, the tribal community still remains the same over the decades under different governments. The denial of their civil and political rights, social repression, exclusion and economic inequalities are the defining conditions for most of the tribal communities in and around the state. Successive governments were only playing party to the perpetuation of injustice towards the tribals. These communities have been facing years of continuous exploitation from the hands of those in power. The Muthanga struggle was a summation of the frustration of the community over the failure of the several governments in the state to restore the adivasi land. A turning point in the tribal mobilisation in the history of Kerala, the state used the police force to repress the agitators leading to the loss of lives and other considerable destruction. The migrant labourers who Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 9 are turning into the state in large numbers are the latest victims of the oppression. They are forced to dwell in very unhygienic conditions and are looked down upon. A state which was once the voice of the working class, very conveniently forgets their rights and employs them for the cheap labour they offer. A fixation with the white collar jobs and the prospect of getting work done at very cheap costs has resulted in almost every work in the construction and several other sectors being taken over by the migrant labourers from the states of Orissa, West Bengal, and other eastern states of the country. They are forced to work under harsh weather and are forced to live in grim conditions. They are denied of all their rights and are treated worse than animals and are often labelled criminals. As long as there is a tendency from the part of the state and the people to treat them as criminals, there will be no step made into their safer rehabilitation and work conditions. There has been no change or merely any change in the attitude towards the migrant labourers in the state. Women in the state have been facing years long oppression. Religion only plays party to the inequality meted out towards the women. Education has made changes, but the same time not to an extent that a woman can live on her own or walk safe in the streets after dusk. Women are only seen as properties of the men or the family who does not have any kind of right or say on her body. The concept of vulnerability is the key to understanding the causes of a disaster and mitigating its impacts. During the time of a disaster, the nature of vulnerability is changing and intensifying, while their ability to cope has become diminished. A result of the power relations that are operative in every society, inequalities function largely, thereby making some people more prone to disasters than the others. Social processes generate unequal exposure to these situations. In order to learn the nature of a disaster, it becomes critical to learn about the ways in which human relations place people at risk in relation to each other. Vulnerability is infact a much more precise and accurate way to measure the exposure to risk from disasters and more accurate a concept than poverty to understand the impact and the process of underdevelopment. In every society, certain segments of the population are situated in more insecure conditions than others due to the historical consequences of political, economic and/or social processes. Vulnerability at the same time is not a property of certain social groups or individuals. It is embedded in complex social relations and processes. Vulnerable populations are those that are at risk as a result of the marginality that they have been facing all their lives, and not simply because they are exposed to a hazard. This marginality in turn makes their life a ‘permanent emergency’. Marginality and vulnerability are the Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 10 two sides of a coin. Marginality in itself to an extent can include vulnerability. While marginality is determined by a set of variables such as class, gender, age, ethnicity and disability that effects people’s entitlement and empowerment, or their command over the basic necessities of life and rights, vulnerability, is fundamentally a political ecological concept. Considered the most vulnerable, women had a major role to play during the Kerala floods. Ever since the beginning of the floods, there were different groups of people claiming that the floods were a result of the several misdeeds of the people, including eating beef and women entering the Sabarimala temple. The Sabarimala temple had banned the entry of women of a particular age group for several years. The Supreme Court had recently heard a case on the women’s entry in to the temple. Several Hindu outfits had protesting against the entry of women in to the temple. These groups had been vigorously fighting against taking away of the partial exclusion that the Hindu women were facing in the name of their religious beliefs. Kerala floods, said a few social media users, were the result of angering Lord Ayyappa with the debate on the entry of women into the temple. Sexism, bigotry, and utter disregard for humanity revealed one of its most vicious faces during the Kerala floods. This only took a step forward when an RBI board member took to his personal twitter handle to tweet that it was Lord Ayyapa’s anger caused by ignorant women that led to the Kerala floods. Among the numerous social media posts spreading hate messages there were ones that even asked people to not support Kerala. Relief camps were set up all around the state at the time of the floods. Sexism turned a new face in these camps. When a number of girls from Sree Ayyappa Women’s College were trapped inside their women’s hostel for days without food and basic necessities, shouting and pleading for rescue, their neighbours were hesitant to provide them of any help and was at the same time denying any kind of offers for rescue operations saying the girls were safe in the terrace of the hostel. Later when the women were shifted to a relief camp which was only ten feet away and set up at their own college, they had to face a lot of torture even there. A group of women from the relief camps attacked them, throwing chairs at them, thrashing them and tearing their clothes. A few men at the camp even made lewd comments at the girls at that time of crisis. The harassment reached a point where the girls had to make suicide threats to get rescued from the place. Talking about the incident to the news reporters, the girls say that they could not figure out the reason for the Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 11 new hate. They presumed that it was because they were a group of all women who came from across the state. The Kerala Women’s commission has taken up this case. The Kerala floods witnessed one of the most effective and efficient civil administration taking control of the situation. The IAS officers of the state were the most critical part of the rescue operations around the state. They were seen working with the rescue operations, lifting sacks of rice for the relief camps, and toiling at the camps. The district collectors of the flood hit districts were applauded for their quick thinking and for their taking control of the several panicky situations. Dr. Vasuki IAS, and TV Anupama IAS, the district collectors of Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur respectively, were hailed by the media and the social media for their intelligent steps taken. Like many other officers, they went beyond their call of duty and played vital roles if collecting relief materials, channeling supplies to the needy and directing the volunteers and the survivors during the floods. The many bold measures they took were hailed by the people all over the country. Social media flooded with posts praising and hailing these officers for their work. The sexism and the innate patriarchal mentality of the society revealed itself when a social media post was made praising the two women officers for their work and at the same time the need to call them ‘men without any gender biases’. The post was shared by thousands within seconds of being posted of Face book. Even though there was an outrage in the social media against this, the post was only an evidence of the simply ignorant society of Kerala which believed that deeds of valour could only be done by men. The post clearly spoke about how even today being a male is considered a privilege. Being called a man, for them, is an accolade. These women were called ‘men’ because they had come out of the norms set by the society for women, where women are neither capable of taking right decisions nor actualising them. A simple performance of their duty with intelligence and no fear had compelled the society to call them ‘men’. The distressing face of stereotyping of what men and women should do exposes the innate misogyny of the Kerala society. Among the heroic stories of self less community service are those of the Kudumbashree women, who have perhaps not got the attention they deserve. There is a need to give them recognition, not just to accord these women relief helpers with appreciation but also to understand how an enormous, potent, and well planned intervention could be made by women across the state through their Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 12 own initiatives. Kudumbashree women which consisted women from working class, lower middle class and middle class families, Muslim and Dalit women, were functioning across the state during the floods and even after the floods. The women of Kudumbashree self mobilized across the state to do relief work, collecting, packing and distributing relief, materials, cleaning up public spaces and private homes, counseling the affected families and putting them in touch with the concerned authorities. The Kudumbashree State Mission estimates that around 11,300 public places were cleaned up, including hospitals, panchayat offices, schools and anganawadi centres and over two lakh houses. Kudumbashree offered counseling and information assistance to around 40,000 families and about 38,000 of their members opened up their homes for the relief camps. They also donated a huge amount of Rs 7 crore to the Chief Minister’s Flood Relief Fund, which equals the donations made by tech giants like Google and Apple. While the Kerala fishermen were in the forefront to save the marooned lives of the people from the flood hit areas, Kudumbashree women were busy restoring the normal lives in the regions scarred by disaster. They have also joined with the Nava Kerala Lottery of the state government in an initiative to sell lottery tickets across the state to raise funds to rebuild the state. The Kudumbashree stands an epitome of how initiatives by women can engender transformation in the society. Like Kudumbashree, many other nongovernmental organizations came to be part of the relief work during the Kerala floods. ‘Do For Others’ , an initiative by a Kochi based business woman Bindu Sathyajith, had over 300 people working on the field during the floods and several others from across different parts of the globe providing technical support. DFO which started as an all women’s team set up seventy two bio toilets in seventy two hours in Kuttanad as one of its remarkable efforts. They managed to get support from corporates to various villages that were devastated by the floods. The DFO team joined together to make relief kits and made drop locations in and around the country to help those in need. The Kerala Police’s All Women Battalion was also ready to serve both on the disaster fronts and the relief camps. Four groups of thirty five commandos each were deployed under the command of R Nishanthini IPS to help women in disaster locations and relief camps. With a majority of them professionally trained for commando operations as well, the all women battalion was active in the flood affected districts of the state. Social media too had a large part to play in the flood hit state. Having played Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 13 a pivotal role in the rescue operations, social media users lend their support to the people hit by the floods by helping them locating and sharing information. In the mean while, many other social media users took to social media to write about women who stood up for their rights. Kerala has been witnessing an alarming scenario where women are being attacked for their social and political stands on various issues. Social media has turned out to become one of the main platforms for abusing women. In spite of their huge participation in the flood relief activities, the personal social media pages of prominent women of were flooded with hate messages from the people questioning their participation in the flood relief activities. Posts came up questioning the role of women played in the relief work with misogynist comments ridiculing women for the fight for their rights inspite of their high vulnerability in such situations. From the pregnant woman who gave birth immediately after the rescue operations were made to the middle-aged woman who danced along with the children at the relief camp, from the IAS officers who handled the crisis so well, to the woman who fought the venomous snake to keep her family safe, women only proved themselves during the Kerala floods. They fought all the patriarchy, misogyny and the sexism with their deeds. Women even after years of marginalization, did to an extent break away the centre and the binary created along with it. The tribals of the state were the first to be hit by the heavy rains. The Wayanad district of Kerala was among the first to report heavy incessant rains in the year’s monsoons. The flash floods began swallowing the houses of the tribal settlements in the villages of Wayanad all of a sudden. The tribals could do nothing but cry for help. On the first day of the rains itself, almost 766 people were evacuated from their homes which had turned into heaps of mud to the relief camps. Atleast 2000 tribals were rendered homeless during the floods that hit the entire state. The main reason for the flash floods in the area was that the KSEB had opened almost all the shutters of the 40 year old Banasura Sagar dam without any prior warning to the people living downstream. The adivasi population which is close to 15% of the entire population lived in their ‘urus’ which is isolated and difficult to access making rescue operations all the more difficult. The frequent landslides and the difficulty to connect with the people in these areas escalated the intensity of the disaster. The residents of the area say that the destruction could have been minimized if they had been informed about the opening of the dams on time. The Adivasi lives were put to question when the authorities made such a rash move and Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 14 opened the shutters of the dams. The KSEB claims that they had sent the authorities information regarding the opening of the shutters on time. But somehow, the people living in the adivasi ‘urus’ did not receive any information regarding the same. The tribal land of Attappady remained cut off from the mainland for days after landslide hit the highways in the district of Palakkad. The first in the firing line of the floods that hit the state, the tribals are still facing a grim reality post the floods. Forest officials are forbidding relief workers and media from entering the adivasi colonies. The hills of Wayanad, Idukki and Thrissur where the adivasi community of the state were concentrated were the first to be hit by the floods. Both relief and media attention took long to reach these adivasi ‘urus’ on time. The district authorities were dismissive about the fact that the tribals in the area were largely affected. The restrictions on entering the colonies made the situation only worse. Cattle, one of the main sources of their livelihood have been destroyed in large numbers throwing open to them a future of dismay and confusion. Contrary to the data that the district authorities gave out, the data given out from the local police stations showed that the adivasis in the areas were highly affected in large numbers during the floods. The forest officials have made it a difficult task to enter the forest area even to provide them with the relief work. Relief volunteers were barred from entering the forest areas and asked to drop off their relef materials at the check posts saying that the authorities would distribute it later. This made it difficult to ensure that these materials reached the right hands in time of need. A community which is solely dependent upon the agriculture and the livestock has lost all their land to the floods. Their land is no more cultivatable and a large share of their livestock was killed during the floods. Speaking to Outlook, Adivasis said that they were not receiving any kind of relief materials in their colonies while the forest officials denied this fact. Trespassing was the only way to get the Adivasis any kind of help from the relief workers. The authorities simply denied the entry in these areas saying they needed written permission to let even authorised relief groups to enter the forest areas. The authorities were claimed to be denying entry illegally even to relief workers to continue using those areas as their fiefdom. Development had already cost the tribals their homes. Already displaced from their homes, they had begun losing jobs due to the mechanization in the agricultural sector. Destruction of the agricultural lands due to the disaster has left them jobless. It is reported that there is high probability that the tribal areas hit by the floods will see starvation in the coming days. The authorities are still blind to the fact that tribal lives matter. They are being exploited and used for the economic gain of the authorities even in Vol.4 No. 1 2018 November Andromeda ISSN : 2455 - 0434 Prajyoti Niketan College, Pudukad 15 the days of a disaster. The tribal colonies which already face connectivity issues are only further isolated by the floods and its aftermath. While attributing the extent of damage and numerous casualties in the calamity to the wanton misuse of natural resources, the fact that the tribal community who live closest to the nature are the first to face a lion share of the damage of these calamities is an ironic fact. The reluctance to implement the recommendations of the Madhav Gadgil led panel on the Western Ghats is indicative of the stance. The Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha, an organization of the tribal community, appealed to the government to constitute a panel which was more inclusive to be deployed for a fact-finding mission in the affected areas. They also spoke about the inability of the adivasi students to participate in the admission process of the state universities owing to the floods. In the aftermath of the flood, the need of the hour is a more socially inclusive, eco-friendly development policy. The earlier developmental policies of all the governments sidelined the dalits, tribes, the coastal and the farming communities putting their lives to stake. In the past few years, Kerala has been experiencing a large influx of migrant labourers from different parts of India. Large employment opportunities, shortage of local labourers and higher wages have made Kerala a lucrative job market for labourers from outside the state. In spite of the wages they receive, these labourers are often forced to reside in the work sites or rented houses with other migrants. Hygienic sanitation and safe drinking water are a huge concern for these people. Often ignored in all kinds of welfare schemes, these labourers even under very poor living conditions are seen outnumbering the local population in a few places. While the floods hit the state in the month of August, lakhs of migrant labourers were in the state. While large numbers of migrant labourers left the state, the others were shifted to the relief camps. The main reason of their departure is the lack of a prospect for any kind of work in the near future. At the same time, many of them had to leave the state because of the harsh treatment of the employers and discrimination in the relief camps. The local community refused to share relief camps with them and therefore the authorities had to open up camps exclusively for the migrant labourers. Perumbavoor, known as the migrant hub of Kerala, has over two lakh migrant labourers residing in the place alone. The migrant labourers were shifted in to the camps only later than the others in almost all the flood hit areas. Malayalam, being the language in which almost all the messages were communicated during the floods, the state officials failed in effectively communicating to the migrants

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