Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Monkey and an Emerging Hard on.

After 34 months, in Sep 2012, to be precise, the Monkey landed up of all places, at the same venue in the same hick town, which was now suffering enhanced delusions of being a Metro.

The Monkey fell silent on seeing the Welcome sign scream “Emerging Kerala” followed by a tag “Global Connect”.The expression “Mixed Feelings” would definitely be an understatement.
Sheer shock value can at times enforce pregnant silence; like if you go through an arranged marriage and in those first, private, intimate and precious moments, find out your partner is a shemale...You might not be able to get your mind or hands around it...At least till the shock wears off... After which you do what you have to do... later justify and/or feel answerable for your actions for the rest of your life.
The Monkey’s flashback included visions offered by the magic of mushrooms, high speed travel, gut wrenching bouts of throwing up caused both by spurious hooch and a boat ride with strangers. The original point of departure from reality then had been a formal setting to woo investors into the State. The voice of Bruce Willis asking himself “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” forced its way into The Monkey. Memories Die Hard.
Like all pregnancies the silence had to end. At first the Monkey sighed. For the last 34 months he had been through back breaking routine to make ends meet. He had paid his bills, taxes, rent and somehow managed to prolong his existence. Staring at the Welcome sign once again he did what any self respecting monkey would do. He burst out laughing!! Dear Investors he muttered. This is the ROI you have been waiting for- Return of Ineptitude. He walked straight into the watering hole. Forget the backache it is time to invoke Bacchus.
Some follow the beaten Path, some the Golden Path but the Monkey followed the Shining Path and in FEB 2013 the Monkey hit up on a belated resolution for the new year. Listen, don’t talk. Contemplate on what you know and understand. Figure out some solution if possible. Whenever possible get totally plastered by night. Get back to bed and stay there for a day. In short splurge in silence. The Monkey smiled. Let the Games begin.
In a recent read of the book "India's Tryst with Destiny: Debunking Myths that Undermine Progress and Addressing New Challenges", Jagdish Bhagwati, professor of economics at Columbia University co-authored with Arvind Panagariya, a professor of Indian economics at Columbia University argue that growth can reduce poverty and that slow economic growth will hurt social development.
In popular discourse, Kerala is the ultimate Exhibit A in human development indicators, and this is said to be the result of state spending on social sectors like education and health. Bhagwati and Panagariya junk this myth. Neither is Kerala’s social performance state-led, nor is it lacking in entrepreneurial spirit; what it had at the dawn of independence was a higher educational and health base.
“Contrary to common claims, Kerala has been a rapidly growing state in the post-independence era, which is the reason it ranks fourth among the larger states, according to per-capita gross state domestic product and first according to per capita expenditure.” The stats clearly show that it isn’t the government spending that is developing Kerala, but private spending.
The co-authors, in fact, assert that Kerala “suffers from the highest level of inequality among the larger states. So growth, and not redistribution, largely explains low levels of poverty.” Poverty is falling not because of the state, but because private individuals – no doubt fed by remittances from the diaspora – are spending big on investment in education and health. “In education”, say the authors, “at 53 percent, rural Kerala has by far the highest proportion of students between ages 7 and 16 in private schools. The nearest rival, rural Haryana, has 40 percent of these students in private schools.”

Bhagwati and Panagariya also debunk the belief that Kerala, God’s own country, lacks in entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, the earliest Arab traders had closer links to Kerala than elsewhere. They point out that Kerala, even now, has more of its citizens – one in three households – living abroad.
The short point: “They (Kerala) have had a long history of commercialisation and globalisation via trade and that the resulting prosperity is a key explanation of the high social indicators they inherited at independence.”

Bhagwati and Panagariya also claim that growth can come from the globalisation – which could be through trade, entrepreneurship, migration, or foreign investment, and the actual route taken depends on the specific circumstances of a state.

The larger point they seek to make is this: that most of what we assume to be the result of state intervention in social progress is less the result of policy and more the result of growth.

Enough of the Authors and the Book. The Monkey needed to contemplate. Back to the Shrine of Bacchus. How is truth different in a coffee table book and a Graffitti? Kerala got its high grades in Human Developments Indexes primarily through sacrifices made by generations. Every one aspired and worked towards the better life for their off springs. That is how we got here.

Through the mist of Alcoholic haze some heart warming story that appeared in a Newspaper dripped into the Monkey’s Brain.
“George and his team are busy finding them angel investors, mentors and all other supporting paraphernalia required to start an enterprise. “We got our first cheque (at MobMe) of Rs 80 lakh when we were still in college from an NRI, our angel investor. He later told us: ‘I didn’t understand a word of what you said, but I saw my youth in your guys and wanted you to do well,” George says, his eyes shining, as he embarks on a challenging journey to clone his own success.”
The Monkey felt the goose pimples at the thought of Angel Investors in God’s own Country!
Later as the Monkey was getting rid of the soda at the Gents, he overheard what clearly was an exchange between two high ranking Government Babu’s. They were discussing the dire need to erect a new system of Governance that would speed up the trickledown effect through the economic pyramid. They felt infusion of Professionalism, design and funding for the model for erection, initially temporary, should go a long way in developing a Prototype that will solve all governance issues.
The Monkey remembered his belated resolution for the New Year. Listen, don’t talk.
But think he did!
The Monkey smiled and said this to himself: Relax, these Babu’s are the next stage of evolution just above the cauliflower.
Nothing will ever come out of this senior level brainstorming in the loo.
Remember, the World’s oldest Profession started by demolishing temporary Erections!!



  1. Insightful. A primate definitely has more brains than the best bureaucrats of India. He has precisely underscored the basic formula for development: Freedom.

    Very nice blog.

  2. I just loved it :-)

    Keep on blogging, oh simian from the backwaters :-)