A book brought out by a New Jersey-based institute captures the intricate warp and weft of the State.
Kerala remains a fascinating riddle for the Indian diaspora, especially the younger generations. To crack this puzzle, the New Jersey-based International Institute for Scientific and Academic Collaboration (IISAC) has come out with a comprehensive book on Kerala titled ‘Introduction to Kerala Studies,’ specially intended for the Malayali diaspora across the globe.
J.V. Vilanilam, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala; Sunny Luke, medical scientist and former professor of Medical Biotechnology at Adelphi University, New York; and Antony Palackal, professor of Sociology at the Loyola College of Social Sciences in Thiruvananthapuram, have edited the book, besides making other contributions to it.
Introducing this compendium of facts on Kerala, D. Babu Paul, former Additional Chief Secretary, is all praise for its presentation and production.
The book begins with a review of Kerala from three different perspectives. Shashi Tharoor, MP, writes on the beauty of Kerala with nostalgia. Lancey Cooper and Diya Luke from the U.S. introduce Kerala to the uninitiated, while C.A. Sabeena and Abin Varghese, academics from Kottayam, complete the introduction with facts on geography, socio-cultural history, and political economy of the State.
“Here everything exists in countless variants. There is no uniform standard, no fixed stereotype, no ‘one way’ of doing things. This pluralism emerges from the very nature of the place; for both Kerala and India as a whole, it is made inevitable by geography and reaffirmed by history,” Mr. Tharoor says.
Describing this land of rivers, lakes, verdant green hills, and dales, Mr. Tharoor says, “Kerala is a microcosm of every religion known to the country; its population is divided into almost equal fourths of Christians, Muslims, caste Hindus, and Dalits, each of whom is economically and politically powerful. Family bonds are strong in Kerala...”
Dr. Luke told The Hindu that the book, in two volumes, with 87 thought-provoking chapters contributed by 106 writers, dealt with varied subjects and was one of the most comprehensive reference books ever produced on Kerala. Dr. Luke, who is the brain behind the project, said the IISAC mission was to provide a clear and factual presentation on various aspects pertaining to Kerala. The younger generation of the Malayali diaspora across the globe, especially in the U.S., knew little about their motherland for want of opportunities and proper literature. The IISAC decision was aimed at familiarising Kerala to these people, he said.
T.P. Sreenivasan, former Indian Ambassador to the United Nations and vice-chairman of the Kerala State Higher Education Council, says the book, spread over 1,424 glossy pages, makes a significant contribution, in diverse ways, to the knowledge tradition on Kerala.
He says the book is a valuable resource for universities and institutions of higher education across the country.
V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, executive vice-president of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, says the book covers almost all subjects related to Kerala, and is a valuable guide for students in India too.
Celine Charath, IISAC public relations officer, says it took three years’ hard work and research to complete this interdisciplinary book on Kerala studies.