Why is the government of Kerala against CAA

Our destination: Kerala

Samhathi - based in Mararikulam - has its area of ​​activity in Kerala / South India in the coastal area between Kochi and Alleppey. The southwestern state of India has 39,000 km2 (less than half of Austria) and 32 million inhabitants (approx. 4x Austria).

Diverse Kerala

Kerala is the ideal starting point to initiate social changes in India. With 19% Christians (India 2.3%), 25% Muslims (India 13.4%) and only 56% Hindus (India 80.5%) Kerala is THE multi-religious state in the Indian environment.

The reason: Today's Kerala was India's gateway to the world for over 2 millennia due to its worldwide spice trade (from the Romans to the Arabs to China) and thus had permanent contact with foreign cultures and religions that often mixed with their own.

Christianity reached Kerala as early as the 1st century - according to legend through the apostle Thomas - but probably only through his disciples, who were missionary in South India and founded the first bishopric there. The so-called Thomas Christians belonged (and still belong) for the most part to the upper social class. Much later, the lower social classes were (forcibly) proselytized by the colonial rulers.

While northern India was Islamized through the conquest of the Persian Mughals - who ruled there until the 17th century - this also happened in Kerala on a peaceful basis through the brisk spice trade with the Arab world.

This historically voluntary multi-religiosity inevitably leads to more openness - religiously, socially and politically.

The gentle Marxism in Kerala

Politically, too, Kerala is unique: it is the first country in the world that in 1957 - shortly after India's independence - a free and democratic communist government has chosen. This has had a positive effect on the young state and especially on its poor population.

In the land reform of 1962, the large landowners were partially expropriated, the families living in the countryside were given small plots of land the size of an allotment garden.

Compulsory schooling and child labor were enforced earlier than in the rest of India. This is why literacy in Kerala is 94%, well above the Indian average (60%). In the meantime, the Communists and the Congress Party take turns regularly. And - it wouldn't be Kerala if the communists weren't different there too: religion and party are not mutually exclusive.

Poverty in Kerala

Although Kerala has one of the best-developed social and health systems in a domestic comparison, the government has so far failed to adequately tackle poverty. Still alive Millions of people in dire poverty and are not supported by any of the public security systems. About 20% of the population (= 7 million) live on less than € 1 per day.

This group mainly includes the fishing families in the coastal areas. The industrialized deep sea fishing has dramatically minimized the fish population on the coast, which has robbed the fishermen of their centuries of livelihood. In addition, the ecosystem in the waters on the coast and in the backwaters has not yet recovered from the 2004 tsunami.

Many of the fishing families have fallen into great poverty as a result. Both men and women try to make it possible for their families to survive as casual workers. It is precisely these families that Samhathi looks after with his projects in order to free them from their poverty and to give them and their children a perspective for the future.