Every activity or object to which meaning can be attributed is a part of culture. Culture is an ever transforming phenomena and it is not uniform throughout a society. Aspects and features of a culture will change over time due to internal and external factors. It is to be noted that not all aspects of any culture is to be preserved and promoted. For example, the caste system or the patriarchal aspects of our culture are not to be preserved or promoted. Government has an active role to play in promoting an egalitarian society based on our constitution.
Resistance through Culture
Globalistaion has made several cultures vulnerable to the assault of capitalism. At present, all over the world people are being subjected to an onslaught of ultra-conservative nationalism. Even in India there are persistent attempts to establish a single regressive monolithic culture. People’s clothing, food, behaviour and even language are being mediated by those who oppose the unity in diversity of our country. This is against the foundations of our great country. We are proud that any such attempt to subvert one culture by another has been resisted by the progressive people of this state. Kerala’s culture is changing internally and externally.
Keralites in general are open to all cultures; where ever we go we imbibe the receiving culture yet retain essential aspects of our own. Our collective cultural consumption through various mediums, languages, art, clothing etc. strengthens our cultural identity. However, in Kerala itself there are different language communities and various sub-cultures. The LDF government recognizes this diversity and tries to preserve and promote all aspects of culture which needs to be conserved and handed down to the next generations.
Promoting Mother Tongue
In our manifesto we had promised to substantially increase the allocation to the cultural sector. During the past one year we have not only kept that promise but also gone beyond that to actively shape the cultural milieu of Kerala society with timely interventions on the aspects of caste, gender, moral policing and communalism. Proactive steps were taken to conserve and promote Malayalam language. The teaching of mother tongue was made compulsory in all schools, Malayalam mission imparting language training to non-resident Keralites and training domestic migrant workers in basic Malayalam are a few such steps. Malayalam is now our administrative language and all PSC exams which require degree as basic qualification will have questions in Malayalam.
Cultural Intervention for Gender Justice
Kerala has become the first state to formulate a transgender policy. Our government has recently conducted India’s first ever transgender sports meet sending a strong signal on the state’s policy oriented towards gender justice. Kerala sports council has assured complete support for the meet in the coming years. Government has introduced free sex-reassignment surgery for transgenders in government hospitals.
Providing for Artists and Cultural Expressions
The LDF Government has taken up the challenge to sustain the progressive outlook of Kerala society by conducting various cultural activities in the last one year. The Cultural department has organized around 6000 public meetings in celebration of social reformist Sreenarayana Guru’s proclamation “I have no caste”. The honorarium given to librarians in various village libraries has been increased from Rs. 2050 to Rs. 12000. Budgetary allocations have been made to build Cultural Complexes with theatres and other facilities in each district at a cost of Rs. 400 Mi. Government has also taken adequate steps to get permanent venue for the internationally acclaimed IIFK and Kochi-Muziris Biennale, which had become landmark cultural events of Kerala, incidentally both events were conceived and instituted by previous LDF governments. We have also doubled the pension amount for artists. We expect to expand and strengthen our interventions in cultural field in the coming years.