A Malayalam Blog and Kerala Information Technology

by Krishna on January 28, 2007

One of my college juniors, Sijith Nair, who is now in Los Angeles, has started writing his blog http://kuttanskadhakal.blogspot.com in Malayalam. Great Work, Sijith. This is the first non-English blog I am reading and Sijith’s narration of his travel difficulties in Paris makes it very interesting. BTW, use Firefox to view the blog as I am having difficulties viewing it in Internet Explorer.

For those who are unfamiliar with Malayalam, it is the language of Kerala, the state lying below Karnataka (read “the state where Bangalore is”) state on the southern tip of India. The state is an aberration in India – it has 100% literacy and is the most educated (percentage-wise) state in India. It is also governed by an elected Communist government (one of the three states in India which has a sizeable Communist presence) – not that it matters as economic policies are set by the Central (Federal) government.

The state is densely populated. Past lack of good employment opportunities for educated youth led to massive emigration to other states in India and countries, primarily the Persian Gulf (or Arabian Gulf, based on your point of view) and the United States. A running joke among Malayalees and Keralites is that if every Malayalee comes back to Kerala from all over the world, there will not be any standing space there. The physicist George Sudharsan and writer Arundhati Roy are two famous people from Kerala.

The Information Technology industry has been slow to set up shop in Kerala, but things have changed in the past few years. Trivandrum (known as Thiruvananthapuram) and Cochin (or Kochi) are establishing themselves as IT centers building upon good engineering talent from the nearby engineering and technology universities and colleges (CUSAT, MGU and CET). Higher education tuition fees is heavily subsidized by the government. When I completed my Masters Degree in Computer Science, I paid the equivalent of just $50 (repeat, fifty US dollars) for two years tuition. My books and daily travel cost more. However, competition for the college seats is very tough – admission is based on performance in a standardized mass entrance exam usually heavy on logic and advanced mathematics.

One of the great advantages of the state (other than high education and health levels) is its natural beauty. While Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai are bigger centers, they do not compare favorably with the tropical forests, and lazy backwaters in Kerala. Every drive is a scenic drive – it is green everywhere all the time. 🙂

I am writing this from southern New Hampshire – another beautiful place which explodes into glorious heavenly colors when fall comes along. If you work in a scenic place, feel free to post links to pictures of your place in the comments section.


Robert January 28, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Wow – $50? Tuition is what’s stopping me from going to college right now in the USA (I’m 21).

I’ve been in the startup world since high school, and my hope was to make at least enough money to pay for college.

Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy startups, consulting startups, and technology; That’s my dream, and I’m doing it now. I’m not really looking for a career changing opportunity to arise from college, rather, I would like to use the opportunity to learn about other things that interest me.

Anonymous February 8, 2007 at 6:15 am

Yes Robert, it is not only cheap but it is a different experience altogether….you should visit india and kerala…


KeralaViews February 8, 2008 at 9:42 am

This $50 figure should be taken in comparison to per capita income. The per capita income in Kerala is now about $250. This was lower at the time Krishna Kumar did his course.

Krish February 11, 2008 at 5:05 pm

The per capita income is a good point. The $50 seems low only when compared to developed countries.

Many people in Kerala would have found it difficult to come up with that amount of money. Even today.

Perhaps the amount charged for tuition in the United States prompted me to throw out that figure, but from an equivalent US per capita income, it would be around $8000. Not impossible, but still a considerable amount of money.

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