11 May, 2021

The Coquette And The Coy

Why Communist Kerala is God's Own Country, Marxist West Bengal a poor country cousin

The Coquette And The Coy

Welcome to God's Own Country. Strange that a Marxist state should invoke a God it doesn't believe in, but it's the mantra that has attracted 45 lakh domestic and nearly 2 lakh foreign tourists into the state this year—a 250 per cent increase, mainly in domestic tourists, from 1994.

Clearly, Kerala tourism is a state of mind. The reason why Swisswoman Thekla Walser sits with Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things at Somatheeram resort even as she soaks in the very setting she's reading about. A quaint bookstore outside Kochi's synagogue declares: "Now available: The God of Small Things", inviting curious tourists to browse through. Roy didn't bring Mrs Suman Aggarwal, wife of a Gujarati exporter, to Kerala; it just happened to be on the family's way to the Maldives.

It's also about the Keralite finding a new way to do business in a state that's had a limited brush with industry. Hence the Malayali's attempt to harness all disability into a tourist advantage. No lights, no water? Welcome to 16th Century Kerala, proclaims a...

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