Kerala is a state in India, located in the south-west of the country. It is one of the most productive states in India, and although the hunger status in the country is described as ‘serious’ this is much better than in other states where it is described as ‘alarming’. The unemployment level in the state is currently at around 9.4% although it must be said that females only make up around 13.5% of the work force.
There are very few manufacturing plants or major corporations located in Kerala although economic progress is above the national average in India. Many describe the economy in the state as ‘democratic socialist’ however it has also been said that the Kerala economy depends on remittances from global capitalism due to the vast number of the population that work abroad, mainly in the Persian Gulf. The main money maker in Kerala is agriculture with the state producing 97% of the world’s pepper as well as coffee, tea, rubber and other spices. Rice is also grown abundantly in the vast number of paddy fields throughout the state. Other revenue earners include alcohol (Kerala is the largest consuming state of alcohol in India) and tourism (the state is popular with Indians as well as people from further afield).
Kerala is brimming with culture with elephants given a high place in the culture of the state. Elephants are the state’s official animal and are given a high status not only in everyday life but also in festivals. Visitors to the state today are able to marvel in the native performing arts including Koodiyattom- a dance and theatre performance which has been performed in the state for over 500 years. There are numerous other dances performed in the state by female choreographed performers.
Aside from theatre, the state of Kerala has its own version of music. A cross between reggae and southern Indian music, the state calls its music Melam. Melam is performed at many festivals in Kerala with each performance lasting anywhere up to four hours. Kerala is additionally famous for its own version of martial arts called Kalaripayattu. The sport has recently started to gain worldwide attention and is essentially one of the oldest fighting systems in existence – dating back over 3000 years.