Before industrialization , each village was self sufficient. Most of the people were engaged in agriculture . Some artisans made cloths and others did making shoes , carpentry , smithy work etc. It is said that , when they made rail lines , there was difficulty in getting educated people for manning the railway stations and they approached Brahmins , requesting them t come and join the railways!

In those days , barbers came by train and all staff came to get their services. Similarly cashier also came and disbursed salary.

In such places , railway staff got rice and vegetables cheap.

Industry needed workers . So how did unemployment come ? Th only explanation is increase in population. With better medical facilities , death rates came down. So we have to control growth of population.




By AD 1800 , THE WHOLE OF CONTINENTAL INDIA HAD COME UNDER British sway. In the South , there were many Princely States , as they were called , but the land under Tippu Sultan came under their control , after the defeat of the sultan.

After the failure of the Sipoy Mutiny , the Crown decided to stop direct annexation and sought the support of the local Kings , with the Resident Englishman controlling the rulers .

The Punjab and Sind were one province ; the rest of North India another province called Bihar . In the south , Bombay and Gujarat was one province . Andhra , Madras , Mysore and Malabar of Kerala became one province.

The provinces were under the control of Collectors , who were Englishmen . The administration was impartial and free from corruption . People were happy.

The whole of south Asia , including Burma and Ceylon was under a single control of the Viceroy whose Headquarter was at Calcutta. This is because the first piece of land they got was in Bengal , after the Plassy war . The Capital was shifted to Delhi only recently in 1911. For the Viceroy , an imposing palace was constructed in waste land called New Delhi , the populated area being the old Delhi where the Mughal Palace stood.

In 1936 the Government of India Act came and Burma and Ceylon were separated.

The work in Government offices was in English and so they established the first school in what is now the Delhi school. Similar schools and colleges were eastablished in Bombay , Calcutta and Madras.

In the south in Keralam Christians were prominent in bringing education to the masses.

The British set up the postal system and telephone connections in British ruled Provinces.

In 1853 the first train with engine running on steam power , with wood as fuel for heating the boiler , ran from Bombay to Kalyan. The project was financed by private British companies. People who watched it wondered-is it possible to lay iron rails throughout India?

There were a few companies:

Northern railway, North eastern railway , Bombay Baroda Central Indian Railway and South Indian Railway. They built the lines only in British territory. If a Princely state wanted it , it should pay the cost. To save money , they built metre gauge lines. Though it was a private enterprise , the Government insisted that certain items like salt and fodder must be carried at low price. There were three classes for passengers . First class for the white man , second class for Anglo Indians (children of white men in Indian women , mostly railway workers.) and third class for Indians . There was no ban for Indians to travel in first class. It was also decided that the accounts should be audited by the Controller and Auditor General of India. My first job was in this department . Our peons wore Government uniform with red turban and brass buttons and a cross belt. There is a joke that vegetable venders did not demand money from the peons thinking that they have powers of a police man!


There was no income tax. It was decided to a lot land to the citizens and recover revenue , to meet administrative expenses .

So the Surveyor General of India began to measure the land , using chains . Twenty two chains make one furlong , eight furlongs make one mile . These terms became redundant when the metric system came. In all land records the survey number is given for identification.

It is said that the village patwari approached my ancestor and pleaded and persuaded him to take the paddy field in front of his house , free of cost. There is no previous adhar for our land!

Princely States

The states were free to rule , without interference by the British Resident . In Cochin State , where I was born , anchal (post office) system to carry letters from one office to another. These men used to run to the nearest post office. They were called anchalottakar (post runners). Te postal stamps were also different . Our State people were least taxed. The kings were austere in their dress and habits . It is said that there was only four annas (one fourth of a rupee) in the treasury ,when Divan Sankara Warriar took over charge!

Corruption was unknown!

There is a story that , after the merger of Cochin State with Travancore , my uncle , who worked as teacher, was surprised to see an unknown person with a basket full of costly fruits at his door. “Who are you? What is this?” He had come to plead for his daughter who had appeared in the tenth examination. My uncle (who was valueing the papers) literally drove him away. “Never come here again ; take away this basket ”, he shouted !

(to continue)


DIARY -13-6-15
I had to attend a marriage.
I thought I would miss one day for selling books. The Malayalam short stories are selling like hot cakes and I did not like to lose a day. So I went to the Railway platform first. The marriage too was at Trichur.
As usual , I went to the platform No. one first and then to the No. two. Some nine books were sold and it was ten. I hired an auto and reached the hall where marriage was, in fifteen minutes. I met several relatives and time passed. Marriage rites were going on and by 11.30 , meals began. All items are the same in all marriages and I enjoyed sweet pudding too. I tried to get free lift in cars of relatives but all seats were booked already. I had an idea . The people on the railway station platforms must have changed by this time and I can try my luck again, It proved right. I sold all books and came home empty handed , carrying the bag only. By 2 PM I reached home, jubilant. Within half an hour, it began to rain.

DIARY (27-5-15)

DIARY (27-5-15)

The day began on a dirty note. I felt intense nausea. Loose motion is not so disgusting. If we vomit, the whole body becomes too weak to stand up.

I wanted to sell my books. I fried two eggs and ate it with coffee. Somehow I managed to reach the bus stop and then the Railway platform. The RPF told me, this is not allowed inside the Railway boundary. By that time I had sold one book(autobiography). It was too early for banks to open. Then I sold one book and engaged an auto for Shakthan stand. When the auto reached near the Town Hall, I got down . There I noticed a Government Office , not known to me earlier and went in. As an introduction, I showed the report about me in the Mathrubhoomi daily. The lady was overjoyed to see it. She said:”I have been thinking of meeting you, after reading the report. Today I am lucky.” She bought one book and canvassed among the staff . In all, I sold seven books that day. I wanted tea, but went to the vanitha canteen and ordered milk instead of tea, because I was afraid of vomiting. It cost only twelve rupees.


All talk of a metro rail for Koch is wishful thinking.

No doubt, the town is horribly congested; but there is no scope for constructing a costly system, which is not economically viable.

The Delhi metro experience is a proof of my statement. Railway gets more money from suburban traffic in Bombay which costs almost nothing in working expenses, compared to the high cost of fully air conditioned and highly automatic coaches and signaling systems, including token system, instead of simple tickets of suburban traffic.

Study the economics first.

We should think of building a New Koch, like New Bombay.


Kaithapram is a well known Malayalam film music director and lyricist. His village is known as Kaithapram.

More than five hundred years ago, a group of twelve namboodiri families came down to an uninhabited area, almost encircled by a river and settled in the uninhabited,fertile valley. Then three more groups followed.

Now this village has more than two hundred families, all of the same caste and is known as Kaithapram.

Long ago, when my niece was married to a family there, we felt sorry for her. The village was too remote for us to approach, equidistant from Kannur and Payyannur stations on the Mangalore-Shoranur railway route. After leaving the station, we must travel by bus up to Plathara and then walk for an hour or so. Not a single terrace house and the only toilet, thankfully belonging to a lady who recently came there from south Malabar, was my relief. In those days, people just defecated any where outside the house!

Now I was taken aback by the changes, during the last two decades, which were a pleasant surprise. Almost all houses had concrete roof. Most of them have a car. We were picked up from Plathara by one of the twins of my niece (one is studying for engineering and one for medicine, with government scholarship) in their jeep. They had internet connection at home. Most namboodiries are computer shy. Many do not know what a blog is.

That evening they took us to the Parssinikadavu temple. It is an impressive big temple, right at the bank of the river by the same name. It is full of clean water. There are some boats, but something could be done to remove plastic bags and bottles.

The deity is Muthappan or grand- uncle. The head of an old man is worshiped here. The devotees are offered tea and dhal free of cost. Free meals are also given all the time.

Next morning I went for my walk with just a bath towel, after my bed tea. Within a few minutes, I reached the river. As the water was dirty, I reversed the direction and reached the Srikrishna temple, with good clean water in the pond in front. As there was no one around, I removed the only cloth I was wearing and plunged into the water It was my first dip in a pond, on coming to Keralam, this time.

After praying in the temple I roamed about for some time, but returned early, as I had not taken my break fast. I saw two old men reading newspaper, at Kaithapram Grameena Vayanashala (library). I too had a look at the head lines. I am a newspaper addict.

We were confined to the house, because of a hartal (bandh). In the evening, we climbed the highest hill in the locality. The top of the hill was a plateau, quite wide. I could not believe the spectacle of palatial buildings, constructed in feudal, artistic style. I was told that it was meant to be a music and dance academy , but the man found it impracticable and sold it to an engineering college.

There is a wide road along the periphery of the hill, from which we could see the surroundings.

The whole village is encircled by mountains and the river, which originates beyond Kerala border, in the Western Ghats. This explains the fertility of the soil and the abundance of water.

There is a well at the top, near a Shiva and Devi temple under construction. Water is available just ten feet below the ground. A large pond near by, also has plenty of water. This can only be explained by my theory of subterranean water channels, connecting the entire rocky crust of the earth ( Saraswaty- myth or reality? ).

At the foot of the hill, water level in the wells is fifty feet deep.

There is a rain gauge, well protected by fencing. I wonder if any one takes readings, climbing all the way up the hill.


There is maximum alert against bombs and terrorist attacks. Why did they fail to detect the bomb in the plane?

In the news, it is suggested that contract workers may be responsible for the lapse.  If this is true, what about railway contractors’ labour?

As a nation, we are incapable of facing the terror threat. All high sounding words from ministers are hollow claims.

Only God can save us.