Friday, September 4, 2009

kulathakal , co ordinator of GOPIO

kulathakal as co ordinator of GOPIO
Author, freelance journalist , publisher & social worker , Mr. Sunny Kulathakal was elected as the International Co-ordinator of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Mr. Inder Singh (USA) as the Chairman and Lord Diljit Rana (Northern Ireland) as the President with a 14 member Executive Committe.among them Mr.Kulathakal is the only Malayalee in the Committee.

Previously Dr.Thomas Abraham of New York served as the Chairman of GOPIO.
GOPIO is a secular, non partisan , not for profit, international organisation based in USA with chapters in various parts of the globe, representing the interests and aspirations of People of Indian Origin (PIOs) and promoting awareness and understanding of issues and concerns -social, cultural, educational and economic - to global NRI/PIO community .

Mr.Kulathakal was the Vice President , Middle East of GOPIO for the past four years .
He was given the GOPIO award for Community services by the former Prime Minister of India Mr. I.K.Gujral in 2002.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Speaking directly from the heart..

The launch of the Gulf Who's Who 2009 edition recently was attended by VIPs and well - wishers.[ Bahrain]
Interview with Sunny kulathakal and Elizabeth Kulathakal

Sunny and Elizabeth present a model of a Kerala showpiece boat to minister Dr.Mirza.This year is the 30 th anniversary since you both started the Gulf Who's Who.What sparked the idea in the first place?

S:During 1977 , i was touring all the gulf states for an assignment with the Illustrated Weekly ofIndia to do a cover story on Indian's in the Gulf. During my visit i met the leading Arab businessman and also many indians in key positions. I then realized that the outside world didn't have any knowledge about them and where unaware of their achievements . I therefore decided to embark on a directory to help networking amongst the businessman in the gulf countries .

Q: What are the challenges faced in bringing out this Directory?

S: Bringing out this directory was a herculian task as telephone directory or daily newspapers were not availble in all of the gulf countries . It took us soetime to convince the necessity of such a directory in the region and its relevance in the society.

Q: Tell us about the project - how you put it together the improvements over the years and how you market it.?
S: Initially people mistook this as another yellow page directory . Our concept is to have a few individuals and companies from different areas of activities and interests. For getting more information on a particular area or business , these individuals or companies may come forward and help others.

Q: Inthese days of social networking sites, internet and email, how relevant is the directory still.
?are you planning to go seriously electronic ?

E: Earlier when television had come about, people thought newspapers will have no relevance and TV would be the preferred medium. But people still read newspaprs today. Similarly even in the electronic age there is a strong demand for published versions to have a ready reference. presently we are working out on an electronic version of the directory as well to reach out a larger section of people.

Q:what are the areas of interests- for both of you- besides your work?

E: We both would like to travel a lot and see the whole world. we also wish to build up a huge global network of people which would help us grow both personlly as well as professionally.

Q:You are involved in promoting bengalooru as international tourism and study centre.
How do you see the recent attacks on women there and in nearby mangalore?

S: Yes . I am promoting bengalooru since it is the only city in the whole world with a cool and salubrious climate throughout the year except for a month or two. I encourage friends from the Arab countries to visit bangalore for health services , tourism and as an educatonal destination.
There is immense potential in bengalooru and i want peopleb from all corners of the world to tap that potential and help the city reach greater height.

E: What happened in mangalore is only a stray incident but very unfortunate .isolated incidents may happen in any part of the world and it is not fair to generalize. One such incidents should not
bring down the name of a place and we must try at our on level to curb such incidents which a bad name to our country and her people .

Q: How do you see the role of NRIs and the diaspora in indias developments ?

S: For india's developments, NRIs are doing their best in sending the valuable foreign exchange from their place of stay. now the time has come for the government of india to take care of the NRIs who are returning back to india after losing their jobs. also there is need for rehabilitating stranded people in the gulf countries. hundeds of indians who sold their properties in their native states to get a gulf visa, are today without jobs and in a tough situation in various gulf countries. they cannot go back home due to the loan or other liabilities on them.these people have to be rehabilitated on the same pattern of tibetan rehabilitation during jawaharlal nehru's regime.

Q: favourite foods?books?

E: I love curd rise while my husband's favourite meal is fish curry and rise.
S: When it comes to reading books , we both enjoy reading biographies as they make and interesting and realistic read.

Q: You take on Bahrain's progress?

S: Bahrain will have a remarkable economic growth cycle even amid a global financial meltdown. Bahrain's fast track growth, despite its reduced dependency on oil revenues not only underscores it's status as the preferred global investment, finance and business destination in the Gulf region but also is a glowing testimony to the role of a vibrant private sector.

Q: Role model? person[s] who have influenced you most?

S: Dr. martin luthervking is a strong influence on me . i have grown up reading about him and there is a lot one can learn from him in life.

Q: How would you say you both influence the directory - what special qualities do you both bring as individuals to the project?

E: We both have to work hard in two directions.

S: Elizabeth co ordinates and takes care of the inputs while i have to plan and market the directory. fortunately the market welcomes the concept and it is our constant endeavour to improve and bring novel ideas so that it will be a user friendly publication.
interview: Salaam agazine- march 2009.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


By Sunny Kulathakal

“Every day a different guy

and this is our chastity”

In our land there are still virtual examples of the type of women described in the above verse taken from the Rambhapravesam (Appearance of Rambha) chapter of the Ravana Vijayam (Ravana’s victory) Kathakali. There is nothing to wonder when Rambha tells Ravana that her chastity is nothing but giving pleasure to a different man each night. Some of the other ancient practices are even more interesting. We are all familiar with characters like Vasavadatta who was entertaining a Chettiar (Rich merchant) despite the fact that she was in deep love with Upagupta.

Had there not been parents in our land who used to encourage their daughters to consider the love towards husband, sacrifice and commitment of Seelavathy who used to carry her leper husband on her shoulders to the brothel as model qualities worth emulating?

Tactics of seduction

Relevant are also a few verses from Tactics of seduction (Kuttineematham) containing certain advises of a mother to her daughter. Tactics of seduction comprises 200 “slokas” (quatrain containing four lines each) the subject matter of which are advises about the traditional profession of prostitution from the mother of Anangvalli, a novice into prostitution. Quoted below is a portion of the same:

‘This is youth, my dear daughter! You, the arrow of cupid

born out of women! Moonshine on a rainy day is not eternal;

There is a big ocean of old age before you

It has to be crossed with the wealth earned during your youthful days’

“The feminine charm and voluptuousness of youth is not enduring; Earn as much you can before the physical charm is lost so that you can cross the ocean of old age comfortably” This was what mothers were advising their daughters those days. It was the Venmani movement which perpetuated the literary tradition having the same flavour akin to Tactics of seduction in the name of Ambopadesham. The work presents the advises given bygrannies to young prostitutes in different styles. Venmani Mahan, Kodungalloor Kochuunni Thampuran, Naduvathu Achan Namboothiri, Oravankara Neelakandan were among the authors of Ambopadesam. Given below is one of the slokas:

“You naughty daughter! Why this ghostly look, Why don’t be clean?

Hey young beauty! You have to wash your body;

Don’t you know the well groomed body

of a maiden has infinite charm?”

Many have written similar sleazy verses fuming with the stink of porn and containing lines which have dubious inner meanings and pornographic connotations which no civilised person will ever dare to utter.

The early Malayalam literature clearly presents Malayalee woman as the one brimming with lust. Those days, sexuality was dripping through the naughty eyelash of Kairali (Literary and cultural psyche of Kerala). The writings of Manipravala period were described as “Poetry of skin”.

If it was the heady scent of raw flesh that was steaming from Radha-Madhava Rasa Creeda (sexual indulgences of Radha and Madhava) and the relationship of Subhadra and Arjuna, it was the symphony of “no-strings attached” sexual indulgence that was echoing from the lyrics of Venmani poetry. The celebrated heroines like Unniyadi, Unniyadichi and Unnichiruthevi of early Malayalam literature were all prostitutes.

Seelavathis (Woman of character)

“Then came the bright moonshine of the female. There were also Selavathi’s to teach them noble behaviour. The bards and those who reveled in literature of ribaldry never knew how to bring up a girl in a decent family atmosphere. It was Kumaranasan who lifted the Kerala woman from this stinking sewage and brought her up. “Nalini”, “Leela” and “Seetha” marked the dawn of a new tradition”

What came to replace that tradition was the woman who had become merchandise, says Thayattu Sankaran. He continues “We don’t need Seelavathis; but the entry of Christian Keelers to replace them needs to be resisted vehemently by enlightened Kerala. Today’s progressive writers could see only what the commercial world highlights in a woman. In their eyes woman is nothing but a sexual commodity. For them woman is just the sum up of features that arouse such passion….”

The animal instinct to snarl with lust at the very sight of a naked woman is condemned by Thayattu while underlining the need to recognize the real value of woman.


There were a time during which keeping “Tharavadu” (ancestral homes) doors open for the upper class was considered as a sign of status and pride. Virgins waited to receive them at households with lips reddened with chewing pan (the practice of chewing a mix of betel leaves, arecanut and lime). In those days there were woman who considered it a blessing to have physical union with the body of the “lord” (men from the upper class). With the blooming of sub standard sexual passion, conjugal morality lost its value opening up the doors for prostitution. Matriarchal system which allowed free sex with as many persons as possible without any social stigma attached to it was in vogue during those days. Chandu Menon (One of the early Malaylam Novelist) in his novel “Indulekha” clearly reveals this. The urge of Suri Namboothiri who came to marry Indulekha to enter the bedroom of her mother is quite sarcastically described in the novel.

It cannot be said that illicit sexual relationships will come to a grinding halt with the improvement in financial condition. The heroine of “Indulekha” and her mother had a wealth of Rs 30,000 those days to spend freely as per their whims and fancies. Still their sexual excesses continued unabated. There were some signs of change in the social standards of living when the financial condition of woman started improving. That was how the moves against the matriarchal system became stronger. The practice of the upper class went on building up extra marital relationships in several households also underwent a change.

The moral dictate at one time was that the woman should not cover their breasts as a mark of respect to the elite. A quote from “Malabar Quarterly review” (XI, 1903) attributed to Tippu Sultan as telling to a particular religious community during his visit to Kozhikode in 1788 is relevant here: “I request you to live like members of other communities after doing away with your practice of a woman having sexual relationship with as many as10 men, allowing your mothers and sisters to follow the same practice resulting in giving birth to illegal children and also your relationships that will put even animals to shame and all the other sinful practices.” So terrible was the condition those days.

Modern Malayalam literature

Writers like M Mukundan and Kakkanadan were the ones who started to anchor stories centered on prostitutes in modern Malayalam literature.

“Aysha” a well known poetic work of Vayalar portrays the touching life of a street prostitute. Aysha, daughter of a butcher, Adriman is sold to a rich man who had married four times before. Aysha objects:

“Adraman roared as usual

Hey girl, I will cut you into pieces

and hang in my shop”

Threatening her in this manner he gets rid of her without sparing gold or any other ornaments or any kind of wealth. Then he buys four goats with the amount received as the price of his dauther’s sale and hangs in his shop.

The rich man who married Aysha divorces her. Pushed to the edge and totally orphaned Aysha becomes a prostitute selling her body in the evening bazaar. Aysha who strangled her first child to death decided to bring up her next baby. He should grow up and take revenge on this world which threw her to the corner of this street. Thus her next offspring turns into the incarnation of her angel or revenge.

One day the rich man who divorced her happened to drop into her brothel. She cajoles him and that night she fatally stabs his chest with a dagger. She ends up in jail. Meanwhile Adraman also lands up in jail in a murder case.

Aysha’s son grows up. Adraman who returns after his long years in jail happens to meet Aysha’s street child. Both of them locked themselves in a prolonged emotionally charged embrace. The poetry ends with the two wows to emerge as a single force of revenge to bring down the whole world to dust.

A few lines from Ayyappa Panicker’s poem “Pralayam” (The great flood):

“Fixing the rate at Rs two, she lay on the metal sheet after spreading her dress on it.

He had a second’s sigh of relief that there is at least no sales tax..

He sprang his body as a bow and sent all his five arrows and then came the flood.”

What the poet portrays here is an innocent woman who had the sincerity to give back 50 paise taking note of the embarrassment of the client who opted for the kind of prostitution that can be described as “love sans creation”. He had become so weak that he could not even accept that money which was actually meant as bus charge to go home. Instead he walked back home.


In Chilappathikaram, one of the five great Tamil poetic treatises there are references to “street of seduction” flanked by “…….plenty of brothels which used to lure men like vampires to suck blood till the last drop and send their preys to unconscious slumber every day irrespective of whether they are monks who happened to be trapped by lusty eyewink or playboys who revel in enjoying different women just like beetles which opportunistically switch from one flower to another in gay abandon to taste their nectar, or adolescents who experience sexual bliss for the first time”

“Our area is so notorious that the eyes of the youth will not dare to tread anywhere near that street during sundown fearing the alluring eyewinks of young women” is how the place is described.

It is said that Madhavi, the prostitute of Chilapathikaram is a descendant of Urvashi, the danseuse of the heavens who received the curse of Agasthya Muni to be born as a human being for her refusal to perform in the court of Indra while Narada was playing violin. Chilappathikaram also refers to Kovalan, the husband of Kannaki known for her chastity matching that of Arundhathi entering the bed chamber of Madhavi, forgetting his affluent home and beautiful beloved.

There is a portion quoted to the great ascetic Kavunthi Adikal as saying “the positive and negative grief brought upon men by cupid touch only those who embrace curly haired beauties and not the wise men who live in their solitude. This is not the first time, but since time immemorial that those worldly men who have found the female body and their feast as a source of just pleasure struggle in the endless ocean of grief succumbing to lust which, the enlightened sages shunned realising that it only breeds grief

Prostitutes also have a history

In short, prostitution is one of the world’s oldest professions. We have already seen a few instances of how fallen women are portrayed in Malayalam and Tamil literature. To have an overview of the world of prostitutes, the best thing is to evaluate their present situation in a historical perspective.

Prostitution was prevalent in one form or other in all caste, classes and religious communities from time immemorial. There is evidence in history that prostitutes who were considered as a means to quench excessive sexual urge had an indisputable position in the society. However there are genuine reasons to doubt that this profession is now at the verge of degeneration in the following the sunset of its good old days and privileges

This institution which once flourished under royal patronage and the shade of religion is still continuing, but under cover and in secrecy.

There are ample references to prostitution in Bible. There are references to functioning of brothels centered around Canaanite churches. There are a lot of evidences in the Old Testament about the prevalence of prostitution.

There are several stories in ancient epics about Urvashi, Rambha, Menaka and Thilothama. Those women who were the symbols of beauty and voluptuousness had exceptional skill in music and dance. Their job was to take care of the gods and pleasing them. The “Matsya Purana” (The epic of fish) refers to even a sage like Viswamithra succumbing to the sexual charm of Menaka leading to the birth of Sakunthala, one of the celebrated heroines of world literature.

There are also evidences of the existence of prostitutes during the times of Pandavas and Kauravas as well. In the book, “The sexual life in ancient India”, there are references about women engaged in prostitution quoted to Yudhistira as telling in a message. It so happened that King Pandu could not engage in sexual intercourse with his wives (He had two namely Kunthi and Madri) due to a curse of a sage. Then he abdicated his throne and opted for living with his wives in a lonely haven. The problem was that his soul will not rest in peace if dies without children and at the same time he could not have sexual union with his own wives. Caught in this dilemma he says to Kunthi “Please have sex with equals or the peerfect ones to have a son”. Kunthi refused. Pandu reassures her that such things have happened before and is not a sin. That was how the Pandavas were born. This can be considered as a typical example of the husband himself compelling wife to have illicit relationships.

Celestial court

The institution of celestial court (The court of gods) which was in vogue during the times of Aryas in the course of time turned into one that gifts prostitutes to guests. Women were utilised as a means to express the friendship and fellowship with other kings. It was common that the king who loses in a battle handing over his dearest whore to the winner.

There had even attempts of battles among kings in the name of some particular prostitutes. There had also been instances of prostitutes being utilized to spell the fall of rival kings. It is said that young girls were specially recruited from a very early age itself and groomed them by feeding poisonous herbs and food. These women known as “poisonous virgins” were utilized to trap enemy kings who used to die after their sexual encounter with these women

“Anthapuras” (Chambers of women)

The slave women were considered a decorative oranmnet for the Brahmin “Anthapuras” (chambers of women). Even in Kerala there were kings who used to keep hundreds of low caste (Soodras) women, highly skilled in music and dance in their Anthapuras. “Manusmrithi” contain a set of rules relating to “women of easy manners” (prostitutes). Brahmin priests had taken upon themselves the responsibility to discourage such women as well as those who encouraged them to follow the wrong path. “Manusmruthi.” prescribes fines and even more severe punishments such as cutting off limbs mainly sexual organs and even death sentence to sexual criminals. It is prescribed that immoral women should be left to be mauled by dogs in public place and men to be burnt alive.

In “Matsyapurana” a prostitute is referred as a symbol of good omen. In south India there existed the practice of engaging prostitutes for tying “Mangalya Sutra” (nuptial cord).

Code of Conduct

An attempt had been made in Kautilya’s “Artha Sasthra” to formulate a code of conduct for prostitutes. The duties and responsibilities of courtesans (high profile prostitutes) are described under the title “Ganikadhyasha) (superintendent of courtesans). Such women appointed in the pay scale of a thousand money (single coin) should have extreme feminine charm and other feministic qualities. A rival prostitute was also appointed at half the pay scale. Royal courts of those times also used to appoint different types of dancers apart from prostitutes for various purposes. They were never meant to be ordinary prostitutes. They were considered as royal courtesans ideally suited for giving sexual company to the cultured elite. They were also utilized for spying for political purposes.

The famous “Kamasutra” of Vatsyayana has described about prostitutes and their lifestyle. It also explains in detail, the tips for successfully carrying out the profession.

Noble calling

Countries like ancient Greece, Armenia, Syria and Cyprus used to consider prostitution as a noble profession according to certain records. Prostitution was practiced as a ritual to please the Godess, Aphrodite. The Greek Afrodite temple might be yet another copy of “Yellama” temple of Karnataka. Prostitution linked to religion was in vogue also in countries like Egypt, Babylonia, Phoenicia and Arabia. Prostitutes had an important role in several religious festivities. There were even official prostitutes in several places of worship! To have sex after paying a small offering was considered as a recognized religious practice. Several women used to serve this way in these places of worship and donate their earnings to the deity. It was with added dignity and pride, these women who accepted prostitution as a divine commitment returned to their homes.

The men of Greece who used a category of women known as “Hetere” for sexual outlete after leaving the duties of giving birth to children and take care of the household on the shoulders of their wives also gave the necessary encouragement for the growth of prostitution. In some communities there were attempts to use prostitution a practical dimension by giving it a religious façade. It was said that ancient Armenians encouraged their daughters to engage themselves in prostitution prior to marriage to earn money to pay dowry. Thus these who were engaged in the so called “Freelance prostitution” used it as a temporary short cut for easy money and thereby making their life secure.

The great Poet Kalidasa in some of his works had referred to “Holy prostitution” prevalent during the third century. He had recorded that prostitutes were accommodated in the premises adjacent to the Mahakalikshethra (The temple of great Kali) in Ujjain. The devotees who thronged seeking the pleasure from these “Holy whores” were also in fact numerous! It may be surprising for the new generation of our times to know that it was a practice those days to offer daughters at the temples out of the faith and commitment to the God and religion. It is only a historical fact that the Devadasi system was prevalent till recent times even in India. Dr S D Punnekkar (Tata Institute of Social Science) who conducted a study on the Devadasi System has states that there were many who believed that girls should be offered for satisfying the sexual passion of the God just preparing “Amruthethu” (food offering) for the deity at temples.

The Devadasi System

It is even said that the Gods will heed to the prayers of the devotees only in the presence of temple prostitutes known as “Devadasis” in South India and “Mangalmukhis” in North India. This was the reason for the flourishing of prostitution in temples and attribution of divinity and dignity to the same.

There was a time when “Thevidichi Sthanam” (the post of prostitute) set apart for those women who educated, pious, brilliant in arts and music were accepted as a highly decent profession. There is a great similarity between these “Thevidichis” who excelled in dance and music and the Geishas of Japan. Those who manage to get jobs related to temples wre known as “Devadasis”. Even the kings never considered marrying them as some thing against prestige. Kandiyoor Thevidichi Unnikulangara, the wife of the Venattu King Veerakerala Varman, Chinna Devi , wife of Odanattu King Eravi Kerala Varman, Pavaiyyar, wife of Sundara Moorthy Nayanar and Chokkathandal, wife of Veerapandyan were all Devadasis. Devadais of temples used to tattoo the image of the deity of their respective temples on their body. The rule was to give respect to such women who carries the imprint of the God. Beautiful women were made public property by offering them to temples and even given royal status. Devadasis who had the right to sit with the king alone and chew pan used to receive them with handshake. There was a standing instruction that the Devadasis of Sucheendran should accompany the Venattu kings all through their visit.

The following excerpt from Elamkulam Kunjan PIllai’s preface written for Unnooli Sandesham wherein there is a clear description of the status and privilege enjoyed by Devadasis is worth noting:

“There is no doubt that upto 14th century Devadasis enjoyed the status akin to that of today’s film stars. Thereferences of Abdul Razaq in 1943 that the Devadasis who were the most respected in Vijayanagaram were considered on par with the wives of ministers and the visits of gentlemen to their houses were never considered as anything wrong and, the entire expenses of the 1200 and odd police force were met from their income and aptly said of Kerala…. It is said that it was common that Brahmins, Kshathriyas and others used to offer virgins to the temples seeking blessings like healing of disease and even parents of high class families were enthusiastic to see their daughters becoming Devadasis.”

Devadasis and their lovers had shown great interest in paying money for writing poems about them. In “Chandrotsava”, there are references about Sankaran, Poonam and others getting closer to prostitutes and singing songs. The Sanskrit poems like Sukasandesam, sivavilasam, Mayoora dootham etc are full of descriptions about Devadasis. Certain poems of ancient times testify that the genesis of the movement of “Manipravala” itself to Devadasis.

Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai in his work titled “The dark chapters of Kerala” has written”

“the word, “Thevidichi” underwent fast degeneration because of the curious mix of factors like the pleasure crazy Namboodiris administration of temples, the advise of

Pizharakayyamars and Pattas who had stooped to the level of lusty bulls, the hegemony of local rulers and the life in the premises of temples. He establishes that Devadasi system started degeneration ever since it became a matter of heredity. One could realize this from works like “Unniyachi Charitham, Unnichiruthevi Charitham, Sukasandesam, Unnuneeli Sandesam, Cheriyachi Unniyadi Charitham written during those days.

The middle age

The middle age was a period which ascribed over importance to wine and women. Except Aurungaseeb all the Muslim rulers had encouraged prostitution. Prostitution flourished as a widespread institution on account of the loving patronage of most of the then rulers and kings. The “Anthapuras’ (women’s chambers) of the Muslim rulers were overflowing with exceptionally beautiful women and mistresses. A haven called “Shaitanpuram” was set up exclusively for courtesans in the capital itself during the times of Akbar. Akbar had 800 “Anthapuras” in Agra alone. “Meena Bazaar” was a shopping place exclusively set apart for courtesans. Only the kings and their close associates had the permission to visit the prostitutes who frequented that place. Several women were engaged for performing dance and music in Mugul durbars. However they did not allow anyone to have sex with anyone anywhere in any manner. The prostitutes had a comfortable living under the protection of those who were in high places. They were skilled in music dance and other fine arts. Mughul kings ensured that dancers are provided for the entertainment of military chiefs at their camps. With the decadence of Mughul rule, the inmates of Anthapuras and those who were engaged in dance and music were thrown out the royal mansions. Those hapless women who had to wander in the streets as a result knew no other jobs. Also none came forward to promise any creative occupation for them. That being the situation those days, it is not surprising that they opted prostitution for earning a living.

Women like Barias Dure Dars, Patarias, Nutts, Brijwasis ,Rajdharis etc were being considered as the descendants of the inmates of “Anthapuras’ and mistresses of royal palaces of yesteryear.

The condition of women had not improved significantly even during the British rule. In the absence of governmental regulations, prostitution developed as an institution. In the place of Muslim royal patronage, new patrons surfaced. Jamindars, Taluk heads and Nawabs came forward to take care of prostitutes. But, when the Jamindari system was done away with and states were re-organised after independence, those who earned a living by prostitution were once again on the streets.

The situation today

Thus, prostitution which was in vogue in various forms years ago is continuing either organised or not in all the cities of India. It is impossible to get the statistics of the number of persons engaged in this profession. Nobody has the figures of the number of men who work in this field as brokers and others. The statistics available from the police and doctors can only be incomplete. It is not that easy to trace the whereabouts of prostitutes and their accomplices who migrate in newer pastures constantly and compile their up-to-date statistics. Trafficking women using new technologies surpassing any other trade and sexual crimes relating to the same as well erosion of moral values are currently on the rise.

Prostitution as an easy means to make money with the unofficial support of the society continues even today in several parts of the world as a legacy of the past.

At least a certain amount of success was achieved in banning prostitution after the Eastern Europe came under the control of Communists in the post second world war period. Several controls were imposed in countries like France, Italy, Belgium and Japan. Still there is no widespread awareness in most parts of the world that “adulteress” is such a bad word.

There are legal provisions facilitating the conduct of prostitution in most parts of Asia including Arab countries. In Latin America prostitution has no strings attached it. Even in Mexico it had legal sanction till a few years ago.

It was after independence, Government started to pay attention to the problems created by prostitution in India. The first official enquiry into prostitution was initiated under the auspices of Social and Moral Hygiene Committee in 1954.

The said committee studies the manifold implications of prostitution including the social, moral, economical and commercial problems created by the same. However the report of the committee submitted in 1956 was incomplete. Yet there was a realization of the need to make common people aware about moral and social norms of hygiene in a scientific perspective.

Vidhyadhar Agnihotri has published a book titled “Fallen Woman” after conducting a study of prostitution in the commercial city of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. M S Mathur and Dr B L Gupta of Agra University could study the situation there in more detail and more scientifically. The book titled “Prostitutes and Prostitution published by them in 1965 contains the conclusions of their scientific enquiry and their recommendations.

Dr R B K Jayasankar had conducted some researches about prostitution prevalent in the city of Mumbai. Hindi writer Amrit Lal Nagar has published a book titled “Ekothe Valiyan” in 1961 based on his interviews with some prostitutes. But it doesn’t delve much into the social and economic implications of the problem.

The research books under the title; “A study of the prostitutes in Mumbai” published by Dr S D Punnekar and Kamala Rao of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 1962 deals in good detail the family background and the special circumstances of those who enter the field.

Dr J J Pankkal and colleagues are currently engaged in a detailed research into the Devadasi system.

The researches conducted by Dr B C Muthayya in the city of Madras have been published under the title “Institutionalised Victims of Immoral Traffic and Commercialised Vice in Madras City.

M Ranga Rao and J B Raghavendra Rao have also conducted a study on the prostitutes of Hyderabad.

This is an attempt to have a factual study in a historical perspective on this institution based on direct findings about prostitution which is on the rise in the developed cities of India. In all the Indian cities prostitution is thriving in all the Indian cities. However but what is highlighted here are the realities directly came across in Mumbai, one of important cities of India as a typical example.

trans: saj mathews

My days in the land of Oil

By Sunny Kulathakal

During my travel across the length and breadth of the Gulf region both by air and road for nearly one and half years, I had personally come to know the variety of problems being encountered by our people mainly the Keralaites who struggle for a living in this alien land amid numerous adversities. What I recount here are not the stories of those who landed here in search of fortunes and managed to reach top positions.

Many of the early birds have managed to reach top positions. But I had occasions to hear many a pathetic story of those who arrived in later years and landed in troubles in the wake of new legislations. There are several Malayalees who are yet to gain a foothold in Gulf region with their fate hanging in mid air. Also there are many who are for years on job hunt in the scorching desert sands braving both the extreme heat and chilling cold. And who is there to heed their woes?

Many of these stories could not be openly shared with the relatives and close ones when they reach the homeland. There are many who come home on just two or three weeks leave after a gap of two or three years. They are compelled to opt for a kind of indiscernible mask over their face when they come home. During the few days at home they try their level best to make happy their parents and relatives who struggled hard to sent them to the heavenly land of Gulf with great expectations

Typical is the story of this youth hailing from Chenganasserry. (Not disclosing the name) He came home on a three weeks leave for his marriage. I happened to meet him when he came to a local press to print his marriage invitation. He was wearing an electronic wrist watch in the hand, a Rolex camera hanging on the shoulders, a costly filter cigarette between the fingers and he was wearing a turlin shirt and bell bottom trousers, apparently of foreign origin. He was washed in the fragrance of French perfume, foreign talcum powder, hair cream, and snow. His behaviour could impress anyone and his conversation was interesting. All made it quite plain that he has come home from Gulf. He introduced himself as a supervisor in a Dubai construction company. I made it a point to write down his address.

I reached Dubai in 1976 December. I wrote a letter to him in the address and waited. But he did not respond or turned up. One day I was just strolling down the Creek next to the Dubai Petroleum Company, where I was working. Then I saw a few young men engaged in the job of filling the gutters on the road with the soil from a heap in front of a famous hotel. I looked back when I heard two of them wearing trousers and shirt talking in Malayalam. It was getting dark and the faces were not clear.

There is a saying that “the leopard will eat even grass when pushed to the edge”. There are a lot of graduates and technically qualified among those who reach gulf. There are literates and illiterates as well. Once they fail to get an employment to their choice they will be ready to do any job. This pitiable state of affairs is prevalent in most of the Gulf countries. I felt that it was time to correct the misconceptions about the “Promised Land” when I heard the real life stories of doctors working as nurses, and engineering graduates employed as clerks and higher graduates labouring in the gardens of Arab households. The condition of some of the educated youth is more than pathetic.

It was getting late. Those who were working near the Creek have stopped work and were returning to their tent. I wanted to talk to them, but they were trying to evade me. Among them I found a familiar face. He was that guy hailing from Chenganassery. ‘Don’t you remember me?” I asked. Suddenly he blushed. Then he sincerely narrated the whole story. We can find a lot of such self-proclaimed “supervisors” and others categories here.

U.A.E today

United Arab Emirates was among the destinations which attracted Malayalees the most. Though there are seven states in U.A.E which was formed as a federation in 1971, major chunk of Malayalees are in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Arabs who have come for trade in Mumbai and Kozhikode had a special corner for the Malayalees. However this special concern and respect is on the decline of late.

Growing anxieties

The recent legislations of U.A.E are not that much favourable to the Indians generally. It is anticipated that sooner or later similar laws would be enacted in other Gulf countries also. Those who are going to be the worst affected by this move which is aimed at making the laws uniform in the Gulf countries will no doubt be the Malayalees.

The crux of the labour law enacted in U.A.E in 1977 is that those who are not directly sponsored by the respective employer should not be appointed in any establishment. Moreover, immigration authorities are vested with the power to immediately deport any foreigner who is found to be working in any establishment without a valid visa. Both the employer and the employee who violate this are liable to be punished.

The ultimate result is that it will not be any more that much easy to get a job here. Earlier, one could manage to get an NOC either by falling at the feet of somebody or even by paying some money. The situation is different now. Equally difficult will be switching from one employer to another. One can enter a job only after “arresting” the appointment order detailing the wages and service conditions issued directly by the employer with the Indian embassy. Ever since these rules were made strict, getting a job in U.A.E has become all the more difficult.

What led to the enactment of these laws also needs to be noted. A large number of people from neighbouring Oman illegally crossed over to U.A.E in the wake of labour problems in that country. The stories of such people who have entered U.A.E duping the border security force are more pathetic than those who have reached here from Mumbai by illegal means. It is said that people from Oman were smuggled into U.A.E by stacking them in freezer trucks meant for carrying fish and vegetables. Once the truck crosses the border they will be let out of the freezer. Once it so happened that the freezer could not be opened since a police vehicle was following close behind. When the freezer was opened after the vehicle met with an accident en-route, what the police could find were a number of frozen dead bodies. Recently a number of workers were rendered jobless following the slowdown in construction industry. Needless to say, this also had its adverse impact on the labour.

Yet another vexed issue the U.A.E Government had to face was the problem of largescale fake NOCs a few years ago. It is said that some Malayalees were also involved in the racket. There were many who have earned millions through this fraud. Finally at least some of the culprits were nabbed by the police.

On the whole, the strict steps now being taken by the U.A.E Government are justifiable. They cannot remain insensitive to the situation wherein their populace is turning into a minority. The influx of job seekers into U.A.E was only below five lakh in 1975. This went up to as much as eight lakh the very next year.

Responding to persistent pleas from the business community issuance of visiting visas has been resumed of late subject to certain conditions.

There is the likelihood of massive shortage of job opportunities in U.A.E in the near future says, M John, former President of the Indian Association, Dubai. There are thousands of Indians working in construction firms. Once the ongoing projects of these companies are completed several workers will find themselves out of job.

There are many Indians who have reached eminent positions in various fields here. But many more are those who are still fighting burning issues. The efforts being made by the Indian Association to solve the problems of Indians especially Malayalees are commendable. John who had served as the Association’s President is the General Manager of a major firm employing about 700 workers. He continues to be a source of solace to many Indians reeling under a variety of problems.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The world of experiences

by sunny kulathakal

He was profusely sobbing when he came home that day. The mother of that black boy ran to him, held him to her bosom and wiped his tears. The heart of the mother was broken and she was eager to know the reason of his grief. His sobbing was escalating. Tears swelled in her eyes too. Gradually his sobbing subsided due to the mother’s cajoling.

“Martin, what happened?” she enquired

“Jimmy and Tommy are told not to play with me”, he somehow answered amid sobs.

She could easily imagine that his sorrow broke its limits due to the instruction of the parents of the two white boys who has been his playmates for the last few years not to play with him any more obviously in the name of colour difference. Though he could be pacified for the time being, she knew very well that she could never completely heal the wounds inflicted by the incident in his innocent heart.

That boy who later came to be known as Martin Luther King also wanted to a few more things. The mother could only keep her head turn away before his queries like: Mummy why not I could study in the school where the white boys are going? What is wrong in going to Churches of the Whites? Why not we could also eat the food at the restaurants being run by the whites? Mummy, why there is white and black markings in movie houses, public toilets and resting places?

She was pleased at the inquisitiveness and vigilance of her son born on 1929 Jan 15 at Atlanta. A kind of maturity, discretion and extraordinary curiosity about life and its problems beyond his age was explicit in him. However she became deeply concerned about his future thinking about the bitter experiences of a community which was being subjected to discrimination in the name of colour and denied a dignified existence. Placing him in her lap she kissed him repeatedly. She felt it was no more correct on her part hide from him the realities of the existing social system. She told him the stories of the centuries old salve trading, internal strife and how Abraham Lincoln put an end to slave trading. Thus Martin came to know many things like the fact that there were Negroes along with George Washington in Volleyforge; it was a black seafarer named Chrispus Atex who became the first martyr in the Black’s fight to free themselves from the hegemony of the British, it was a Negro named Benchamin Banekar who set up the Capital city of Washington and it was Negroes who played a major role in freeing America from agonies of colonial domination and elevated the country to one of the world’s big powers by sweating their blood and getting lashes as the only reward for their risky jobs and strenuous physical labour like filling ponds and building houses. It was only that day he came to know that one among ten Americans is a Negro. But it was more than ten percent that the Negroes were contributing to the economy of the country.

That young heart might have been pained at the humiliation meted out to the Negroes who are eligible to share the rights of the nation built up by the sweat and blood of their predecessors. He felt a kind of contempt towards the whole society. His tiny face became dark blue at the realization that he too was destined to breathe the poisonous air of that society which was contaminated with hatred and anger. His young heart craved to bring a great transformation in the society by spreading the pure air of happiness and peace.

His mother who always tried to reassure that he too is a good soul like any other used to take extreme care about his future. Knowing quite well that colour discrimination was certain to have its adverse impact on the individuality and growth of a person, she took extra care to, keep him away from such perils and afford him her loving protection. Unlike many others in the black community her son never had to encounter much of a financial difficulty. Still he suffered an emotional breakdown even at the young age of six due to the rampant discrimination in the name of colour. A long list of such experiences can be discerned from his real life. Against the wishes of his parent s that their son should never be a victim of such discrimination in the name of colour, yet another incident occurred when Martin was eight. That was in the presence of his father. The bold stand taken by the father helped to instill more confidence and courage in him. His father Michel Luther took him to a big footwear shop to purchase a shoe for him. He knew that the owner of the shop who is a white would not relish his presence. They sat in one of the vacant seats in front of the sales counter. Then a white clerk approached them and commanded them in apparent contempt to sit in the verandah. It was great shock to his self respect. Still he did not complain and responded coolly and with a bit of sarcasm “we don’t have any particular inconvenience in sitting here and in fact we love sitting here”

The clerk who became virtually pale at this response still scornfully commanded them to sit in the verandah. Michel proved that the members of the King family are not the kind to obey such a command. Either we will buy footwear sitting here or else we don’t buy at all” he said stubbornly. Noting that still there was no change in the attitude of the clerk, he took his son’s hand and went out of the shop in anger. Martin was closely watching the change of expression in his father’s face. He had never before seen his father becoming so much emotional. The firm resolve of his father that he would never budge to this wretched system and would fight against the same added confidence and guts to the humanist in Martin. As a result of which he was able to evaluate his relationship with the world around him in a realistic perspective.

An incident which motivated Abraham Lincoln who spelt the death knell of slavery in America is worth noting here. It was a scene of a Negro woman being auctioned in a New Orleans market. The scene which was worst than what could be seen in a cattle bazzar hurt Abraham Lincoln’s heart deeply. Placing his hand on the chest, he pledged that if he gets an opportunity to eradicate this system, he would do it with commitment. And he had done it. Martin who had read the biography of Lincoln also took a similar pledge. However it has to be nd seen in the course of years how much impact Martin Luther’s work had on the American society especially as he had not gained the same recognition as Lincoln had in the society. Still he could boldly take up the causes of his fellow brethren boldly and mange some success during his life time.

The Bus boycott agitation of Montgomery can be cited as a stern step of Martin Luther King. It was ever since that both the whites and blacks could travel in buses with equal right.

The bitter incident at the footwear shop only helped to strengthen the unshaken will power of Martin. It also helped to impart the courage and passion even to sacrifice his life for the people of his community in the following years.

We could see in Martin a lighthearted soul which could not withstand the difficulties and sufferings of others even before he was 13. There were at least two incidents which led him to the verge of committing suicide. Once his brother slipped from the staircase and fell on Grandma who became unconscious in the impact. Thinking that she died and there is no meaning in living anymore, he jumped from the second floor of the house. But by God’s grace, nothing serious happened. The Grandama died only after living some more time. This time also he jumped from top of the building but escaped miraculously. These incidents prove that he didn’t have the mental grit to withstand the pain of others since the very childhood.

Martin’s mother was born in a clerical (priestly) family. She had a happy childhood. She had her education in the best schools and colleges. As such Martin had a great love and respect for her for having grown up in atmosphere not tainted by the problems of discrimination in the name of colour. But his eyes used to swell with tears thinking about the sufferings his father had undergone. He was a direct witness to many of the agonies his father had undergone due to the difference in colour. Hence it was not surprising that he emulated his father who always used to raise his voice against the discrimination in the name of colour since his very childhood. Solid sincerity, courage and capability were the assets he inherited from his father


In martin’s memory was yet another incident that proved that his father was not a person who would blindly kneel before undue powers and pressures of a wrong social system. It happened when he was traveling with Michel in a car. He jumped a red signal unknowingly. It was a wrong committed unintentionally. A policeman rushed to the car and asked “ye kid, show me your license”. For this Michel replied that “I am not a kid and pointing to Martin who was with him, he added, “he is a kid, but I am a man. Unless and until you address me accordingly, I will not mind you. The white policeman never expected such a reply from a black. He disappeared from the scene realising that it would not be nice any more to hang around.

Martin knew about many of the bold steps taken by his father even before he was born. Michel who had witnessed the cruel torturing of a group of Negro bus passengers, decided not to travel anymore in town buses. Martin knew that he had taken that decision because he considered the pain of others as his own.

Since many years before Martin’s father had taken the initiative to organize several agitations for getting justice to the Negro community. He successfully solved a burning issue of the Negro teachers in Atlanta. The demand was of equal wages for the black teachers on par with the white teachers who have the same academic degree and doing the same job. It was not an easy one. In fact Michel was engaged in a struggle risking his life. He managed to organize the local Negroes and sachieve many of the demands of the teachers. The incident also showed the paramount role of the locals in securing the genuine rights of the teachers. Martin’s father was also the main character involved in removing many of the hurdles that faced the Negroes in getting justice from the courts of law. Martin used to recall the contributions of his great forefathers towards the uplift of the Negro community.

Martin also had a good knowledge of his father’s childhood. Once Michel accompanied his father when he went for settling a debt with the landlord. He thwarted the attempt of the land lord to fool his father who was poor in arithmetic. Just because of questioning the landlord they had to move away from the particular place.

The young Martin was influenced by the history of many of his ancestors. There are records about the revolts organised by Williams, the grandfather of Martin against the injustice of the whites. He once organised a widespread campaign to boycott a newspaper which published a statement that Negroes are illiterate and ugly. Responding to his call as many as 6000 Negroes stopped subscribing to the paper. The Negroes relented only after the editor admitted the guilt.

Michel once narrated an experience that hurt the heart of Martin. He became more pained at the incident which was taken from the very life of his father. It happened during the childhood days of Michel. His mother had worked in the house of a white neighbour. One day when mother was late to come home he went to that house. That time the white children of that house were having their evening coffee inside. He wanted to have snacks with them. His friends invited him to share the refreshments with them. But the white lady of the house shut the door after placing two pieces of bread and sandwich in his hand and asking him to have them outside the house. His self respect was wounded like anything. He threw away the food on the spot and declared looking at the bricks of that house “one day I will also build a castle like this”.

This childhood experience of his father made him think more deeply. Martin who went to bed with a deep wound in his heart could not sleep. He wandered for long in the world of thought. Who is responsible for the agonies of crores and crores of the people belonging to his community? Whose sin has caused it? Whether it is the result of the sin committed by some blacks? His parents tried to console Martin who was craving to create an atmosphere conducive for the growth of the inherent good ness of his people by wiping off the inequalities and colour discrimination. They knew their words would not be sufficient to console him. They did not make any attempt to nip in the bud the revolutionary seeds growing in him. They were proud of their son who was counting the stars shining in the sky while clinging to the bosom of the father. While watching him with curiosity they felt some kind of an electrifying joy. Then their attempt was to pour some more revolutionary thoughts in his mind. His father tried to narrate the story of the 16th century renaissance taken place in Europe in a realistic perspective to him. Children usually drift into sleep hearing stories. But in the case of Martin, the story his father told him only kept him awake. In fact he eyes became more alive. His eyes lit up. Eyes glued to the face of the father Martin was listening to the story. When he listened to the revolutionary movements and the changes brought in the Church by Martin Luther of that period generated a desire in him to become another Martin Luther. He didn’t mind to represent the same as a plea to his father. His wish to change his name to Martin Luther King from Martin Michel King was granted by the parents. Martin who later came to be known as Martin Luther King Junior propagated and put into practice his revolutionary ideas with more vigour than that shown by the Martin Luther of Europe.

Grown under the guidance of his father who was a priest and mother who was a teacher, martin had clear planning about his future since his very childhood. During family prayers every morning and evening Martin was entrusted with the responsibility to read certain portions of the Bible.

Even during the childhood his peace loving nature was very explicit. When friends used to quarrel and physically hurt him he always made it a point not to have patience and not to retaliate. Once when he had been subjected to physical torture and verbal abuse for having an accidental physical contact with a white woman’s feet he was only passive.

The child in Martin who lived through a lot of complex and unforgettable experiences grew up. Then his efforts were to view old things in a new perspective. He was convinced that every where around him there was only discrimination in the name of colour. He realised that just because of the difference in colour many who are talented could to reach the levels they deserved. He was fully aware of the difficulties faced by the blacks in traveling in buses, having food at hotels and making use of public facilities.

He entered the academic world with a determination to put an end to all these.

Trans: saj mathews

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Individuals going astray

By Sunny Kulathakal

A priest, a doctor and a social worker were interacting on the subject, “Youth and narcotic drugs” with a packed crowd at a church in London. When the question & answer session came, the youths one by one without any hesitation stood up and started shooting questions. What is the proof for the contention that pep pills meant for stimulation is harmful to health? How much heroin can be consumed safely without the fear of addition? What can happen to us if we smoked dry plantain stem after burning it? The questions were interestingly vivid and strange at times.

On the back row of the audience there were a few reputed middle aged persons. Being residents of city suburbs they didn’t have much idea about these issues. How could that older generation know about the intricacies of drug abuse? According to one youngster in the gathering, what could be done in the issue of drugs was just to make it available in sufficient quantities to the needy. The problem of another was that his weight had come down a little due to usage of drugs and he has some anxiety about the same. A young lady claimed that she had taken 23 tablets that evening.

Youngsters who attended had only unsatisfactory remarks about the meeting. They complained that only the opinions of the elders were discussed and they were not allowed to come to the stage for presenting their arguments. “The old men could not understand all these. When we argue in favour of drugs they naturally adopt a negative attitude to it” they were saying.

There is at least some substance in this criticism. Narcotics are a subject on which the youngsters don’t have the right knowledge while the old generation has a strong prejudice. We could hear the clamour on the one side for counter measures by those who just brand “drug abuse as the bane of the youngsters” and despise the same. On the other side there is an undue hue and cry about drug abuse. But no one is really bothered about the dangerous side of drugs. Between these, the lack of communication and generation gap are creating more widespread problems.

There are at least a few among the older generation and younger generation who could think in a matter of fact manner. It is desirable if they could find answers for the questions cited below.

  • What are the explanations of the medical science about narcotic drugs?
  • Why some are self-experimenting with such drugs?
  • What are the social and personal factors that make some get addicted to drugs and its consequences?
  • What the society needs to do for solving the issues arising out of drug abuse?

There are people who think that intoxicating drugs are only those which are being used illegally. This is not correct. There are many other drugs being abused other than those which are illegal. Drugs which transform human mind and the sensible planes of man are catching the attention of the world of late. Each drug has its own harmful effects and lead to dangerous consequences. One common characteristic of drugs is that they create a kind of psychedelic dependence. “The mental temptation to use drugs from time to time or regularly as a means to get relief from discomfort or as a time-pass (Psychic drive)” this is how WHO has described such kind of psychedelic dependence. Heroin and sleeping pills contain in itself the power to create such kind of dependency. This is present in a minimal measure even in nicotine contained in cigarette and caffeine contained in coffee.

As already mentioned, some drugs can lead to psychedelic dependence. Since they cause some chemical change in the body, there will be serious physical problems when one discontinues using the same. Heroin, arrack, morphine and sleeping pills belong to this category. These also can be listed as some of the strongest narcotics. Once it was thought that only severe drugs can cause addiction while soft drugs are not that dangerous. What is caused by the former is described as addiction while that caused by the latter is known as habituation. There is a possibility of people depending to the maximum on drugs like cannabis which does not cause physical addiction. That’s why WHO is inclined to use the word “dependence” instead of “addiction”. The variance of this kind of dependence will be in accordance with the psychological characteristics of the individual users. Hence the categorization as heavy intoxication and lighter intoxication might not always be correct.

Apart from physical and mental dependence, narcotic drugs can also cause drug tolerance. This leads to progressive hiking the dose of the drugs to get the satisfaction, the users initially used to have. In the book “Confessions of an opium eater”, the author, De Quincy, an Englishman has described his own experience. He confesses that he had to increase the dose of opium manifold over the course of time to get the satisfaction he got when he used it initially. Those who are tolerant to a particular drug are likely to develop drug tolerance towards substances similar to that particular one. This is known as cross tolerance. For example are the tolerance to heroin and pethadine by users of opium.

The features observed in persons who attempt to discontinue using certain drugs are known as withdrawal symptoms. These are likely to create serious problems. It is safer to have such a withdrawal process take place under expert medical supervision. These withdrawal complications are because of the loss of equilibrium which, the user had attained due to regular usage of some particular drugs and his acclimatization with the same. The initial symptoms will be lethargy and weakness followed by restlessness and panic. Stomach ache and omitting also may occur. Sleeplessness and disruption in speech are also likely to happen. In short it will be a virtually pathetic condition. Withdrawal symptoms are most agonizing among the users of morphine, opium and heroin. To know the severity of physical dependence, the best thing is to stop the supply of opium to a regular user.

Manamanath Guptha, during his jail days happened to directly witness the experience of a political prisoner addicted to opium failed to get it. He describes the incident like this: “When opium was not available in the jail he was totally broken. By next morning he had almost become a dead man. He could not even move his body. Just like a deflated balloon, all his laughter and enthusiasm had departed from him. He was totally disinclined to move and talk. Even his responses to anxious and sympathetic enquiries were in an extremely feeble and tired tone. He lied down covering himself in a blanket. The fellow prisoners could not discern what his ailment was. When the barracks closed in the evening what we heard was that he had managed to get out after submitting a letter seeking pardon. Had he got opium according to his need, I am sure that he would not have written for pardon”.

Have a look into what is described in a Malayalam novel about the peculiar condition of the people who are regular users of opium. Kunjonachan, the central character of “Arnazhikaneram” the novel of Parappurathu is asking the doctor “is there any harm in eating opium?” The doctor’s reply was like this “opium is of course harmful, but stopping at this stage will do only more harm. Even if it is poison, if one takes it in a fixed measure over a long period, it will become a necessity for the body”.

One thing is clear from all these. Whatever is the drug it will have its adverse impact on the human body. In short, the physical and mental problems will be manifiold for those who take drugs for some temporary relief and pleasure.

Views on the occurrence of addiction of drugs are varied. At what stage it turns into addiction varies from individual to individual. The evaluation of the intensity of addiction varies depending on the difference in perspectives like medical, psychological or social. A doctor’s interest comes only when the health of the person who uses drugs is in danger. The social workers intervene when the productivity of the society gets affected. Psychologists turn their attention when the problem assumes psychic dimensions in individuals. It is also worth noting that not all the drugs create the same kind of addiction.

What contained in narcotic drugs are substances-either natural or synthetic- that create the temptation to enter an unusual state of deep sleep or hallucination. These drugs are generally called as narcotic drugs. Even a minor dose can affect mental sharpness. It helps to conduct painless surgeries and cause deep sleep. But overdose of these drugs might lead to unconsciousness, over sleep, emotional outburst, total collapse and even death. The best examples of narcotic drugs are opium and its extracts like heroin and morphine. Those who depend on them on a regular basis used to become slaves of the same and their life will be in doldrums. Apart from mental and moral degeneration it will also lead to physical ruin.

Drug dependence and drug abuse are two different things. Abuse of drugs tells on the value judgment of the society. While talking about the abuse of drugs in general, nobody thinks much about its medicinal values. Use of drugs other than for medicinal purposes can also be listed as abuse of drugs. Excessive and unnecessary administration drugs other than narcotic ones can also be categorized as drug abuse. The word abuse is generally used to highlight the harmful consequences of developing drug use as a habit and getting over- intoxicated with drugs.

There are many who ask the following questions: why should the society bothered about the harm occurring to an individual due to usage of drugs? If the behaviour of such an individual does not directly affect the society is there any need for the society to intervene? Those who ask such questions have not studied exactly what narcotic drugs are. They are also the ones who have not thought the least about its harmful impact. They are also not realising the fact that it is the totality of the individual activity of each person in the society that controls the pulse of the society as a whole. In this context an analytical study of the realities of drugs in the light of medical science is of great relevance.

Translation: Saj mathews

The grief of the red

By Sunny Kulathakal

This is not an attempt to either criticize or shed tears for the women who have fallen into immoral tracks. Here, attention of the readers is being invited to the historical background of prostitution which is one of the oldest professions in the world, its basic reasons and some of the social problems created by prostitution. Who are prostitutes? How do they live? How the society views them? A Humble attempt has also been made in this book to find answers to these questions. My aim is not to achieve the satisfaction of conducting an in-depth study on the subject.

The existing trend is to treat prostitutes who are portrayed as safety valves of social life as social outcasts and criminals by labeling them as “sex vendors” and “distributors of contagious venereal diseases”. It could not be denied that the society has a role in creating the conditions conducive for many to fall in the trap of prostitution. The stories of some of them who had to succumb to prostitution due to broken human relationships, molested womanhood, life of starvation and poverty, the shock and insecurity following the death of those who were the pillars and shade of the family, the destiny to follow the traditional profession and the social and economic circumstances are described here in brief. What needed is to bring a change to the situation wherein the women who had once fallen into the pit of prostitution destined to continue to reel under the agony of it till the end of life. Along with the measures for the rehabilitation of such women, attention should also be given to the principle that “prevention is better than cure” It is also important to see that the crusade against prostitution should not turn into a war against the prostitutes.

Generous help and co operation of several individuals have been received for bringing out this book. The invaluable suggestions and encouragement from personalities like Dr S D Punnekkar of the Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, Dr Panakkal, M T Vasudevan Nair, E M J Venniyoor and T. Chandy provided me necessary guidelines. The suggestions and co operation of several people including social workers, police officials and doctors proved to be of immense help in bringing out this book.

This attempt which began in 1973 had taken me only to the tip of this serious social issue. I would like to record my gratitude for my dear wife Lissy who not only pushed and encouraged me to complete the work but also co operated by accompanying me in the red streets of Mumbai for studying the life of the fallen women.

I have no words to express my gratitude towards D C Kizhkemuri of D C books for his assurance in the very beginning to undertake publication of this book. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to Joseph Puthenthara who prepared a forward for the book and D C Books which has done the printing so beautifully.

(From the preface of the book “The world of prostitutes”)

Translation: Saj Mathews

The agony and ecstasy of intoxication

By Sunny Kulathakal

The Chowpathy beach in Mumbai. Time 12 O’ clock in the night. A few youngsters have gathered in the sand dunes. In a deserted corner they are sitting in small groups. They are of different age. Their very behaviour makes it clear that they are a bunch of people who don’t have any moral perception about their life. They consider themselves as nightingales hovering on the horizons of ecstasy.

They are inhaling the pipes filled with Ganja in turns. This continued till after midnight. Then they got up. Their steps were not steady. Somehow they bid farewell to each other. Finally only one was left. He is a Takoor who is the custodian of the Ganja pipes and other paraphernalia. Want to know who this youngster is? He is a 17 year old Maharashtra student of the Robert Money School. He is the leader of a 10 member community (that’s how their druggist group is known). They invariably assemble in the same place every day.

“It’s since many years I have started smoking this. I felt this is very good for my health (his thin physique has all the symptoms of a sick person). I will never get sleep if I abstain from this even for a day” he said. He then showed me a picture which took from the pocket and said “This is the picture of God. I could see and understand God more clearly after smoking Ganja”.

He seems to be making a vain attempt to pose as a philosopher. There was explicit wavering in his uttering. His eyes could not get fixed on anything. We could see in Mumbai and other cities many such Takoors who are so much detached to the happenings around them and leading a life similar to that of the lazy “Lotus Eaters” of the Greek epics. What appear in the media are only isolated examples of the problems being created drug addicts in their hallucinated state of mind.

Usage of narcotic drugs among the student community in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad is undoubtedly rampant. This writer happened to stay in the students’ hostel of the Mumbai University for a month. It was during those days I came to know about the long list of narcotic drugs and the methods of using them. Only when I mingled with them freely, I came to know that many of them who have become slaves of drugs like Charas, Hashish, LSD, Mandrax and Licedene could not get sleep without keeping them ready under their pillow. Parents of most of the inmates of the hostel are in foreign countries like, Malaysia, Singapore, USA, Canada and England. They are sending money generously for their educational expenses. They spend a major chunk of this for buying drugs and other unsavory purposes. Sathar is such a student. It’s his fourth year in Mumbai. He is a regular user of drugs. Since it was summer time most of them used to sleep with their windows and doors open. Sathar and others would be in deep sleep when I go out most of the days. I happened to see some of them in the same condition even when I come back by noon. One day I got an opportunity to ask him the reason for it when he was exchanging pleasantries with me in the Guest room where I was staying. For this he replied “You don’t know the secret of it? Come I shall show you”. He didn’t have any reluctance to show me his stock of drugs. “This is mandrax” he said adding “if you drink a coca cola after taking this, then there is nothing like it. There will be fire sparks emanating from the eyes. Many of us sleep very late after taking this and we will not have the strength of get up in the morning even if the sky falls down”.

Thousands come to India seeking the pleasure of narcotic drugs. Some of our youngsters consider it as a fashion to emulate them blindly. There is also genuine reason to doubt as to whether there is a concerted attempt going on to lure the youngsters of countries where drugs are not that popular, into its dangerous trap. The hippies who land in India might invite the local youngsters in whom they have confidence for a “pot session”. They know very well that once these youngsters had a little taste of it, they are certain to fall in the trap.

In the heart of Bangalore city there is a place called Ekasthan” (The only place) which is a haven of the hippies. There are facilities for food and stay. This haven located a little away from the busy arteries of the city has a lot of specialties. It is a deserted corner safely aloof from public eyes and still very close to the city. This hippies’ haven which has easy access to shops that sell drugs and public transport, and has unassuming surroundings also offers facilities to dance to the tunes of western music whatever one wants to do.

I happened to meet Yan, a 25 year old Swedish youngster for the first time near the Lal Bagh gardens. Yan was convinced that I am a free lance Malayalam writer engaged in writing a few articles on foreigners who land in India. Yan who was only scantly covered with a soiled piece of cloth led me to “Ekasthasn”. He introduced his friends to me. Among them, I became very close to Peter Mogan, an Australian. On Peter’s invitation I and one of my friends reached the place one day at around 9 o clock in the night. We had a camera with us. In Peter’s room there were Raymond Paul of Harvard and Bob hailing from Canada seated in adjacent cots. Yan who had gone to Mysore had not yet come back. Peter introduced us and discussions on various issues followed. Cleverly hiding our curiosity to know more about the drugs we prolonged the conversation. By then Bob had already invited us to a small pot session. Only after gaining full confidence in us Bob dared to ask us “why don’t you have a few puffs of ganja?” It was just like the saying- what the doctor prescribed as well as what the patient wanted was milk”. We could not afford to lose the opportunity to see the magic box of drugs opened before us. Bob opened his bundle and took out a small piece of Charas. The job of scratching it was taken over by Peter. Raymond who was sitting next asked us whether we could speculate what that small piece of Charas would cost in the US. Our silence was indicative of our lack of knowledge about the same. So he himself volunteered to tell “You may not believe. If this is available for just 60 paise here, it costs as much as 60 dollars in the US. When my friend exclaimed “unbelievable”, what Peter attempted was to prove the same with some facts and figures and explaining the smuggling activity and related things. Meanwhile he scratched out a little volume of Charas, put it in a pipe and handed over to Bob telling “it would have burned better had there been some tobacco to add”. Bob didn’t like the suggestion and decided to smoke charas as such. Bob manifested a special skill to inhale it by pressing his fingers tightly pressed together. Peter repeated the same act and handed over the same to me. By the time I made a hard attempt to closely hold it with my pressed fingers, the flame in the pipe went off. Though I pretended as if taking the smoke, Peter understood it and said “Hey, you are not smoking, isn’t it?” Raymond took it and lighted it. Meanwhile realising our dramatic attempts to take a few shots of the happenings there, Peter and his friends were frantically trying to switchover to smoking beedies so as to avoid the pipe being photographed. The emotional change in Peter’s face at that moment was something really strange. Then they were trying to reach the pinnacles of ecstasy by smoking a cigarette after coating it with a black liquid (opium). We got out of the room only around midnight. Peter was telling as if to no one “what a pleasant moonlit night!” The he explained a few things about the lifestyle of hippies.

One thing Peter said while justifying the usage of drugs was thought provoking. “Don’t think that we are just growing hair and beard, dressed in shabby cloths and moving like nuts. We have reached here after spending our hard earned money. We could not enjoy ganja at this much cheaper in the US. We never smoke this beyond a limit. What’s wrong in walking on the road wearing shabby cloths? Outside it’s only dirt and dust. Come inside and see what we wear inside (In fact they were dressed in neat white cloths). It was difficult to believe that the persons sitting there were the shabbily dressed hippies who were walking on the road along with Yan, the other day.

When I saw the Indian hippies who were dancing and kissing in the mesmerizing intoxication of Ganja in front of “The Only Place”, I felt that they could manage to see only the outside world of the foreign hippies. In cities conditions are very much conducive for the students who are mad after drugs which only help them to become unproductive and lethargic with the loss of energy of both body and mind. Students are guided by the temptation to take the flight to the moon along the space track of ecstasy. The drugs they badly need are now available not only in the colleges and hostels but even in the petty shops outside. Imagine what it is if the pocket money to buy the same and the place and facilities to use them are also available! What lures many into the mesmerizing world of narcotic drugs might be the false notion that there is nothing for them to lose by taking trip through the space track of ecstasy but on the other hand they could gain an ecstatic empire which can be brought with nothing else but drugs.

The craze for drugs is existent in alrming levels among the school children of Delhi. It was when the single child of a Kerala minister met with a premature death after experimenting drugs on the compulsion of his friends that many have realised that even the small kids of public schools are slaves of narcotic drugs. Drug traffickers resort to many methods to lure the youngsters into their trap. If drug filled cigarettes are available for a try free of cost, students are certain to fall for it. The temptation to consume the forbidden fruit is instinctive to mankind. A survey has found out that as much as 56% of the University students in Delhi are using drugs. According to a report presented in the Lok Sabha on Dec 5, 1971, in Delhi alone there are 200 students who are using stronger narcotic drugs and 5000 using drugs of lesser strength. It is shocking to know that girls are in the forefront of this. The trend to use sleeping pills to get “Kick” is also growing among youngsters. The use of drugs have increased manifold in Delhi according to official circles.

Following is an opinion which the youngsters who are putting their trust in the magical power of drugs which provide them the much wanted energy, enthusiasm and “kick” might not have bothered to take notice of: “if you have put the petrol being used in airplanes in your motor bikes it might run with the speed of a bomb. Only thing is that within a short while the engine will burn out”. In a motorcycle, only the petrol specified for that vehicle should be used. The same applies to the case of human body which is also a machine in a technical sense. It was without realising this fact, many are going after drugs. If an automobile engine burns out, a new one could be bought. But what about human machine? Its is in total ignorance of this fact, those who are running after ecstasy provided by narcotic drugs repeats the statement of their idol, Timothy Leory who stated “what are the books your are reading in this molecular era. The problem is not about the symbols you use, but what type of chemicals which have become an integral part of your growth is important.

Giving a tit for tat reply to this a social worker of the US said like this pointing out its dangerous consequences: “the psychedelic death following the excessive use of narcotics is the most orphaned one. It will be more agonizing than the death of a seriously wounded soldier at the hospital. Whatever it might be, that solider might get the mental satisfaction of remembering the faces of his dear ones at the time of death. One who has become addicted to LSD can never hope for such a blessing. None of the faces familiar to him will come to his mind.

Those who try drugs in the beginning just as a pass time may better have a glance at a portion of the book “Nerampokku” (Pass-time) written by Puthezhathu Raman Menon.

“There is nothing like liquor which can kill time beyond limits. Once it reaches inside one will not be aware of the passage of time just as he forgets many other things. Then there is really some substance in describing liquor which has the capacity to even reduce one’s life span as “pass time” and the devotee of liquor as a comedian.”

The fate of those who depend on narcotics for just as a pass time is quite clear in the above statement. With a dead mind how long they can live? Even if they live, what they can do with a brain which has lost its entire prowess? It is here an attempt to analyze the virtual pros and cons of drug usage should commence. The end of those who become slaves of drugs in their desire to become unusually creative by expanding the mind through drugs will be pathetic. Those who run after drug induced ecstasy never realize that the hypnotizing world created by drugs will prove nightmarish for creative human life.

Translation: Saj Mathews