WHY KERALA, GRAMPA?
A 90 min documentary film about activism in one of the most progressive communities on the planet.
The Kerala Sastra Sahitya Paarishad (KSSP) with 100,000 volunteer activists has figured prominently in Kerala’s struggle for economic fairness, education, democracy, women’s rights and environmental protection.
Bill McKibben has written about Kerala. “This small state in India, though not much larger than Maryland, has a population as big as California’s and a per capita annual income of less than $300. It’s infant mortality rate is low, it’s literacy rate among the highest on Earth, and it’s birthrate below America’s and falling faster. Kerala’s citizens live nearly as long as Americans or Europeans. Statistically Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development; there’s truly no place like it.” Citizen’s of Kerala are guaranteed affordable healthcare and daycare. Public education is free through college. Fair share food stores within walking distance in every village and town assures that no one goes hungry. At the heart of Kerala’s success is citizen activism.
In September 2000 we arrived in Kerala, with mini DV cameras to make a film.
The KSSP was launching its 18th annual Kala Jatha. The Kala Jatha is street theater, dance, music and poetry intended to engage citizens in the critical issues of the day. The theme of the Kala Jatha was ‘The Impact of Globalization on the Kerala way of Life’. We followed the troupe of activists and performers during a grueling schedule of four performances a day, each in a different village, for 28 days.
Filmmaker Tom Chamberlin, Portland Oregon