Sartorial outings as Kerala turns 57

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 1 (IANS) It's one of the those two days of the year when everyone goes traditional. Thus on Friday, it was a saratorial outing for the masses as women turned out in traditional saris and men in dhotis or mundus as Kerala turned 57.

"Yes, there are a good number who have come in the traditional Kerala dress. And a few of them are wearing a sari for the first time. Anyway it's a welcome change and many have been planning for this day for a while," said a young woman techies here.

The only other time when people turn out in their traditional finery is on the second day of Onam. The only difference is that is a holiday but Friday was a working day

Yet another feature of Friday was that it was the first Kerala Piravi (birthday) day after Malayalam got the classical language status in May this year following a decision of the union cabinet.

To mark this, a procession was taken out on the main road of this state capital in the morning and it culminated with a meeting that was chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Kerala was formed as result of the States Reorganisation Act of 1956 passed by the government of India. It was a major reform of the boundaries of India's states and territories, organising them along linguistic lines.

Kerala was formed by the merger of Travancore-Cochin state with the Malabar district of Madras state and Kasaragod of South Canara (Dakshina Kannada). Kerala is divided into 14 districts with Thiruvananthapuram as the capital.

"Dressing in traditional Kerala attire on Kerala Piravi day, even though not as much as compared to yesteryears is good. I am happy that the tradition is still kept alive. In the yesteryears, on this day, practically everyone used to dress in the Kerala style," remarked 88-year-old retired college professor P.T. Jacob.

On the flip side, even on a day of celebration, Kerala, known for shutdowns from time immemorial at the drop of a hat, observed one inAlappuzha district called by the CPI-M to protest against the vandalisation of the memorial of P. Krishna Pillai, one of the founders of communism in the state.

On the political front also, things remain the same as traditional rivals the Left and the Congress are up in arms against each other.

On Friday, the Left opposition staged two state-wide marches, one from Kasargode in the north and the other from Kochi to demand that Chandy quit in the wake of the solar scam. Not to be left out, the ruling Congress-led allies conducted the first of three massive public meetings to explain to the people the "misdeeds" of the Left.

(Sanu George can be contacted at sanu.g@ians.in)

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