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Photographer's Note

Kochi - Kerala’s communists and christians

I will use this picture to give you some facts on Kerala.
If you are more interested in this Indian state than just seeing the photo, you better read on.

The figures come from: http://worldpopulationreview.com/territories/kerala-population/
The state of Kerala has a human development index of 0.79 which is ‘very high’ and the highest in India.
Kerala also has the highest literacy rates among all Indian states at 98.9% and a life expectancy of 74 years which is among the highest in the country.
The state has experienced a rapidly dropping rural poverty rate, which fell from 59% in the mid-1970s to 12% by 2010. The overall poverty rate fell 47% between the 1970s and 2000s, compared to a drop of just 29% in total poverty in the country.
Kerala has one of the lowest fertility rates in India, which has caused a demographics shift as seen in many developed countries with 12% of its population over the age of 60. Kerala is also considered the healthiest and cleanest state in India.
I remember when I first visited India in 1994 (I was in the north) I already heard a lot of praise about this most southwestern state.

Whether the presence of the number of christians or communists in Kerala has contributed to these developments is difficult to tell and I also do not want to start endless discussions on communism or religion. Remember that this is a third world country in full development and it’s not Europe or North America.

Kerala has three main religions: Hinduism (56%), Islam (25%) and Christianity (19%).
It is certainly not the Indian state with the highest number of Christians.
Christians are a majority in Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya. In percentage of the total population in the state there are also more christians in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa.
However, I found they had a very strong presence in the society in Kerala.
I may have been somewhat influenced by staying in christian homestays in Munnar, Alappuzha and also in Kochi. I didn’t arrange that consciously and wasn’t aware of the religion of the familly of the homestay at the moment of the booking. I do not regret it. I tend to think it's a coincidence. I want to respect all beliefs. Yet in Kerala I had more encounters with christians than their number in the society would make me expect.
I guess that perhaps more christians work in tourism.

As for the communists:
There has always been a strong presence of communist ideas in Kerala.
Since the late 1970s politics in this state has been dominated by 2 coalition fronts: the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
Kerala was the first Indian state where the communists were voted to power.

Finally, regarding the photo:
It was taken in a main street in Fort Kochi. I have no clue whatsoever about the religion or political interest of either girl. Maybe they just took a break on the bench.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5072 W: 17 N: 12145] (48966)
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