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Monday, September 8, 2008

The Malayali people

The Malayali people (also spelled Malayalee; Malayalam: മലയാളി) are the inhabitants of Kerala or their descendants. They are not a homogenous group; but are defined by their use of Malayalam. While the majority of Malayalis belong to Kerala, significant populations also exist in other parts of India, the Middle East, Europe and North America. According to the Indian census of 1991, there were 28,096,376 speakers of Malayalam in Kerala, making up 96.6% of the total population of that state. Hence the word Keralite is often used in the same context, though a proper definition is ambiguous.

Women in Kerala

Women in Kerala are able to be educated and have the opportunities that education affords them such as participating in politics, keeping up to date on news, reading religious texts, etc. Every Kerala girl or woman above the age of six can read and write. Women are largely educated and daughters are thought to be as prized as sons. Christian missionaries also influenced Malayali women in that they started schools available to girls from poor families.
Kerala has been praised for its treatment of women because of characteristics such as these. Kerala's women have become doctors and pilots, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors of India; they have shone in sport, in politics, in the armed forces

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Malayalee wedding

Malayalee wedding is full of excitement and fun. In a traditional wedding, a search for the right candidate is initiated as soon as girl and boy attain the marriageable age. Horoscope matching is of prime importance. Compatibility for the couple is seen by calculation done by some astrologer. If the horoscope matches, then an auspicious date is selected.
Close relatives and friends participate enthusiastically in every ceremony and share joyous moments. There are no rigidities in the Malayalee wedding.
An engagement ceremony is held where elders make the announcement to the family members and relatives about their ward?s engagement. It is popularly called ?Nishayam?. The prospective bride and groom are not part of this ceremony.
After this, various preparation are started in the house of boy and girl. Special sweets are prepared and decorations are done to give a new face to the house.
On the wedding day, a special feast is organized and served to the guests at the bride?s house. Bride is made to sit facing the east and served a traditional five course vegetarian meal.

The success of the Sari

The success of the Sari is attributed to its total simplicity, practical comfort, and sense of luxury a woman experiences when she wears one. A sari is an outfit which reveals as much as it hides. How to wear a sari is an art which require practice. A Sari properly draped transforms a woman to become graceful, stylish, elegant and sensuous. But a clumsily draped Sari brings down the look of the Sari and spoils the whole appearance of the woman.

The pavada

The pavada has almost vanished from the Malayali girl's wardrobe. This traditional pleated dress has been replaced by jeans, trousers and salwar kurtas.

IF THE songs, `Pavada prayathil' and `Pavadai davaniyil', were to be written today, the lyrics would not be the same.
For, the pavada has almost vanished from the Malayali girl's wardrobe.
This pleated traditional dress has been replaced by jeans, trousers, salwar kurtas, midis and skirts.
In Kerala, only the `bold' wore the salwar kurta two decades ago. And then came the invasion of the electronic media and salwar kurtas found their way into the hearts of Malayali girls.
If you want to see Malayali girls in pattu pavada-blouse sets today, then you have to be invited to a wedding. Or you should visit a temple or wait for November 1 (Kerala Piravi Day).
The pavada has its western counterpart: the skirt. What had flowed down over the ankles during the Victorian era has, over the years, transformed itself to the midi, the mini and the micro skirts, all of progressively decreasing length. Micros and minis may be the rage in Indian metros, but Thiruvananthapuram is yet to catch up with this trend.
Traditionalists, however, need not worry. A few still prefer the pavada. "I wear jeans, skirts and salwar kurtas to college," says Saumya, a student of Engineering "But I do wear pavada and half-sari (davani) occasionally. I recently got a pavada stitched. But it's unrealistic to think that pavada will be worn as it used to be 15 to 20 years ago. But things have improved from the way it was five years ago, when the pavada or the half sari was hardly seen."
On a whim, Saumya's mother bought her a Kancheevaram pavada recently.
"Wearing pavada and blouse to college is very uncomfortable and inconvenient. Getting on and off buses, in heavy pavada, is very difficult. It is a decorative outfit, and not a functional one. Hence, it is best to wear it on select occasions. I buy it only once a year, during Onam, and that's the only time I wear it; that is, if there are no marriages to attend," says Siddhi Devi, a B.Com student .
She prefers jeans and salwar kurta, as they are "very convenient to wear". But she is quick to add, "This does not mean I dislike pavada and blouse."
Even mothers don't want to force the pavada on their daughters. Says Usha, mother of 14-year-old Sharada, who studies in Holy Angels Convent, "Of course, the pavada is very beautiful and traditional, but I don't compel my daughter to wear it. And it is not like she never wears the pavada. We get her one for Onam, weddings or other occasions. At times, she herself demands that she wants to wear it to some function."

half sari

The woman wears a half sari, which was an inevitable part of traditional south Indian fashion. These days it is seldom worn by Kerala girls. It comprises of a long skirt and a blouse with the upper covering of a davani (a shawl).

Sari From very ancient times

Sari From very ancient times sari has been closely associated with the women of kerala and it still forms the major mode of dress even today. A 5 meter long cloth, It is worn together with a small blouse .It is however a tough job to learn to wear a sari in a proper manner and one needs to practice a lot. Sari is the official dress in various ceremonies like wedding, engagement and during various festivals in kerala. Kerala's sari market is now flooded with sari like Kancheepuram Silk, Banaras Silk. Sari decorated with traditional works, zardosi work, ariwork, Lukhnow work, sequins work, thread work, embroidery work.

Set-Saree A Keralite Malayali woman

Set-Saree A Keralite Malayali woman dressed in a set-saree which is worn as a "Quasi" - mundum neriyathumThe set-sari is worn as a garment that closely resembles the mundum neriyathum though it is not considered as a true mundum neriyathum by classic definition. This is because the setu-sari consists of a single piece of cloth while a traditional mundum neriyathum consists of a two piece cloth. Otherwise, the set saree closely resembles the mundum neriyathum and is often worn by Malayali women as a quasi mundum neriyathum.

Mundum neriyathum

Mundum neriyathum is the traditional clothing of women in Kerala, South India. It is the oldest remnant of the ancient form of the saree which covered only the lower part of the body . In the mundum neriyathum, the most basic traditional piece is the mundu or lower garment which is the ancient form of the saree denoted in malayalam s 'Thuni' (meaning cloth), while the neriyathu forms the upper garment added very recently to the mundu.The mundum neryathum consists of two pieces of cloth, and could be worn in either the traditional style with the neriyathu tucked inside the blouse, or in the modern style with the neriyathu worn over the left shoulder.

Kerala Sex Ratio

Kerala Sex RatioKerala is the state with highest Female sex ratio. Kerala has 1036 females per 1000 males. All India average is 933 females per 1000 males. (Source: 1991 Census of India)
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Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (Malayalam: പിലാവുളളകണ്ടി തെക്കേപറമ്പില്‍ ഉഷ) (born June 27, 1964), popularly known as P.T. Usha is an Indian athlete from the state of Kerala. Regarded as queen of Indian track and field, P.T. Usha has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. Her initials stand for her family/house name, according to tradition in many parts of Kerala. She was nicknamed Payyoli Express.

In 1979 she participated in the National School Games, where she was noticed by O.M. Nambiar, who coached her throughout her career. Her debut in the 1980 Moscow Olympics proved lacklustre. In the 1982 New Delhi Asiad, she got silver medal in the 100 m and the 200 m, but at the Asian Track and Field Championship in Kuwait a year later, Usha took gold in the 400m with a new Asian record[citation needed] . Between 1983-89, Usha garnered 13 golds at ATF meets. She finished first in the semi-finals of the 400 metres hurdles in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, but faltered in the finals. In almost a repeat of Milkha Singh's 1960 feat, there was a nail-biting photo finish for the third place. Usha lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second. She became the first Indian woman (and the fifth Indian) to reach the final of an Olympic event by winning her 400 m hurdles Semi-final.

In the 10th Asian Games held at Seoul in 1986, P.T.Usha won 4 gold and 1 silver medal in the track and field events. Here she created new Asian Games records in all the events she participated.She won five golds at the 6th Asian Track and Field Championship at Jakarta in 1985. Her six medals at the same meet is a record for a single athlete in a single international meet.[citation needed]

Usha has won 101 international medals so far. She is employed as an officer in the Southern Railways. In 1985, she was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna award.
Mātā Amritanandamayī Devi (Devanagari: माता अमृतानन्‍दमयी, born Sudhamani, September 27, 1953) is an Indian spiritual leader revered as a saint by her followers, who also know her as "Amma", "Ammachi" or "Mother". She is widely respected for her humanitarian[2] activities and is known as "the hugging saint"
Mata Amritanandamayi was born Sudhamani in the small village of Parayakadavu (now partially known as Amritapuri), near Kollam, Kerala in 1953 [4]. Sudhamani was born to a fishing family of the Arayan caste. Her schooling ended when she was nine, and she began to take care of her younger siblings and the family domestic work full-time.

She is said to have had many mystical experiences as a child. Since 1981, she has been teaching spiritual aspirants all over the world. She founded a worldwide organization, the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust, which is engaged in many spiritual and charitable activities. She addressed the United Nations General Assembly[5] and was recognised as a universal mother figure.

International events1993, Chicago: speech at the "Parliament of the World’s Religions" 100th Anniversary. 1995, New York: address at the Interfaith Celebrations at the 50th Anniversary of the UN. 2000, New York: keynote address at the Millennium Peace Summit, UN General Assembly. 2002, Geneva: keynote address at the Global Peace Initiative of Women innaugural meeting at the UN in Geneva. 2002, Geneva: "Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence" from The World Movement for Non-Violence at UN headquarters. 2004, Barcelona, Parliament of World Religions. 2006, New York, James Parks Morton Interfaith award
Shobana Chandrakumar (Malayalam: ശോഭന; born March 21, 1970) is an exponent of the Bharatanatyam dance and a leading actress of South Indian motion pictures. She was born into a Malayalam speaking family from Kerala, India. Shobana is the niece of the Travancore sisters Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, all of whom were renowned for their skill in classical Indian dance. She has acted in over 200 movies in 5 languages.

Shobana acted for the first time in a leading role in the Malayalam motion picture "April 18" in 1984, directed by Balachandra Menon. She also acted alongside the Malayalam actor Mammootty in the film Kanamarayathu (1984). Shobana won her first National Film Award for Best Actress from the government of India in 1994 for her performance in Fazil's movie Manichitrathazhu, which was a Mohanlal starrer. She bagged a second National award for best actress in the year 2001 for her role in an English language film Mitr, My Friend, directed by Revathi. Revathi is her very close friend, philosopher and guide
Suzanna Arundhati Roy (born November 24, 1961) is an Indian writer and activist who won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her first novel, The God of Small Things, and in 2002, the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize.
Roy was born in Shillong, Meghalaya,[1] to a Keralite Syrian Christian mother, the women's rights activist Mary Roy, and a Bengali father, a tea planter by profession. She spent her childhood in Ayemenem or Aymanam in Kerala, and went to school at Corpus Christi, Kottayam, followed by the Lawrence School, Lovedale, in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. She then studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, where she met her first husband, architect Gerard DaCunha. Roy met her second husband, filmmaker Pradip Krishen, in 1984, and played a village girl in his award-winning movie Massey Sahib. Roy is a niece of prominent media personality Prannoy Roy [2] and lives in New Delhi.
Roy first attracted attention when she criticised Shekhar Kapur's film Bandit Queen, based on the life of Phoolan Devi, charging Kapur with exploiting Devi and misrepresenting both her life and its meaning.[3]

The God of Small Things, coverRoy began writing her first novel, The God of Small Things, in 1992, completing it in 1996. The book is semi-autobiographical and a major part captures her childhood experiences in Ayemenem or Aymanam[citation needed]. The book received the 1997 Booker Prize for Fiction and was listed as one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year for 1997.[4] The book reached fourth position on the New York Times Bestsellers list for Independent Fiction.[5] She received half a million pounds as an advance, and rights to the book were sold in 21 countries.

The God of Small Things received good reviews, for instance in The New York Times.[6] However, Carmen Callil, chair of the Booker judges panel in 1996, called The God of Small Things "an execrable book" and said it should never have reached the shortlist.[7]

Roy wrote the screenplays for In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989) and Electric Moon (1992) in which she also appeared as a performer, and a television serial The Banyan Tree. She also wrote the documentary DAM/AGE: A Film with Arundhati Roy (2002).

In early 2007, Roy announced that she would begin work on a second novel

K.R. Gowri Amma (born 14 July 1919) heads the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS), a political party based in Kerala, India. Prior to the formation of JSS she was a prominent figure in the communist movement in Kerala.

Ms. Gowri was born at Pattanakad village in Alappuzha district of Kerala, where the Holy Menassery Martyr Memorial
Under the influence of elder brother and trade union leader Sukumaran, she entered the vibrant world of politics at a time when women hardly found themselves in politics. Starting her public life through trade union and peasant movements, Ms. Gauri was elected to the Travancore Council of Legislative Assembly in the year 1952 and 1954 with overwhelming majority. She became Revenue Minister in the first EMS ministry in 1957. In the very same year she married TV Thomas, a prominent politician and also a minister in EMS ministry. After the split of Communist party in 1964, KR Gauri joined the newly formed Communist Party of India (Marxist). But her husband, T V Thomas, stood with the Communist Party of India. This created fissures in their relationship and soon they parted owing to the differences in their political views. In 1994 KR Gauri was expelled from CPI (M) on charges of anti-party activities. Following this she established a new political outfit named Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS). JSS went on to join the United Democratic Front, the arch-rivals of the Left Democratic Front to which CPI (M) belongs. She served as the Minister of Agriculture in the Oommen Chandy ministry.

K. S. Chithra, credited as Chitra, is a six time National film awards winning singer who has made her mark in the Indian (film) playback industry. Known as the “Nightingale of South India”, she has lent her voice to Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese and Bengali films.
Born on July 27, 1963, in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala, into a family of musicians, Chithra’s talent was recognized and nurtured from an early age by her father, the late Krishnan Nair. He was also her first guru (teacher). Chithra received her extensive training in Carnatic music from Dr. K. Omanakutty, after she was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 – 1984. She was introduced to Malayalam playback singing by M. G. Radhakrishnan in 1979. She made her debut in the Tamil film industry in Chennai under the guidance of film music composer Ilaiyaraaja. Her knowledge of South Indian languages and Hindi enables her to render songs with originality and perfection






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