Viswakarma’s present situation
Pranam!!! I am delighted to forward a thought provoking write-up on our community affairs by Shri Omanakuttan N, that is worthy of reading. Though the views are evolved from the lifestyle of Keralite and Pravasi Vishwakarmans, there is a lesson to be grabbed. Very few of the rich and famous are representing the community in the Society (exceptions like Shri PDT Achary and Shri Jagathy Shreekumar). Today, the community has an identity in the society through members falling within Groups 3, 4 and 5 indicated in Shri Omanakuttanji's mail, given below. Their resurrection is the need of the hour. Hope my readers will take it for a positive debate, aimed at refining the community.
Vishwakarma Namo Namaha
As I pointed out earlier, the present day youth especially who are working here in Gulf or those who are born and bought up in the Gulf do not know the ground reality of the quality of life of Viswakarma families in Kerala. As the Kerala State Chief Minister rightly classified, those Gulf Boys are “Amul Babies” – who live in better comforts.
A recent study in Kerala says that there are about 43 lakhs Viswakarmas in Kerala.
In general, they can be grouped as follows based on their family income:
1. Elite Class
2. Upper middle income class
3. Middle income class
4. Lower income class
5. BPL Class (below poverty line)
(The Elite and the Upper middle class are termed as the ‘Creamy Layer as per Kumara Pillay Commission. I presume that the Amul babies might have heard this “Creamy layer” terminology.
An indicative figure for reference can be considered for the above groups as below.
1. Group 1 - Elite Class 2%
2. Group 2 - Upper middle income class 10%
3. Group 3 - Middle income class 33%
4. Group 4 - Lower income class 40%
5. Group 5 - BPL Class (below poverty line) 5%
a) Group 1 - comprises of families of High Business executives, Film Stars, Cine Artists, and Class 1 Officers etc.
b) Group 2 - comprises of families of well placed Gulf Employees, Business executives, self employed and Class 2 Officers Etc.
c) Group 3 - comprises of families of ordinary Gulf employees, Class 3 and 4 employees
d) Group 4 - comprises of families of daily bread earners, like traditional viswakarma artisans.
e) Group 5 - comprises of families of downtrodden people generally sick, no male earning member, or parents of spastic children etc.
From the above indicative chart, you can see about 60 – 65 % of families are in group 3, 4 and 5 put together. Any up downs in the income due to any unforeseen reasons will make their monthly budget to collapse. This is the general picture of any average Kerala family particularly Viswakarma family.
Now the question about alcoholism.
More than 80% of Viswakarma male members are addict to Alcohol. Out of which a sizable number go for cheap and spurious country made liquors as they cannot not afford to a better quality item. This leads to severe health problems, quarrels in family, and other disturbances in family.
Only a few percentages have access to better quality items, leading to low potential health and associated family problems.
That means, more than 50 -60% of families are having health and family disturbances due to the use of Alcohol by the earning members in the family. Other related consequences out of this are untold miseries, poverty and so on which you can imagine.
Coming to Vegetarianism:
Use of Non Vegetarian food is adding fire to the above health problem in alcoholics. Red meats, spicy food, unsaturated cooking oils, high contents of fat in the meat, are leading to High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Peptic Ulcer, Gastric disorders, Cancer and so on. 20 – 25 years back, almost all Viswakarma artisans – traditional Blacksmiths, Carpenters, Gold smiths etc were chronic ulcer patients, due to their, working posture, erratic food timings, spicy food, malnutrition etc.
Sree Narayana Guru- the spiritual leader of a community, whose traditional job itself is toddy taping, was 100 % against the use of Alcohol or the country made Toddy. The main task of all social reform groups or agencies is educating the worker class or middle income groups on the ill effect of Alcoholism. I do not want to elaborate more on this.
The so called “AMUL BABIES” cannot understand this fact as they have not seen the actual life of an average Viswakarma family in Kerala. They do not know what starvation is and how fierce it is. They may think that it is same as fasting. They cannot realize or visualize the meaning of the word “poverty”. They have not seen the life and miseries of mothers, wives, sisters and children of alcohol addicts and poor people.
The society starts from Family. Family starts from the earning member or the head of family. So unless there is awareness through education, counseling, or social attachments, and discipline no society will improve, especially the Viswakarmas, as they believe they are the masters of all.
With kind regards
LOKA SAMASTHA SUKHINO BHAVANTHU