Journal article / Impact of Climate Change on Small-Scale Fisheries

Punya, P., V. Kripa, Shelton Padua, K. Sunil Mohamed, and P. O. Nameer. ‘Impact of Environmental Changes on the Fishery of Motorized and Non-motorized Sub-sectors of the Upwelling Zone of Kerala, Southeastern Arabian Sea’. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 250 (March 2021), Article 107144.

Abstract: The marine waters of Kerala state along the southwest coast of India are among the most productive upwelling regions in the southeastern Arabian Sea. Analyses were made to assess the impact of environmental changes on the marine fish catch using motorised and non-motorised craft operating off the coast.

The catch per unit effort (CPUE) of total landings, OBGN (outboard gillnet), OBTN (outboard trawlnet), NM (non-motorised) crafts, as well as the catch of 5 major fish resources Indian mackerel, lesser sardines, Stolephorus spp., scads, and penaeid prawns were obtained. Sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll, salinity, rainfall, sea level anomaly, multivariate ENSO index, dipole mode index, local temperature anomaly, degree heating month (DHM), degree cooling month (DCM) and surface currents were used as variables to investigate the relationship between environment and fishery.

SST, chlorophyll, rainfall, salinity, yearly DCM and surface currents all had significant influences on the marine fisheries along the Kerala coast. Lower SST, high salinity, and rainfall promote the fisheries of both small pelagics and large pelagic groups like scads.

Along with the negative relationship between SST and fishery, the present analyses also indicate a positive relationship with yearly DCM, which clearly indicates that the warming of coastal waters has a negative impact on fisheries along the Kerala coast.

From these results, we find that ocean currents can play a crucial role in fish recruitment in the coastal waters of Kerala. Primary production, the key factor for marine fishery production, was found to be controlled by environmental factors like SST and currents. These results point to the vulnerability of the small-scale fisheries sector of the tropical upwelling zone to increasing SST and climate change.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2020.107144
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Journal article / Women’s Political Labour in Northern Kerala

Ajay, Anamika. ‘Engendering Political Labour: Findings from a Kerala Village’. Studies in Indian Politics. Published ahead of print, 27 March 2021.

Abstract: Literature on Indian politics has largely under-examined the role of the family in shaping party politics, with the exception of studies on dynasticism. There is a paucity of research that looks at the complex ways in which intimate lives and party politics are intertwined.

This article contributes to feminist analyses of Indian party politics by conceptualising politics and political labour in a way that does not exclude the role of the family. It presents the case study of a village in northern Kerala, which has been witnessing heightened political conflicts, to show how personal experiences and family disputes get politicised.

As domestic and political spheres bleed into each other, political parties become hugely dependent on feminine ideals and women’s everyday labour, affects, and sociality to survive electoral competitions. Yet, the patriarchal family and masculinised local party leadership use gender ideologies to celebrate hypermasculine political participation, undervalue women’s labour, and limit their political aspirations.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1177/2321023021999142

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Journal article / The 2018 Flood: Preparedness, Public Health Effects, Lessons

Varughese, Anil, and Chithra Purushothaman. ‘Climate Change and Public Health in India: The 2018 Kerala Floods’. World Medical & Health Policy 13, no. 1 (March 2021): 16–35.

Abstract: Kerala is one of India’s most vulnerable states in India when it comes to climate‐induced disasters. Kerala’s public health department grappled with a flood of unprecedented magnitude in August 2018.

Situating the flood in the context of Kerala’s state and society, this paper addresses three questions: What was the level of flood‐prevention preparedness? What were the public health effects and how were they managed? Finally, what policy lessons were learned?

Drawing from reports of relevant national and state agencies responsible for disaster management as well as first‐hand accounts of nongovernmental organisations and media coverage, this paper argues that while Kerala’s flood‐prevention preparedness was far from ideal, its postflood response in mounting a rapid and effective rescue and relief operation as well as in preventing a public health crisis was commendable.

The paper also shows that impressive achievements in climate‐disaster health management can be achieved through a decentralised and participatory public health system in which coordinated public action is managed by a capacious state with the active collaboration of civil society.

More info and full text (free access): https://doi.org/10.1002/wmh3.429

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Journal article / Welfare Schemes in Kerala for Transgender Individuals

Kurian, Megha, and Greeshma Manoj. ‘Transgenders in the Mainstream: Welfare Schemes in Kerala—Kochi Metro Rail Project, Education Programme, Health Clinics, and Old-Age Pension’. Indian Journal of Gender Studies. Published ahead of print, 15 March 2021.

Abstract (edited): Marginalisation is the process which inhibits an individual or community from enjoying the rights, privileges, resources, or opportunities enjoyed by other members of the society. Of all its marginalised sections, society most often tends to ignore the conditions of transgender persons. The 2011 census reported 480,000 of India’s population as transgender.

Kerala pioneered a model for a trans-friendly state with the launch of a 10-day-long state-wide survey, which was followed by a state policy for transgender individuals, a justice board, India’s first transgender school, scholarships for transgender individuals, health clinics, old-age pensions, and employment for them in the Kochi Metro as well as various literary, sports, and fashion events.

This study is an attempt to critically explore the welfare schemes for transgender persons in Kerala amidst recent developments.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1177/0971521521997961

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Journal article / Decolonising Knowledge of Dalits’ Christian Conversion

Paul, Vinil Baby. ‘Dalit Conversion Memories in Colonial Kerala and Decolonisation of Knowledge’. South Asia Research. Published ahead of print, 1 April 2021.

Abstract: This article seeks to decolonise knowledge of the conventional history of Dalits’ Christian conversion and its implications in colonial Kerala.

As the missionary archive is the only source of Dalit Christian history writing in Kerala, in this historiography social historians have been unable to include the memories of Protestant missionary work at the local level by the local people themselves. Their experiences and rich accounts are marked by dramatic actions to gain socio-economic freedom and to establish a safe environment with scope for future development.

This article identifies how Dalit Christians themselves, in a specific locality, remember their conversion history, suggesting thereby the scope for a valuable addition to the archive.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1177/02627280211000166
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Journal article / Migration to the Gulf: No End in Sight

Mufsin, Puthan Purayil, and Puthan Purayil Muhsin. ‘Return Migration amidst a Pandemic: Reflections on Kerala’s Gulf Migration’. Journal of Migration Affairs III, no. 1 (September 2020): 99–107.

Abstract (crafted): In 2020, almost 25% of Malayali expatriates in the Gulf countries expressed the desire to return to Kerala. In media discussions regarding the impact of Covid-19 on Kerala’s Gulf expatriates, this led many to predict the end of Kerala’s Gulf dream.

But a careful reading of Kerala’s migration story reveals a different reality. Using secondary data and observations from an ongoing ethnographic study of the Mappila Gulf migrants in Kerala’s northern migration belt, we argue that the long-standing circular movement between Kerala and the Persian Gulf states is not over.

More info and full text: https://doi.org/10.36931/jma.2020.3.1.99-107

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Journal article / Runaway Slaves and Religious Conversion in Colonial Kerala, 1816–1855

Paul, Vinil Baby. ‘“Onesimus to Philemon”: Runaway Slaves and Religious Conversion in Colonial “Kerala”, India, 1816–1855’. International Journal of Asian Christianity 4, no. 1 (March 2021): 50–71.

Abstract (edited): Social and economic aspects predominate the study of religious conversion among the lower castes in Kerala. Most of these studies only explored the lower caste conversion after the legal abolition of slavery in Kerala (1855). The existing literature followed the mass movement phenomena.

These studies ignored the slave lifeworld and conversion history before the abolition period, and they argued that through religious conversion, the former slave castes began breaking social and caste hierarchy with the help of Protestant Christianity. The dominant Dalit Christian historiography does not open the complexity of slave Christian past.

Against this background, this paper explores the history of slave caste conversion before the abolition period. From the colonial period, missionary writings bear out that the slaves were hostile to and suspicious of new religions. They accepted Christianity only cautiously. It was a conscious choice, even as many Dalits refused Christian teachings.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1163/25424246-04010004
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Journal article / (OA) How Sabarimala Temple Entry Issue Played Out on TikTok

Vijay, Darsana, and Alex Gekker. ‘Playing Politics: How Sabarimala Played Out on TikTok’. American Behavioral Scientist. Published ahead of print, 25 January 2021.

Abstract (edited): TikTok is commonly known as a playful, silly platform where teenagers share 15-second videos of crazy stunts or act out funny snippets from popular culture. In the past few years, it has experienced exponential growth and popularity, unseating Facebook as the most downloaded app.

Interestingly, recent news coverage notes the emergence of TikTok as a political actor in the Indian context. They raise concerns over the abundance of divisive content, hate speech, and the lack of platform accountability in countering these issues.

In this article, we analyse how politics is performed on TikTok and how the platform’s design shapes such expressions and their circulation. What does the playful architecture of TikTok mean to the nature of its political discourse and participation?

To answer this, we review existing academic work on play, media, and political participation. We situate our examination of TikTok within the contentious issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala [in Kerala], a temple that women of menstruating age are barred from entering on religious grounds. We examine the case of Sabarimala through the double lens of ludic engagement and platform-specific features.

The efficacy of play as a productive heuristic to study political contention on social media platforms is demonstrated. Finally, we turn to ludo-literacy as a potential strategy that can reveal the structures that order playful political participation and can initiate alternative modes of playing politics.

More info and full text (OA): https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764221989769

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Journal article / Status of Mangrove Forests in Kerala

Sreelekshmi, S., Bijeesh Kozhikkodan Veettil, S. Bijoy Nandan, and M. Harikrishnan. ‘Mangrove Forests along the Coastline of Kerala, Southern India: Current Status and Future Prospects’. Regional Studies in Marine Science 41 (January 2021): 101573.

Abstract (edited): Mangrove forests are considered some of the world’s most productive ecosystems. However, these unique ecosystems are under pressure due to natural as well as anthropogenic threats globally.

Kerala has lost 95% of its mangroves during the last three decades. The floristic diversity of mangroves in Kerala was represented by 18 species of true mangroves of which, Sonneratia alba, Avicennia alba, and Ceriops tagal were found to be rare in the state.

This review examines the current status of mangrove vegetation along the Kerala coast, factors responsible for the decline of mangroves, various conservation measures adopted, and future prospects.

It was found that scientific information on the mangrove area of many districts in this state is still lacking. In this context, GIS and remote sensing would be effective tools for the identification and mapping of various mangrove patches in Kerala.

Furthermore, the conservation and restoration programmes of mangroves in the state have been accelerated after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamis.

Since mangroves are separate and unique ecosystems in the marine environment, exclusive mangrove forest conservation laws need to be framed, legislated, and enforced. Along with this, site-specific and community-based mangrove rejuvenation and restoration programmes have to be employed for the long-term management and conservation of this fast-dwindling ecosystem.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsma.2020.101573

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Journal article / Yoga as a Psychosocial Tool for the Flood-Affected

Mathew, D. ‘Yoga as a Potential Psychosocial Tool: Results from a Quasi-Experimental Study on Victims of Flood-Affected State of Kerala’. Advances in Integrative Medicine.

Abstract (edited): Natural disasters of any form leave individuals in agony. Mental and social health are among the notable domains affected by such disasters. According to WHO, 22% of the people living in an affected area express the symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

Thirty-two participants (Mean age 37.8 years) victims from a flood-affected state of India were enrolled for 15 days of yoga interventions after obtaining written consent. Breathing exercises and guided relaxation techniques were provided as intervention after obtaining a self-rated visual analog scale (VAS) for fear, sadness, anxiety, and lack of sleep.

All the participants completed the study. Statistically significant changes were observed in all the VAS-dependent scale variables, such as fear, sadness, anxiety, and lack of sleep. No adverse events were reported.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aimed.2021.01.004
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