Day 2: 12/30

Center for Development Studies Entrance


The curves and mango shapes of Laurie Baker's designs

A campus building with Jali Work

After sleeping through most of yesterday in Trivandrum, we spent the day at Center for Development Studies campus. We listened to lectures about Laurie Baker, the famous architect, and founder of COSTFORD (Science and Technology for Rural Development), the organization hosting our class learning experience. We also heard an excellent lecture from an influential economist on the region’s history and culture. The land and social reforms happened at a critical time, just ten years after independance, beginning in 1956 and make Kerala the unique place we experience today. While financially poor, the country boasts very high Human Development (HDI) numbers, such as 91% literacy rate and the longest life expectancy in the nation. Shylijan?, an architect of Costford, said that you don’t see much of the desperate poverty in Kerala that is common in many other parts of India.

There is endless diversity to witness in India and I understand why attempts to reduce this country to a single narrative fail. If I need a comparison for the Indian states I am considering the states to be like the countries in the European Union.

And important observations in Kerala:
1) The head bob! Goes side to side. A very amicable that is virtually impossible not to mimic.
2) The moustache! Everyman wears one. They are thought to be connected with virility.


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