Nowhere else in the world but God’s Own Country you can see people being tormented in the name of ‘Nokkukooli’, which literally means wages for looking on, and doing nothing. In simple terms, the idea is to enjoy without sweat! With the support of certain political factions, whose only objective is to tap the vote bank, the trade unions in Kerala have kept this practice of goondaism alive for decades.
When I condemned this evil trend and shared my views on facebook, a lot of people commented and expressed their anger and frustration on the subject. Here is what some of them said – and I hope the Trade Union members and political leaders who promote ‘nokkukooli’ will note what people in general think of them:
“It is an irony that even after the Judiciary has banned it and everybody hates these ‘Nokkukooli’ workers, still the govt is pretending to be helpless to take action against these parasites.
There is nothing to be gained by passing new laws. There are enough laws already. What’s needed is to enforce it. The government lacks the will and guts to do it. Political parties encourage these street goondas, because they can’t survive without them. They are day-light robbers, sponsored by a democratic government!
If the govt shows their will and courage to lock these folks who demand money without doing work – under dacoity laws, this phenomenon will stop.
Well, these are some of the comments from people that clearly express their frustration and anger…
Now, as early as in July 2012, the Kerala High Court had demanded pre-emptive steps against Nokkukooli. It called for slapping preventive detention on persons demanding ‘Nokkukooli’ while observing that the practice was thwarting developmental activities in the state. The division bench had ordered that booking a case against persons demanding ‘Nokkukooli’ is not enough but police should also consider using provisions for preventive detention, using the section of preventive criminal laws, including provisions under Criminal Procedure Code and Kerala Police Act, which contain sufficient teeth. What is required is the will to execute without any political interference, from anyone who may command political influence capable of blessing those demanding ‘Nokkukooli’, the court had said.
It is a non-debatable fact that the discouraging policies of various governments and evils such as ‘nokkukooli’ are the reasons why companies are reluctant to invest in Kerala and for the slow infrastructure development in the state. Interestingly, the court also compared the actions of those demanding ‘Nokkukooli’ to that of leeches, in observing that “If the government cannot suppress such demand for ‘Nokkukooli’, it would be a matter of constitutional shame since providing labour to people who are able bodied is also conceived in the Constitution and nobody is permitted in terms of the Constitution to be leeches on others be it society at large or the state for that matter. They amount to offences punishable in law. They are ‘anti-social activities’ as defined in Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 2007 (KAAPA),” the bench had observed.
Yes indeed, the claim of ‘nokkukooly’ is not only an affront to the Constitution, but also an unauthorised and illegal extraction of money by creating a state of threat and deprivation of property. Considering the kind of political set up we have, we all know that the trend of ‘nokkukooli’ is not going to end anytime soon. The only choice left with the people is to react to situations and isolate these goondas. As one of my fb friends commented, ‘if people are afraid about these tadpoles, society will be ruled by frogs that reside in well, who claims himself to be the Emperor of the world!!!’