It’s been around fifty years since the disheartened Keralites with no hope and little skill landed in the Gulf in search of a better life, far from extreme poverty and hunger back home paving way for a social and economic revolution that swept the state unlike any other in the country.
In the second half of the 60s, many reached the Gulf regions with dreams of a prosperous life that eventually turned into big mansions back home. Their hard work and undying urge to succeed restructured and transformed the state’s economy along with the limitless flow of wealth that paved way for unprecedented achievements in the social, educational and cultural sectors in the past century. At a time when poverty and hunger pulled the angry and desperate poor youth towards extreme political belief systems, a generation set afloat in the direction of the unknown land engaging in life experiments eventually transformed the future of the state in half a century. The tales of success from the desert penned by the Keralites were solely due to the strength derived from their blood, sweat and tears of many years in the Arab land. One could easily comprehend that the drastically evolved face of the state and the change in the mindset as well as the lifestyle of the people are not due to the influence of any political transformation or cultural revolution.
But a serious rethink is seemingly essential in the case of Gulf life and the expatriates. It’s pointless to negate the truth about how the oil-rich countries with its lavish lifestyle and pomp have given rise to many unrealistic dreams and malicious thoughts that come with abundance of wealth in the expatriates, leaving them and their families off-beam. Madhyamam had published a series of articles titled ‘Kanakku Pizhaykunna Pravasam’ in six segments that exposed how false prestige, extravagance and unrealistic desires drive the migrants, who lose track of reality, to the point of suicide. Acknowledgement from both within the state and abroad that it was a timely reminder of a serious matter was due to the acceptance of the dangerous predicament of those facing different challenges in the Gulf regions. The family and relatives living in huge mansions might not realize the shocking plight of their kin toiling hard in extreme conditions to make a living for those back home. Many live in the myth that life would prosper as soon as they land in gulf.
Those living in posh mansions and indulging in extravagant lifestyles spending crores for the purpose do not make any efforts to know the sources of wealth flowing from the Gulf; they have no idea of the ways to spend it productively or whether it could be utilized in future. The undeniable truths revealed in the articles remind us that such a culture would not be able to survive longer. Official reports say that the expatriates often end their lives to escape the huge amounts of debts. About 541 people killed themselves in the UAE in the last 3 years. At the same time, the reality that there are yet others who borrow money on high interest and many others who betray their companions and even sponsors to build mansions of lakhs that remain vacant like ghost houses, mocks us like a social enigma. The only way out of this crisis is to rectify the prejudiced outlook on life, the uncontrollable urge for consumerism and to nurture a mental strength to approach things sensibly. Those functioning in socio-religious fields have a lot to do in creating awareness in this direction and to offer guidance.