Kerala’s history is closely linked with its commerce, which until recent times revolved around its spice trade. Celebrated as the Spice Coast of India, ancient Kerala played host to travellers and traders from across the world including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British. Almost all of them have left their imprint on this land in some form or the other – architecture, cuisine, literature.
“Kerala is a bizarre anomaly among developing nations, a place that offers real hope for the future of the Third World… Though mostly a land of paddy-covered plains, statistically Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development…??? Bill Mckibben, National Geographic Traveler in October 1999.
Kerala is one of India’s most progressive states in terms of social welfare and quality of life. In contrast to the rest of India and most other low-income countries, Keralites enjoy education and health at levels that are on par with the West. The State boasts of one of India’s highest literacy rates, highest life expectancy and lowest child mortality rates.
The people of Kerala, at all levels of society, have greater access to services and opportunities – as well as a greater say in their governance. The State has top urbanization rates and is rated India’s best in law and order.