Dwindling Anglo-Indians in Kerala assured benefits
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 21 (IANS) The Kerala government on Friday assured the state’s dwindling Anglo-Indian population of assistance in resurrecting their dying culture and reservation benefits, among others.
Nominated Anglo-Indian member of the Kerala assembly John Fernandes said their numbers have dropped to 80,000 in the state — with most community members residing in Kochi, Kollam, Kannur and the capital district.
“The community established roots in Kerala since the arrival of Vasco Da Gama in 1498 and from then on, descendants of Portuguese, French, and the British have all been designated as Anglo-Indians in Kerala. But over the years, the population has dwindled and their unique culture has also virtually disappeared.
“The community now looks forward to the government for sops to sustain itself,” said Fernandes.
Fernandes said there are a few Anglo-Indian schools that have received assistance from previous governments.
“We request the state government to ensure that a few of the existing Anglo-Indian schools are upgraded though Malayalam is a problem for some in the community and for that, they should be given the option of studying special English. Also, we do not have a college of our own like most other minority communities in the state,” Fernandes added.
Another demand put forward by Fernandes was the setting up of a cultural centre in Kochi for the community and provision of a special allowance for all Anglo-Indian students, who number below 1,000.
State Minister for Culture A.K. Balan, deputising for indisposed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said the government will call a meeting of concerned officials and representatives of the community to discuss the points raised by Fernandes.
“This community is included in the OBC category and for government jobs, they are clubbed along with the Latin Christians. We will certainly look into the demands raised and will do the needful,” Balan added.