In Search of Answers

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“I believe that we should have a sense of history. In a sense, an autobiography is history. It has in it traces of geography as well. Each new place, the sights they offer, the people we meet and the moments we spend with them, do not leave us that easily or completely. They influence our thoughts and actions thereafter, even if unconsciously.” – K. Saradamoni

K. Saradamoni who retired as an economist from the Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi, spent her childhood and young adulthood in Kollam. Spinning khadi or taking Hindi lessons were all small efforts to contribute to the growing national movement around her. Deciding to study economics also arose from this desire to make a difference. This book takes us through her journey both in the world of economics, her disenchantment with its obsession with model-building and the process through which she becomes a ‘concerned social- scientist’. Using simple language, her student days in Kerala, Madras and later Paris are described along with her academic work on caste, class, land, labour, gender and agriculture. Her travels both for work and leisure in India, the United States, Africa, parts of Asia and Latin America make for fascinating reading. Saradamoni draws upon her life as an academic and activist to narrate a gripping story told with keen observation and insight.

Kunjulekshmi Saradamoni

The idea to work on a topic of Socio - economic importance pertaining to Kerala was suggested to me by Monsieur Louis Dumont , professor at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and then executive director of the Centre d'etudes Indiennes, Paris , to which I was attached during October 1969 to June 1971 . It was while going through the files of the India Office Library,London , in this connection that I came across an old and not much used file titled, " Abolition of Slavery in Kerala " . It posed a series of question to me , which went far beyond the abolition of slavery.