Forging Ahead: Second Anniversary Editorial

Dear Friends,

Ala blog celebrates its 2nd anniversary today!

Ala was born as the result of discussions over the Kerala Scholars eGroup. The idea was to create space for in-depth engagement with issues relating to Kerala in a non-academic and accessible context. We believed in the ethos of the Kerala Scholars networkthat research must lead to generative engagements between researchers, professionals, policymakers, activists, journalists and anyone else who maintains an informed interest in Kerala.

Ala was therefore conceived as a platform for budding scholars and researchers to practice and perfect their writing skills. Ala would help them present and communicate the results of their research to a wider audience. For senior scholars, Ala would be a medium to comment on contemporary issues about Kerala or to articulate a nascent idea. We felt that the format of a blog would best serve the purpose of circulating research widely.

We are happy to note that during the last two years, we were able to achieve these objectives successfully, and also host work by authors from outside academia. An international community of senior scholars and teachers, researchers within and outside academia, artists, bloggers, and budding scholars all chose to write for Ala. We express our sincere thanks to all of them on this occasion. We look forward to continuing our work with exciting ideas and projects, and to supporting contributors in presenting their work in the best possible light.

In the last two years, we have published 65 articles under 26 issues. Out of this, 17 articles were in Malayalam and the rest in English. Apart from short articles, we published four book reviews, two biographies, one photo essay and one interview. We are gratified to have hosted work in an impressive range of disciplines and topics: environment, economy, climate change, film and media studies, urban planning, transport, archaeology, language, literature, linguistics, gender studies, arts and culture, library science, travel, religion, philosophy, psychology, and so on. From the COVID-19 pandemic in Kerala to analyses of Malayalam memes, from historical studies of Travancore, Cochin, and Malabar to contemporary Gulf migration from Kerala, Ala has brought current issues and interesting events from the past to your devices.

Over these two years, we have developed our presence via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where we also share shorter snippets from Kerala’s history and culture. As a result, average site visits have steadily increased. Our aim for the coming year is to revamp the site and diversify our content further. This anniversary issue, with a podcast and a photo-essay, embodies this aim. So does our beautiful new cover image, a piece by Jaleel, the well-known yet underappreciated street artist from Mattancherry who passed away in 2018. We look forward to hosting more interviews, podcasts, and mixed-medium/format works that engage creatively with Kerala studies.

We thank all our readers once again for your enthusiastic and constant support. Keep writing to us! You can send comments, feedback, and submissions to



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