Humanist Party member Byju Chalad says: *“Kannur is a district far away from the central government capital and is facing many problems due to a lack of good roads. Of course in daily life this is a problem but come the monsoon season every year, the poor roads are further damaged and not capable to carry any transport, heavy of light.”*

Kannur District (or Cannanore District) is one of the 14 districts in the state of Kerala, India. The town of Kannur hosts the district’s governmental headquarters, and gives the district its name. The old name ‘Cannanore’ is the anglicised form of the Malayalam name Kannur.

Kerala itself is located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It is a popular tourist destination for its verdant backwater greenery with, spices, yoga, Ayurvedic treatments and tropical lifestyle. Not only that, Kerala has the highest Human Development Index in India, comparable with that of first world nations but with a much lower per capita income. The state has a literacy rate of 94.59 percent, also the highest in India. A survey conducted in 2005 by Transparency International ranked Kerala as the least corrupt state in the country. But that does not mean the district is without the corruption problems that are found across India.

*“The main reason for the desperate state of our roads is corruption among politicians, among the engineers and the contractors. To counter this, volunteers of the Humanist Movement announced a meeting in the news papers and got a warm response from the public and from interested organisations. As a result we formed an action front of road users and a forum to strongly involve ourselves in the matter,”* explained Mr Chalad.

It is these small actions that are going to make the difference under the now so topical Jan Lok Pal Bill (People’s Ombudsman Law) to achieve accountability in governance. Far from Delhi, the capital of India, the spirit of the actions in Kannur are the same as those of the nation-wide protest and in-line with the ferment spearheaded by the non-violent activist Anna Hazare. This shows that the people know what they want and are coming together in small bands to push for those changes that will help the majority, the less-well-off and indeed destitute, to gain a better life and their self respect.