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Kerala - Godfather's Own Country

Kerala - Godfather's Own Country

August 04, 2011

A peek into the sinister world of the quotation mafia.


A simple word requesting the value for a product or services to be rendered.

But for a mallu, this word can send shivers down their collective spines like velluchettan climbing down a coconut tree.

In Kerala the word ‘quotation’ has a more sinister meaning. It is a term used in Kerala’s underworld as the value for services rendered like beating up a person/s of your choice, having limbs cut off from your chosen people, forcibly kicking someone else’s bucket on your behalf, looting, raping, threatening, intimidating, blackmailing and other unsavory activities.

The people who do these services are known very lovingly as Quotation team aka Quotation gang.

I have had the privilege of knowing a gentleman who offers this service. He runs a travel agency in Trivandrum and is part of a kalari. So he get his resources from his kalari (much like a dojo but here, kalaripayatu, the oldest known martial art is taught). Teenage boys who get a thrill in acting out their little sword dreams. I have met a few of these boys also.

Personally I wasn’t impressed.

What is scary about them is that they come in a group and under great peer pressure to prove themselves. The worst case scenario in my opinion. You probably will be able to thulp the living day lights out of each one of them individually, but the sheer number can be a little off putting. A bunch of people with no common sense and weapons have always been my favorite problem.

When you think of the word ‘underworld’, it conjures up images of guys in suits with brooding eyes and big guns. In Kerala, nothing could be further from the truth. Our underworld quotation king’s looks pretty ordinary; the lungi and shirt type. Very unimpressive. In the hierarchy they rank as service providers. They come between the needy and the needless. The needy being contractors, builders, politicians, rich business magnates (that’s a mallu word for being a rich business person...have no idea where the magnet fits in), the liquor barons etc. The needless is everyone else, who are really pretty much disposable.

As service providers, they don’t normally involve themselves in the action once the quotation is approved. I don’t think they receive any Local Purchase Order. Normally it would be a 50% advance and balance on delivery.

So now the quotation chettan subs the contract in true mallu tradition. We subcontract everything. In the olden days, we even subcontracted our wives to the namboodiris to do the needful while we went to wars fighting over who gets another coconut tree. Along with other discoveries like matriarchal society, toddy and beef fry, we are also the patented discoverers of subcontracting.

The contract is now given to the actual people who will undertake the said service. This lot are lovingly known as goondas.

Goondas in Malluland don’t have normal mallu names like Takazhi Shivashankara Pillai. They go by names like Kathi Mathai (Kathi means knife in mallu), or Minal Vasu (Minal is mallu for lightening), or my favourite soda babu (the prefix due to the said gentleman's affinity of soda bottles as a weapon).

The goondas resources can be from many sources. They could be from a particular local gym, a kalari, any government party or union, colonies etc. Every place has its own goonda and a team of goondagites (my term for minor goondas) under him.

Once the transaction is completed, our ‘boyz from the hood’ go over and do the actual deed. Of course sometimes they make mistakes and do the wrong person in - but hey, it is an honest mistake. Can happen to anybody. How many times have you gone and killed the wrong person? I thought so. It happens.

The thing is, this particular trade has become part and parcel of life in Kerala. They are used to turn a peaceful procession into a riot, they are used to either stall or speed up any civil contract related issues, they are used by business competitors to intimidate the competition, hell, and they can even make or break a movie that hits the screen.

These bastards are everywhere.

The only way to beat them is to get a bigger goonda, which means more quotations and LPOs and credit application forms. So in effect it’s a self multiplying issue - like an amoeba.

So what do we do about this?

I honestly do not know.

Like any problem in Kerala, when it’s pointed out, more fingers tend to be pointed elsewhere. It’s like if there’s a problem in Kerala; first we are required to go and solve world hunger, eradicate racism, resolve all religious discords, do other minor deeds like lighting a matchstick on soap. Then we can finally come back and address the issue only to be told that the court is now on vacation.

I may care about the world. I said may. I actually may not. But I do care about the place I live in. I like keeping my house clean. I don’t care if my neighbor doesn’t. So when I say that we should really do something about the dog shitting all over the carpet and you go like, oh, you should see what our neighbor’s dog does to the ceiling, that’s when I get all pissed. I do not care about my neighbor’s problem. Maybe he can take a lesson from how I keep my house. Maybe he doesn’t know how. Maybe he’s too scared of the dog. Maybe he thinks that’s how a house should be or maybe that’s how he likes it. I DO NOT CARE.

But that should not stop us from putting our heads together to find a way to either stop the dog from shitting on our carpet or how to get the dog out of our house.

Any ideas?

Photo credit: Josh Libatique 


  • Raj Kumar
    Raj Kumar
    20.08.16 04:26 AM
    Like Rajesh and S. Kumar I would like to ask of contact details of Quotation Teams in TRV? I am a Student in Chennai. Intend to stay for some time in TRV and Kerala in some case. And as will live alone in a house there for some time and issue I just want to have some protection from somebody. That is all.
    So as Rajesh said, can be useful f. some reason, too. Where are These gangs to be found?
    Pls contact, its very important. As this article is yrs ago, I think, will not get an answer, but I try.
  • S Kumar
    S Kumar
    05.01.15 06:44 PM
    I want to know the contact details of gundas or quotation teams operating in Trivandrum.
  • rajesh
    28.12.14 10:15 AM
    please provide me the contact details of teh quotation team stated here..

    It may be useful, in case you need any help/protection from unwanted and useless fellow like drunkard neighbours etc..

    thank you very much..
  • tys
    17.12.11 09:01 PM
    @raj : i hear you buddy. It is pissing off. The case you referred to was the only reason behind that post.

    Sometimes I feel we lost our way...that there are too many out there and so few here...that the fight is not a fair one..that we will lose..

    i don't know anymore...but one thing i will assure you raj, if it happens in my vicinity, in my sight, under my nose, i will step in...

    maybe that's all each one is required to do.

    Make sure it doesn't happen in your watch..

    we really need to stop the few from dictating our many lives..

    i hope your hear me...
  • raj
    17.12.11 07:19 PM
    dear frnd nice dialoges but i feel i loose my 10 min, wat u mean by this article ,the fellos who reade this article and make amassing comments they can live in kerala with out this under world kings? now total control of kerala by this kings .how many cases reported by kerala police but we cant find any further action for that cases because the polititions they are the real underworld kings most of this mafea working for this fu;;;;;; politicions .
    last year everybody notice 1 murder case (paul muthoot)after media the take this case and they try to explose this case after our police team present a supper drama
    'S' knife om prakash ,shaji, but now anbody know who kill mr paul ?????????
    where is omprakash ??
    what happen to the case ???

    its happen because of the magic touch by GOD'S OF KERALA
    its too late to react ,we are help less if any think happen to us again one case of 'S or Z' knife
    so adjust with them
    with regards
    a member of gods on contry
  • shereef
    24.08.11 11:10 AM
    Article well done.
    God's own country.
  • Satish
    09.08.11 04:45 AM
    Very informative and well written!
  • The NRI
    The NRI
    08.08.11 02:54 PM
  • tys
    08.08.11 09:17 AM
    @sudha: i am asking the relevant person involved in making that title to take a bow...
  • Sudha
    06.08.11 05:18 PM
    I absolutely loved the title of your post. It is much more apt than the better known "God's own country".
  • tys
    06.08.11 09:25 AM

    this the online site for filing a petition. Its clearly mentioned that its not to be used for suggestions etc. Is there anybody there who can draw out a petition to do something about this problem? We can file it together.
  • tys
    06.08.11 12:31 AM
    @mathew: i think the state doesnt do it because they have a big political clout ...most of them are fed and kept my political parties to do their dirty work...some of them, we all know , do become our leaders after sometime...maybe we shud explore further and find the source...why do they exist?...why is it being sustained?...who is benefiting?...i think u and i already know the the question who is going to lead the leaders?

    @vishnu : my bad...i always did wonder where that magnet came from...see? this is what happens when u dont pay attention in ur english classes in school ...apparently didnt help my grammer either...thanks for pointing it out.

    @mary : thats a great do we kick start something like that? Do you think we can interest the media in taking up this menace? How does one go about doing that? any suggestions? It should not be restricted to just our kerala media..becoz they tend to get submerged each time one of our political leaders squabble among each other...

    @sibi : very true...nothing seems to happen at home without the all mighty blessings of our political parties.
  • sibi
    05.08.11 08:59 PM
    In Kerala, the quotation mafia is thriving because of the political patronage coupled with an uncontrolled urge to make quick money for lavish life.
  • Mary
    05.08.11 03:23 AM
    Really liked ur article... just read it after seeing the movie Akrosh by Priyadarshan. So it really hit the right chord.... We need to do something and a few brave voices can start a signature campaign and identify some of the big guys involved and then bring them to book.... at a later date the media can also be used.... :)
  • The NRI
    The NRI
    04.08.11 11:57 PM
    @Vishnu - thanks for pointing out the spelling error. Will need to address the competency of the proof reader. Maybe I need to get a quote for it:)
  • Vishnu Nair
    Vishnu Nair
    04.08.11 11:50 PM
    Very well written article and hats off to the man behind it..i'd like to(if i may)point out that it's not business 'magnet' actually and it's not a mallu's business 'magnate' wherein magnate stands for 'noble person'..plz google it if you need confirmation:) Just a fellow mallu doing a gud deed i hope:) keep up the good work!
  • Mathew Mathew
    Mathew Mathew
    04.08.11 10:12 PM
    God's Own Country?!

    Kerala Tourism is the first tourism board in India to be registered as a brand: "Kerala-- God's Own Country."

    Kerala cannot be branded as God's Own Country in a vacuum shielded from everything else associated with it. When tourists and denizens are raped and duped; when rulers and baddies gang up and terrorize the common man, the brand suffers. It's the job of the ruling government that law is enforced to protect everyone and everything under its purveyance at all cost. Until then, the brand would remain as an empty promise.

    If Punjab could eliminate the Khalistanis, why can't Kerala get rid of the Quotation Mafia and the guttersnipes from the bureaucracy ?

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