An author-activist has a geographic déjà vu, post-MBIFL

Luke Daniels (

The London-settled Guyanese consultant on domestic violence muses during his visits to Varkala and Kanyakumari on the similarities between his native land and Kerala

Andrei Kurkov, son Theo, Margaret Busby, Luke Daniels and Sabin Iqbal caught in various poses before sundown at Varkala Cliff photo: S Pratheesh

London: I wish I were back in sunny Thiruvananthapuram now – its stormy weather over here at the moment. Had to wipe my computer as a result of being hacked-so all systems not restored as yet.

Over all it was a wonderful trip-the event, people generally, the venue and the writers made it a special occasion. Nice touch with the eager-to-help students at Festival of Mathrubhumi International Letters ’20 in the heritage property of verdant Kanakakkunnu Palace.

The trip to Varkala was lovely; just in time to capture the beautiful sunset- one of the best I’ve seen and I usually capture sunset and dawns on my travels as an amateur photographer. Accommodation in Deshadan Cliff & Beach Resort was comfortable and the early morning swim in the sea was refreshing and welcome as swimming is my regular exercise in London, although in an indoor pool.

I found the Sainik School, Kazhakoottam, students really engaging and ready to participate in the exercises I set them. They were bright and attentive and seemed really interested in what I was saying. Enjoyed the session so much we ran out of time and felt I had to skip the opportunity for them to question me. One student would not be denied, and as I was making closing remarks he got his question in. Post-graduate teacher of English, Alex Abraham, co-ordinated the session.

Sainik School
Luke makes his point in his ‘Boys should cry’ session on domestic violence for the students of Xth and XIth standards of Sainik School, as Vice-Principal, Wing Commander Alka Chaudhary looks on and Registrar, Captain K M Breeze Antony faces away (photo: by arrangement)

Not only was Kanyakumari very beautiful and with a setting sun to rival any-the journey itself that took us past the mountains was breathtakingly beautiful-wished I had more time to photograph the mountain properly-got a few shots from the car. The journey itself reminded me of back home in Guyana, with the people and animals living so close to the road and with coconut and mango trees dominating the skyline.

Look forward to the next trip!

Luke, Theo and Andrei wade into the inviting pristine blue expanse of the Arabian Sea (photo: Margaret Busby)

Editor’s note:

Luke Daniels – author, social activist, counsellor, and consultant on domestic violence, was born in Guyana and later settled in the UK with his family in the 1970s. His pioneering work with perpetrators of domestic violence at the Everyman Centre in London received national recognition through a 1992 television documentary. Over the years, he has trained men internationally in working with domestic violence perpetrators. His book ‘Pulling the Punches: Defeating Domestic Violence’ {Bogle-L’Overture Press, 2009} was the first self-help guide for perpetrators, grounded in theory as well as practice. He believes that violence towards women is rooted in patriarchy, and so interprets domestic violence as a political act that requires political solutions.

His new book ‘Defeating Domestic Violence in the Americas – Men’s Work’ {Hansib, 2017} challenges men to take more responsibility for ending the violence and puts forward solutions for governments to bring an end to socialization for violence. President of Caribbean Labour Solidarity, founded in London in 1974, is an international campaigning organisation supporting the Caribbean democratic movements.

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