Kerala (pronounced Ker'-ella), is a state of India, hugging the extreme southwest coast. It has a long history of international trade, and to this day its population is split among Syrian Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims. Portuguese traders were an important influence. The tradition of valuing education above all has resulted in the most progressive state in India and a large Middle class. Its dominant political party is the Communist Party, but in spite of the occasional hammer and sicle poster, the economy is apparently pretty much free trade and there is no government health care and little welfare. In practice, it seems to fall to the right of, say, California! It is the cleanest, most prosperous of the three states we visited on this trip, and more prosperous and cleaner than any of the six states we visited previously (years ago).