To one side of the building stands an Ayurvedic medicine manufacturing unit—their medicines are fairly popular among locals—and the profits go towards sustaining the society and its members.Funds for the Samaj also pour in through donations.The building is in the middle of about 60 acres of farmland owned by the Samaj, the land ringed by a high, moss-covered compound wall.Members of the Samaj grow everything they eat on this land.This meant every person had to look after everybody else in the community, but no one could claim ownership of anything.Sivananda applied this thinking to relationships too.
Sickened by mankind’s seemingly endless desire to accumulate, he enforced a ban on private interests of any sort.He is one among 300-odd people who are continuing a social experiment that began nearly a century ago in north Kerala’s Calicut (also known as Kozhikode) district. Namboodiripad is said to have described it as a community of primitive Communists.They are inmates of Siddha Samaj, an alternative society with four branches in Kerala and one in Tamil Nadu. Two years ago, I found myself staring out of the window of a train to Vadakara, a small coastal town in Kozhikode, on my way to learn more about this society, shortly after learning that my grandfather had apparently helped build it.This little-known commune was formed as a critique of private property and interests. It all began when my father and uncles found a yellowing notebook, tattered and falling to pieces, in an old trunk in our ancestral home.
It was deemed useless because it had none of the things they were looking for, such as details of any real estate my grandfather might have had, unknown to them.The children are raised together, in a common orphanage alongside a school, at Vadakara, and no one is told who their parents are.