The common space use at a religious institution in Kerala, Southern India: Aspects of inhabitants’ interpersonal relationships for their social welfare

Authors: Sachi Matsuoka*, Kyoto University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Behavioral Geography, Asia
Keywords: India, interpersonal relationships, space use, welfare system, religious institutions, welfare, unofficial social service,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Taylor, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A highly aging society is observed in Kerala due to decreased fertility rate and increased longevity. Even though the Kerala state Government has the greater welfare systems in India, it cannot enough answer the high demands of the increasing needs. It partly causes some ashrams, non-governmental religious institutions, to work as unofficial social welfare for people who needs special help including elderlies. Little studies, however, have conducted to examine the roles of ashrams in terms of health and welfare in the modern context. In many cases, multi generations live in an ashram and even elderly and/or disable inhabitants practice sava, the selfless service, to others from their religious belief. As there are no expert paid care takers in ashrams, there is a space for inhabitants to help each other by doing what they can offer depending on their abilities. This cultivates complex relationships among inhabitants and it possibly can answer the variety of elderlies’ needs. This is because people’s needs are deferent one by one and also what they can offer to others are varied especially among intergeneration. The author has conducted long-term field works at an ashram to investigate their daily seva practice and discuss how the common space use works to grow their interpersonal relationships.

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