Staff Reporter

Their history closely linked with that of the region: K.K.N. Kurup

THALASSERY: Historian and the former Calicut University Vice-Chancellor K.K.N. Kurup has said that the Keyi family here played a role in the history of North Malabar.

He was inaugurating a seminar on the `Keyis of Malabar.'

The history of the family was closely linked with that of the region following the setting up of the East India Company factory here in 1683, he said.

The decline of the Keyi family was also closely linked with the colonial history of the region, he added.

The founder of the Keyi family, Alupikaka, shifted from Chovva, near Kannur, to Thalassery after Malabar was invaded by Hyderali in 1766. He became the monopoly contractor of the East India Company here.

The Keyis increased their fortune under Alupikaka's nephew Moosakaka who continued to have a good rapport with the company which became the ruler of the entire Malabar province with the defeat of Tipu Sultan in 1792.

Though Moosakaka procured pepper and spices for the company from farmers in the areas under the control of the Pazhassi Raja who fought the British, he supplied food and weapons required for Pazhassi Raja's fighters in payment. Documents showed that prominent Englishmen in the region wanted Moosakaka to be banished from Thalassery.

The decline of the family as a trading house started with the death of Moosakaka in 1806. They could not compete with the capital of the company, said Dr. Kurup, adding that the family became absentee landlords.

Kerala Waqf Board member P.V. Sainuddin presided. The former Calicut University Vice-Chancellor A.N.P. Ummerkutty and Thalassery municipal chairman K.P. Raveendran were present.

A reception for Ayisha Beevi, new head of the Arakkal royal family of Kannur, was also held in connection with the seminar.

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