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Century-old records throw new light on Malabar history

UNTOLD CHAPTER: Historians examining the photographs and records at Maranattu Mana in Malappuram district.  

Century-old records from a political conference found at Pandikkad near Manjeri have thrown new light on some events in Kerala’s socio-political history in the early 1900s. Calicut University researchers led by historian P. Sivadasan stumbled upon the documents at Maranattu Mana last week.

The records provide evidence of the developments that took place at the fifth Malabar district political conference held at Kalkoni Maidan, Manjeri, on April 28 and 29, 1920, under the chairmanship of S. Kasturiranga Iyengar, Editor of The Hindu. Annie Besant and her followers had walked out of the meeting.

Direct proof

“So far, we have been studying history on the basis of what the British wrote. For the first time, we have direct proof of the developments connected with the historic meeting,” said Dr. Sivadasan, head of the Department of History, Calicut University.

The researchers found many letters, diaries, photographs and other records, including the invitation and minutes of the organising committee meetings.

The Manjeri meeting, held in the erstwhile part of the Madras Presidency, for the first time, provided a platform for the middle-class Mappila and non-Mappila tenants to attend a political conference.

It brought to the fore the sharp divide between the landlords and the middle-class tenants.

To be digitised

It was this meeting that brought nationalists such as Manjeri Rama Aiyer, K.P. Kesava Menon, K. Madhavan Nair, M.P. Narayana Menon and Variyamkunnath Kunhahamed Haji to the political front. The Malabar Rebellion of 1921 took place in the wake of the Manjeri meeting.

Dr. Sivadasan said the documents would be studied thoroughly and digitised.


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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 3:58:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Century-old-records-throw-new-light-on-Malabar-history/article14405158.ece

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