Unni Moosa of Elambulassery

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And the Jungle Moplahs of Malabar

Many of you would remember this name from the stories of Pazhassi raja and the blockbuster Mamooty movie where Moosa’s role was taken up by Captain Raju (Sankaradi in an earlier version). He was certainly a colorful character and never really brought to light. As one of the first people who went up in arms against the British taking over Malabar, working with the Padinjare Kovilakom Ravi Varma, I thought he deserved a deeper study. So let us take a look at what he was upto in those turbulent years when the British were making hay in Malabar, consolidating their spoils of war with Tipu and subjugating the people of Malabar under their rule. One must also bear in mind that the situation in those days was certainly turbulent and law and order was particularly lacking in many places after the decimation of feudal order by the marauding Mysore Sultans. Many of the so called anti-British Moplah guerillas of that time, though united against the British carried on (or allowed) activities not condonable at any time, such as kidnapping children for slavery, which the British used to good effect in their propaganda.

The Calicut Song

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Interestingly, in the late medieval times, there used to be a song sung by the lascars of Goa and Malabar. The song was apparently known as the Calicut song. The first time it was documented in English was when Anna, an ayah from Calicut mentioned it to her memsahib in 1860. I will cover Anna’s interesting story in a separate article, but this one is about the song itself.