The Kalikavu incident - 1915

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An attempt on Collector CA Innes’s life

Some articles ago, we studied the impact of the Turkish Khalifa, the Khilafat movement and its effects on the Malabar populace, culminating in the violence of 1921 and a terrible aftermath. We also studied about the discontentment amongst the Malabar Mappilas and the attempts of earlier British administration, especially HV Conolly in countering what was termed as the Mappila outrages resulting in the attempt at disarming the disaffected Mappila. As all these were progressing from phase to phase, many a foreign cleric entered the area to whip up the emotions of the relatively illiterate Eranad Mappilas. These have been well studied and recorded by various historians, forming three categories of texts, one by left leaning scribes attributing everything to land tenures and as the outburst of have nots, the British stories calling them revolts against the crown, to be dealt with a  firm hand and thirdly the events as seen by the Hindu aristocracy of Malabar. Two lesser known events from the earlier days are not quite well reported in any of these collections, one being an attempt to kill a British collector and secondly the British attempt at mainstreaming the Mappila’s desire to fight. I will detail the first now and then in a later article provide information on the second.

Malabar -War years 1941-1944

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A famine and the cholera epidemic....1943

Everybody talked about the Great War as the summer months of 1942 scorched the southern regions of India. The eastern allied bastions fell one after another, by February 42 Singapore had capitulated and in March 1942, Rangoon had fallen and Port Blair in the Andamans had been taken. The overjoyed INA factions in Malaya and Burma were waiting for directions from their new leader Subhas Chandra Bose ensconced in Rangoon, while at the same time, hundreds of thousands of panic stricken Indian refugees (Burmese workers) were in full flight across the seas and borders into India, their ancestral home. Their belief was total that the British Raj would do nothing to help them, for their brethren had not received any great support either at Malaya or Singapore. One could hear the refrain – that invasion was imminent, the Japanese were coming, and that the British are set to flee India. With censor controlled war news channels focused on the action in Europe, rumor machines in India took over and wild tales were told and retold. The Japanese soldier, though smaller than a Burmese elephant, evoked a bigger fear, rivaling a dragon.