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Kottakkal

Kottakkal is a village in Malappuram District in Kerala, south India. It is an Eranadan village located 12 km south-west of Malappuram, the district head quarters, and 12km from Tirur. Kottakkal is one of the oldest Panchayath in Kerala, and is known for its ayurvedic institute, Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, as well as its temple festival, Kottakkal pooram, celebrated over seven days during during March-April.

History of Kottakkal

Kottakkal, known as White Fort in Sanskrit, Venkalikotta and Venkitta Kotta in Malayalam, was a small military base of the Kingdom of Valluvanad until the first half of 18th century CE. Karuvayoor Moosad, the chief marshal and preacher of Valluvakonathiri, lived here, and it may be the forts and castles constructed by him that were the origin of the name Kottakkal. The suburbs of Kottakkal were known as Changuvettikadu and Eyyakkadu. Karuvayoor Moosad assassinated Thinayancherry Elayath, one of the ministers of the Zamorin of Kozhikode (Calicut). Then Moonnarpadu Thampuran, the cousin of the Zamorin killed Karuvayoor Moosad in a combat and restored control of the fort. The descendants of Thampuran dwelled in Kottakkal there after.

The invasion of Tippu Sultan of Mysore, altered the course of Kottakkal's history, although this is reflected in the cultural field only. A kinsman of the Zamorin of Kozhikode who had been sheltered in Travancore, fearing the Mysore invasion, later settled in Kottakkal after the death of Tippu in 1799. Among them was Manorama Thampuratty, a female scholar connected to both Travancore and Cochin.

Kottakkal challenged the British occupation by cultural confrontation. Probably this started with Kunhikuttan Thampuran, who translated Maha Bharatham, inspired by the religious movement which developed after the 15th century. After this expression of the elegance of language, P. S. Varier carried on the tradition. His attempts were closely related to the cultural resurrection of Kerala during the colonial period. He gave the local practice of medicine a new shape and dimension. He established a school of medicine in 1917 at Calicut with the idea of education and practice to the Arya Vaidya doctors, and later transferred this institution to Kottakkal. Many cultural, intellectual and other activities were centered in this institution, including Kavana Kaumudi edited by Kavikula Guru P. V. Krishna Varier, Parama Valsam Theatre, Dhanwanthary Magazine, and a Kathakali troupe. Even though the perception of Kerala Unity was visible in the works of Kunhikuttan Thampuran, the conception of a United Kerala materialized mostly through the Arya Vaidya Samajam founded by P. S. Varier in 1902. The Samajam was organized and operated on the political fields of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar. The first meeting of Indian National Congress was called for in 1920 and that itself makes the importance of these events more apparent.

All Indian villages were the focus of sudden agricultural developments in the beginning of the 20th century. However, such events did not affect Kottakkal due to the compassionate attitude of the landowners of Kizhake kovilakam. They were strict in matters of lease and they never tortured farmers. The general state of Hindu-Muslim landowner- tenant set up common to the Malabar area was prevalent in Kottakkal also. Kottakkal has had a history of profound religious harmony for centuries. The Moplah Rebellion of 1921, despite widespread riots, did not disturb the peace of this small village. The intervention of P. S. Varier and the forbearance of the kovilakam helped the situation not getting violent. It is worth mentioning that Muslims under the leadership of Odayappurath Chekkutty from the near by village Kalpakanchery guarded Kizhake kovilakam and Arya Vaidya Sala.

The Mappila Outrageous Act, passed as a result of the 1921 revolt, slowed down the political activities of Malabar generally. Kottakkal however, was little affected, and during this period the political activities were led by students of the Ayurveda College. Their attempt to celebrate National Day in 1937 was a declaration of solidarity with the Youth Leadership of Congress. Greater awareness of social justice and equality led to the establishment of the Navajeevan Yuva Jana Samajam, under the leadership of P. V. Krishna Varier, P. Sankara Varier, Pulickal Sooppi Kuttykakka and C. R. Varier. The principal aim of this organization was the eradication of un-touchability and awareness against malign influences. This was the indication that the political activities of Kottakkal have transcended from intellectual exercises to new horizons of creativity. The political support of P. M. Krishna Menon from Ramanattukara and K. C. K. Raja expedited it. Kottakkal was brought to national attention when it staged the 1939 Parappur Kerala State Congress meeting. The slogan "Enemy of Unity, Enemy of Strike" was approved at this meeting. Farmers began to work as a part of National movement after this meeting, and many agricultural movements began in Kottakkal, Amariyil Kunhikomu being a leader. Many other societies were also formed in Mannazhi, Chengottur and Kuttippuram and they struggled against agricultural debts.

In 1943, during attempts to eradicate cholera, a relief committee and an orphanage were set up in Kottakkal with the help of the Servants of India Society, to help the orphans left by cholera. This was achieved even while the country was suffering from the effects of World War II and famine. A Co-operative society was also established under the Presidency of P. K. Varier.

The development activities of women included modern publications such as Amritha Bhashini and Bala Chandrika, published by Kovilakam. Independence and socialism were discussed in these publications. The earlier women's movement was started by Vallikad Kamalakshi, Kunhanujathi Thampuratti, Madhavikutt'j Varier, V. P. Kaiyani, and others.

During the Malabar District Board, under the auspices of Odayappurath Chekkutty, a textbook called Komala Padavali was published by Komala Printing and Publishing Company in Kundu Bazar. Odayappurath Faizal Abdulla, grandson of Odayappurath Chekkutty, established Komala Institutions, the first job-oriented training institute in Kottakkal,as a memmorial to Odayappurath Chekkutty in 1989.

Sada Mohammed Sukri sahib, S. Mohammed Badusha, all from Batkal near Mangalapuram (Mangalore) were among the chief personalities who had impressed their personal marks on the social, cultural and political fields of Kottakkal. Their activities greatly helped in the unity of Mappila tenants and to expedite cultural growth. Sayyed V. T. Abdulla Koya Thangal, Melethil Mohammed Sahib also joined them.

Famous Personalities

Many personalities famous in Kerala and India were born and brought up in this panchayath, including diplomat Shri. M. K. Vellodi, Dr K C K E Raja, the first Indian Director General of Health Services and former Vice Chancellor , Kerala University, M. A. Vellodi, Kelu Eradi, K. C. U. Raja, the physician P. K. Varier, the politician U. A. Beeran (a former minister) M. P. Abdussamad Samadani (Member of Parliament) and M.P. Muneer. When the Panchayath came into existence in 1953 the mode of election was nomination. The first president of Kottakkal Panchayath was P. S. Varier (also known as Appu Varier).

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Presidents of Kottakal panchayath

  • Appu Varier (1953- )
  • P. Sankara Varier
  • U. A. Beeran Sahib (1963- )
  • Chemukkan Mohammed Kutty (alias Kunhava)
  • Cherthala fathima
  • Paroli Moosa Kutty
  • Paravakkal Usman Kutty )

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