KOZHIKODE: Calicut University History department is on a mission to record the oral history of villages which are not known to the outside world due to the lack of documents or monuments. During a visit to Elampulassery village near Mannarkkad in Palakkad, the team explored the story behind a rural hero known as Kunhali Mooppan, popularly known to the outside world through historical documents as Elampulassery Unni Moosa. During the visit, the team led by History department head Dr P Sivadasan interviewed many from older generations and collected details about Kunhali Mooppan, whom the locals believe still possesses powers. It is common in this part of the world, to find people from different religions, make offerings to the legendary hero to ward off troubles.
According to Dr Sivadasan, Kunhali Mooppan was the ruler of Elampulassery fiefdom, and was a popular figure. After the East India Company’s entry to Malabar in 1792, he became an enemy of the British who branded him as a bandit. He is a well-known fighter who used guerilla warfare tactics. “Kunhali Mooppan made pacts with the Zamorins of Padinjare Kovilakom, Mysore, Polygars of Madurai and Komi Achan of Palakkad royal family against the British. He helped the downtrodden from the exploitation of landlords who were vassals of the British,” he said.
The legend says that Kunhali Moopan was betrayed and killed and villagers even today believe that there would be trouble if no offerings were made to Kunhali Mooppan. Dr Sivadasan added that recording oral history was significant in the study of contemporary cultural history. “Whatever information we get from texts are not complete. It is only when we go into the field and interact with the common man, we get to know more. Historical study is not just learning about the past, but also to find a solution to the present issues of man using what we learn from the past,” he said.
“Kunhali Mooppan’s story is living through word of mouth and we cannot completely depend on British records which are obviously biased. His story is one of the best examples of communal harmony that prevailed in the region. So recording such stories is very significant in the present context,” he added. The team earlier conducted similar research in Vellakkattu Mana, Varakappilli Illam, Vendalloor, Cheriyamundam, Wandoor, Porur etc in Malappuram and Palakkad districts collecting and recording data....