Tribal hero of Thamarassery Ghat road gets a face

Kozhikode :

Karinthandan Moopan, the tribal leader who is believed to have helped the British find the Thamarassery Ghat road, has got a face now. An artist, Ayyappan, has drawn the portrait of the tribal hero after consulting the descendants of the Paniya moopan and other elders in the community.

Karinthandan, who was murdered by the British after he located the shortest route from Wayanad to Kozhikode, is a highly venerated figure among the Paniya tribals. “The British used to take the Kuttiady route to reach Kozhikode to transport spices from Wayanad to the Beypore port. Between 1700 and 1750, they were in search of another route, which could bring down the distance between Wayanad and Beypore,” said S Ramanunni, a trust member of pro-Sangh Parivar People’s Action for Educational and Economic Development of Tribal People (PEEP) that was instrumental in commissioning the artist to draw the portrait.

Ramanunni says Karinthandan might have been killed by the British because he revolted against the foreigners. “He might have asked them not to stake claim for Wayanad. This could the reason for shooting him to death,” he said.

It is believed that there were a series of accidents on the route in 1890 and 1900. “The belief was that it was Karinthandan’s soul that caused the accidents. The soul that was roaming around the Ghat road was finally overpowered and tied to a tree at Vythiri. Even now, you can see the tree with an iron chain, which is now a temple,” Krishnanunni said.

However, K K N Kurup, historian and former vice-chancellor of Calicut University, said there were no historical documents to prove the veracity of the story. “But it is a strong myth. The British might have sought the help of tribals to find a route to Wayanad to fight Pazhassi Raja around 1803-?05,” he said.

Kurup said it was Tippu Sulthan who linked Wayanad with Kozhikode by road. “But we are not sure that he took the Thamarassery route. There is a possibility that he travelled through the Kuttiady route to reach Kozhikode,” he said.

PEEP has approached the government to erect a memorial for Karinthandan at Vythiri. “Chief minister Oommen Chandy has promised to erect a memorial to the tribal leader at the earliest, when we met him in last February. The government has already sanctioned Rs 15 lakh in this regard,” Krishnanunni said.

source: / The  Times of India / Home> City> Kozhikode / TNN / July 25th, 2014

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