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Freedom Struggle
Political Leaders
Arts & Literature

                                                    Struggle for Independence


Ponnani is a name very much associated with the nationalist  movements in the freedom struggle. A number of prominent leaders from this taluk had contributed in soul and spirit towards realising the dream of independent India.

Umar Khazi from Veliyancode, Ponnani introduced the Non-Taxation Movement in 1805, decades before Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation and unchallenged leader of Indian fredom struggle  started it.

Mr. Kelappan, popularly known as 'Kerala Gandhi',  Smt. A.V. Kuttimalu Amma, E. Moidu Moulavi, E.K. Imbichi Bava are the most notable leaders from ponnani, whose contributions to the nationalist movement were unaccountable.

Malabar struggle (1921)

The Malabar struggle led by the Mappilas  of Malabar (Mappila Lahala) was a mass movement, that was inspired by the nationalist movement led by Mahathma Gandhi.

Led by Mohammed Abdurahman sahib and Ali Musaliar, a conference of Khilafat held at puthuponnani, paved way for the uprisings in Malabar which then became a widespread movement called Malabar Struggle. The attempt made by the British police forces to foil the Khilafat conference, resulted in a conflict on the 'Angadi palam' bridge in Ponnani and was brought under control by the efforts of Khilafat leaders.

A shining example of the contribution towards the labour movements was the 'Anchara ana samaram' led by the 'beedi workers' of ponnani.

Prominent Leaders of  freedom struggle.

Umar Khazi

Born in 1765 AD in a very righteous family, Umar Qazi was to become the pride of  Kerala, the visionary poet and a just ruler. At the age of 11,  he joined the Madrasa at Tanoor.  At 13,  he joined Ponnani Madrasa for higher studies. After completing his studies in Ponnani Madrasa, he was made the Qazi (judge) of Veliyankode.

Umar Qazi introduced the Non-Taxation Movement decades before Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation and the unchallenged leader of Indian freedom struggle, started it. In 1805, Umar publicly announced his defiance of the British taxation system.

When the officers approached the brave hero requesting him to pay his taxes, he gave a fiery reply “You are servants of the murderers of Tipu Sultan and destroyers of Samudiri. Almighty is the true owner of the land. I will not pay the tax”.


When the matter was informed to the Nibu Sahib, the higher officer, he sent a police officer to summon Qazi to the station.

In Nibu Sahib's Court:

When Umar reached the station, Nibu sahib asked him, “Are you the Qazi who refuses to pay the tax?”


“Everyone on this land is bound to pay.I will exile you if you do not pay ”

“I will not pay the tax for God’s land. Do as you wish”

“You are forgetting who I am and the place you are standing”

“No. I am not prepared to pay tax. Maadha taqoolu ya batwaal? ( You fool, what did u say?). With a furious look, he jumped out of his seat and spit on the officer.

The daring son of India walked out untouched . . .


K. Kelappan

K. Kelappan popularly known as 'Kerala Gandhi' was born in an ordinary Nair family in Muchukunnu Village of South Malabar in 1889. During the Moplah Rebellion, he played a very heroic role disregarding his personal safety and tried to bring about peace and communal harmony.


He participated in Vaikom Satyagraha and was imprisoned. He took special interest in Gandhian programmes like uplift of the untouchables, propagation of Khadi and Hindi. For sometime he was editor of the 'Mathrubhumi'. It was he who led the famous Guruvayur Satyagraha.

On his release from prison after Quit India Movement, he became President of KPCC and ceaselessly worked for organising Congress activities in the whole of Kerala.Due to disagreement with the Congress leadership he, along with some colleagues, joined the Kisan Masdoor Praja Party(KMPP) led by Acharya Kripalani. In the general elections of 1952 Kelappan contested on KMPP ticket and was elected from Ponnani LokSabha seat.

After the five-year term in the Lok Sabha, he left active politics and became a Sarvodaya worker and was actively associated with Bhoodan Movement in Kerala. He established the 'Rural Institute' at Thavanoor in Ponnani Taluk and was president of Harijan Seva Sangh and Sarvodaya Sangh in Kerala. He expired in 1970.

 Smt.A.V. Kuttimalu Amma

Smt.A.V. Kuttimalu Amma was a top ranking Congress leader of Kerala and a fearless freedom fighter. Born in Anakkara Vadakkath family of Ponnani taluk, in 1905, Amma was drawn into the freedom movement in her youth. She and her husband K. Madhava Menon (former KPCC President and Minister in Madras State) actively participated in all movements of the Congress.

Kuttimalu Amma began her public life as an active Khadi and Swadeshi worker in 1930. She led batches of women volunteers and successfully conducted picketing of foreign cloth-shops in Calicut in 1931. During the Civil Disobedience Movement, holding her two month old baby in her arms, she led a procession of women, breaking the ban order in Calicut and was arrested and convicted for two years imprisonment.

When she reached the jail with her baby, authorities did not allow her to take the baby with her. Kuttimalu Amma insisted that she had every right to take her baby with her into the jail, quoting relevant rules. Finally, the authorities had to accede to her demand. In 1936, she was elected to the Madras Assembly. During individual Satyagraha in 1940, Kuttimalu Amma was arrested and imprisoned for a year. During Quit India Movement, she was detained for two years in the Presidency jail for women.

After her release in 1944, she took up the task of organising Congress in Malabar and became KPCC President for a term. Kuttimalu Amma had also served as a member of AICC and the Congress Working Committee.In 1946, she was again elected as a member of Madras Legislative Assembly. She was Director of the 'Mathrubhumi' Calicut for some time. She expired in 1986.

E. Moidu Moulavi

Freedom fighter of Malabar. Born at Maranchery in Ponnani. After the Arabic college studies he joined the National Movement from 1919 onwards. He was arrested and underwent rigorous imprisonment in the Khilafat Movement of 1921.He had to undergo Imprisonment for another 9 months in 1930 for his participation in the Payyannur Salt Sathyagraha struggle. Yet again he was given jail terms for a period of 3 years for taking part in the Quit India Movement.


Moidu Moulavi served as K.P.C.C working Committee Member , AICC member etc. He also worked in the ‘AL-AMEEN’ National Muslim paper edited and published by Abdul Rahman. He was specially honoured in the Indian Freedom Fighters’ conference organised in 1985 January in Allahabad and he was the man who hoisted the flag in the opening ceremony. He was a highly knowledgeable person and he had deep knowledge in six languages. He was also the author of several books including an Autobiography.


Other Great leaders include:


E.K.Imbichi Bava, C. Choyunni, K.V. Raman Menon, Noorudheen Sahib, Sankunni Nair, Ikkandath Govindan, K Gopala kuruppu etc.