The times before you were born are hard to grasp, it appears as black and white similar to old footage on TV. Especially when there is not much contemporary history taught in our schools. The Naxalite movement in Kerala is one such. It is spoken in a hush hush manner. The very few information I have got is that “someone is a naxal” and “Colleges in Kerala were hotspots of Naxalites”. Hence, it was rather recently that I heard of a murder by Naxalites some 20kms away from Ottapalam some 40 years ago.
Me and my Valiachan(Paternal Uncle) were driving from Ottapalam to Kongad. We passed a small village, Kundalassery, (Its not there in Google Maps) in Keralassery Panchayath. That’s were the murder had happened. He briefed the story. This murder was later known as the Kongad murder.
It was the late 60s. The peace-loving hippie movement of the west haven’t reached Kerala Shores. It was the time for East. Time for Mao. The controversial Land reforms act which came and went took final footing only in 1970 . The Coalition government under E.M.S came on 1967. The youth were not enchanted with Communist party any more, The party had split in 1964. The party showed the same colors of any political party, a coalition government, formation of Malappuram owing to demands by Muslim league, internal politics. All these disenchanted the radicals and they waged an armed war on the feudal lords. It was not the ideal Kerala they had envisioned when the World’s first communist government was elected. In the 1967, the God figure of all revolutionaries Che was murdered by CIA. There was heightened passion. All the World happenings especially of that of China’s and Latin America were madly watched and absorbed in the soaking humidity of a Malayali mind. There was anger against bourgeoisie. These factors triggered hardline ideology- The beginning of extreme radical left. They believed in Armed uprisings and what not. They wanted justice, they wanted to create examples, they wanted to havoc fear in the mind of feudal lords. Narayanan Kutty Nair was a perfect example.
It was 30th July, Peak Monsoon probably, in the year of 1970, There was a family function going at the residence of Narayanan Kutty Nair in Kundalassery. His brother Chinnan Kutty Nair was present and so was his son-in-law, the Inspector General of Police, V N Rajan. The murderers came in three groups of seven. The other members of the house were locked in a room.The Naxalites stormed their residence and beheaded Narayanan Kutty Nair and placed his head on the gate of the residence, and the headless body lying in a pool of blood was the sensational photograph of next day’s newspaper. The murderers read a charge sheet in the courtyard before the atrocity. The charges included of murder of a laborer and physically mutilating a woman for not accepting his sexual advances. the murderers then shouted slogans and went hiding.
They were told to be hiding on the other side of Bharathapuzha in and around Mayanoor in Thrissur district. They were eventually caught and they escaped jail. They were again arrested thanks to their carelessness and activity regarding publication of their mouthpiece. They were finally released in the 1980s. The naxal movement failed eventually in the 1970s. Thanks to lack of mass support, improper cadre recruitment, personal revenges in the name of naxalism all resulted in its eventual downfall. Mundur Ravunni is said to be the political commander of the operation. There is a Naxal movement in the tribal-mineral rich belt of Central India. A return of naxalism to Kerala is close to impossible as the society have evolved unlike the region of Central India.
Ideologies changes, power shifts, wounds heal, injustices forgotten- What remains are fragments of memories..!