Anniversary of Wagon Tragedy observed

Karuvambalam pays tribute to its martyrs

41 of the 70 killed hailed from the village
Memorial in village for the victims

MALAPPURAM: Karuvambalam, a village near Perinthalmanna, observed the 88th anniversary of the Wagon Tragedy on Thursday. Forty-one of the 70 Mapilas killed in the Wagon Tragedy hailed from Karuvambalam.
Seventy of the 100-odd Mapila rebels who were taken in an air-tight goods wagon from Tirur to Pothanur were killed on November 19, 1921, leaving the Wagon Tragedy as the darkest chapter of the Malabar Rebellion.
P.V. Abdul Wahab, MP, inaugurated the function held at Karuvambalam under the aegis of the Wagon Tragedy Memorial Forum. Abdussamad Pookkottur, Islamic scholar, delivered the keynote address. Salim Karuvambalam, district panchayat standing committee chairman, presided. Memorial functions were held at several other places in the district.
It was not known till a couple of years ago that Karuvambalam had such a tragic role in the Malabar Rebellion. Even historians who penned books on the Wagon Tragedy had overlooked the fact that most of the victims were from Kuruvambalam.
Elders of the village say youngsters from Karuvambalam and the neighbouring Valapuram who had marched to Perinthalmanna to save a pious scholar named Kunhunni Musliar were arrested and sent to Tirur. Though the
Musliar was released, his followers were tortured.
Most of Karuvambalam’s victims were bachelors who left behind no progeny. “That perhaps was why the people were not aware of the role of their village in the tragedy till a couple of years ago,” said Mr. Salim.
Mr. Salim took the initiative to build a memorial to the heroes of the village on two cents of land four years ago.
The courtyard of the Wagon Tragedy Memorial Town Hall at Tirur has a small hall built in the shape of a wagon.
This memorial wagon carries the same registration number LVI711 MSM as that of the bogie that carried the freedom fighters. In the Town Hall, there is a list of the martyrs inscribed on a wall along with a brief note on the tragedy.

Staff Reporter
The Hindu
November 20, 2009

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