Revisit 1921 history with wider perspective: Panikkar

Historian and chairman of the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) K.N. Panikkar has called upon scholars of history to revisit the Malabar Rebellion of 1921 with a wider and deeper perspective.

Inaugurating a national seminar on ‘Revisiting the Malabar Rebellion' organised by the department of history of Pocker Sahib Memorial Orphanage (PSMO) College at Tirurangadi on Monday, Dr. Panikkar said the real nature of people's participation in the Malabar Rebellion was still not known despite the incident being the biggest armed struggle against the British since 1857.

“We can't have a flippant attitude to the Malabar Rebellion of 1921, an armed resistance that took place even after Mahatma Gandhi had taken over the leadership of the freedom struggle,” Dr. Panikkar said.

He called upon the historians and scholars to identify the political, economic, cultural, and religious backgrounds of the Malabar Rebellion and venture on large-scale studies by giving emphasis to almost all aspects. “To understand the complexity of this historical incident, we must study different aspects separately,” he said.

The department of history of the college responded positively to Dr. Panikkar's call by offering to set up an archive on the Malabar Rebellion. “We are going to take up research on the Malabar Rebellion seriously,” said K.K. Muhammed Abdul Sathar, head of the department of history.

Dr. Panikkar bewailed the attempts of certain sections to communalise society as well as its history by making the Malabar Rebellion as a tool. Deliberate attempts were being made to distort or cover up the history of 1921, he said.

However, Dr. Panikkar reminded the scholars that no historic incident would be irrelevant to the present. “It all depends on how we look at history,” he said.

Dr. Panikkar also called upon the scholars for a rethink on the basic methods of history studies. “We need to review our methodology and approach to history studies,” he said. He urged students to give enough weightage to local history preserved by way of folk arts, fairy tales, and myths. “Apart from concentrating on your academic research, you should try to close the gap with the popular beliefs of myth and tales.”

Major K. Ibrane, PSMO. College Principal, presided over the inaugural session. Dr. Sathar welcomed the gathering. Historians S.M. Mohammed Koya, K. Gopalan Kutty, and K.K. Muhamood, former district panchayat president Arimbra Mohammed, and former head of the department of Arabic, Calicut University, E.K. Ahamed Kutty were among those who spoke. Vasu Thilleri, coordinator of the seminar, proposed a vote of thanks. K.M. Sheeba from Sree Sankara University of Sanskrit, Kalady, presented a paper on ‘mapping women in movement: imagining alternate paradigms of struggle.'

P. Sivadasan, Reader at the department of history, Calicut University, spoke on ‘colonial violence justified: Wagon Tragedy and the Knapp Commission.'

News @ Hindu Daily

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