03, Nov 2015
Nov 03 2015 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
At a time when the country is witness ng cases of religious intolerance, a mosque here continues to be an epitome of communal harmony .
Kunhelu, a Hindu martyr was buried at the Valiyangadi Juma Masjid here centuries ago. The mosque continues the tradition of offering special prayers at his grave even today.
Locally revered as a legendary figure, Kunhelu is be ieved to have lost his life, along with 43 Muslim warriors, in a battle against the erstwhile Zamorin king of Kozhikode 290 years ago.
As per historical evidence and the Malappuram Kissa Mala, written by poet Moyinkutty Vaidyar, 44 `shuhadakkal’ (martyrs) died fighting the army led by Varakkal Para Nambi, the minister of Zamorin over an is sue of tax collection.
Kunhelu, who belonged to the Thattan (goldsmith) community, joined his Muslim friends under the leadership of Ali Marakkar. Muslims were forced to flee the region when the mosque was set ablaze by Nambi.
Later, the issue was re solved and Nambi himself took the effort of rebuilding the mosque and brought many Muslim families back to Malappuram. The mosque evolved over the years to become a major religious centre in Malappuram Town.
Descendants of Kunhelu are invited during prayer meetings and the annual aadu nercha (goat sacrifice) held in memory of the martyrs at the mosque. “The family members are invited to prayer meetings.During the nercha, held in the Arabic month of Sha’ban, cheerni (sweet) is prepared and distributed among the public,“ said Manukuttan, a teacher, who belongs to the family of Kunhelu.
Sayed Muthukkoya Thangal, qazi of Malappuram, said the tradition showcased the unity among Hindus and Muslims. Historian K K N Kuruppu said people cutting across communities had joined hands in fighting for a common cause centuries ago.
“As there are no inscriptions or documents citing the names of the martyrs, historians depend on legends and ballads,“ Kuruppu said.