23 September Saturday

Kunjakkama, A Comrade par Excellence

P MohandasUpdated: Sunday Apr 10, 2022

Installation of Thol Viraku struggle in Historical Exhibition

Kunjakkamma was a unique personality in the history of anti feudal struggles in Malabar. Soon after the second world war, there was a flood of struggles- big and small- all over the country.  Two  were unique due to the participation of peasant women in large numbers. They were Cheemeni thol viraku struggle (Green leaf for manure and logs for fuel) and Kandakkai thatching grass struggle.  

In Kandakkai, the notorious feudal landlord and the village headman denied the common people from collecting thatching  grass from the uncultivated land for thatching the  roof of their houses. But  karshaka sangham decided to defy the order of the village headman and the local landlord and forcefully collected the grass. This developed into a big struggle  and both men and women participated in the struggle. The landlord in turn strengthened the attack against the Sangham.  He stationed a company of police along with his goons.

Karshaka sangham  raised the slogan 'Those who sow will reap'  and harvested the paddy. This infuriated the landlord and he started cruel torture to suppress the rising tide of opposition against him. He also used the Malabar Special Police. They raided the houses of the peasant activists and communist party workers and tortured them.  They did not even spare women and  children.  They completely destroyed the household utensils and home appliances of these families. The brave  woman leader Kunjakkamma along with thirteen other women from local peasant families marched to the house of the village headman and landlord (Adhikari). They carried the ruins of  the destroyed materials with them  and deposited it  in front of his house. This infuriated the landlord and the police immediately arrested and sentenced Kunjakkamma. Her struggle was not pre-planned, but  a spontaneous one.  After her release, she received a warm welcome from the people and later travelled  with A K G in his tour for the election campaign in 1951. Her leadership in that struggle was par excellence.