The Home Rule Movement also had its followers in the Malabar District. Sri. K.P.Kesava Menon worked as the Secretary of the Home Rule League as well as the Congress Committee. His political activities caused a great stir all over the Malabar district. During the period of the First World War, the national movement gained momentum in Malabar. At the same time, the Khilafat movement stirred the Muslim population of Malabar.” The most important event connected with the political movement in Malabar during this period was the Malabar rebellion of 1921″. One of the tragic episodes connected with this rebellion was the ‘Wagon Tragedy’ in which 61 of the 90 Mapillas carried as prisoners in a closed railway goods wagon from Tirur to Coimbatore died of suffocation. It may be noted that the rebellion of 1921 was a national upheaval against British authority.
The Congress workers seemed to be inactive in the immediate post-rebellion period. But in 1923, Sri. K. P. Kesava Menon and a few other Congress workers started the Mathrubhumi, a Malayalam daily from Calicut to popularise the message of Congress. The Salt Satyagraha, started under the leadership of Gandhiji in 1930, had its reflections in Kerala as well. Payyannur became the chief venue of Salt Sathyagraha in Malabar. So eventually Malabar became the epicenter of national movements in Kerala for long time.
During the Second phase of Civil Disobedience Movement (1932), the Congress became an ‘unlawful organization’ in the eyes of the British government. In Malabar, thousands of men and women took part in the agitation nullifying the threats of the government. The withdrawal of the Civil Disobedience Movement was followed by a split in the Congress Party viz. the rightists and the leftists. The leftist group of the Congress party emerged as the Communist Party of Malabar in 1939. They were inspired by the Russian revolution and they lost faith in the Gandhian Principles. But, they stood with the Congress and fought against the foreign government.
After the Second World War, the Congress continued its vigorous struggle for freedom. Malabar continued to be a part of the Madras state even after the attainment of freedom in August 1947. In the general election of 1951, the Congress Party of Malabar secured 4 seats in the Madras Legislature. The reorganization of States in November 1, 1956 led to the formation of the new state of Kerala, combining the three regions -Travancore, Cochin and Malabar.
Among the freedom fighters of Malabar, the names of K. Kelappan, K. P. Kesava Menon, K. Madhava Menon and Muhammed Abdur Rahiman, Moidu Maulawi were very prominent at that time.
Political Movements in Travancore and Congress party
The princely states of Travancore and Cochin had their own struggles and agitations to fight for the people’s rights in these states from the very beginning of the British period. The agitations which took place in the early period aimed at the establishment of good governance. Later, there was a struggle for the achievement of political rights like the participation and representation of people in various levels of administration.
In the earlier years of Congress formation in national level, Congress had a small presence from Travancore.Shri.Kesavappillai from Trivandrum attended in the first session of Congress that took place Bombay on December 28 in 1885.Later in 1891 Malayalee memorial was formed by Barrister.G.P Pillai for the rights of locals in government service. In 1897, Shri.C.Sankaran Nair presided over the congress convention that took place in Amaravati.In 1929 Congress formed its branch in Trivandrum.Barrister A.K pillai was the secretary of the party unit. Later in 1921 KPCC was formed in Ottapalam and later rivandrum also formed a congress committee in the same year.