K. M. Seethi

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K. M. Seethi, Saheb Bahadur, usually referred to as Seethi Saheb (1898 − 17 April 1961), was a Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly and a social reform leader of the Mappilas of Kerala, India. His role in the uplifting of the Mappila community in post-Independent India was so significant that he is sometimes referred to as the "Chief Architect of the Mappila revival" in Kerala.[1] He was also sometimes referred to as "Seethi Sahib Bahadur", the suffix being an honorary title conferred upon by the British in pre-Independent India.[2]

Early years[edit]

Seethi was born in 1899 as the son of Haji Seethi Mohammed and A.K. Fatima Beevi in an affluent family in Azhikode near Kodungaloor in Thrissur District. He did his schooling at Kodungaloor High School and completed the Intermediate Course from Ernakulam Maharajas College in 1917, topping his batch. He pursued his further education to attain the B.A. and B.L. degrees. After graduating in law, he enrolled as an Advocate in Madras High Court in 1927. He went on to become a successful lawyer, practising at Ernakulam and Tellicherry.[3]

He joined politics as a student, taking part in the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921.[3] His mentor was Vakkom Moulavi, a pioneering social worker and freedom activist from Travancore. Maulavi's thoughts and writings in his periodical Muslim played an important role in defining his religious beliefs and ideology.[4]

In 1928, Seethi was elected to the Cochin Legislative Assembly and attended the historic 1930 Lahore Congress session representing the people of Kerala. A year later, he was re-elected to the Cochin Legislative Assembly. But conflicting communal perceptions within the Congress led to his departure from the organisation in 1933. By 1934, he had become active in the Muslim League[5] In 1946, he was elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly from the Malappuram Constituency, a victory he repeated in 1952.[3]

Independent India[edit]

After the State of Kerala was formed, he won the 1960 elections to represent the Kuttippuram Constituency.[3] He was elected as the Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly on 22 February 1960 in the Pattom Thanupillai ministry. One years later, on 17 April 1961 while in office as the Speaker, he died, making him the first Speaker to die in office, followed by G. Karthikeyan in 2015.[6]

Influence[edit]

Seethi Sahib was an eminent lawyer, statesman, writer and a gifted orator. He was a founder member of the Chandrika newspaper in 1934 and influenced a wide range of other individuals who struggled for the Mappila community revival.[3] They included figures such as KK Muhammad Shafi, the first editor of the newspaper Chandrika, C.P. Mammu Keyi, its first managing director and B. Poker Sahib (1890-1965) etc.[7] He was a founding member of the Farook College at Calicut, a landmark institution in the renaissance of Muslims in the Malabar.[8]

Legacy[edit]

Seethi Sahib Memorial Polytechnic College in Tirur and Seethi Sahib Higher Secondary School in Taliparamba are named after him. In August 1992, the Department of Cultural Publications, Government of Kerala published his biography titled "Seethi Sahib", authored by T. M. Savankutty.[9]

Preceded by
Sankara Narayanan Thampi
Speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly
1960– 1961
Succeeded by
C. H. Mohammed Koya

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roland Miller, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol VI, Brill 1988, p. 458–466,
  2. ^ Selected speeches and addresses of V. V. Giri, Governor of Kerala, Varahagiri Venkata Giri, Govt. Press, 1963. p. 240
  3. ^ a b c d e Speakers & Deputy Speakers Book Final - Kerala Legislative Assembly, Secretariat of Kerala Legislature, Thiruvananthapuram, 2006
  4. ^ Mappila Muslims of Kerala: a study in Islamic trends, Roland E. Miller, Orient Longman, 1976. p. 272
  5. ^ Kerala Muslims: a historical perspective, Asgharali Engineer, Ajanta Publications, 1995. p. 211
  6. ^ The Muslim League in South India since Independence: A Study in Minority Group Political Strategies, Theodore P. Wright, Jr., The American Political Science Review, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Sep., 1966), pp. 579–599.
  7. ^ Mappila Muslims of Kerala: a study in Islamic trends, Roland E. Miller - Orient Longman, 1992. p. 297
  8. ^ http://www.farookcollege.ac.in/main/Administration.asp
  9. ^ http://www.kerala.gov.in/dept_culture/books.htm