Variyan Kunnathu Kunjahammed Haji

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chakkiparamban Variyan Kunnathu Kunjahammed Haji
Died 20 January 1922
Kottakkunnu, Malappuram
Known for Leader of Māppila Uprising (1921-22)

Chakkiparamban Variyankunnathu Kunjahammed Haji (died 20 January 1922) was a Mappila rebel leader in the 1921 anti-British uprising in the Malabar region, South India.[1][2]

Many important details about Haji’s life are quite scant, as British authorities had burnt official documents containing valuable information into his life after British cops shot him dead. Variyankunnath was a valiant fighter and a ruler par excellence. He is a forgotten name in the annals of India's freedom movement because Indian historians unabashedly parroted the versions put forth by the British rulers who dismissed him as a 'religious fanatic'. His brilliant shadow guerrilla fights against the British rule in the Malabar region have been recorded by historians like K. N. Panikkar.

He ran a parallel people's government, in open defiance of British rulers, for more than six months in most parts of the then Eranadu and Valluvanadu taluks spread over the Malabar region of Kerala with a proper system of governance and tax collection, etc. His intended to challenge the ruthless and unscrupulous British rule.

The shadow guerrilla fights spearheaded by his men annoyed the British rulers.

Under the guise of conciliatory talks, Haji was approached by the British men. When the 'mediators' arrived at his hide-out place, he was offering prayers and thus had not kept his dagger with him which was meant for self-protection. He was caught from behind and was put to trial.

He was sentenced to death by a British military court. Asked about his last wish, Haji said: "I heard that you people shoot prisoners from behind after blindfolding them. I want you to shoot me from the front without blindfolding me. (sic)" He was shot dead by the British police at Kottakunnu in Malappuram without any proper legal trial and his body was burnt along with several hundred pages of British records on him and his parallel rule. These records could have been valuable in throwing light on the glorious days of Haji's rule and many other useful information about him.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

Variyankunnath is portrayed in the popular Malayalam movie 1921 directed by I.V. Sasi. Acted by Malayalam actor T.G. Ravi, Haji's final moments have been well captured in this film, which tries to give an honest and unvarnished portrayal of the Malabar Muslims' uprising against the repressive and ruthless British rule in the Malabar region.


  1. ^ K. N. Panikkar (1991). Peasant protests and revolts in Malabar. Indian Council of Historical Research. 
  2. ^ "Janasevanakendram: Manjeri Municipality". Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 

Further reading[edit]