|Etymology: Vayal Nadu: land of paddy fields|
Location in Kerala
|District Formation||1980 November 1|
|• Member of parliament (India)||Rahul Gandhi|
|• District Collector||Adeela Abdulla IAS|
|• District Panchayat President||Shamshad Marakkar|
|• District MLAs||Sultan Bathery: I.C. Balakrishnan |
Kalpetta: T. Siddique
Mananthavady: O.R. Kelu
|• Total||2,132 km2 (823 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,339 m (7,674 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||700 m (2,300 ft)|
|• Density||397/km2 (1,030/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+05:30 (IST)|
|STD Code||4936, 4935|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-KL|
|Vehicle registration||KL-12 Kalpetta,|
KL-73 Sultan Bathery
|HDI (2005)||0.753 ( High)|
Wayanad is an Indian district in the north-east of Kerala state with administrative headquarters at the municipality of Kalpetta. It is the sole Plateau in Kerala. The Wayanad Plateau forms a continuation of Mysore Plateau, which is the southern portion of Deccan Plateau. It is set high on the Western Ghats with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 meters. Vavul Mala, a 2,339 m high peak situated on the trijunction of Wayanad, Malappuram, and Kozhikode districts, is the highest point in Wayanad district. The district was formed on 1 November 1980 as the 12th district in Kerala by carving out areas from Kozhikode and Kannur districts. About 885.92 sq.km of area of the district is under forest. Wayanad has three municipal towns—Kalpetta, Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery. There are many indigenous tribals in this area. The Kabini River, which is a tributary of Kaveri River, originates at Wayanad. Wayanad district, along with the Chaliyar valley in neighbouring Nilambur region (Eastern Eranad region) in Malappuram district, is known for natural Gold fields, which is also seen in other parts of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Chaliyar river, which is the fourth longest river of Kerala, originates in Wayanad plateau. The historically important Edakkal Caves are located in Wayanad district.
Wayanad district is bordered by Karnataka (Kodagu and Mysore districts) to north and north-east, Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris district) to the south-east, Malappuram to south, Kozhikode to the south-west and Kannur to the north-west. Pulpally in Wayanad boasts of the only Lava- Kusha temple in Kerala and Vythiri has the only mirror temple in Kerala which is a Jain temple. Varambetta mosque is the oldest Muslim mosque of Wayanad. People of Wayanad live in absolute harmony with each other. Wayanad is famous for the unparalleled freedom fight against the British and martyrdom of Pazhasshi Raja with the help of the Kurichya sect of the tribal community in association with Hindus and Muslims of the Malabar region. Kaniyambetta and Muttil Panchayaths are the centrally located Panchayaths having the best access from all corners of Wayanad when Tavinjal Panchayath is on the northeast border with Kannur district. The edicts and caves of Ambukuthi Mala and another evidence state that the place is as old as the beginning of the New Age Civilisation.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Wayanad one of the country's 250 most backward districts out of a total of 640, along with Palakkad district. It is the least urbanised district in Kerala, with only 3.9% urbanisation rate, compared to the state average of 47.2℅. Wayanad is also one among the two districts in Kerala, whose literacy rate is still below 90%, at the time of 2011 Census of India, along with Palakkad.
Wayanad district lies in Bayalu Seeme region (highland) of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Geographically it is similar to the neighbouring districts of Kodagu and Mysore of Karnataka, and Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu. Wayanad plateau forms a continuation of the Mysore Plateau.
During British Raj, Wayanad was a Taluk in the erstwhile Malabar District. The regions included in the Taluks of Gudalur and Pandalur in present-day Nilgiris district, which is also known as Southeast Wayanad, also formed part of the erstwhile Wayanad Taluk. Southeast Wayanad was a part of Malabar District until 31 March 1877, when it was transferred to the neighbouring Nilgiris district due to the heavy population of Malabar and the small area of Nilgiris. Wayanad was a separate Revenue Division within the Malabar District until 1924.
During the States Reorgansiation of 1956 after the independence of India, the Mysore state (present-day Karnataka) claimed for Wayanad due to its historical and geographical peculiarities. However on the linguistic survey of 1951 Census of India, it was found that 87.5% of the total population of Wayanad were native speakers of Malayalam at that time, while Kannada was confined to just 6.2% of the total population.
On 1 January 1957, the erstwhile Malabar District was divided into three: Kannur, Kozhikode, and Palakkad. On the same day Wayanad Taluk was split up into North Wayanad and South Wayanad. Initially both of the Taluks of Wayanad were included in newly formed Kannur district. However after two months on 15 March 1957, South Wayanad Taluk was transferred into Kozhikode district. The North Wayanad Taluk was transferred to Kozhikode district on 1 January 1979.
Wayanad district was formed by incorporating the Taluks of North Wayanad and South Wayanad on 1 November 1980 as the 12th district of Kerala. On the same date, North Wayanad Taluk was renamed as Mananthavady, and South Wayanad was bifurcated to form the Taluks of Sultan Bathery and Vythiri. Kalpetta in Vythiri Taluk became the headquarters of new district.
Historians believe that the human settlements existed in these parts for at least ten centuries before Christ. Much evidence of New Stone Age civilisation can be seen in the hills throughout the present day Wayanad district. The Edakkal Caves has 6000-year-old rock engravings from the Neolithic age. The recorded history of this district is available only from the 18th century. In ancient times, this land was ruled by the Rajas of the Veda tribe.
In the earliest part of the recorded history of Wayanad District, Kasaragod-Kannur-Wayanad-Kozhikode Districts in the northern part of present-day Kerala were ruled by the Nannans (Mushika dynasty) who later came to be known as the Kolathiris. Politically the area was part of the Ezhimala Kingdom with its Capital at Ezhimala in present day Kannur district. The most famous King of Ezhimala was Nannan whose Kingdom extended up to Gudalur, Nilgiris and northern parts of Coimbatore. It is said that Nannan took refuge at Wayanad hills in the 5th century CE when he was lost to Cheras, just before his execution in a battle, according to the Sangam works. Wayanad was a part of the Karkanad which included the eastern regions of Ezhimala kingdom (Wayanad-Gudalur areas including part of Kodagu (Coorg)). Karkanad along with Poozhinadu, which contained much of the coastal belt wedged between Mangalore and Kozhikode was under Ezhimala kingdom with the headquarters at Ezhimala.
Some linguists claim that an inscription found from Edakkal Caves, Wayanad, which belongs to the 3rd century CE (approximately 1,800 years old), is the oldest available inscription in Malayalam, as they contain two modern Malayalam words, Ee (This) and Pazhama (Old), those are not found even in the Oldest form of Tamil.
The Mooshaka Kings were considered descendants of Nannan. By the 14th century, Mooshaka Kingdom was known as Kolathirinad and the Rulers as Kolathiris. The Kolathunad Kingdom at the peak of its power reportedly extended from Netravati River (Mangalore) in the north to Korapuzha (Kozhikode) in the south with Arabian Sea on the west and Kodagu hills on the eastern boundary, also including the isolated islands of Lakshadweep in Arabian Sea.
Kingdom of Kottayam
The Kolathiri Dominion emerged into independent 10 principalities i.e., Kadathanadu (Vadakara), Randathara or Poyanad (Dharmadom), Kottayam (Thalassery), Nileshwaram, Iruvazhinadu (Panoor), Kurumbranad etc., under separate royal chieftains due to the outcome of internal dissensions. The Nileshwaram dynasty on the northernmost part of Kolathiri dominion, were relatives to both Kolathunadu as well as Zamorin of Calicut, in the early medieval period. The origin of Kottayam Royal Family (the Kottayam referred here is Kottayam-Malabar near Thalassery, not to be confused with Kottayam in Southern Kerala) is lost in obscurity. It has been stated that the Raja of Kottayam setup a semi-independent principality of his own at the expense of Kolathiris. In the 10th century AD, the region comprised erstwhile Taluks of Kottayam, Wayanad and Gudallur was called Puraikizhanad and its feudal lord Puraikizhars. The Thirunelly Inscriptions refer to the division of Puraikizhar Family into two branches viz., Elder (Muthukur) and Younger (Elamkur) in the beginning of the 11th century. In 17th century Kottayam-Malabar was the Capital of Puraikizhanad (Puranattukara) Rajas. It was divided into three branches i.e., Eastern, Western and Southern under separate dignitaries known as Mootha, Elaya and Munnarkur Rajas. The Kottayam Rajas extended their influence up to the border of Kodagu. By the end of the 17th century, they shared the area of Thalassery Taluk with the Iruvazhinadu Nambiars and were in possession of North Wayanad and the small Village of Thamarassery which formed the Eastern portion of the present Vadakara, Quilandy and Thamarassery Taluks.
- The Kutumbiyas (Kudumbiyas)
The two caves of Ampukuthimala (Edakal Caves) in Sulthan Bathery, with pictures on their walls and pictorial writings, speak volumes of a bygone civilisation. At the foot of the Edakal Male (hill) caves, Kannada inscriptions belonging to Canarese chieftain Vishnu Varma of Kutumbiya (Kudumbiya) clan of Mysore dating to c. 5th century CE were discovered which read – 'Palapulitaanamtakaari' or 'Pala pulinânam ta-kâri', Sri Vishnu Varma Kutumbiya Kulavardhanasya li..it..a..'. As per Hultzch, an epigraphist from the department of epigraphy, Madras, it speaks of the glorious descendant of Kutumbiya clan, Kannada chieftain, Vishnu Varma, as one who killed many tigers. Some scholars speculate this Kutumba clan to be the same as the Kurumbas found there.
- The Kadambas
In the 11th century AD, Gangas were dethroned from Bayalnad by Kadamba dynasty of North Canara. Wayanad, called Bayalnad (Kannada) since beginning, was at that time divided into two portions – Bira Bayalnad and Chagi Bayalnad. One of the Mysore inscriptions (alluding perhaps to the treacherous beauty of the country, which attracted the stranger and then laid him low with malaria) says 'an adulteress with black waving curls, as adulteress with full-moon face, an adulteress with endless side-glances, an adulteress with adorned slim figure was this storeyed mansion, the double Bayalnad'. Kadamba Bayalnad emerged as a rule in the 11th century under their chief Raviyammarasa with Kirttipura (present Kittur town, Heggadadevanakote taluk, Mysuru, which got submerged in the backwaters of the Kabini river dam) in Punnad (Punnata) their capital. Kanthirava (1090 CE) was described as ruling Chagi-Bayalnad. Iravi-Challamma (1108 CE) was the ruler of Bira-Bayalnad.
The Western Chalukyas (Kalyani Chalukyas)
Under emperor Tailapa II (973–997 CE) many Jain Basthis were built in south India. The Jain centres and agricultural villages of Wayanad came in to existence during this time. There are many proofs, which justify the existence of Jainism in Wayanad.
- The Hoysalas
In 1104 CE Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala invaded Bayalnad and Nilgiris and annexed them followed by Vijayanagara dynasty in the 14th century. A Kadamba king, Mukkanna-Kadamba ruled Bayal-nad in and around 1138 CE.
- The Vijayanagara empire
A feudatory chieftain of Sangama dynasty of Vijaynagar, Immadi Kadamba Raya Vodeyayya of Bayalnad Kadambas, is said to have ruled Bayalnad.
- The Mysore Wodeyars and the Sultans
In 1610 CE Udaiyar Raja Wadiyar of Mysore drove out Vijayanagara General and became the ruler of Bayalnad and the Nilgiris. Bayalnad is the present Wayanad.
An inscription discovered from a Jain Basti at Varadur near Panamaram dated to Saka era 1606 which is 1684 CE, shows that Jainism was still very powerful even in the 17th Century. The inscription which was noticed by noted epigraphist and historian Dr. M. R. Raghava Varriar, has reference about the earliest Jain settlements and temples in Wayanad. The copper plate inscription which was placed under a water fountain at Varadur Ananthanatha Swami temple deals with the grant of various ritual materials to the Jain Basathis of Wayanad by Lalithappa, the younger son of Bommarasa of the Karkala Aremane Basathi.
The Kannada inscription dated Sakavarsha 1606 (i.e., 1684 CE) Rakthakshi Samvatsara Jeshtabahula Shukravara reads:
'Karkala aremane basthiya bommarasanu mommaga lalithappanu devapooje chinna belli thamra kanchu upakaranagalu madisi kotta bibara'.
The Jain Chaithyalayas or temples referred in the inscription are Arepathra, Bennegodu, Palagondu, Hanneradubeedhi, Puthangadi (Muthangadi) and Hosangadi. The Arepathra Chaityalaya is not yet identified. It is believed that it was at the hilltop near to the Panamaram river. The other Kannada touch place names are identified with their present Malayalam version names as Venniyode, Palukunnu, Sultan Batheri, Puthangadi and Mananthavady respectively. Raghava Varriar says that there were seven Jain centres in Wayanad viz. Manikyapuri, Ksheerapuri, Kalpathi, Vennayode, Palagondu, Hosangadi and Hanneradubeedhi. It is believed that Manikyapuri was at the present day Manichira. The location of Ksheerapuri is not yet identified. Kalpathi may be Kalpetta, the present day Wayanad district headquarters, Anjukunnu was then Hanjugondu, etc.
When Wayanad was under Hyder Ali's rule, the ghat road from Vythiri to Thamarassery was constructed. Then the British rulers developed this route to Carter road. When Wayanad was under Tipu Sultan's rule British invasion started. Tussle and turbulent times followed. The British claimed Wayanad under the 1792 treaty of Srirangapatna citing it was part of Malabar. Tipu Sultan went in appeal before the Governor General. Considering his arguments, relying on the successive Karnataka rule for centuries in Wayanad and its geographical detachment from Malabar, in 1798, Governor General Lord Mornington declared by proclamation that Wayanad had not been ceded to the East India Company by the treaty of 1792. Consequently, the British troops withdrew from Wayanad conceding to Tipu's rule. In 1799, after the fall of Sultan, the British handed over Wayanad by the treaty of 1799 to the Raja of Mysore. But by a supplementary treaty dated 29 December 1803 the East India Company repossessed Wayanad and thereafter administrated by Col. Arthur Wellesley from Srirangapatna and North Wayanad came under the rule of the Pazhassi Raja dynasty of ancient Kottayam.
When Wayanad was under Hyder Ali's rule, the ghat road from Vythiri to Thamarassery was invented. Then the British rulers developed this route to Carter road. After Hyder Ali, his son Tipu Sultan took control over the territory.
Initially the British had to suffer local resistance against their rule under the leadership of Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, who had popular support in Thalassery-Wayanad region. In the end, the British could get only the dead body of the Rajah, who killed himself somewhere in the interior of the forest. Thus, Wayanad fell into the hands of the British and with it came a new turn in the home of this area. The British authorities opened up the plateau to the cultivation of tea and other cash crops by constructing roads across the dangerous slopes of Wayanad, to Kozhikode and Thalassery. Later, they extended these new roads to the cities of Mysore and Ooty through Gudalur. Settlers emigrated from all parts of Kerala and the fecund lands proved a veritable goldmine with incredible yields of cash crops. Agriculture Cultivation started broadly after 1900 A.D onwards.
When the State of Kerala came into being in November 1956, Wayanad was part of Kannur district. Later, south Wayanad was added to Kozhikode district. To fulfil the aspirations of the people of Wayanad for development, North Wayanad and South Wayanad were carved out and joined together to form the present district of Wayanad. This district came into being on 1 November 1980 as one of the twelve districts of Kerala, consisting of three taluks; Vythiri, Mananthavady, and Sulthan Bathery.
Tribes in Wayanad
The Wayanad have the largest tribal population in Kerala with 8 scheduled tribes including Adiyan, Paniyan, Mullukkurman, Kurichyan, Vettakkuruman, Wayanad Kadar, Kattuniakkan and Thachaanadan Mooppan. These communities have a number of symbolic oral narratives
Adiyan: Adiyans are a matrilineal Tribal group, who were treated as bonded slave labourers by the landlords up to 1976. Now the majority of them are agricultural labourers and some of them are marginal agriculturalist. They spoke Adiya language as their mother tongue.
Kattuniakkan: A particularly Vulnerable Tribal group of Wayanad. Jenu Kurumban and Ten Kurumban are the synonyms used for the Kattunayakan community. They spoke Kattunaikka language a dialect of Kannada and Malayalam. They are patrilineal and a forest dwelling, hunting and gathering community.This is the largest population among PVTG in Kerala with a total population of19995 (Male- 9953, Female-10042)
Kurichyan: They are the second largest community among Scheduled Tribes with a total population of 35909 (Male- 18129, Female-17780)
Mullukkurman: A patrilineal and patrilocal tribal agriculturalist community found in Wayanad. The community members are expert in hunting and their spoken language is Mullukkuruma language. The total population is 21375 (Male- 10625, female-10750)
Paniyan: A Patrilinial slave tribe community until the 1970s Bonded labour act, distributed in Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram. They are the largest single tribal community with a population of 92787 (Male-45112, female- 47675). Their language is a dialect known as Paniya Language and nowadays they are agricultural labourers
Thachaanadan Mooppan: Thachaanadan Mooppan is a matrilineal community. In earlier days they are shifting cultivators and hunters. Nowadays they earn through agricultural labour work. They are expert in carpentry and basket making. Their total population is 1649, and consists of 814 males and 835 females.
Vettakkuruman: Vettakkuruman also a patrilineal tribal community. They are the artisan tribes and well versed in pottery, carpentry, blacksmithry and tools making and Basketry. Their language is known as Bettakkuruma language. The population of Vettakuruman is 6482 consisting of 3193 males and 3289 females.
Wayanad Kadar: They are found in Kozhikkode and Wayanad district and entirely a different generic stock from Kaders of Cochin. They are matrilineal marginal tribes with a population of 673 consists of 348 males and 325 females.
Wayanad district stands on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau and includes part of the Western Ghats. The western parts of the district bordering Kozhikode district consists of the Western Ghats covered with dense forest. The district forms a part of the south western Deccan plateau, and is sloped to the east. Quite a large area of the district is covered by forest but the continued and indiscriminate exploitation of the natural resources point towards an imminent environmental crisis. There are a lot of trekking points in this district. Chembra Peak (2,100m) is the highest peak in the Wayanad district. Banasura Hill (2,079m) is also similar to height of Chembra hill.
The district is blessed with rich water resources. There are east flowing and west flowing rivers in the region. One of the major rivers in the district is Kabini River, a tributary of River Kaveri; it is also one of the only three east flowing rivers in Kerala. Kabani has many tributaries including Thirunelli River, Panamaram River and Mananthavady River. All these rivulets help form a rich water resource as well as a distinct landscape for the district. Various streams flow into the Panamaram rivulet while it passes through the mountain gorges and finally the river falls down into Panamaram Valley. After flowing through the district for a certain distance, River Panamaram joins Mananthavady River, which originates from the lower regions of the peak called 'Thondarmudi'.
Banasura Sagar Dam
Banasura Sagar Dam across the Karamanathodu River, a tributary of River Kabini, in Kalpetta, is considered to be the largest earth dam in India and the second largest in Asia. The dam is ideally placed in the foothills of Banasura hills, which got its name from 'Banasura', the son of King Mahabali, the famous ruler of Kerala. The dam here was constructed on behalf of the Banasurasagar project in 1979, to support the Kakkayam Hydroelectric power project and to meet the water demand for irrigation and drinking purposes. The dam, located around 21 km away from Kalpetta is a tourist destination in Wayanad. Banasura dam is made up of massive stacks of stones and boulders.
Karapuzha Dam is considered to be one of the biggest earth dams in India, which has been constructed on the Karapuzha River, a tributary of the Kabini River. Vazhavatta in Vythiri taluk of Wynad district for providing irrigation to an area of 5580 ha (CCA) say 5600 hectare in Vythiri and Sultan Bathery taluks of Wynad district of Kerala. The reservoir has a gross storage capacity of 76.50 M Cum and live storage capacity of 72.00 M Cum.
Flora and fauna
The soil and climate of Wayanad are suitable for horticulture on commercial basis. For promoting the cultivation of vegetables and raising of orchards, the Kerala Agricultural University is running a regional Agricultural Research Station at Ambalavayal.
Elephant, bear and other wild animals from the neighbouring wild life sanctuaries of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, stray into the Begur forest range and the forests around Muthanga, which is 20 kilometres away from the town of Sultan Bathery.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural crops in the district are Coffee, tea, cocoa, pepper, plantain, vanilla, rice, coconut, cardamom, tea, ginger, etc. Wayanad is known for its rice production. The two rice of the district namely Wayanad Jeerakasala rice and Wayanad Gandhakasala rice has their different properties. Another source of economy in the district is the cattle farming. The tourism sector of the district is very developed and every year a huge chunk of revenue comes from this sector helps in its economy to a great extent. The district is scantily industrialised. In the name of industry, there is only Wayanad dairy of Milma (Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation) at Kalpetta and a few small scale industries.
In 2006, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Wayanad one of the country's 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the two districts in Kerala currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
It is the least populous district in Kerala. Unlike the other districts of Kerala, barring Idukki, in Wayanad district, there is no town or village named same as the district (i.e., there is no "Wayanad town").
According to the 2018 Statistics Report, Wayanad district had a population of 846,637, roughly equal to the nation of Comoros. 2011 Census of India gives district a ranking of 482nd in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 397 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,030/sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 4.6%. Wayanad has a sex ratio of 1035 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 89.32%, the lowest in the state. The district is home to the highest ratio of Scheduled Tribes (ST) population in Kerala, which accounts for around 20% of total population of the district.
Paniyas, Uraali Kurumas, and Kurichiyans comprise the tribes in Wayanad. Badagas are present in 21 hamlets spread across Wayanad. The entire Wayanad region fell under the Kannada speaking area as per the linguistic survey and history of Colonel Wilks.
On 22 May 2019, The Election Commission open its first warehouse in the State for the storage of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines at Sulthan Bathery.
- District Headquarters: Kalpetta. District Collector, District Police Chief and District Judge are based at Kalpetta.
- No. of Taluks: 3
- No. of state Assembly Legislators: 3
- Kalpetta – Current MLA is T. Siddique
- Sulthan Bathery – Current MLA is I. C. Balakrishnan
- Mananthavady – Current MLA is O. R. Kelu
- Lok Sabha Representation: 1
The Kozhikode–Kollegal National Highway 766 (formarly NH 212) passes through Wayanad district. En route to Mysore on NH 212, past Wayanad district boundary, which is also the Kerala state boundary, NH 766 passes through Bandipur National Park.
The District has more than 20 destinations. The District Tourism Promotion Council, (DTPC) of Wayanad that functions under the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala is responsible for all tourism related activities in the district.
This article's list of residents may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. (November 2018)
- M. P. Veerendra Kumar – Politician
- C. K. Saseendran – Politician
- Sunny Wayne – Actor
- Fr.Mathai Nooranal
- Yuhanon Mor Philoxenos Metropolitan (Late) – Bishop
- George Njaralakatt Bishop
- Mathews Mor Aphrem Metropolitan – Bishop
- Abu Salim – Actor
- Anu Sithara – Actress
- Midhun Manuel Thomas – Director
- Basil Joseph – Director
- Jenith Kachappilly – Director
- Manu Manjith – Lyricist
- P. S. Jeena – Basketball Player
- Sreedhanya Suresh-IAS
- Vinod Jose – Journalist
- Nanditha K. S. – Poet
- Kalpatta Narayanan -Novelist
- O. R. Kelu -Politician
- Esther Anil – Actress
- Kingdom of Kottayam
- Tourist attractions in Wayanad
- List of educational institutions in Wayanad district
- List of religious sites in Wayanad
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- "Interesting Facts About Wayanad". 23 December 2016.
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