Kerala has a heroic role in the Indian independence movement. Its story was started by the king of Pazhassi. In the last years of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th century, there were concerted efforts to overthrow British power. Malabar, Travancore, and Cochin participated in the early struggles of modern Kerala.
King Kerala Varma Pazhassi of the Kottayam royal family organized bitter protests against the British in Malabar. The main reason for the riot was their false tax law. In 1795, the British army under Lieutenant Gordon tried to catch Pazhassi but he escaped into forest hills. With the help of the Kurichi Army, Pazhassi killed thousands of British army. Angry British men killed many loyal supporters of Pazhassi. The sanctuary of Pazhassi was surrounded. When he had no choice, he committed suicide.
After the suppression of the Pazhassi revolution, another challenge emerged against British domination. It was the prime ministers of Travancore and Cochin, Veluthambidalava, and Pali Thachathan. According to the slogan of the famous Kundara Declaration dated January 11, 1809, there was a fierce battle with the British army at Kollam under the command of Dalawa. There was massive destruction on both sides. Veluthambi left to the North and took refuge in the Potti residence of Mannadi Temple. He suicided when his enemies came to capture him. In Kochi, they defeated Paliathtachan and deported him to Madras.
The Rebellion of Kurichians was the latest in a series of riots in Malabar against British domination. The riot, which was held in protest at the British tax policy, has made an unforgettable remark in the records of Indian independence history. The British Malabar’s role in the national movement that led to the independence of India was significant. The Indian National Congress, established in 1885, has many members from the Malabar District. K. P. Keshava Menon was a prominent member of the All India Home Rule League, founded in 1916 by Annie Besant. The nationalist movement gained momentum in 1920 when Mahatma Gandhi took over the leadership of the Indian National Congress.
The Khilafat Movement, which was launched as a protest against the British government due to their partition of Turkey and the denial of the religious sovereignty of the Turkish Sultan made a big effect on the independence movement. Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Shaukat Ali visited Kerala to organize Khilafat Committees and to spread the movement against a foreign government.
The Malabar Rebellion of 1921 and its associated “Wagon Tragedy” are black threads of the history of the War of Independence. 10th November 1921 about 90 people were made to travel from tiroor to Coimbatore in a fully closed goods wagon and about 60 of them were died during the journey due to insufficient air for breath. This incident is a huge wagon tragedy.
The salt Satyagraha started by Gandhiji in March 1930 has had repercussions in Kerala too. Payyannur was the source of the Salt Satyagraha in Malabar. K. Kelappan, Mohammed Abdul Rahman, K Madhavan Nair like all the Congress leaders were arrested. They were severely punished. Along with the salt satyagraha, congressmen picketed counterfeit shops and organized a boycott of foreign goods.
In May 1934, the Civil Disobedience Movement was withdrawn. Thereafter, the Congress party in Kerala was split into right and left. The Leftists formed in 1934 and became the Kerala unit of the All India Congress Socialist Party and became a separate section of the Congress under the leadership of E. M. S Namboothiripad, Krishna Pillai and others. A militant group of national Muslims, led by Muhammad Abdul Rahman, was formed at this time. In 1937, King Abdul Rahman Ali of Kannur was elected as the first president of the Muslim League in Malabar. Congress Socialist group in Congress party became a communist party in Malabar in 1939.
After 1930, Travancore crossed one of the most profound political lines in its history. As a protest against constitutional reforms in 1932, the Counter-Liberation Movement was started.
For many reasons, the Quit India movement of 1942 had no serious impact on Travancore. Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer’s proposal on constitutional change was announced in January 1946. The American style non-removable executive included governing body was the Diwan meant. The State Congress rejected the plan. In September 1946, for making responsible governance, the courageous people’s movement of Vayalar and Punnapra were attacked by C. P’s army by guns. Workers in vialar clashed with stones and sticks. Hundreds of people died.
Travancore’s lordship over the years 1946-47 led to many dramatic events. The Indian Independence Act of 1946 stipulated that the sovereignty of the Indian states over the British throne would cease from the day when British power was withdrawn from India. Sir C. P, said that Travancore would become an independent nation when the British left India. Travancore was once again in the throes of political upheaval. On July 25, 1947, an attempt was made to assassinate Diwan. Following this incident, Lord Mountbatten, the Governor-General, informed the Lord of His decision to incorporate Thiruvithamkur into the Indian Union. Within a month, India became independent.