KOZHIKODE: The loudspeakers (Kolambi) transcend their traditional religious purpose in these mosques in Wayanad. Apart from the ceremonial prayer call, the villagers get to know several local updates through them.
Warnings about the arrival of elephants, natural calamity, information about deaths...the ‘public service announcements’ from these mosques have become an integral part of the lives of villagers along the Panamaram-Manathavady stretch over the last 20 years.
The practice prevails at Kaithakkal Juma Masjid, Neykuppa Masjid, Depot Masjid, Parakkuni Juma Masjid, Changadakkadav Masjid, Mathoor Masjid and Neervaram-Manalvayal Juma Masjid.
“The mosque loudspeakers can be heard as far as 2 km and sometimes the Forest Department approaches us to send out elephant arrival alerts through it. Besides that, announcements of death, natural calamity, accidents, public transport arrangements, etc, too are also send out via the speakers. We are happy that it is helping almost 2000 villagers in the area,” said Moidheen K, Secretary of Kaithakkal Juma Masjid.
He recalled coordinating rescue missions through speaker announcements during a flash flood four years ago. He said the most common announcement was about elephant arrivals.
“It is interesting to see how loudspeakers at these mosques serve a non-religious purpose and add to the communal harmony of the place. Similar social practices should be further researched,” said Dhivin Paul, history lecturer at Malabar Christian College and a native of Wayanad.