MALAPPURAM: Reluctant to obey travel restrictions? Unnikrishnan Namboothiri from Palasseri Mana near Manjeri has a piece of advice. Armed with a newspaper cutting with a report on similar curbs imposed by one G H B Jackson for then Malabar district collector during the spread of plague in the country in 1900, he points out that such curbs were used to tackle crisis situations similar to Covid pandemic in the olden times too.
“The governor (of Madras state) is convinced that the entry of people from Mysuru and other places for Ekadashi festival in Guruvayur might lead to the spread of disease in the area. As per the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897, entry of people from the above-mentioned places to Guruvayur has been banned from November 13, 1900 to December 30, 1900,” the order appeared in Manorama, published every Monday from Kozhikode at that time.
The 72-year-old has preserved several such documents, including palm leaf manuscripts and diaries, which he inherited from his ancestors. History students often approach Namboothiri to learn about the rich legacy of Malabar district from his collections.