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Centenary of Malabar rebellion brings secret language into focus

While the origin of Mygurudu is unknown, it is believed that the word originated from ‘Mozhi Kurudu’, which means misleading with words.

Published: 24th October 2021 05:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th October 2021 05:58 AM   |  A+A-

Malabar Rebellion

The 1921 revolt grew as an agitation against the feudal lords who aided the British. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

By Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: The centenary observations of the Malabar rebellion of 1921 are also becoming an occasion to retrieve many forgotten things part of local history. Mygurudu, the secret language that was prevalent in some parts of Malabar, is among them. For the coded language was used widely by the rebels to hoodwink the British during the rebellion.

While the origin of Mygurudu is unknown, it is believed that the word originated from ‘Mozhi Kurudu’, which means misleading with words. The language was developed by swapping Malayalam alphabets. For example, Malayalam alphabet ‘Aa’ is replaced by ‘Sa’ and ‘Eee’ by ‘See’. 

In his book ‘Anglo-Mappila War 1921’, historian A K Kodoor recorded that the rebel leaders had instructed that all messages should be communicated through Mygurudu. He added that rebels’ meeting at Vellinezhi had decided to teach all group members the language, and that the Mappilas of Malabar used the secret language from 15th century AD when they were battling the Portuguese.

The Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) recently organised an exhibition ‘Al Jamia Mygurudu’ at the Al Jamia Al Islamia at Santhapuram near here. “The exhibition was part of a protest against the move from the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to delete the name of those who participated in the 1921 rebellion from the list of freedom fighters,” said Ayman M A, convener of the exhibition.

Dr Pramod Irumbuzhi, who has done extensive research on the language, said he first came to know about it when he was studying at the Calicut University. “I realised that some people can still speak the language. There will be around 500 people who can fluently speak Mygurudu in the seven districts of Malabar,” said Pramod, whose book on the subject has run into the fourth edition.



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