MY LIFE AND STRUGGLES – 13AT CANNANORE (CONTD)I stayed about one year at Cannanore while undergoing teachers’ training and then again about 5 years while working in telephones. Cannanore always held a fascination, not only because my home is near, but also a large number of relations, friends and comrades are there. After Cannanore became district headquarters, it spread beyond its original boundaries.Cannanore was one town, where Persian and Arabian merchants visited for business purposes. Later, Europeans started occupying and fortifying the place due to its importance for navigation and defence. St. Angelo’s Fort is part of this tradition. There is a similar fort at Tellicherry. The Bekal Fort (now in Kasargode District) also has a long history. There was a big military barrack at Cannanore. One interesting factor is that many of the British Officers stationed here, married local women and while going back, provided them with shelter and money to sustain a comparatively better living. St. Michaels Anglo Indian School, founded in 1865, provided English medium education for both British as well as Indians.Arakkal kingdom, near Cannanore, was the only Muslim Kingdom in Kerala coast. Its history goes to 17th century or earlier. Its rulers were called Arakkal Sultan or Arakkal Beebi, as the case may be. A portion of the Arakkal palace is now a well maintained museum.Theyyam, a ritualistic form of art, is a religious-cultural tradition of this area. Many of the theyyams are based on life and achievements of local chieftains or martyrs. The ritual is performed by expert artists. Kerala Government has formed a Folk Lore Academy for promotion of such traditional arts. Happy to state that Com.Keecheri Raghavan, former BSNLEU leader, is the present Secretary of this Academy.Famous Parassinikkadavu Muthappan Temple, on side of Valapattanam river, visited by large number of devotees, is also near. The deity is Muthappan, a manifestation of Lord Shiva, as per folk lore.Another important place is long and wide Payyambalam Beach which hundreds of people visit every day. On one side of the beach, memorial structures of politicians and cultural leaders can be seen. These include that of Swadeshabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai, a fearless journalist who criticised the wrong doing of Dewan of Travancore Raja and was banished from the kingdom. He died at Kannur in 1916 and is buried at Payyambalam. Memorial to Com. A.K.Gopalan, one of the greatest working class leaders, is also here. Memorials of Comrades E.K.Nayanar (former Chief Minister), C.Kannan, O.Bharathan, CITU leaders as also Coms.N.P.Padmanabhan and T.M.Janardhanan, two stalwarts of the P and T trade union movement are there.Central Jail is nearby, which accommodates maximum number of prisoners of Malabar region. During my service at Cannanore, used to visit these places.Lot of changes have taken place. A new Telephone Exchange has been constructed near railway station by 1970s. General Manager Telecom Office is working in a building about one km away. City has become very congested.A ball badminton court was prepared on the side of the telephone exchange, where we used to play in evenings. It was very popular game in Cannanore area. Our team won and got first position in Calicut Division twice. I was part of the team. Used to play chess and carroms in the club. Com. T.M.Koya, senior telephone operator (brother of Shri T.Abdul Rehman, well known foot-ball player), was adept in foot-ball, chess, caroms etc. There were many other sportsmen and players.As Recreation Club Secretary, I once asked the Baliapattam Plywood Company, one of the biggest plywood factories, to supply a carrom board, which they used to manufacture. They made it and supplied, one of the best carrom board I have ever seen; specially made for us. When I asked the price to pay for the same, the person who brought said that it is a present from the owner, Mr. Kader Kutty, who was a well-known industrialist of the area. We had to accept the gift. In the same way, when the telephone staff approached subscribers for collection of funds for Conference or so, which were very rare, subscribers used to donate liberally. There was a close bond between the staff and the subscribers. (To be continued). Photos (1) Theyyam (2) Parassini Kadavu (3) St.Michaels School (4) Payyambalam Beach (5) Arakkal palace

12Sankar K R Poonithura, Vijayan Nocholipoyil and 10 others