There are stories from the pages of time that are tragic, heartrending and simply chilling. Some, concealed beneath the epoch gone by, forgotten and lost, to be eternally veiled from equivocation.
One such story is of Ramasimhan alias Uneen Sahib.
Just south of today’s Malappuram town is the village called Chemmun Kadavu. Around 10 miles from Chemmun Kadavu, the serene, striking place called Malaparamba, and the Mattummal Sri Narasimha Moorthy Temple, overlooking the Western Ghats on one side, and the agricultural countryside of Valluvanad, is sited. In these places today, like any other in Kerala, life moves on daily, undaunted, oblivious and unaware of the episodes that developed in the early days of the last century, and culminated during the first days of independent India.
Most of us know, the two tragic events that shaped the destiny of Malabar is the Mysore Invasion and from 1766-1798 and its consequential sequel during the unrest and turmoil of 1921. Till then, Kerala has a secure, safe and sheltered social fabric which was torn to shreds by these precarious events. The events during this period led to undying and unending blemish in the minds of the populace, which stay on to this generation and shaped the behavior and deeds of many an actions.
Uneen Sahib was the son of Thekke Palliyatali Moidu of Chemmun Kadavu village. Moidu belonged to a reputed Muslim family called Kiliyan Mannil, whose main forte was agriculture and cultivation. Uneen Sahib was well educated compared to those of his community in those days, and had considerable wealth and affluence and was scrupulously following western culture and lifestyle. In due course of time, he was married to the daughter of a prominent businessman from his community hailing from Mannarkad of the present day Palakkad district.
Uneen Sahib was conferred the title of “Khan Bahadur” by the British Government. In due passage of time, he took around 600 acres of land on lease around the Mattummal Sri Narasimha Moorthy Temple in Malaparamba from the Kundrackal Nair Family, and converted it into a rubber plantation. He also constructed an impressive bungalow within this land.
Uneen Sahib had the contempt and disdain towards the Santana Dharma and its followers, much similar to the ones seen among the plunderers and invaders that Bharatvarsh had seen over the ages. He did not miss any single opportunity to insult, abuse and slur the kafirs, their beliefs, customs and tradition.
The Mattummal Sri Narasimha Moorthy Temple had been waylaid to wreck by the invasion of the Mysore army during the late 18th century, and had not recovered. As recorded in history, the defenseless, inert and unpretentious Hindu populace of the land couldn’t defend its temples, and even though passage of at least two generations from the invasion of Malabar to the time of Uneen Sahib, the temple was still in ruins. The sacred remains of the temple with its majestic works of art, marvelously engraved pillars, beams and stones were lying in ruins, and Uneen Sahib, in his act of scrupulous arrogance and conceit, used these revered and sacrosanct stones to build the toilet of his grandiose bungalow.
Too much of conceit, superciliousness and disrespect and insolence to the Gods, and they have its own ways of teaching you manners.
Soon, Uneen Sahib was embroiled in innumerable problems, including financial crisis, illness and diseases. He tried to wriggle out of all these, but the more and more he tried to get out, the more and more he was falling back. There were people watching this, and some of them advised him to take the assistance renowned Hindu Saints, who had medicinal, scholaric and astrological dexterity to help him out of his predicament.
This meant an infringement of the religious stance he had taken till that day in his life. Nevertheless, he consulted the men of wisdom, who saw his acts of insult towards the temple as the foremost raison d’être for his plight and asked him to make amends and atone. It is said, he had a vision of Goddess Durga in his dreams. In due course of time, he repaired the temple and restored it to its former glory. The temple was rebuilt according to the norms of thanthra-shasthra, and regular worship, ceremonies and rituals began in the earnest.
Once his penitence was complete, Uneen Sahib saw a dramatic improvement in his health condition and his financial status recovered dramatically. Soon his health and wealth was back to his old self. But the preceding incidents of his life, his illness, the recovery, the cherished and intimate association with the men of wisdom and the scriptures of sanathana dharma, and the miraculous experiences brought about a marvelous transformation in his mind-set, thoughts and life.
Soon, Uneen Sahib took up vegetarianism. He started practicing yoga, and got deeply involved in rumination. For him, he started leading an pure life, and by virtue of his good education and thirst for knowledge, started reading and learning Bhagavad Gita, Vedas and other books of Hindu culture and philosophy. For him, the Hindu way of life looked the best way forward. The pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses now adored the prominent place in his house, creating an atmosphere and sensation of sanctimonious and devotion.
The rightful culmination of the turn of events was his adaptation of Hinduism, and this happened in 1946. Uneen Sahib, along with his immediate family and younger brother converted to Hinduism. Thus, he came to be known as Ramasimhan, and his younger brother Alippu became Dayasimhan.
Another important aspect of this conversion was that Dayasimhan was allowed into the Brahmin fold, and came to be known as Narasimhan Nambootiri. He was soon married to a Brahmin girl, Kamala Antarjanam. This is one instance that shows the greatness of Hinduism. Unlike claimed by lots of so called “learned experts” of today’s world, a man could become a Nambootiri despite being a convert from a different religion if he possess the right virtues.
This event sent shockwaves along the Valluvanadan countryside. A wealthy Muslim landlord had just converted to Hinduism, and in the milieu of the events of the last few decades of the land, it was unheard of and nothing short of a revolution. There were clergy and clerics of his preceding faith who came to Ramasimhan and tried to convince him that he had done a fault by doing this. His reply was that he had not committed any mistake. He countered that it was his ancestors before one generation, who, on being captured, committed the fault of converting from the Sanatana Dharma. “I am re-converting to Hinduism to rectify the fault of my grandmother” – was his reply.
The funds of charity that earlier flowed from Uneen Sahib’s coffers to the mosques now started moving from Ramasimhan towards the restoration and restitution of temples desecrated and destroyed during the tumultuous past. It was an era when most of the populace could remember their immediately preceding generation who were originally followers of Hinduism, and there was fear among the religious clergy that, inspired by Ramasimhan, more people might want to return back to the safety of a more noninterventionist faith.
Soon, a conspiracy was hatched, and the plan implemented.
Well past midnight of 2 August 1947, a noxious gang of blood thirsty, dogmatist bigots armed with deadly swords and other weapons attacked and murdered Ramasimhan, Dayasimhan, Kamala Antarjanam and their cook Raju Iyer in cold blood.
Thus, ended in tragedy, the life of Ramasimhan of Malaparamba.
When the whole country was rejoicing the Independence from the British, a Valluvanadan countryside was pushed deep into anguish, grief and mourning.
Providence plays strange games, some, like Ramasimhan, lost in the pages of time.
Within weeks of the murder of Ramasimhan and family, the Mattummal Sri Narasimha Moorthy Temple was attacked and demolished again. The 600 acres of land that belonged to the temple and that were part of Ramasimhan’s estate now is in private hands, and there were litigations in court going on. Following a court order in 2005, sixty seven cents of land were handed back to the temple trust.
The murder of Ramasimhan and family was investigated by the police, and in systematic investigation that followed, nailed the culprits, who were sentenced to death by the lower court. They convicts went for appeal and were later acquitted by the Madras High Court.
It is believed that money was collected from the influential Moplah landlords and businessmen of the district, with support of leading politicians of the day, to facilitate for appeal and court expenses of the murders, which led to their acquittal from the higher court.
The main conspirators of the murder included the family members of Ramasimhan, his estranged father-in-law and another brother. Although they were let off by the court of law, they could not escape the wrath of God. It is said that the conspirators, and their accomplices to escape from the crime, led a tragic life and became psychotic, destitute and insane late.
The official website of Malaparamba Mattummal Sri Narasimha Moorthy Temple –
You can see photos and news paper cuttings in this website.
The verdict of the Madras High Court in this case –
Paramban Mammadu And Ors. vs The King on 19 January, 1949