Congress rewinds to 1921 Ottappalam meet

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96th anniversary of State committee’s formation to be marked this month

The banks of the Bharathapuzha at Ottappalam near here will witness a conference of hundreds of Congress workers from across the State this month to commemorate the 96th anniversary of the formation of the Kerala Provincial Congress Committee (KPCC), which strongly advocated the cause of constituting a State on linguistic basis by integrating the princely States of Travancore and Cochin with the then British Malabar.

According to historians it was following a resolution adopted at the Nagpur session of the Indian National Congress in 1920 to organise provincial congress committees on a linguistic basis that the KPCC was formed. The first All Kerala Political Conference, under the aegis of the KPCC, held at Ottappalam in April 1921 was inaugurated by the then All India Congress Committee president T. Prakasam. “In a sense, this heralded the movement for a united Kerala which became a reality, 35 years later,” says DCC president V.K. Sreekandan.

The four-day conference was held near the Ottappalam railway station from April 23, 1921. Special conferences of tenants, farmers, students, the Khilafat movement and Samastha Kerala Ulama were also held. The British police used force to disperse some delegates who objected to official attempts to create hurdles to the meet.

Congress leaders say Keralites formally dedicated themselves to the freedom movement at the Ottappalam meet. On April 22, 1921, before the session started, a public meeting was held.

The next day, Prakasam arrived to a tumultuous welcome. The various sessions at the conference were chaired by leaders such as Prakasam, Sayeed Mootha Sahib, Barrister A.K. Pillai, and K.P. Kesava Menon.


The conference adopted a few important resolutions. One of them urged parents to keep their children away from schools run with the help of the British government and to send them only to native schools. Another resolution exhorted all government officers and advocates to quit their jobs and join the freedom struggle.

The four-day anniversary celebrations will begin on April 23. The meetings will explore the possibility of creating a memorial in Ottappalam for the historic event. A committee with Mr. Sreekandan and former MLA C.P. Muhammed as main office-bearers has been formed to organise the anniversary.

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