A Chance Encounter and Rebirth of a Book | Other Books

Book History

A Chance Encounter and Rebirth of a Book

An author and a close friend of Other Books, M Nisar was visiting Punnol, near Mahe, as part of the field work for his PhD on religion and popular culture among Muslims in Kerala. He had to collect a document from Punnol Juma masjid, which he did. Nisar further wanted to meet someone who could explain the history of Punnol mosque. A local villager guided him to meet a “professor” living nearby. Nisar soon found himself standing before a local historian called KP Abdul Majeed, who was never a professor, but an accountant by profession. However, Majeed’s historiographic excellence befits a distinguished historian. He had started his career in Chandrika daily and left for the government job to eventually retire as Divisional Accountant at PWD. By passion, he has been collecting local history and writing about the places and people he lived with.

Nisar was deeply pleased to have this chance encounter with Majeed and the latter gave him a book he authored: Kurungottu Nadu. Nisar found it meticulously researched, a few footnotes would make it highly academic, he thought. Nisar took the work home, read it thoroughly and thought it should be reprinted, if possible with a revision. He called Auswaf, his friend and managing editor of Other Books. OB editorial team was happy to take up the project. Auswaf visited Majeed along with another Other Books member Dr. Luqman. There we began the journey of republishing this small but important title.

OB editorial team decided this title to be the second in our series on local histories; the first being Thalassery – Oru Muslim Charithram by VK Kuttu. In an age of histories of the people on the margins being consciously neglected or appropriated, misrepresented or violated, we believe writing local and parallel histories are important for the subaltern cause of egalitarian politics. It questions hegemony in many ways. So, ours is a humble effort to attain a counter balance, though the titles so far we have published might not be perfect in any way, we still hope to push this task ahead.  

 

A comprehensive attempt to document the history of places between Mahe and Thalassery, from the early settlements to the anti-colonial struggles, and with a special reference to the legacy of the local ruler Kurungottu Nair, Kurungottu Nadu was originally published by Maithry publications, Kozhikode, in 2006. We reworked on it, added a new foreword by Dr. KM Bharathan and omitted a few preliminary parts and added new photographs. Muhammed Afsal, our former associate editor, visited the locality, with photographer Badusha, and clicked the historically important places and structures mentioned in the book. Representing the editorial team, our associate editor Joseph Varghese also met the author, for clearing certain factual doubts. Our foreign languages editor AK Bhattacharya, did the translation of a few French cartographic documents we added.

 

The release of the book was aptly organised at Mahe Malayala Kalagramam, in the presence of the author, despite his health issues. Dr. KM Bharathan handed over the copy to Prof. AP Zubair, who was part of the Maithry team. VK Kuttu, M Nisar and others also spoke on the occasion.