As I drove from Kozhikode to Kottakkal last summer, my eyes suddenly spotted the word Kozhichena on a small signpost. Did it ring a bell? It did. Of my first and only visit more than 60 years ago, under strange circumstances. Of the Japanese threat and of our school’s long march to Kozhichena in my second year in high school.
Kozhichena’s claim to recognition lay in its being the training hub of the Malabar Special Police (MSP). The MSP was a para military force , set up by the British Raj soon after the Moplah Rebellion in 1921,to handle all forms of disorder in the Malabar region which then was part of the Madras Presidency. The MSP was specially trained in the brutal tactics of torture. Even we , the children, had heard of their skills of savagery. In the pre- independence period,MSP used their tactics indiscriminately on whoever fell into their hands, be they communists, communalists or congressmen.
Kozhichena was known for little else. ..Till, one day in 1942, an incident suddenly gave it a brief moment of heightened attention. → Continue