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Kannur District

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About the Kannur district

Click on the following link to download district statistics as per NITI Ayog website
http://niti.gov.in/file/343/download?token=sXV8nZZI

Brief About Kannur District

Brief about Kannur District HISTORY
There is no evidence of the Paleolithic man having lived in this region .Nevertheless , rock-cut caves and Megalithic burial sites of the Neolithic age have come to light in certain parts of the district. The Thaliparamba-Kannur-Thalassery area abounds in rock -cut caves, dolments,burial,stone circle,sand,menhirs,all of Megalithic burial order. It can be assumed that the first batch of Aryan immigrants into the State entered the district through the Tuluva region.

Mooshaka Kings and Kolathiris
Early in the ninth century A.D., the Cheras re-established their political supremacy in Kerala under Kulasekhara Varman. This second line of Chera emperors ruled till 1102 A.D with their capital at Mahodayapuram. The bulk of the area, comprising of the present Kannur district, seems to have been included in this empire. A separate line of rulers known as the Mooshaka Kings held sway over Chirakkal and Kasaragod areas (Kolathunad) with their capital near Mount Eli. It is not clear whether this line of rulers were attached to Mahodayapuram or whether they ruled as an independent line of kings in their own right. By the 14th century A.D., the old Mooshaka kingdom had come to be known as Kolathunad and the rulers known as Kolathiris and had come into prominence in north Kerala.

The Kolathiris were a power to reckon with at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese towards the end of the 15th century. They were political and commercial rivals of the Zamorins of Kozhikode.

During the medieval age, several Arab scholars visited the west coast. Baliapatam, Srikantapuram, Dharmadom, Bekal and Mount Eli (Ezhimala) are some of the places which figure prominently in their travelogues.

Vasco Da Gama
Though Vasco Da Gama, the famous Portuguese navigator, did not visit Kannur on his way to Kozhikode in May 1498, he established contacts with the Kolathiri ruler. His ships which had left Kozhikode on August 29, 1498 were contacted by the boats sent by the Kolathiri and Gama was invited to visit the palace. The aim of the Kolathiri was to gain wealth and power with the help of the Portuguese, the same way the Zamorin had acquired with the help of the Arabs. In winning the alliance of the Kolathiri, Vasco Da Gama, in turn, had successfully exploited the jealousies of the native princes and won for the Portuguese a virtual monopoly of the pepper trade.

Portuguese ascendency
An important political development which took place at this juncture was the alliance between the Kolathiri and the Zamorin who were till then sworn enemies. The Zamorin was able to convince the Kolathiri of the real motives of the Portuguese in India and the perils inherent in his policy of befriending them.

The Portuguese followed a policy of religious persecution and forcible conversion. They therefore clashed with most of the native princes and chieftains.

In 1558, the Kolathiri came openly into the field against the Portuguese by providing active support to the Kunhjali Marrikkar of Kozhikode. The Kolathiri and the Zamorin fought a common war against the Portuguese and they besieged the fort of St. Angelo at Kannur,in 1564. But the Portuguese continued to maintain a precarious foothold at Kannur till 1663 when the fort was captured by the Dutch in February that year.

Arrival of the English East India Company
The English East India Company got its first foothold in the district towards the closing years of the 17th century, when it acquired a site at Thalassery for the erection of a fort and a factory.

The disintegration of the Kolathiri's dominion started in the latter half of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century following dissensions in the royal family by the extensive surrender of territory to consorts of the ruling members.

In spite of the many difficulties it had to face in the initial stages, the trade of the English East India Company prospered during the latter part of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century, by their liberal trade policies. Further, unlike the Portuguese, they refused to interfere in the religious and caste affairs of the local population.

Mysorean conquest
In 1725, the French captured Mayyazhi and renamed it as Mahe in honour of the French captain Francois Mahe De Labourdonnais.

The most important episode in the political history of north Kerala in the second half of the 18th century is the conquest of Mysore by Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan. Haidar Ali conquered Malabar in 1773.

In January 1788, Tippu Sultan descended on Kerala with a large army and founded a new capital at Feroke for his Malabar province.

The treaties of Srirangapatanam, signed on 22nd February and 18th March, 1792, formally ceded Malabar to the British.

The British entered into agreements with the Rajas of Chirakkal, Kottayam and Kadathanand and all of them acknowledged the full sovereignty of the Company over their respective territories.

The British Government divided the province of Malabar into two administrative divisions - the Northern and Southern, presided over by a Superintendent each at Thalassery and Cherpulasseri, under the general control of the Supervisor and Chief Magistrate of the province of Malabar who had his headquarters at Kozhikode.

Pazhassi Revolt
While the British were busy with the political settlement of the district, a serious revolt was headed by Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja of the Padinjare Kovilakom of the Kottayam family. The potent cause of the revolt was the unpopular revenue policy followed by the East India Company in Malabar. He stopped all collections of revenue in Kottayam. The Raja further threatened to cut down all the pepper vines if the Company's officers persisted in revenue collection.

In April 1796, a determined effort was made by the British to capture the Raja in his own palace at Pazhassi. This was in vain.

On December 18, the British Commissioner issued a proclamation forbidding the people to assemble or to assist the Pazhassi Raja and warning them that if they did so, they would be considered as irreconcilable enemies of the Company and that their property would be confiscated.

On December 30, a futile attempt was made to reconcile the differences between the Raja and the Company.

On eighth January 1797, Pazhassi Raja's men launched daring attack on the havildar's guard stationed at Pazhassi and the whole party except one man was killed. In the battle fought on three successive days, ninth, 10th and 11th March 1797, the detachment made by the Company forces was overpowered by the swords, spears, bows and arrows of Pazhassi Raja's men. As the situation was full of perils, a reconciliation with the Pazhassi Raja became a matter of political expediency.

While South Canara and other parts of South India were being brought under British imperial control, following the fall Srirangapatanum. (1799), Pazhassi Raja raised the standard of revolt a second time and shook for a while the very foundations of British power.

Colonel Stevenson's efforts early in 1801 cut off the Pazhassi Raja from his adherents in South Malabar and by May the British troops had made much headway and with every port both above and below the ghats in British hands and the whole country disarmed, the Pazhassi Raja became a wanderer in the jungles accompanied by his wife and immediate attendants.

On 24th May, 1804, Colonel Macleod issued a proclamation warning the people that they would be treated as rebels if they failed to furnish information about rebel movements and if they helped the Pazhassi troops with arms, ammunition or provisions. Finally the proclamation of June 16 offered rewards for the apprehension of Pazhassi Raja, two other members of his family and his principal lieutenants and declared their estates and properties confiscated from that date.

On first November, Baber took direct charge of the operations and on 30th November, 1805 he surrounded and shot the Raja dead in an operation on the banks of a nullah. The Raja's body was cremated with "customary honours". With the death of Pazhassi Raja, the resistance movement in north Kerala came to an end.

Freedom Movement
Kannur district has played an important role in all the political movements of recent times. The Indian National Congress, which was founded in 1885, captured the attention of the people of this district from its very inception. A district committee came into existence in Malabar in 1908. A branch of the All India Home Rule League, Founded by Dr. Annie Beasant, functioned in Thalassery during this period and among its active workers was V.K. Krishna Menon.

The decision of the Nagpur Congress to give up constitutional methods of agitation and resort to Non-Violent Non Co-operation as a means of achieving Swaraj,led to widespread boycott of foreign goods, courts of law and educational institutions in Kannur.

Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Shaukat Ali toured the district to carry the message of the Non-Co-operation and Khilaphat Movements. The Khilaphat movement coincided with the famous Malabar Rebellion of 1921 which was put down by the British with an iron hand.

Payyannur Conference
Kannur district came into the lime light of Kerala politics in May 1928, when the fourth All Kerala Political Conference was held at Payyannur under the auspices of the Kerala Provincial Congress. This conference was presided over by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The Payyannur conference passed a resolution requesting the Indian National Congress to adopt 'Complete Independence' instead of "Swaraj" as its goal at the annual session which was scheduled to take place at Calcutta during that year.

Salt Sathyagraha
Payyannur was the main venue of the Salt Sathyagraha in Malabar. On 13th April , a batch of Congress volunteers under the leadership of K. Kelappan started on foot from Kozhikode to the beaches of Payyannur and broke the salt laws there on April 21. The Satyagraha camp at Payyannur was raided and the campers were beaten up. There were widespread demonstrations in Kannur, Thalassery and other parts of the district and a number of Congress workers were arrested. The district was always in the forefront in Civil Disobedience Movements and all along Congress workers broke salt laws and picked foreign good dealers and liquor shops.

The period following the withdrawal of the Civil Disobedience Movement witnessed the emergence of a radical wing in the Kerala Provincial Congress. Some of the radical elements in the Kerala Provincial congress organised a Kerala unit of the Congress Socialist Party in 1934 and functioned as a separate group within the Provincial Congress. The leadership of this group was in the hands of persons like P. Krishna Pillai., A.K. Gopalan and E.M.S. Namboothiripad. An extremist group of Nationalist Muslims also emerged within the Congress during this period under the leadership of Muhammad Abdur Rahiman. The Congress Socialists and the Nationalist Muslims made common cause against the Ghandhian group known as the Right Wing which was led by such leaders as K. Kelappan, C.K. Govindan Nair and K.A. Damodara Menon.

A notable development in the politics of Malabar during the thirties was the rise of the Muslim League as a distinct political party. It was the Muslim leaders of Kannur and Thalassery who played the lead role in forming this organisation.

The leftist elements in the Kerala Provincial Congress were also active in the politics of Malabar in the late thirties. They took active part in organising the workers, peasants, students and teachers of Kannur district under their banner. In the election held to the Kerala Provincial Congress Committee in January 1939, in the highest suffered a severe setback. Muhammed Abdur Rahiman was elected as the president of the K.P.C.C. and E.M.S. Namboothiripad as its general secretary. Towards the end of the same year, a branch of the Indian Communist Party was formally founded in Malabar. The Congress Socialist Party workers joined the Communist Party block.

Morazha Incident
The K.P.C.C. gave a call to the people of Malabar to observe 15th September , 1940 as Anti-Imperialist Day. The action was disapproved by the Congress High Command, but there were meetings and demonstrations all over Malabar on this day. Kannur District was the centre of this agitation. There were violent clashes between the people and the police at several places and lathi charge and tiring were resorted to by the police to meet the situation. Two young men were killed in a clash between a mob and a police party at Morazha. In connection with the latter incident, K.P.R. Gopalan, a prominent communist, was arrested on a charge of murder and later sentenced to death. But, owing to the intervention of several top ranking political leaders including Mahatma Ghandhi, the death penalty was not carried out.

The 'Quit India' Movement of August 1942 also had its echoes in Kannur district. A socialist group among the Congress workers under Dr. K.B. Menon, provided leadership to the movement.

In 1945, at the end of the War, the Congress leaders were released from prison. The Muslim League had by this time become a decisive force in Malabar politics. It supported the demand of the All India Muslim League for the partition of India.

Famine and Peasant Struggles
The War period, especially from 1943 to 1945, had its ravages on the district. Famine and cholera epidemic took thousands of lives from the lower strata of society. On the initiative of the people under the leadership of the Kisan Sabha, commendable services were rendered to tide over the crisis.

The "Grow More Food Campaign" organised at Mangattuparamba by the Kisan Sabha was a new chapter in the history of mass movement. More than fifty acres of government land was brought under cultivation. But the government suppressed the movement by force and destroyed the farm.

Though the War ended in 1945, famine continued to haunt the people. Karivellore, the northern most village of the present Kannur district, made a historic stride in the struggle against poverty and famine. The transporting of paddy from Karivellore to Chirakkal Kovilakom was blocked and distributed to the people of the village. The movement was led by peasant leaders like A.V. Kunhambu and K.Krishnan Master. One Kannan and Kunhambu became martyrs in the struggle when police opened fire.

During the month of December 1946, the people of Kavumbayi, an eastern village of the district, raised their demand for punam cultivation. A strong police contingent was sent to the spot. The peasants resisted the armed forces which led to the killing of five peasants in the firing.

The rise of the organised working class in the industrial sector was another important phenomenon of the period that changed the course of the anti-imperialist movement. The struggle of Aron Mill workers in the year 1946 is noteworthy in this regard.

Even after independence, the struggles of the peasantry formed an important part in the history of the State. They fought against landlords and their exploitation. Places like Thillankeri, Manyankunnu, Korom and Paddikkunnu are memorable in the annals of the peasant struggles in the post independence era.

The All India Conference of Kisan Sabha, held at Kannur in 1953, resolved to initiate struggles for new tenancy legislation. The movement for Aikya Kerala (united Kerala) also got momentum during this period and all sections of the society rallied under the movement.

Physiography
Kannur district lies between latitudes 11040' to 12048' North and longitudes 74052' to 76007' East. The district is bound by the Western Ghats in the East (Coorg district of Karnataka State), Kozhikode and Wayanad districts, in the South, Lakshadweep sea in the West and Kasaragod, the northern most district of Kerala, in the North.

The district can be divided into three geographical regions - highlands, midlands and lowlands.

The highland region comprises mainly of mountains. This is the area of major plantations like coffee, rubber, tea, cardamom and other spices. Timber trees like teak, veetty, etc. are grown in plenty in this region.

The midland region, lying between the mountains and the low lands, is made up of undulating hills and valleys. This is an area of intense agricultural activity.

The lowland is comparatively narrow and comprises of rivers, deltas and seashore. This is a region of coconut and paddy cultivation.

Climate
The district has humid climate with an oppressive hot season from March to the end of May. This is followed by the South-West monsoon which continues till the end of September. October and November form the post-monsoon or retreating monsoon season. The North East monsoon which follows, extends upto the end of February, although the rain generally ceases after December.

During the months of April and May, the mean daily maximum temperature is about 350 celsius. Temperature is low in December and January - about 200 celsius. On certain days the night temperature may go down to 160 celsius.

The annual average rainfall is 3438 mm and more than 80 per cent of it occurs during the period of South West monsoon. The rainfall during July is very heavy and the district receives 68 per cent of the annual rainfall during this season.

Flora
Kannur district is very rich in vegetation. Natural vegetation, except in some coastal regions, consists of different types of forests. But, in spite of generally favorable climatic conditions, vegetation is not uniform. In restricted regions, with their own micro climate or special edaphic features, plant formations assume different characters. Thus, plant communities, ranging from psammophytes and mangroves to evergreen forests are seen in this district.

The coastal region is a comparatively narrow zone, characterised by secondary soil which is rather loose and sandy. The sterile sandy tract supports only a poor vegetation of the psammophyte type. Plants are few and mostly prostrate. Erect species are small and short. Owing to very poor water holding capacity of soil, these plants are provided with special xerophytic adaptations. Another conspicuous feature of this area is the mangrove vegetation, found at the estuaries of rivers and back waters, and often extending to the interior along their banks. Human interference has much changed the vegetation of the coastal region.

Major part of the district comes under midland region with numerous hills and dales and it presents an undulating surface gradually ascending and merging into the slopes of Western Ghats. Soil is secondary and lateritic with underlying rock of laterite or disintegrated gneiss. Typical flora of this area is a most deciduous forest consisting of a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees. Undergrowth consists of a variety of annual and perennials.

The mountains are a continuation of the midland region, gradually ascending to the main ridge of the Western Ghats. Soil in the western slopes in a ferrugenous red, sandy loam. Vegetation over the whole area is of the forest type. Irregular distribution of teak, localised areas of bamboo dominance, change of good quality forest open grass lands, etc. are characteristic.

Geology
The geological formations in the district are of Archean and recent age. Archean formations comprise of greisses and charrockiates. Recent formations are alluvium and laterite. Archeans occupy the midland and highland regions of the district having rock types of basic charrockiates and horn-blende-biotite greiss. The remaining portions in the coastal area are covered by laterite, alluvium, lime,-shells, lignified woods, etc. Archean formations like foliated horn-blende-biotite greiss (gray or white in colour) is one of the main rock types in the northern portion of the district. Recent formations like laterite is developed on a limited scale along the coastal areas.

Natural Resources

Minerals
China clay is found in abundance  in Thaliparamba and Kannur taluks of Kannur district. These resources are not fully utilised in the district.

The district is endowed with rich deposits of clay of which various types are mined at many places for potteries, tiles and ceramic industries. The most important areas where clay has been found are Pattuvam, Korom, Perumba and Karivellore. Good quality kaolin occurs below the laterite capping around Pilathara and Thaliparamba.

There are a number of tile manufacturing centres along the coastal areas. Because of the abundant availability of clay, there is great scope for development of clay based industries in the district.

Laterite is quarried for bricks throughout the district on a small scale to meet the local demand. Extensive quarrying is done in Kambil, Kalyassery and Cheruthazham area.

Thin horizons of lignite are noted in the cliff sections at Kannur coast, Pazhayangadi and Meenkunnu.

Beach sands containing ilmenites, monazite, Zircon, and thorianite occur along the coast, especially to the south of Valapattanam river mouth and near Azhikode. Other minerals discovered recently are sillimanite near Chandirukunnu, graphite near Payyavur, Manakadavu and Minor bands of iron ore near Cherukunnu Railway Station.

Many occurrences of bauxite deposits have been brought to light in the district at Madayi, Korom, Payyavur and Pattuam near Thaliparamba. They may find use in the manufacture of refractories and cement as they are not of high grade.

Limeshells used for the manufacture of white cement and for industrial purposes are found in the backwaters of Eranholi river, Dharmadampuzha, and Anjarakandi river around Thalassery and Dharmadam as well as Valapattanam river in the east of Azhikkal ferry.

Water
Kannur district is endowed with a fine river system. Except for a few minor ones, most of the rivers are perennial and provide good scope for irrigation and controlling floods through minor irrigation works.

With a length of 110 kms., the Valapattanam river, which originates from the Western Ghats, is the longest river in the district. The main tributaries of the river are Valiapuzha and Aralampuzha.

Kuppam river originates from reserve forests and has area of 539 sq.kms. The length of river is 82 kms. The other rivers in the district are Mahe (54  kms.), Anjarakandi (48 kms.), Thalassery (28 kms.), Ramapuram (19 kms.) and Perumba (51 kms.)

Most of the rivers are navigable. The Valapattanam river has the longest navigable length followed by Anjarakandy.

Because of the peculiar topography, the bulk of rain water, which is the only source of ground water recharge, escapes as run off. Only 10 per cent of the total rainfall can be considered as contributing to recharge.

It was observed that the water found in the wells was of good quality and could be used for domestic, industrial and irrigation purposes.

Preliminary studies indicate that ground water resources of the coastal sandy tract was fairly good for development, whereas, in the laterite covered areas it was very limited.

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