A fearless tale of Kidavu, who blasted Faroke bridge in 1943


TP Kunhiraman Kidavu, son of noted freedom fighter K Kelappan, held the reins of struggles against the British government by hiding in Malabar. Kunhiraman was never a Gandhian like his father. His companions were those who took an extremist stance in the Congress party.

Before the wave of Quit India movement intensified, leaders, including Kelappan, Moidu Maulavi and Kuttimalu Amma were arrested. Though rallies and public gatherings were banned, the British government could not put out the popular protests burning all over the nation. This led to an escalation of hidden anti-government activities under secret groups.

A rare photograph of K Kelappan taken by his son Kunhiraman Kidavu

Quit India Movement strengthened in Malabar with a massive incident, in which protesters demolished a pillar of Feroke bridge using bomb on April 30, 1943.

A group of ‘angry young men’ took up the freedom of Malabar as their mission and to separate it from the Madras province, they decided to destroy all the bridges which connect Malabar to Madras province. Kidavu and his companions planned to demolish the Feroke bridge at first. It was KB Menon, who secretly transported the dynamites and fuses for this mission.

Seventeen-year-old Kidavu was entrusted to prepare and fix the dynamite. Palote Koya, compounder Kuttan, Thomas, K Gopalan and C Damodaran assisted Kidavu in the mission. Evading the eyes of guards, Kunhiraman Kidavu boarded a train to Feroke from Koyilandy. On a new moon day, he secretly carried the explosives to the bridge on a small boat and fixed them on its pillar. He set a timer for 1.15 hours and left the spot. Though he decided to demolish two pillars, only one among them had exploded. However, the explosion was so huge that even the Kozhikode town reverberated in the blast.

Kunhiraman Kidavu and his friends were on the run following the incident. Police soon arrested Appukutty, Koru, Gopalan, Karuppan, Compounder Kuttan. But Kidavu had already left for Bombay by that time. Police intensified the search for Kidavu in Ahmedabad and Bombay, but for no avail.

Kidavu returned to Kerala only when the cases against the freedom fighters were revoked after the nation gained independence from British rule.

Though Kidavu scripted a valiant story of freedom struggle in the account of Malabar, he was denied freedom fighters’ pension as he had never been in a prison in his lifetime.

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