Marayur: The last 'anchal runner' of Kerala, locally known as Anchal Pillai or Anchalottakkaran, has passed away in Marayur. The deceased was identified as Kannan Chapli (90), a native of Kanthalloor panchayat and a member of Kannakkayam tribal colony. Funeral was conducted.
Kannan and his brother Nagan were the anchal runners of Marayur and Kanthalloor area in 1950s when there were no transportation facilities. These brothers were the first government officials from the Hilpulaya tribe. Nagan had died 20 years ago.
Kannan and Nagan carried postal dispatches from Marayur to Kanthalloor by running a 16 kilometer distance. Dispatches used to reach Marayur from Munnar and Udumalpet. They also carried letters and other dispatches from Kanthallor to Marayur. After doing their job, they had to go home to Kanakkayamkudi that was situated 8 kms away. When Kannan retired from the job, his payment was Rs 45 and received no benefits.
What is Anchal run or Anchal Ottam?
Anchal Post was the postal service system started and existed during the Kingdom of Travancore to transfer official letters and documents. The post man of this system was called anchal pillai. He used to run carrying the dispatches in a bag with a stick on his other hand on which bells were attached. The anchal pillai used to run 8 miles a day. People used to give way for him as it was ordered by the kings.
First anchal post office was established at Travancore in 1857. As the people also began using the postal system, the anchal runner became anchal pillai.