A unique school, carrying historical significance

Uppala government Hindustani UP school at Kurchipalla in Uppala, Kasargod is one of its kind. This is the only school in Kerala where Urdu or Hindustani language is taught from the first standard itself. And, the school carries a historical significance of representing a different sect of Muslims, Hanafis, whose mother tongue is Urdu.

Hanafis

A souvenir published by the school said that the history of Hanafi Muslims can be traced to Thurkan sect among the Muslims of Maharashtra (In malayalam Hanafis are called as Thurkanmaar).

When Tipu Sulthan's juggernaut entered in Malabar, he appointed the most brave personnel of his aggressive army, Thurkans to look after the conquered places. Thus a brilliant thurkan warrior called Akthar Baba Sahib came to stay at Arikkadi in Kumbla. Followed by this, several thurkan families came here and settled. Th

Later on, small congregations of schools and Madrasas had cropped up in the area to provide religious education. On 1890 one such 'Kutipallikoodam' (small school) became Hindustani aided LP school in Urdu medium under the aegis of a mosque committee consisting of Hanafis. In 1968 the mosque committee office bearers gave the school to Kerala government and it became  government Hindustani LP school.

As many as 20,000 Hanafis are in Kasargod district alone, out of which Mangalpady panchayat has their maximum numbers, 1,500 families. Locals said that apart from language, these sect are different from other Muslims for their moderate talking and cultural ways. Their women usually wear nose ring unlike other Muslim ladies. Most of the Hanafi youth are working in merchant navy.

Problems galore

But the one and only Urdu medium school created problems for state education department in terms of textbooks, syllabus, teacher's appointment, exams and higher study. So Urdu medium was changed into Kannada medium and Malayalam medium was added later. But to protect the linguistic identity of Hanafis, the government decided to retain introducing Urdu from the first standard thus making it one of it's kind school in the state.

In 1968 the school has been upgraded to Upper primary school (one to seven). At present 165 is the students strength with a teaching capacity of 18. School headmaster S Ramachandra Bhat said that though the school's up gradation to high school was included in the provincial list of the government, the final green signal has not been obtained. ''The dilapidated condition of the first floor of the school building is also a cause for worry. We are trying our best to sustain the historical significance of this 123 years old school but we lack funds,” he told Deccan Herald.

Mappila in govt records

Though different sects of Muslims in Kerala such as Ravuthar, Kachi Memen, Dhakni have been identified by government and has been given reservation in jobs no such benefit is available to Hanafis. Hanafis say that they are only Muslim (Mappila) in government records and not mentioned as Hanafis. They allege that this ill treatment has had a adverse impact on keeping their cultural identity too.

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