Region as a Mnemonic
Rumour and the Republic Day in Nattika firka
This article contributes to the idea of the Republic in contemporary India. More specifically, it tries to contextualize the idea of the Republic within the locational frame of firka, an organized revenue unit of sixteen villages in erstwhile Malabar (Madras presidency), at the eve of the first Republic day of India, in 1950. The firka has, primarily, a mnemonic-function as a revenue division that was dissolved after 1956, after the formation of the new state of Kerala and the incorporation of the erstwhile Malabar district of Madras Presidency into Kerala. The article additionally explores the conceptual word Sardar, defining its associations with martyrdom, and in particular, with Indian politics. It deals with a discourse of death, that is materialised today as an event, with distinct political overtones, periodic demonstrations, rallies, meetings, and a cultural fete known as Sardar dinam that commemorates the death of K.C. Gopalakrishnan: a maashu (teacher), an Air Force veteran, a communist leader, and a volunteer captain of the Pouravakasajatha—the rally for Citizens’ Rights organized by the local branches of Communist Party of India, Beedi Workers Union and Harijan Sangh on January 26, 1950, in the firka. This article shows how Gopalakrishnan can be considered the first martyr among Communists in the Republic of India.
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