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Story Of The Last Duel To Death In Kerala That Never Happened

Mr. SRD Prasad Gurukkal talks to ARPO about the incident of a Poithu (personal vendetta fight) that was supposed to happen between CV Narayanan Nair and Chirakkal T Sreedharan Nair, two doyens of Kalarippayattu in the early 20th century.


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Both the individuals were established martial artists who had challenged each other to a duel to settle a dispute between them following their ego clashes. The news of Poithu was covered widely in the Mathrubhumi newspaper. After several discussions, a committee was formed to regulate the norms and venue of the duel.


Mr. Prasad, who happens to be the son of Chirakkal Sreedharan Nair says this event was scheduled to take place in March, 1936. This was the time when India was under colonial rule. The venue chosen was the Zamorins School at Calicut. The program was conducted as a ticketed event, with preparations for the duel being highly active and the stage and tickets being sold out.


However, this caught the attention of the British government, who viewed it as an act of violence and disapproved of the public duel. The British argued that they could not allow such an event since killing was illegal, and there would be legal action taken against it. As a result, the duel was ultimately called off.


Interestingly, both participants were eagerly looking forward to exhibiting their valour and strength through this duel, but their enthusiasm was cut short by the cancellation. This event stirred up the Kalaripayattu spirit and created a buzz-worthy backdrop in Northern Kerala in the 1930s.

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