Malayalam speaking Muslims in Kochi identifies themselves as Malabari Muslims.

The community of local Malayalam-speaking Muslims in Kochi identifies themselves as Malabari Muslims. The reason why they have adopted Malabari (People of Malabar) as a part of their identity could either be the presence of other Muslims communities from the various parts of India or their forefathers migrated from various regions of the erstwhile Malabar kingdom. 

Even before the colonial times Kochi had a healthy trade relationship with the Arabs who might have played an instrumental role in the spread of Islam One of the oldest mosques in the area which was built in Kodungallur suggest the presence of Islam and Muslims from pre-colonial times. 

The members of community were into various professions historically. Most of them, in the recent past have been manual labours and petty traders. However, according to the oral accounts of the community members, a few owned or were supervisors of the numerous warehouses in the business districts of Mattancherry. 

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION BY BIJU IBRAHIM: COMMUNITIES OF KOCHI

Places have souls and Mattancherry in the city of Kochi has a mystic one. Biju Ibrahim discovered this while documenting the lives of Kochi’s 38 communities through black and white pictures. Distinct in layers of identities – caste, faith, language, ethnicity and region – these communities have been welcomed over centuries and have, in turn, infused Mattancherry and Kochi with a rare and rich heritage. Historically, it has been home to Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus. The sea and port attracted sailors, traders from Arabia and Gujarat, preachers of Semitic faiths, colonisers such as the Dutch and Portuguese, political refugees and migrant labourers. A cross-section of India lives here in a radius of 5 kilometers. 

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AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER

BIJU IBRAHIM

He captures the essence of rustic geographies, the people who are now becoming archive of the earth, the mythic & mystery of spaces & places, alleys of now filled with the density of then or before.

ART ORGANISATION

URU ART HARBOUR

URU art harbour is a cultural hub situated at Kochi. URU seeks to be a space for collaboration and a continual hub for artistic, cultural, and intellectual exploration. Founded by Riyas Komu and Zoya Riyas.

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