Yash Chopra’s 2004 blockbuster Veer Zaara has come to life courtesy a married couple from Kerala who reunited for the first time since 1947
EK Narayanan Nambiar and Sarada were forced to part ways nearly 72 years ago due to socio-political turbulence in Kerala, writes Santha Kuvumbayi in a novel that is centered around the peasant uprising against feudalism in 1946.
Sarada was 14 and Narayanan 18 when the two entered into wedlock.
On December 29, 1947, Nambiar and his father gathered at a hill near the house of a local feudal landlord to avenge the brutalities meted out to the poor families by the land owners. However, their plan was foiled by the Malabar Special police who later raided Nambiar’s home and tortured the women in the family for information.
Narayanan and his father Thaliyan Raman Nambiar, who led the Kavumbayi agitation, went underground. They were caught two months later and jailed for taking part in the land struggle.
Narayanan was sent to prison for eight years.
“His mother took care of me as if I were her daughter. One night, a shooting occurred atop Kavumbayi hills. I have never met him afterwards. [The] police came to attack me, [but] his mother protected me from them. They also set the house on fire. His mother sent me back to my house later. [The] police used to come there also,” Sarada told Mathrubhumi.
The young bride was sent to her parental home as Malabar Special Police knocked at her doors at odd hours in search of Raman and Narayanan. Nambiar’s wife, Sarada, was spared, but the atrocities forced the family to send her back home.
His father was shot dead in Salem jail on February 11, 1950 and Narayanan, a living legend of the struggle, had 22 shells pierced in his body, of which three could not be removed.
A few years later, Sarada’s family decided to marry her off to anther person. After his release in 1957, Narayanan also got married again.
After having lived separately for so many years, it was fate that brought them back together.
It was purely by chance that Bhargavan, Sarada’s son, happened to come across Santha Kavumbayi, Narayanan’s niece, and TV Madhukumar, Narayanan’s nephew.
The couple met each other for the first time since 1947 on December 26 at Bhargavan’s house in Parassinikkadavu in the Kannur district, where Sarada’s family prepared a meal of kappa (tapioca), kanji (rice gruel) and puzhukku (a root vegetable dish) for Narayanan.
Yes, it was the meeting of two souls that were separated by the external forces before they could start living together.