History of Mappila Pattu
Mappila Pattu has been in circulation for almost 7 centuries and has been passed down from generations through oral tradition. The first dated work was by Qadi Muhammad who wrote Muhyidheen Mala in 1607 AD. Several literary pieces were produced in this medium thereafter and over the centuries various types of Mappila Pattu were composed. The 17th century saw the earliest known dated works of the Mappila Pattu which primarily belonged to the Mala genre and subject was mostly based on devotional works. Various other categories also grew during the following centuries with subjects ranging from romantic ballads and marriage songs to philosophical ideas, sea journeys and even flood ordeals.
Various Genres of Mappila Pattu
The earliest genre of Mappila Pattu was the Mala genre, which belonged to the 17th century. The songs were written in Arabi-Malayalam script and were praises of pious personalities of Islam who were supposed to have gained high spiritual status. Generally most of the works were themed on the lives of Sufi saints and became popular in the era of Sufism when it gained a strong foothold amongst the Mappilas. The 17th century also witnessed the composition of other popular works in the Malappattu genre, namely the Rifai Mala written in 1623 by Ahammadul Kabeer, Uswath Mala written in 1628 and Valiya Naseehath Mala in 1674 by Manantakath Kunhikoya Thangal.
Advent of the 18th century bought the Kissa genre in Mappila Pattu where the main subject was narrating stories of the prophets of Islam or Sufi saints. Examples of such songs include the Ibrahim Nabi Qissa and the Ibrahim Ibn Adham Kissa. Songs like the Kaddapattu and Safalamaala by Shujayi Moisu Musailyar conveyed ideological messages to the community in the era of post-Portuguese years.
The dawn of the 19th and 20th centuries saw the rise of the British Rule in Malabar and thus the songs of this era are marked by the anti-British feelings. Most of the songs of the era come under the genre of Padapattu, which are basically battle songs. The first dated work in Padappatu genre was the Zaqqom Padapattu in 1836. The songs of this genre can be classified into 4 different types: Islamic folktales, Islamic history, Mappila history and fictional songs. The common feature of all these songs were their pattern of narration of the bravery of the heroes depicted. While the battle songs roused the feelings of the community against the authorities, this era also witnessed the popularization of romantic ballads like Moyinkutty Vaidyar's Badarul Muneer Husnul Jamal and Chettuvayi Pareekkuttys Soubhagya Sundari.
Poets of Mapilla Pattu
During the era of the 18th century, poets like Kunhayan Musailyar and Umar Qadi were quite popular. Musailyar authored popular titles like Nool Madh, Nool Mala and Kappappattu, where Nool Madh was a devotional work on Prophet Muhammed with 666 lines composed in 16 different Ishalukal. Umar Qadi on the other hand was a scholar, poet and freedom fighter well known for his tax non-cooperation movement against the British rule in the Malabar. He composed songs of various subjects, ranging from the ruler of the Chera Dynasty, Cheraman Perumal to Arabic grammar. Other poets like Moyinkutty Vaidyar, Pulikokottil Hyder, Chakeeri Moyidin Kutty, Chettuvayi Pareekkutty, T Ubaid and S.A. Jameel were also quite popular in the following eras.
Role of Female in Mappila Pattu
Muslim women do feature in the culture and literature of Mappila Pattu. There are female poets who have enhanced the Mappila Pattu literature. There are several Mappila songs that were based on female subjects. Songs that belong to the Oppana genre describe the beauty of a bride in a colourful manner. The famous Badarul Muneer Husnul Jamal by Moyinkutty Vaidyar writes a separate section in order to describe the beauty of the heroine named Husnul Jamal.
Female poets like CH Kunhayisha, V Ayishakkutti depicted sorrowfully the final moments of Khadija who is the wife of Prophet Muhammed and Fatima, his daughter. Nafeesath Mala authored by Nalakath Kunhi Moideen Kutty praises a woman named Nafeesa, who belonged to the lineage of the Prophet. Other female poets include Puthur Amina, Kundil Kunhamina, B Ayishakkutty and K Aminakkutty.
The themes and the representation have left a never ending impression on Malayalam Poetry. Renowned poets like P. Krishna Kumar, P. Bhaskaran and Vayalar Ramavarma composed several popular Mappila songs. Since the year 1954 Mappila songs have been popular. Some of the movies that feature Mappila songs are Mailanchi, Pathinalamravu, Ulpathi, Sammanam, Manya Maha Janangale and some more.
S. M. Koya is noted for his genre of Malabar Mappila Pattukal. V. M. Kutty, the singer and composer made noteworthy contribution in order to popularise Mappila songs. Other composers of Mappila songs are Punnayurkulam V Bapu, O. M. Karuvarakkundu and Mohar Munir. Some of the popular singers of this genre are Vilayil Faseela, V. T. Murali, Ramla Beegum & Aysha Beegum, A.V.Mohamed, M. P. Ummerkutty and some more.
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