– Mohammed Atherulla Shariff
A small coastal town in south eastern Tamil Nadu, which has produced gems like Dr. K.V.S Habeeb Mohammed, the famous Tamil preacher, is a model in other respects too. Predominantly a women dominated town, with no cinema hall, no wine shop and even there is no police station. Almost zero crime rate but high literacy rate and God-fearing atmosphere are prominently visible features of the town. Travelers and explorers like Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta have mentioned in their diaries and famous documentarist and filmmaker Benoy K Bhel has also captured Kayalpattinam in his lenses.
Kayalpattinam is one of the coastal towns that had trade relations with Egypt and Arabia since long time. Obviously these became the entry points of Islam in India in the early times itself. Islam has left a lasting impact on this trade town. Rich Muslim traditions, Sufi heritage and centuries-old Arab connections are visible prominently. Kayalpattinam’s contribution to the Islamic spirituality and culture of the region is immense and invaluable. It has produced several religious scholars, great spiritual masters and offered a great space for local and international traders through several centuries. Kayalpattinam has contributed much to the Tamil literature.
Of the forty thousand population there are 1177 females for every 1000 males. The Arab lineage is evident in their features: complexion, physical features and culture. The town has about 30 mosques, one in each street. Madrasas and educational institutions especially imparting education to women like Aroosul Jannah Women’s Islamic college, Ayisha Siddiqua women’s Islamic college, Al Kulliyathun Nasuhiyya women’s Islamic college, Muaskarur Rahman Women’s Islamic college, are few names worth mentioning. Maqbara, tomb of Kazi Syed Alauddin, is another notable place. There are separate lanes for women to pass by, separate counters for them at shops.
The son of Kayalpattinam Dr. K.V.S. Habeeb Mohammed is a famous paediatrician, renowned speaker and author of more than 50 books. His TV talks, lectures and interfaith debates are valuable contribution to the harmony in the entire Tamil population. He is presently based in Chennai.