Dr. Mohammed Koya, An amazing public speaker, an inspired organiser, a tireless campaigner for justice and equality, a profound scholar and man of letters,a charismatic human being, Dr.Mohammed Koya has had several titles to decorate with. He was a democrat and socialist to the core. A trained physician from the first generation of doctors in the Lakshadweep, he could have easily gone to have a lucrative professional life in the mainland. He chose a path of service, struggle and sacrifice. Those were the times when the Lakshadweep islands had been left aloof from the mainland and the people had been suffering from all possible crises: including the lack of modern sea transportation facilities, health services, educational institutions, appropriate governance system, land rights, and above all drinking water. The socio-political horizons of Lakshadweep had then been too dull and dark. Like all great visionaries and leaders, Dr.Mohammed Koya lived for his people. His concerns and commitment for the people of Lakshadweep had had no parallels in his time or contemporary times. When politics today is all about making more money and indulging in more power, Dr.Mohammed Koya earned nothing for himself and family, rather he worked over time for his people. It is unsurprising that many islanders see Bamban, as Dr.Mohammed Koya was fondly called by his people, as a “Mahatma” in terms of vision and values. He was a seeker of truth, who never went behind power and pleasure.
The contemporary politicians are often back of money and power and they neglected the basic needs of the poor while Mohammed Koya was a “Mahatma in his life styles and attributes. He never went behind the money.
More about Koya Sir
Dr. Mohammed Koya was born in Kunnamkalam Tharavadu, a well-known family in Kalpeni on 1st July, 1942 to Attabi and Kakkkayillam Sayeed Mohammed Koya. The destiny had it in store that he would grow up as an orphan. He lost his father when he was one year old. His father was an educated man and was a good Mukthayar too. By 1950, when he was eight years old, he lost his mother, too. Now being completely orphaned, the little Koya was adopted by Muthiyolamma and his aunt Kunhibi. Dr. Koya's mother Attabi had been remarried to Kakkayillam Attakkoya after his father’s death. His stepfather Attakkoya also took care of him. Koya was the great grandchild of Ahammad Musliyar who was well-known as Pallikkainhor after the 'voli pattam' from the Suhider of Muhiddeen Palli. Mohammed Koya's primary education and religious studies were in Kalpeni. He was famous for acting, singing and public speaking even in his childhood. As a child he would conduct public programmes and speeches along with his friends in different parts of Kalpeni. These programmes were chaired by the leaders of Jamath-a-Jaseera, the only organization of the Island at the time. A regular participant in Dikhr and Dafratheeb of the mosque, he was renowned as a singer and would sing Baiths.
Mohammed Koya did his early education at Kalpeni Government School; after Standard V, he was admitted in CMC High School, Elathur, Calicut. A leader by attitude and talent, he was the school leader and scout leader at CMC High School. A regular participant of inter-school elocution competitions, Mohammed Koya won several first prizes and was the winner of All Kerala School Elocution competition.
His Pre-University programme was completed in Malabar Christian college, Calicut. He continued to be a leading figure in public speaking and proved to be a good organizer, too. After the Pre-University programme, he worked as an LD clerk in Kalpeni High School for a short period.
After leaving the post as LD clerk, Mohammed Koya joined for MBBS at Alappuzha T.D. Medical College. His leadership and oratory skills quickly led him to become the college Union Chairman of the Medical College and his tenure turned out to be historical with highly consequential interventions. He became the centre of attraction of Alapuzha’s socio-political community. When Dr.Koya was the chairman of Alappuzha TD College, they conducted strikes against the high fee structure of the college. As a result of this agitation, the authorities had to formulate a uniform fee structure for all colleges. He had a close relationship with comrades Gowri Amma and Imbichibava. He was one among the founder leaders of the All Kerala Medical Association.
In 1970, the Lakshadweep Students Association was formed at Maharajas College, Ernakulam and Dr.Mohammed Koya was the chairperson of this meeting. LSA was a gift to the students of Lakshadweep, and it would become, in coming years, the forerunner of the campaigns for the rights of the island people. Ever since its inception, LSA has been a very popular and powerful youth movement across Lakshadweep fighting for various causes for the people.
Since his entry into the active political scene of Lakshadweep, Dr.Mohammed Koya never took rest and left no stone unturned. His visionary leadership and enormous hard work radically improved the quality of the day today life of the island people. His interventions and struggles brought changes that everyone wanted but nobody knew how to accomplish. Dr.Koya had to shift from one party to another, and even form his own party at one particular juncture, as he was not ready to compromise on his principles and policies. His political voyage through the tumultuous sea of Lakshadweep's corrupt and nepotist parties, was never aimed at anchoring himself at a shore of personal comforts or even power; what he always wanted was a better representation of his people in the legislative bodies. His movement inevitably caused asocio-political transformation at the grassroots level; however, there are tasks yet to be completed, the ones he left behind for his successors to take up.
The three decades after 1970 witnessed revolutionary changes under the leadership of Dr. Mohammed Koya. Lakshadweep Islands underwent drastic changes in the socio-political scenario through his movements. When he came back to his homeland with an MBBS Degree it was shocking for him to be in his land seeing the pathetic situation of the land. He decided to revolt against the bourgeois attitude of the officers and against the corruptions in society. As a result of this, he was a candidate in the all upcoming election, though he couldn’t be a success in the politics. In the 1977 election, he failed miserably, but he continued to participate in the election. As part of his involvement and action among the people he became a familiar face in the Island. He served as a medical officer under the shipping corporation of India in 1978, but he resigned and became active in politics. He always said that the main evil that he has to fight was money and the dirty politics. To him power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. All through his life he was fighting against corruption, power and the hierarchy. He joined in the National Congress as a politician, but after Indira Gandhi’s death he worked under Lakshadweep Development Committee and then in Socialist Political Organisation. He was a great help to the people of the islands in the aftermath of the storm of 1977.
It was the result of his efforts that the landless of the island got lands. It was also a social reformation to the people who were under the customs of Baamid. As part of the land reformation they became free from this rituals and each individual got 10.5 cents. Drinking water was the major issue faced by the Island due to its geography and the scarcity of pure water. When the government decided to establish water tanks and bore wells, Dr. Koya agitated against this decision pointing out the environmental Issues. But the Bureaucrats and politicians didn’t take into consideration his arguments. Dr.Koya and his fellow beings protested against the installation of pumps in the capital city Kavarathi but the government installed pump in Agathy. As part of this the people of Agathy now suffer from serious problem of water scarcity. A case was filed in the Honourable High Court of Kerala in the name of late Aranakkad Aameenkoya citing the Article 21st of the constitution. The High Court verdict was against the government and the Court asserted that the local water resources are the property of the local water resources are the property of the local people and they own fall right or them. M.P. Veerendrakumar politician and writer commented, “The court verdict ensemble the emotions and thoughts of the voiceless, powerless and the poor”. This historical verdict was by the Kerala High Court justice Chettoor Sankaran Nair in 26 February 1990. He adds that the underground water resources is only 0.6 m to 0.75 m and the recharge capacity in too low and even rare. He looked into the suggestions and studies put forward by the centre add the underlined and other technical committees. Dr. Koya was an wholehearted reader and the reading attitude was a rare phenomenon among the politician, Koya was an exception to this. He was an ardent reader, and any discipline of books was easy for him. He managed to get all the new books from any corner of the world within a week’s time and at the same time he dwelled in the religious books and studies. Towards his end he began to dwell into the mysticism of Sufism and he was read every interpretation of the Holy Quran including the famous philosopher Imaam Gazzali’s Ihya-uloomudheen. The Housing Board Programme of the Dweep was his dream come true project.
He didn't have many titles to carry or designations to boast about. But he was a leader of his people. In its truest and the most unforgettable sense. Dr.Koya was the first President cum Chief Counsellor of theLakshadweep district Panchayat. The bureaucrats always tried to expel Dr.Koya and deliberately put continuous obstacles on his paths. Dr.Koya was a voracious reader and he spent time acquiring new knowledge; this was very rare for the politicians of his stature. All genres of books went well with his reading desk, he managed to get new titles from across the world and delved deep in religious books and scholarship. In his last years, he was deeply influenced by the mystical teachings of Sufism and he had read every interpretation of the Holy Quran.
He went to Delhi as part of his mission but no one ever thought it was his last journey. His historical and legendary life came to an unexpected end in 30th of June 2001 at AIIMS Delhi. The Sher-A-Jaseera of people bid farewell forever. His accidental death was a shock to the people of the Lakshadweep island and the people were in despair. But he still living like a lantern in the heart of people without wiped and without disappear.