Thursday, March 02, 2006

AHMEDU LEBBE KARIAPPER

Cassim Marikar Hajiar of Kotabowa, in the Welessa area, was a Tawalam (bullock caravan) merchant operating between the Eastern sea board and the Central hill country, mainly between Batticaloa, Badulla, and the Kalmunai areas. The nature of his business enabled him to move about these areas very freely and the British officer, Captain Wilson, established contact with him and induced him to spy for the British.

Captain Wilson was operaring on the base from the present road between Welimada and Nuwara Eliya, known even today as “Wilson’s” (Van Sanden pp98). When the association was well established at Wilson’s behest a conference was arranged in the jungle. It was attended by 20-30 Kandyan Sinhalese and by prior arrangement a Malay Sepoy was seated between two of the Kandyan Sinhalese. The conference was a ploy to get the Kandyan Sinhalese to one place, and, at a given signal the Malay Sepoys stabbed and killed their neighbors. The corpses of the victims were left rotting in the jungle for months (see Captain Jones’ Diary).

Shortly afterwards, Cassim Marikar himself was captured and shot dead somewehere between Passara and Lunugala (Van Sanden pp100). This raised a hue and cry among the Muslims and in order to appease the Muslim community the British Government divided Keppetipola Disawe’s Disawani of Wellessa into two and appointed Cassim Marikar Hajiar’s son, Naina Marikar, as Dissawe of Wellessa.

Keppetipolla’s Dissawe’s anger at fragmenting his Revenue Division led to the Keppetipolla Rebellion. Naina Marikar’s fate is unknown but his son AhmeduLebbe was rescued and taken by the British Garrison to Negombo where he was educated and later came to Batticaloa with the Wesleyan Mission.

A man from Sammanthurai known as Kottayan Kayan who used to travel by boat across the lagoon between Sammanthurai and Batticaloa on business befriended AhmeduLebbe, having met him at the Batticaloa Mosque. Kottayan Kayan obtained AhmeduLebbe’s consent to seek a propose of marriage for him, and, AhmeduLebbe apparently agreed to his request. In due course Kottayan Kayan brought a proposal of marriage from Sammanthurai and when the prospective bride’s father wanted to see the intended bridegroom he visited Batticaloa and was taken by Kottayan Kayan to the Kachcheri to meet AhmeduLebbe. They found AhmeduLebbe seated on a desk and talking to the British Government who was seated on a chair! This conduct of AhmeduLebbe was too much for the girls father, and, on the way back he told Kottayan Kayan to forget about this proposal as, he said, “He will make salves of us”.

Though Kottayan Kayan was disappointed he did not give up his efforts to find a bride for AhmeduLebbe and hence he now looked towards Kalmunaikudy.

At about this time, IbraLebbe Kariapper of Kalmunaikudy who had married a lady from Kilakarai in South India, had died leaving behind his widow, three daughters and two sons.

Kottayan Kayan now approached IbraLebbe Kariapper’s brother-in-law, Periyathamby Alim, and requested him to propose a marriage for AhmeduLebbe to his widowed sisters oldest daughter (daughter of the late IbraLebbe Kariapper). This proposal was accepted and IbraLebbe Kariapper’s daughter was married to AhmeduLebbe who was originally from Kotabowa near Wellessa.

AhmeduLebbe, who had no house of his own to which he could take his bride settled down in the brides house in Kalmunaikudy and assumed her family name of “Kariapper”, thus becoming the founding father and ancestor of the “Binna” Kariappers. (see note below). He became AhmeduLebbe Kariapper.

The Union produced four sons and two daughters as follows:-

1. A.K. Kariapper – Notary JP
2. Dr. Ibrahim Kariapper
3. Hussain Kariapper (went to India and never returned to Sri Lanka)
4. A.L. Kariapper
5. (daughter)
6. Zainabu Natchia

Note: There were two forms of Kandyan Mariage practice, viz; DIGA and BINNA. The former, Diga, was the more respected one where the grrom marries his bride and takes her to live in his home. The latter, Binna, which is looked down upon, is when the groom chooses to live in his brides home.

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