As incidents of stone pelting and violence were reported from various places in Kerala on Friday during a 12-hour hartal organised by the Popular Front of India, a coastal locality in Kozhikode district remained defiant.
The region of Nainamvalappu went about minding its daily business during hartal like it has been doing for nearly 50 years.
On Friday, Nainamvalappu was bustling with activities; shops, including hotels, were busier than usual and movement on its streets was unobstructed during the hartal hours even as hundreds of vehicles, including 70 KSRTC buses, were damaged in stone pelting elsewhere in Kerala.
For locals, it is part of a local tradition that evolved out of a teashop run by a man called Ruhani Aboobacker half a century ago.
According to the story often retold, Ruhani Aboobacker opened his teashop during a bandh. Soon came a group of agitators led by Pallikkandi Bichammad. After a local politician, NP Imbichammad came to Ruhani's rescue there was a quarrel.
Joining the commotion was Hamsakoya, brother of the leader of the agitators. It is said he put an end to the issue with a tight slap across the face of his younger sibling.
There, at the teashop of Ruhani Aboobacker, the locals swore to never let any form of bandh/hartal enter the boundaries of Nainamvalappu.
Locals claim that over the years they have maintained that vow regardless of which party was hosting the hartal. When hartal supporters moved in, locals teamed up to make themselves heard and their resistance has been impressive thus far.
It is said that even agitators quench their thirst from Nainamvalappu. The Nainamvalappu Football Fans Association is a popular cultural organisation in the region that is renowned for its passionate support for the beautiful game, especially during world cups.