chapter  8
14 Pages

Cassetted emotions

Intimate songs and marital conflicts in the age of pravasi (1970–1990)
WithP. K. Yasser Arafath

Kathupattukal (Letter Songs) emerged as a major Islamic literary genre in the late 1970s, and they reflected the emotional state of early pravasi families. As Malabar witnessed severe agrarian distress and unemployment in the 1970s, a large number of Mappila-Muslims migrated to gulf countries where a range of new financial possibilities emerged around the oil economy. Subsequently, as the number of pravasi Mappilas increased in the region of the Gulf by the late 1970s, Kathupattukal emerged as an important expression of their marital, spousal, and familial emotions. As a new poetic sub-genre, the early Kathupattukal captured the emotional exchanges between ‘pravasi husbands’ and their ‘gulf wives’ who remained frozen in two different postcolonial political and economic systems. Therefore, this chapter looks at how Kathupattukal captured a particular socio-emotional history of Muslims in Malabar in the last quarter of the twentieth century.