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Mappila Khalasis : *******www.neelaearth**** What do you do when the best of hydraulic cranes fail to lift...
Mappila Khalasis : *******www.neelaearth**** What do you do when the best of hydraulic cranes fail to lift a wreck? Call the Mappila Khalasis, ofcourse! Where state-of-the-art machines fail, the 37 men Khalasi teams of Kozhikode in northern Kerala, work wonders with little more than a wooden pole fashioned into a `dower' or winch, leveraged by hawsers and pulleys. The Mappila Khalasis, originally employed in launching the more than 400 tonne Arab Dhows built at the Beypore docks, now specialise in hauling heavy wrecks. The Mappila Khalasis have helped to construct many heavy projects like the Idukki Dam, the bridges at Feroke, Vadakkumbadu and Kallai, the Mahanadi bridge in Orissa and the Manganese factory at Goa. But with the decline in Dhow construction at Beypore, the younger generation of Khalasis are forced to seek other avenues of livelihood. The Beypore port has always been an exclusive outlet for timber from Kerala. Teak from the Kerala forests was the choice of many seafaring people,
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