Shri. C.H. Mohammed Koya who adorned the chair of Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Speaker
and Minister was one of the most outstanding personalities in the history of modern Kerala.
His was a clear case of “From the Log House to the White House”, as is often said of the late Abraham
Lincoln. Shri. Koya rose from humble beginnings and reached the top rung of the ladder of fortune by
sheer dint of hard work and perseverance.
Born on July 15, 1927 in an obscure village called Athole in Quilandy Taluk of Calicut, as the son of
Payampunathil Shri. Ali Musaliar and Smt. Mariyumma, he had his early education in the Kongannur
Aided Elementary School, Velur Mappila Elementary School and later the Quilandy Board High School.
Though he joined Zamorin’s College, Calicut later , on successful completion of the school leaving
certificate exam, he had to bid farewell to his educational career soon.
In those early days of struggle, CH served for a short term in the Kurumpranad District Muslim League
Committee, and then in the Municipal Office in Calicut. Shri. Koya’s fortune took a turn for the better
when he joined “Chandrika” the voice of Malayali Muslims, in its editorial Staff. In 1951 he became
elected to the National Executive of the Indian Union Muslim League. Soon he was elected Councillor
of Calicut Municipality.
On the dismissal of the first ever democratically elected Communist Government, fresh elections were
ordered in 1960 and Shri CH was elected to Kerala Assembly from the Tanur constituency. Made the
leader of the eleven member Muslim League Party in the Assembly, Shri. CH became the Speaker on
June 9, 1961 on the demise of Shri. Seethi Saheb.
Shri. Koya however resigned Speakership on November 10, 1961 and contesting the ensuing
Parliamentary poll successfully, entered the portals of Parliament House too, from the Calicut
During the election to the State Assembly held in 1967, C.H. won from Mankada constituency by a
vast majority. In the ministry headed by Shri EMS Namboodiripad, Shri. CH became a Minister for the
first time, becoming the Education Minister. C.H. continued as Minister for Education in the succeeding
ministries headed by C. Achutha Menon, K. Karunakaran and A.K. Antony right upto the Ninth Ministry
headed by P.K. Vasudevan Nair.
It was during this long and enviable tenure that the University of Calicut came into existence. Also as
Minister for Education, C.H. was instrumental in formulating many progressive reforms. With the
abolition of the system of detention in college classes, he was instrumental in the High School stage
education being made free and the student community getting their representation in the administrative
and academic bodies such as Senate, Syndicate and Academic Council. The system of direct payment
by Government to lecturers in private institutions was also introduced by him.
In October 1979, Shri. Mohammed Koya became the Chief Minister of Kerala. Though his cabinet
had only a short life, it was indeed the high water mark of a long and arduous public life.
However, in the next UDF ministry headed by Shri. K. Karunakaran, Shri. Koya adorned the seat of
Deputy Chief Minister. Continuing in the seat even after the Ministry was reconstituted in 1982 after
the General Election, Shri. Koya stayed there till his untimely demise while on a trip to Hyderabad to
attend a Ministerial conference.
Shri. Koya had served as the Chairman of two esteemed Legislature Committees too, in his career. He
was the Chairman of Assurance Committee during 1958-59 and Public Accounts Committee during
In the midst of a tight schedule as an administrator Shri Koya took time off to indulge in his literary
aspirations and is the author of no less than eight delightful volumes, like “My Haj Pilgrimage”, “Caux-London-Cairo”, “The Malaysia I saw”, “How Legislative Assembly Works”, “Soviet Union”,
“Muslim Rule in India through stories”, “Five days in Srilanka” and “Travel around the world”. Shri.
Koya’s amazing sense of humour and scintillating wit in the most despairing situations could be seen
in the pages of these works. Shri.Koya continued to remain Chief Editor of “Chandrika” even when he
was in full swing as an administrator and statesman.
A man of great affability and personal charm, Shri CH had played many roles and in every role he gave
a stellar performance.
Married to Smt. Amina, they have three children. Dr. M.K. Muneer who was the Minister for
Works, is his only son.
Shri. C.H. Mohammed Koya passed away on September 28, 1983.
The Assembly paid its homage to him on November 25, 1983.