There was the news about Kerala State Board Exam results for Tenth having published, and students given free pass marks – unlike the time when I had my tenth and we had to work hard to pass, now there are free passes to the Plus Two in Kerala – only to struggle to pass with degree and PG. So it will surely take the new generation some time to find Kerala on the map, and therefore, I will share two historical battles which happened here related to the Kingdom of Travancore which extended form Central Kerala to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. With those IIN advertisements continuing to make no sense, I am sure that the new generation will be searching on Google to study, and may be this blog post will help them a lot 😛
Battle of Colachel (1741): There are many battles that the Indian subcontinent has had against European powers, but among them, the most significant one is the Battle of Colachel and it is a case of huge and surprise victory. I am shocked that a lot of people don’t know about this which was part of the Travancore–Dutch War. But Battle of Colachel is more than just a battle, as it was decider. It was like the forces from Netherlands never really had the power to come up with another assault after this battle, and became no more threat to India almost completely disappearing from the scene.
The newly formed Kingdom of Travancore under Marthanda Varma defeated a superior Dutch force which had modern fire-arms, bringing the first complete defeat of a European power to an Indian kingdom. This was surely a twist of fate for the colonial powers in India. Eustachius De Lannoy who lead the Dutch, surrendered and served Travancore as “Valiya Kappithaan” and helped the king in later conquests, leading and modernizing the Travancore army. From here, Travancore would go on to become the best known and the most powerful kingdom of Kerala, and covered the half of Kerala along with Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari.
Battle of the Nedumkotta (1789): It is interesting for a good number of people to avoid some battles and glorify only a few people of history. The case of Battle of the Nedumkotta is just the same. But nobody from Travancore can forget the great king Dharma Raja who might be one of the most likable king ever, and the man who is credited as “maker of modern Travancore” was that king who provided safety for everyone who fled for their lives during the attack of Tipu. Along with Dharma Raja’s respect for all religions, the efforts of his commanders, Raja Kesavadas and Vaikom Padmanabha Pillai to hold the fort despite being outnumbered by Tipu’s forces was an act of high valour.
Unfortunately, there is no monument for the former who was the minister, and the later who also lead rebellions against the British, and there happens to be no memorial for the valiant defence. It is a shame that we are forgetting our history and Kerala has given too less value for its heroes and its monuments – even the remains of the fort is lost. What happened at Nedumkotta was purely an effort of courage, as they managed to defend the lines and even strike a blow to the stronger and the more advanced opposition. The forces of Mysore were later denied by the monsoons and the river Periyar only to be forced to return without any gain except for spreading terror.
***The images used in this blog post are from the Wikipedia pages of the Battle of Colachel and the Kingdom of Travancore.
The rulers of Travancore were truly committed to their people, which is why they haven’t spent much money for building monuments, tombs or palaces. Building memories for them, their wives, parents, uncles, brothers-in-law, grand-parents and all those family members never became part of the plan. They did what the real kings were supposed to do – they ruled and they did that wisely. This is the reason why people will remember them a lot even after such a long time. They were not just kings of the territory, but kings of the people.
They were more committed to social reforms rather than luxuries. They have left marks on the hearts of the people with love rather than through the huge monuments. Spending state’s resources for personal use never really came to them and their religious and caste-related tolerance has left a mark on Kerala which has left their territories free of hatred towards “the other”. They were true devotees of Padmanabha, and were loved by all religions and castes of people in their kingdom alike.
***The Kings of Travancore give a free lesson to the intolerant new generation politicians and religious/spiritual leaders who find it impossible to live without the luxuries and can’t stop hating others. It is never about the size of a worship place, statue or monument, for it is about how good you are to others!
More on the Kingdom of Travancore: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travancore