Today is November 1st, the day after the Halloween night. I usually try to come up with a Halloween night post, but as horror always exists in my life a lot better than anything else, I thought that I should come up with the Kerala Piravi post instead. Today is the birthday of the state of Kerala or the Kerala Piravi Dinam. It is believed that Parashurama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu created Kerala as he threw his axe into the sea, and water gave way to bring the land which is now this state, A part of his creation also forms a very small part of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Most of the Keralites do know all these, but I will share this for the first time on my blog. A reminder will only help to keep the memory filled.
I have read a good amount history, but all that I have studied has not got much about Kerala; still, I will bring something here. Kerala history also forms only a smaller part of our history books except for the times of the Renaissance, if I remember correctly from my school days. Three big kingdoms of Kerala on May 27th 1498 when Vasco Da Gama landed at Kappad included Travancore in the South with its capital at Padmanabhapuram which later shifted to Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin at the centre with its capital at Kochi and the Kingdom of Calicut based on Kozhikode.
Once the most powerful among the Malayalam speaking kingdoms in the South, Calicut made good progress into Valluvanad and through Cochin, forcing the ruler to shift the capital to Thiruvanchikkulam and then to Kochi itself. Calicut was controlling most part of Cochin soon and later they were making tributaries out of the smaller kingdoms. After coming under Vijayanagara Empire, the ruler of Calicut under the title of Zamorin or Samoothiri could rise again only to face the Portuguese threat, changing the alliances and friends teaming up with the Dutch against the men from Portugal and their earlier nemesis Cochin.
The Mysorean invasion of Kerala led by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan began the end for Calicut with the ruler setting himself on fire as he faced certain defeat. Calicut would never really recover, and the kingdom would be part of Madras Presidency under British after the fall of Tipu. Once extending between Ponnani and Kochi, Cochin was restricted to a smaller state forcing it into alliance with Portuguese. The destruction of the city by the Zamorin of Calicut and Mysorean invasion would affect the kingdom, but would still rise to its best situation under Sakthan Thampuran, the most renowned king of the state.
Cochin also had its alliance with its former rival and the bigger Kingdom of Travancore in the South against Calicut. Covering most of central and southern Kerala along with the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, the rise of Travancore meant unity. The Battle of Colachel in 1741 had Travancore defeating the Dutch, becoming the first kingdom to win a battle against a European power. Led by the Flemish commander, Eustachius De Lannoy who surrendered in the battle, Travancore went on further North to conquer more. With the successful defence against a stronger army of Tipu in the Battle of the Nedumkotta and providing asylum to those who escaped the Mysorean onslaught, Travancore would rise to become the second most prosperous state in India with its kings of the people and a high level of religious tolerance.
Travancore and Cochin would later join forces again to come up with the Travancore Rebellion against the British East India Company. The later history of Kerala goes back to three provinces named Malabar, Cochin and Travancore; as the first one was under the Madras Presidency directly controlled by the Empire, the second and the third being kingdoms allied to the British. After independence, the first state to be formed was that of Travancore-Cochin, which was created on 1st of July 1949 by combining two kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin. Parur T. K. Narayana Pillai, the Prime Minister of Travancore, then became the Chief Minister of Travancore-Cochin with the ruler of Travancore as the governor.
This arrangment existed for a few years until the situation had to change with Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress launching a campaign for joining Tamil-speaking regions of Travancore-Cochin with Madras State. Later, according to the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, the current state of Kerala was formed as the Travancore-Cochin state combined with the Malabar district of Madras State and the Kasaragod taluk of South Canara district while Kanyakumari district was added to the Madras state. This is the fifty nineth birthday of the state which is known as the God’s Own Country, as that day of its current existence began on November 1st, 1956.
Happy birthday, Kerala 😀 There will always be only one true home and there is no other place like home 🙂
***The images used in this blog post are from the Wikipedia pages of Kerala and the Battle of Colachel.