Saturday, August 04, 2012

Why am I so upbeat about the Travancore Royal family..?


Learning from history is the most gainful thing anyone can do ..!! From history we learn a lot of things and in turn, we become history to posterity, so that the future generations can learn from our experiences and never repeat our mistakes ..!!

First of all, let me pay obeisance to the Travancore royal family as I hail from Central Travancore .. Swami Vivekananda once called it the "mental asylum of the world', but still we can learn a lot from the rich cultural and literary legacy of this place.

This was a real life incident / interaction which happened in our family with the Maharajah, narrated by my maternal grandmother Estheramma Oommen, at Adoor, Kerala, at an age of 95+ years .. maybe she got this from earlier narrations .. I thought it very proper to document this for posterity ...

When she was just married and brought to my appachen's family she was just fourteen ..  (my maternal grandmother was from Thandaneth family, Pallikkal, Kayamkulam, just younger sister of Late Sri T M Varghese, a veteran of Kerala freedom struggle ..) My appachen was from Puthenpurackal of Chittundayil family in Adoor.

During  this time, around 1700-1715 AD, the royal family in Travancore was under attack by the British to establish their control. The boy King (Prince) Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma at that time was fiercely resisting it. Ettuveettil Pillamaar were colluding with the British. The King was put on exile and driven out of the palace. He was roaming in the kingdom to avoid capture. Mostly he used to be dressed differently and used to move from place to place.
Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma, the first and
the most capable of them all !!

The boy King in his exile, reached Adoor from Kottarakkara, about 75 kms from Trivandrum ... The story goes that the young King first came to my great great grandmother's house (Chittundayil) dressed as a beggar and asked for food and to see the mother of the house.  My great grandmother who was little haughty at that time, (I am assuming, due to affluence), did not care to check who the beggar was and directed the maid to give some food to the beggar and send him off. The little boy did not want the food, but wanted shelter from the warriors of Ettuveettil Pillamaar. The police were searching the whole of Travancore hounding for the boy King to capture and finish him off.

Depressed, the "beggar" did not take any alms and instead went to our neighbour, Nellummoottil family, another great family from Adoor.  Maybe the mother of the house there was less haughty, She wanted to see the beggar herself. When she saw the beggar, she was astonished. An able, 'sumukhan', fairfaced, young boy with all royal grandeur, in a beggar's dress seeking alms. She immediately asked the boy to come inside the house. She gave him milk, honey etc, gave specially prepared food, asked him to take bath, and took care of him well. He was allowed to stay inside the house for three days, all the time taking care of him. The lady of the house never knew who the beggar was.

When the Ettuveettil Pillamaar warriors came about asking whether a beggar had come in their direction asking for food, my great grandmother told the police that yes, indeed a beggar came and pointed the direction in which he went. The police went to the next house, of Nellummoottil and asked the mother there whether she had seen a fair beggar who had come in their direction. The Nellummoottil ammachi by now knew, whom the police were searching for and misdirected the police saying the beggar went in a different direction. She spoke with such conviction that the police never cared to inspect the house for the beggar. The "beggar" left the house, thanking the inmates so profusely, and after some months he assembled his armed forces, defeated the ettuveettil pillamaar, regaind power and went back to the palace. 

Among the first decrees which the King passed after assuming power was to take away all 'excess' land from the Chittundayail family in Adoor ( history says a thousand para of land) and give it tax-free, "karamozhivayi"  to Nellummoottil family .. My great grand mother realised her folly , though a bit late, but was ever after so careful in all her dealings with people then onwards. My grandmother who had just come into her husband's house when she was just 14 years then, found this truly amusing and narrated to me many years, at least 275 years after, when I was staying alone with her in Adoor during one of my school holidays around 1975-78 period.

Chittundayil and Nellummoottil family continued their good relationship without any grudge, marrying into and from each others family. I was so fortunate , I have stayed with my late grand mother together, sometimes for one week, once for two weeks too. This was a story, real life incident she narrated to me one of those days..  The kanji, payar and chutta  pappadam I had with her, will be relished for ever .

This story and my granduncle's association with the freedom struggle of India and Kerala remains one of the main reasons why I still today have a great fascination and affection for the Travancore royal family, the simplest and most philanthropic of all royal families in India for three to four centuries, yet the most rich ( having the combined wealth of all other royal families in the country) and most powerful ( having defeated the Dutch and the British navies, the penalty from their excesses adorning the vaults of the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple in Trivandrum,) amusing the whole world of its rich legacy and riches !!

It is said that the riches of the Travancore royal family now, parked in the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple at $200 billion, can buy 30 British Royal families !!

See the present state of the coloniser and the colonised !!

Read a related article on the Travancore royal family at this link ..

ge

6 comments:

  1. Dear George Easaw, hope you are fine. I see that you are a prolific blogger and am happy that Indians writing in English are enriching the language. However, I have some reservations about central Travancore Christians window dressing common past and heritage. To begin with, Marthanda Varma, the warrior prince, and later, conqueror, lived from 1729–1758. If your granny told you that tale, she should have been 200 plus to have turned away Marthanda Varma without a meal. Reminds me of another anecdote. There are so many Christians claiming Namboothiri lineage that we need over 1500 original Namboothiri families to accommodate all of them. According to legend, Parasuraman brought about ninety Brahmin families down south and more than seven of them were extinct by the time Christianity came down. Again for your info, St Thomas never came to India and never did he Christian any Brahmins. Do not believe me. Google it. Cheers. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear George Easaw, hope you are fine. I see that you are a prolific blogger and am happy that Indians writing in English are enriching the language. However, I have some reservations about central Travancore Christians window dressing common past, history and heritage. To begin with, Marthanda Varma, the warrior prince, and later, conqueror, lived from 1729–1758. If your granny told you that tale, she should have been 200 plus to have turned away Marthanda Varma without a meal. Reminds me of another anecdote. There are so many Christians claiming Namboothiri lineage that we need well over 1500 original Namboothiri families to accommodate all of them. According to legend and recorded history, Parasuraman brought about ninety Brahmin families down south and more than seven of them were extinct by the time Christianity came down. Again for your info, St Thomas never came to India and never did he Christian any Brahmins. Do not believe me. Google it. Cheers. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i am so happy that immigrants from India to other lands are commenting on their half baked knowedge of kerala history. Pl go thru history and read about ettuveettil pillamaar who lived around 1800-1830 and not 1725. You are mentioning of the first marthanda varma, anizham tirunal, who was the only indian king to defeat the dutch and the british and who is credited for ordering them to deposit their war loot in the temple treasury way back in 1740s...

      I am not a historian, but have enough knowledge of some facts.

      Do keep reading history and enrich yourself. I look forward to people like you taking part in healthy discussion not demeaning ones, that speaks of your mindset and quality, cheers !!

      ge..

      Delete
  3. Well written!! Hailing from Nellimootttil Family, I've heard the story of how our great great grandmother gave refuge to the king and of the rewards thereafter. But I did not know it in this detail.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Am very much happy that understood now atleast

    ReplyDelete
  5. Am very much happy that understood now atleast

    ReplyDelete

How to avoid Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. Common Facts : (Sou...

My popular posts over the last month ..