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The Zamorins of Calicut  (With Map)
The Zamorins of Calicut (With Map)
Description
About The Book

The story of the Zamorins is of peculiar interest to all Europeans who have known malabar: both because of the part those rulers played for Centuries in that impact of the west on the east which has developed in to the politics of our own day, and also for a more personal reason. We foreginers who have lived and worked in Kerala hold ourselves to be singularly fortunate: what ever else India may come to mean for us, we remember with gratitude and affection the country and people whose civilisation is bound up with the dynasty of the Zamorins.

 

Foreword

Calicut, one of the prominent medieval port-towns of India, was an international trade emporium in spices and textiles. The rulers of its Kingdom enjoyed much prosperity of its maritime trade links and consolidated considerable political authority and power throughout the middle ages in the history of Kerala. The advent of the Portuguese to this port-town was mainly due to this reputation that it had in the orient. The Zamorins of Calicut, its rulers, were known for their hospitality, religious tolerance and patronage. Naturally, this ruling house became popular among the trading nations, particularly the Arabs, Abyssinians and Egyptians. A legend had been spread that one merchant kept his gold sovereigns in a jar and pretended that it was of pickle and kept it with the authorities of Calicut. He got back the same jar containing the sovereigns and thus he wanted to do his trade in this city, a symbol of honesty. Whatever may be the element of truth in this legend, it highlighted the fact that honesty was the best policy as envisaged by the ruling dynasty of this city.

The history of this ruling house had been the history of maritime trade with the Arabs and other trading nationalities. With an obscure origin, this house after the fall of the later Cheras of Mahodayapuram rose to political power and counteracted the Portuguese expansion on the coast in the 16th century. Its navy, the pioneering one under the command of Kunhali Marakkars, recorded many heroic chapters in the history of naval encounters in the Arabian Sea for a century. The Marakkars also realized first time the significance of freedom of the Indian Ocean and kept vigilance against its occupation by the enemies.

The independence of this medieval kingdom was lost at the time of Mysorean invasion and it was forced to reckon with a tributary system under the Sultans of Mysore. The political settlements which they made with the English East India Company in 1792 at Srirangapattanam finally determined the destiny of Calicut. As an irony of history, the country which had fought for hundred years against the Portuguese expansion was compelled to yield to the authority of the English East India Company without even a single shot of the gun.

Calicut, with its declining position in the Asiatic trade, became the district headquarters of the British administration. The ruling house received a pension or malikhan from the British as in the case of other ruling houses, remained as a landowing house and authority in Hindu religious affairs. The famous temples like Guruvayur came under the authority of this house.

Prof. K. V Krishna Ayyar, as a teacher of history and a researcher, more familiarised in the palace accounts and other sources of the Zamorins had brought out an authoritative historical account of this house in 1938. When the 500 years of Vasco da Gama was celebrated all over the world as a historical event and as a matter of superiority of the whiteman, more interest has been concentrated in the history of the Zamorins also who had resisted the Portuguese expansion in Malabar over a period of a century. Thus the historical account of this house is a topic of great academic interest for students and researchers.

However the publication of this major work was sold out before decades and a second one was due for a long time. Now this responsibility of its re-publication has been taken up by the University of Calicut, particularly in honour of the 60th session of the Indian History Congress held in this University during the last days of the departing 20th century. The authorities of the University of Calicut express their sincere gratitude to His Highness Sri Ettanunni Rajah, the present Rajah of the House of Zamorins, for his patronage extended to this publication.

 

Introduction

The student of history knows the Zamorin as the Lord of the Kingdom where Vasco da Gama made his historic landing in A.D. 1498. The Zamorin's claim to an abiding place in the annals of his country does not, however, depend on this accident alone. For nearly nine hundred and fifty years. if not more, from at the latest A.D 826 to 1766, he was the central figure in Kerala. For eight centuries he was the recognised Rakshapurusha or Protector of the Mamakam, the great national festival, held once in twelve years, at which the peoples and princes of Kerala offered homage and fealty to him. To him the people of Kerala owe the preservation and development of their arts and culture: in him literature and philosophy had a generous and discriminating patron.

The history of the Zamorins as rulers may be divided into two parts, the arrival of Vasco da Gama from Europe marking off the one from the other. The first part rests mainly upon well-established and recorded tradition. As the sources on which this part is based are not easily accessible, and most of them are in imminent danger of disappearing altogether, the more important of them are printed as footnotes. The authorities relied upon for the second part are also indicated in the footnotes, so that the reader may refer to them for fuller information.

A pioneer work of this kind must necessarily contain many imperfections and gaps. The examination of foreign authorities is not claimed to have been exhaustive, though all that are important and available here have been largely drawn upon. And a diligent search in the archives of the chieftains and vassals who had followed the Zamorin in his wars and conquests may yet bring to light much that is valuable and interesting.

For want of types with the necessary diacritical marks the standard transliteration has not been adopted.

The typographical errors that are unfortunately found in the text and notes are too obvious to need separate corrigenda. Two errors of fact have, however, crept in. In line 19 on page 10 'Ayilyam' must be substituted for 'Puyam', and in note I on page 133 'who was born' for 'which was composed '.

I take this opportunity to express my obligations to the present Zamorin not only for the help and encouragement I have received from him during the preparation of this book, but also for kindly permitting me to associate his name with it by accepting its dedication.

I render my sincere thanks to Mr. J.A. Thorne, I.C.S., for the distinction he has lent to this book by his invaluable Foreword.

 

Contents

 

  Dedication iii
  Introduction ix
  Foreword v
  Forword Ist Edition vii
1 The Nediyiruppu Svarupam 14
2 The Ariyittuvalcha 28
3 Kerala and its People 44
4 Early History 60
5 The Rise of Calicut 81
6 The Mamakam 89
7 A Century of Wars and Conquests 109
8 Vasco da Gama 123
9 The Rupture with the Portuguese 136
10 The Beginning 149
11 The Invasion of Cochin 158
12 The Portuguese War: I stage 167
13 The Portuguese War: II stage 182
14 The Down fall of the Portuguese 197
15 The Struggle with the Dutch 207
16 The Mysorean Invasions 224
17 The Zamorin and the English 234
18 How the Empire was governed 250
19 The Zamorins as Patrons of Literature 287
  Appendix  
1 Sources 303
2 The Agreement of AD. 1806 306
3 List of Feudatories 309
4 Letters to Calicut (AD. 1759) 311
5 The Zamorin's Estate (AD. 1938) 311
6 Authorities cited 312
7 ---- 317
8 ---- 317
9 ---- 317

Sample Pages

















The Zamorins of Calicut (With Map)

Item Code:
NAH458
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
1999
ISBN:
8177480006
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Pages:
320
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 400 gms
Price:
$30.00   Shipping Free
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About The Book

The story of the Zamorins is of peculiar interest to all Europeans who have known malabar: both because of the part those rulers played for Centuries in that impact of the west on the east which has developed in to the politics of our own day, and also for a more personal reason. We foreginers who have lived and worked in Kerala hold ourselves to be singularly fortunate: what ever else India may come to mean for us, we remember with gratitude and affection the country and people whose civilisation is bound up with the dynasty of the Zamorins.

 

Foreword

Calicut, one of the prominent medieval port-towns of India, was an international trade emporium in spices and textiles. The rulers of its Kingdom enjoyed much prosperity of its maritime trade links and consolidated considerable political authority and power throughout the middle ages in the history of Kerala. The advent of the Portuguese to this port-town was mainly due to this reputation that it had in the orient. The Zamorins of Calicut, its rulers, were known for their hospitality, religious tolerance and patronage. Naturally, this ruling house became popular among the trading nations, particularly the Arabs, Abyssinians and Egyptians. A legend had been spread that one merchant kept his gold sovereigns in a jar and pretended that it was of pickle and kept it with the authorities of Calicut. He got back the same jar containing the sovereigns and thus he wanted to do his trade in this city, a symbol of honesty. Whatever may be the element of truth in this legend, it highlighted the fact that honesty was the best policy as envisaged by the ruling dynasty of this city.

The history of this ruling house had been the history of maritime trade with the Arabs and other trading nationalities. With an obscure origin, this house after the fall of the later Cheras of Mahodayapuram rose to political power and counteracted the Portuguese expansion on the coast in the 16th century. Its navy, the pioneering one under the command of Kunhali Marakkars, recorded many heroic chapters in the history of naval encounters in the Arabian Sea for a century. The Marakkars also realized first time the significance of freedom of the Indian Ocean and kept vigilance against its occupation by the enemies.

The independence of this medieval kingdom was lost at the time of Mysorean invasion and it was forced to reckon with a tributary system under the Sultans of Mysore. The political settlements which they made with the English East India Company in 1792 at Srirangapattanam finally determined the destiny of Calicut. As an irony of history, the country which had fought for hundred years against the Portuguese expansion was compelled to yield to the authority of the English East India Company without even a single shot of the gun.

Calicut, with its declining position in the Asiatic trade, became the district headquarters of the British administration. The ruling house received a pension or malikhan from the British as in the case of other ruling houses, remained as a landowing house and authority in Hindu religious affairs. The famous temples like Guruvayur came under the authority of this house.

Prof. K. V Krishna Ayyar, as a teacher of history and a researcher, more familiarised in the palace accounts and other sources of the Zamorins had brought out an authoritative historical account of this house in 1938. When the 500 years of Vasco da Gama was celebrated all over the world as a historical event and as a matter of superiority of the whiteman, more interest has been concentrated in the history of the Zamorins also who had resisted the Portuguese expansion in Malabar over a period of a century. Thus the historical account of this house is a topic of great academic interest for students and researchers.

However the publication of this major work was sold out before decades and a second one was due for a long time. Now this responsibility of its re-publication has been taken up by the University of Calicut, particularly in honour of the 60th session of the Indian History Congress held in this University during the last days of the departing 20th century. The authorities of the University of Calicut express their sincere gratitude to His Highness Sri Ettanunni Rajah, the present Rajah of the House of Zamorins, for his patronage extended to this publication.

 

Introduction

The student of history knows the Zamorin as the Lord of the Kingdom where Vasco da Gama made his historic landing in A.D. 1498. The Zamorin's claim to an abiding place in the annals of his country does not, however, depend on this accident alone. For nearly nine hundred and fifty years. if not more, from at the latest A.D 826 to 1766, he was the central figure in Kerala. For eight centuries he was the recognised Rakshapurusha or Protector of the Mamakam, the great national festival, held once in twelve years, at which the peoples and princes of Kerala offered homage and fealty to him. To him the people of Kerala owe the preservation and development of their arts and culture: in him literature and philosophy had a generous and discriminating patron.

The history of the Zamorins as rulers may be divided into two parts, the arrival of Vasco da Gama from Europe marking off the one from the other. The first part rests mainly upon well-established and recorded tradition. As the sources on which this part is based are not easily accessible, and most of them are in imminent danger of disappearing altogether, the more important of them are printed as footnotes. The authorities relied upon for the second part are also indicated in the footnotes, so that the reader may refer to them for fuller information.

A pioneer work of this kind must necessarily contain many imperfections and gaps. The examination of foreign authorities is not claimed to have been exhaustive, though all that are important and available here have been largely drawn upon. And a diligent search in the archives of the chieftains and vassals who had followed the Zamorin in his wars and conquests may yet bring to light much that is valuable and interesting.

For want of types with the necessary diacritical marks the standard transliteration has not been adopted.

The typographical errors that are unfortunately found in the text and notes are too obvious to need separate corrigenda. Two errors of fact have, however, crept in. In line 19 on page 10 'Ayilyam' must be substituted for 'Puyam', and in note I on page 133 'who was born' for 'which was composed '.

I take this opportunity to express my obligations to the present Zamorin not only for the help and encouragement I have received from him during the preparation of this book, but also for kindly permitting me to associate his name with it by accepting its dedication.

I render my sincere thanks to Mr. J.A. Thorne, I.C.S., for the distinction he has lent to this book by his invaluable Foreword.

 

Contents

 

  Dedication iii
  Introduction ix
  Foreword v
  Forword Ist Edition vii
1 The Nediyiruppu Svarupam 14
2 The Ariyittuvalcha 28
3 Kerala and its People 44
4 Early History 60
5 The Rise of Calicut 81
6 The Mamakam 89
7 A Century of Wars and Conquests 109
8 Vasco da Gama 123
9 The Rupture with the Portuguese 136
10 The Beginning 149
11 The Invasion of Cochin 158
12 The Portuguese War: I stage 167
13 The Portuguese War: II stage 182
14 The Down fall of the Portuguese 197
15 The Struggle with the Dutch 207
16 The Mysorean Invasions 224
17 The Zamorin and the English 234
18 How the Empire was governed 250
19 The Zamorins as Patrons of Literature 287
  Appendix  
1 Sources 303
2 The Agreement of AD. 1806 306
3 List of Feudatories 309
4 Letters to Calicut (AD. 1759) 311
5 The Zamorin's Estate (AD. 1938) 311
6 Authorities cited 312
7 ---- 317
8 ---- 317
9 ---- 317

Sample Pages

















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