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Malabar Manual Vol 1 CHAPTER III. HISTORY
William Logan!
Section A — Traditionary Ancient History (1)

The Kerala Mahatmyam and the Keralolpatti (Kerala-ulpatti = origin of Kerala), the former written in indifferent Sanskrit and the latter in modern Malayalam, contain the traditions current among the people regarding the ancient history of the province.

The mace-bearing incarnation of Vishnu (Parasu Raman), the former work says, was obliged by the Rishis to expiate the sin of having slain his mother by extirpating the Kshatriyas, the enemies of the Brahmans. This he accomplished in twenty-one expeditions. At Vishvamitra's suggestion he then made over all the land within the four seas to the Rishis “with all the blood-guiltiness attached to it, by making them drink of the water1 of possession”.

NOTEs: 1. N.B.—The fact that the janmam (birth-right) of land in Malabar is also called the "water-contact-birthright” (Nirattiperu) is fully commented on in Chapter IV. END OF NOTEs

The Brahmans, it is said, turned him out of the land he thus gave away, but with Subramanya's assistance, he obtained by penance from the god of the seas (Varuna) the grant of some land to dwell on. The throw of his mace (parasu) was to determine its extent. He threw it from Kanya Kumari (Cape Comerin) to Gokarnam The gods came to visit the land thus miraculously won and called it Parasu Raman's land, and Siva condescended to be worshipped in Gokarnam the metropolis of the province thus reclaimed from the sea.

To people this land, Parasu Raman is said to have first of all brought a poor Brahman from the shores of the Kistna river. This man had eight sons, and the eldest was made head of all the Brahmans of Kerala and located, some say, at a place near Gokarnam, others say at Trisivaperur (Trichur in the Cochin State).

Other Brahmans were next brought, and located in sixty-four gramas or villages. Ships with seeds and animals next came, also eighteen Samantas2 (sons of Brahmans and Kshatriya women) also Vaishyas (Chottis) and Sudras and the low castes. Some of the Brahmans emigrated, and to prevent this for the future the special customs already alluded to (ante p. 155) were prescribed.

NOTEs: 2. The families of the native chieftain are mostly of this caste, but they are classed as Sudras. END OF NOTEs

Bauddhas are confounded in the Mahatmyam with Muhammadans, and the first Buddhist vihara or palli (chapel, mosque) is said to have been located at Madayi3 south of the Seven Hills,4 i.e., Mount Deli. The Mahatmyam is full of the usual inflated Brahmanical legends, and is not so worthy of serious analysis as its more popular form, the Keralolpatti.

NOTEs: 3. Compare p. 194.

4. Vide p. 6. END OF NOTEs

The Keralolpatti too is full of Brahmanical legends, but historically there is something to be learnt from it.

It agrees with the Mahatmyam on the main points, the miraculous formation of the land, and the peopling of it first of all with Brahmans. It sets forth that the first Brahmans who arrived from various places did not remain in Keralam owing to their dread of the myriads of serpents1 infesting the country.

NOTEs: 1. See footnote on p. 201. END OF NOTEs

When the Brahmins retired, the serpents are said to have protected the country. Then Parasu Raman fetched more Brahmans from the north and located them in sixty-four villages or gramams, viz., (1) Gokamam ; (2) Gomakutam ; (3) Karavalli ; (4) Mallur; (5) Eppanur ; (15) Cheppanur ; (7) Katalur ; (8) Kallannur ; (9) Karyachchira ; (10) Peiyanchira — this was the first group in the extreme north of the newly reclaimed land—(11) Trikkani ; (12) Trikkatta ; (13) Trikkanpala ; (14) Trichchola (15) Kollur ; (16) Komalam ; (17) Vellara ; (18) Vengatu ; (19) Venkatam ; (20) Chengotu—-another set of ten gramams presumably to the south of the first group and all lying in North Canara or Tulunad (21) Kolisvaram ; (22) Manchisvaram ; (23) Utuppu ; (24) Sankaranarayam ; (25) Kottam ; (20) Sivalli ; (27) Mora (28) Pancha ; (29) Vittad ; (3u) Kumaramangalam ; (31) Anantapuram ; (32) Kannapuram—a group of twelve gramams lying in South Canara or Tulunad—(33) Peiyanur ; (34) Perinchellur ; (35) Karikkatu ; (36) lsanamangalam ; (37) Alattur; (38) Karintolam ; (39) Trissivaperur ; (40) Panniyur ; (41) Chovaram— those though only nine in number are said to have formed another group of ten grammams----(42) Paruppur ; (43) Eiranikkulam ; (44) Mushikakulam ; (45) Iringatikkotu: (46) Alappur ; (47) Chenganolu; ; (48) Uliyanur ; (49) Kalutunalu. (50) Kalachchur ; (51) Ilibhyam ; (52) Chamundha ; (53) Avattiputtur --another group of twelve gramams —(51) Katukaruka ; (55) Kilangur, (56) Karanallur ; (67) Kaviyur ; (58) Ettulaniyur ; (59) Nilmanna ; (60) Anmani; (61) Anmalam ; (62) Tiruvallayi ; (63) Chenganiyur.

One of the names has probably been lost. The last named thirty-one gramams seem to belong to Malabar proper and the Native States of Cochin and North Travancore; but some of the names of places cannot now be identified, nor are the name which can be identified arranged in strict order proceeding from north to south.

The Keralolpatti proceeds to describe how certain of the Brahmans obtained the gift of arms, how the serpents which had formerly been the terror of the Brahmans were made their household gods— a portion of the shares2 of the Brahmans being set apart to satisfy the serpents—how fencing schools with tutelary deities were established, how the goddess Durga was set to guard the sea-shore, and the god Sasta the feet of the hills, how the unstableness of the land was removed by sprinkling gold dust on the ground, by stamping so as to make it firm, and by depositing water carrying golden sands.

NOTEs. 2. Vide p. 184. END OF NOTEs

Parasu Raman finally organised the gramams, setting special tasks to some, and to particular individuals others. His last injunction to the gramams was to adopt the law of succession through the mother, but only one of them (Peiyanur), located in the extreme north of the Malayalam country, obeyed him.

After all this had been arranged he next introduced Sudras from the countries east of the ghats, and caused all of them to adopt the law of succession through the mother, and he constituted them as the body -guard of the Brahman villages.

“Thus” the Keralolpatti runs on, "Parashu Raman created the land of Malabar—the Karmabhumi, or country where salvation depends entirely upon good actions—and bestowed the same upon the Brahmans of the sixty-four gramams as a poured-out gift.

The narrative recites how he selected the four gramams of Peiynur, Perinchellur, Parappur and Chenganiyur and gave them authority to act in place of the whole sixty-four gramams. While the armed Brahmans were ruling the land, it is said, disputes arose and injustice ensued. So the Brahmans assembled and appointed a Protector in each1 of the four selected villages, to hold office for three years, and assigned to each Protector a share equal to 1/6 of all the land for the support of himself and his subordinates.

NOTEs: 1. There is a different tradition about this. END OF NOTEs

This institution, it is said, did not work well, and the people were oppressed by the Protectors, who sought to make the most of their opportunities during their short terms of office. So the Brahmans, assembled at Tirunavayi, determined to select a king, and empowered the four selected gramams to choose a. king. Their choice fell on Keya Perumal, of Keyapuram, in the country east of the ghats. He was brought, it is said, to Keralam and installed as the first of the Perumals in the year of the Kalivug “Bhumanbhupoyam Prapya”, corresponding to A.D. 216.2

NOTEs: 2. The specific dates mentioned in the work are all unreliable. END OF NOTEs

The Brahmans arranged that he should rule for twelve years, but it is said he reigned for only eight years and four months. It is incidentally mentioned that there were two other Perumals besides the Keya (Chera, Kerala) Perumal. Those were the Choya (Chola) Perumal of Choyamandalam, and the Pandi or Kulasekhara Perumal of Pandimandalam, which information is corroborated from other and early sources, which mention Chera, Chola and Pandya as being the three great kingdoms of the south of the Peninsula.

It is further incidentally mentioned that the Malanad (hillcountry, Malabar) was divided into four parts, viz. : — (1) Tula kingdom extending from Gokarnam to Perumpula (the big river), i.e., the Canaras (north and south) very nearly as at present defined.

(2) The Kupa kingdom extending from Perumpula to Putupattanam, the seat of the Tekkankur (Southern Regent) of the north Kolattiri dynasty situated on the Kotta river, i.e., North Malabar as at present defined less the southern half of the Kurumbranad taluk.

(3) The Kerala kingdom extending from Putupattanam to Kannetti, that is, South Malabar, including the south halt of the Kurumbranad taluk, the Cochin State, and North Travancore.

(4) The Mushika kingdom extending from Kannetti to Cape Comorin, that is, South Travancore.

It would appear, therefore, that the Perumal whom the Brahmans say they selected ruled over only a small portion of the country (Kerala) reclaimed by the efforts of Parasu Raman, and that Kerala, the name usually applied to the whole of Parasu Raman's reclamation, was in fact the name by which the Brahmans designated the middle half only of the country inhabited by the Malayalam-speaking race of Dravidians.

This fact has an important bearing on the question as to when the Brahmans really did settle in Malabar, for Kerala is now by scholars recognised to be a dialectic (Canarese) form of the ancient name of the whole country, viz., Chera or Cheram or Keram, a name which probably still survives in Cheranad, the western portion of the Ernad taluk, and possibly also in Cheruman (plural — Cherumakkal1) the agrestic slave caste.

NOTEs: 1. The Cherumar are supposed to be so styled because of their low stature ((Cheru = small) but low feeding produces low stature, and it is very possible that the slave caste constituted the aborigines of the ancient Chera kingdom (vide p. 147). END OF NOTEs

The name Kerala was probably not in use in Malabar itself until it was imported along with the Nambutiri Brahmans, and after being so imported it was naturally applied to that portion only of ancient Chera where those Brahmans settled most2 thickly, that is, in the third of the divisions or kingdoms mentioned in the Keralolpatti. Outside the Malayalam country the name was certainly in use, as will be seen presently, for centuries before the Nambutiri Brahmans arrived, and was employed to designate the dominions of the Chera king.

NOTEs: 2. See the table given at p. 119-120. END OF NOTEs

Thus runs the Keralolpatti ;— “When the Brahmans first appointed a king they made an agreement on oath with him to this effect—‘Do that which is beyond our power to do and protect. When complaints happen to arise, we will settle them by ourselves. You are not to question us on that point. For formality’s sake you may ask why we deal with affairs ourselves after making you a king’.

At this3 day even when complaints arise the king says:-- Why do you deal with them ? Why did you not make your complaint to me?' This is owing to the former oath.''

NOTEs: 3. The work is generally supposed to have been written in the 17th century A.D. END OF NOTEs

It is further said they gifted him with lands and fixed his headquarters at Allur alias Kodumgallur (Cranganore) alias Muyirikode (Jew's deed) alias the Mouziris of the Greeks.

After Keya Perumal's death the Brahmans, it is said, brought Choya Perumal from Choyamandalama. He reigned ten years and two months and returned to Choyamandalam.

They next brought Pandi Perumal1 from the Pandi country. He built a fort, reigned nine years and returned to his former home “whence a messenger had come to inform him that there was no one to be king at Pandimandalam”.

NOTEs: 1. One version asserts that this was an "enterprising female.—” Ind. Ant. IX, p. 78. END OF NOTEs

It will be noticed that the names of these three first Perumals, supposed to be single individuals with exact terms stated as to the durations of their reigns, are in reality the names of the Chera, Chola, and Pandya rulers, and it is quite possible that when the dominion of the Chera princes terminated, they were succeeded in the suzerainty of the Kerala chieftains, first by the Cholas and afterwards by the Pandyas.

Then comes in a tradition of a king called Bhutarayar2 Pandi Perumal, between whom and the Brahmans bitter enmity arose. He was guarded by two spirits and the Brahmans could not compass his destruction, until one of them played chess with him and won the services of the guardian spirits ; after which he was assassinated3 by a Brahman, from whom descended the Nambidi caste.

NOTEs: 2. This Perumal who was guarded by evil spirits and inimical to the Brahmans was not improbably the Perumal who became a convert to Muhammadanism, the Pallibana Perumal, as he is called further on, and the Cheraman Perumal of the popular tradition.

3. Another version asserts that the Perumal thus assassinated was called Shola Perumal (or Choya Perumal above referred to). — Ind. Ant. IX, 78. END OF NOTEs

The Mahatmyam says of him that the Pandyans invaded Kerala with an army of Bhutans (spirits) that Parasu Raman said to the Bhuta Raja angrily : “Your arrival at my country is in vain. I have given it over to the Southern king Adityavarman 4.The Bhuta army was then defeated, and the boundary of Kerala was fixed at the place (Bhuta pandi) where Parana Raman accosted the invaders.

NOTEs: 4. This seems to refer to the Chola king of this name, who, according to present knowledge, overran a large part of Southern India about A.D. 804. If the Bhutarayar Pandi Perumal above referred to was, as suggested, the Muhammadan convert, then this allusion to the Chola king is chronologically correct. END OF NOTEs

Invasions, it is said in the Keralopatti, became frequent ; the Brahmans applied to Parasu Raman, who told them to select a king at Tirunavayi5 , that the Gangadevi (Ganges) would come6 on the day of the festival at Tirunavayi, that they might choose whomsoever they wished, and that he should be anointed with the water of the Perar (big river), that is, the Ponnani river, on the north bank of which Tirunavayi stands; Parasu Raman likewise gave them the sword of Bhadrakali7 for the protection of the country.

NOTEs: 5. Vide p. 163.

6. At the Mahamakham festival (vide pp. 163-69) still held at Kumbhakonam, in Tanjore District, every twelfth year, the Ganges in the form of a blooming girl of seventeen-years (sometimes still seen by imaginative individuals) is believed to visit a certain tank in that town much bathed in on such occasions.

7. Conf. p. 240. END OF NOTEs

They proceeded to Choyamandalam, the narrative continues, and brought thence a king named Keralan. He was anointed on the day of Puyam, in the month of Kumbham, in the year when the planet Jupiter was in the constellation of the Crab, that is, he was anointed after one of the Tirunavayi Mahamakhom1 festivals, and the ceremony was performed in the royal hall of Vakayur.2"

NOTEs: 1. Conf. p. 104.

2. Conf. p. 160. END OF NOTEs

On him the Brahmans, it is said, conferred the following privileges :—Battle wager, land customs, fines for evasion of ancient usages, riding on elephants, cows with five tents to the udder, cows with three teats to the udder, bulls that have slain men or animals, spotted bulls, tails of tigers slain in hunting, wild pigs that have fallen into wells, regulation of the beds of streams, accretions from the sea, tax on headloads [or, perhaps, trees or fruits of abnormal growth, or, perhaps, the cabbage of palm trees cut down), sea customs, the revenue and charges of all Kerala. They also presented to him the sword of Bhadrakali, and built him a palace at Trikkata Matilaha.

lt is said he reigned for twelve years and then returned to his own country, and on account of his good qualities, it is said, the land received the name of Kerala.

To him succeeded King Pandyan alias Chenaar of the Pandyan Raj. He reigned twelve years and then went back to his own country after settling up accounts with the Brahmans.

Then followed King Choyiyan of the Choya Raj. He also, it is said, ruled twelve years.

The tradition about these three kings is, it will be observed, just a different version, with some local colouring, of the tradition already alluded to above pointing to the probability that the Kerala princes proper were followed in the suzerainty of Malabar by the Cholas and Pandyas ; only this repetition of the tradition seems to place the Pandyas’ suzerainty as an event prior to that of the Cholas.

The Keralolpatti next proceeds to state that the Brahmans, in order to prevent the King from seizing despotic power, divided the country into seventeen divisions, and committed the power of control to four gramams (Brahman villages), namely, (1) Eiranikkulam, (2) Iringal kollu, (2) Mushikakulam, and Purappur. Of these four villages, it will be noticed that only one (Purappur) was among the first four villages selected by Parasu Raman. The reason assigned for the supersession of Peiyanur (or perhaps Panniyur), Perinchellur and Chenganiyar, is that these were too distant from Paravur, or Parappur.

The fact, however, is also consistent with the supposition that political reasons had been at work, and the acquisition of independence by the Northern Kolattiris in North Malabar and by the Southern Kolattiris in Travancore (for which there is a strong tradition) may have led to the withdrawal of the Peiyanur gramam from the list of controlling gramams in North Malabar, and to the non-establishment (a fact which remains to the present day) of any Nambutiri villages to the south of the Quilon river.

If on the other hand, it was the Panniyur (literally pig village) gramam which was superseded, that also is explicable on the supposition (for which also there is some extraneous evidence) that there was at one time a diminution1 in the influence of the Vaishnavites (worshippers of the boar incarnation of Vishnu) and an increase in the influence of the Saivites. Kerala was probably stripped of its northern province by the power and influence of the Western Chalukyas, whose emblem was this name boar incarnation of Vishnu and the Rashtrakuta or Ratta dynasty in turn with strong Brahmanical and Saivite proclivities superseded the Western Chalukyas and claimed to have conquered Keralam.

NOTEs: 1. Conf. pp. 119 and 120. At the present day, the Panniyur (pig village) Brahmans are considered not to be entitled to recite the Vedas.END OF NOTEs

The precise time or times when those events occurred will be considered in the next section of this chapter, but meanwhile, as some additional evidence that political influences were at work, it is necessary to draw attention to the fact that the Keralolpatti next proceeds to describe a new arrangement of the gramams which took place at this time. The thirty-two Tulu gramams (north of the Perumpula) were it is said, “cut off from all connection (or perhaps intermarriage)” with the thirty-two pure Malayali gramams lying to the south of that river, and a fresh distribution of the Malayali gramams themselves took place. The narrative further runs thus :—“ The other thirty-two gramams (i.e., those lying to the north of the Perumpula) are composed of those who went away to join the Panchadravidas2 and returned afterwards. They are called Palantuluvar3 or Tulunambis4.”

NOTEs: 2. Literally five Dravidas, which usually refers to the five chief Dravidian dialect—Tamil, Telugu, Canarese, Malayalam and Tulu. Had the word in the text been the “ Fifth Dravidas," i.e., the Tulus, the meaning would have been clear.

3. Literally ancient Tulus

4. Literally Tulu Vaishnavas END OF NOTEs

Sometime after this, so the tradition runs, the Brahmans brought from the East Coast from Banapuram5 a king whom they called Bana5 Perumal. He was installed at Allur, i.e., Kodungallur (Cranganore). It was during his reign that the Mappillas came and gave an account to him of the greatness of their religion. The Perumal, it is said, was convinced, and embraced the Muhammadan (or Baudha (sic)] faith.

NOTEs: 5. Query.—The Mahavali dynasty of kings was also called the Bana dynasty. Is Banapuram another name for Mamallaipuram (the Seven Pagodas near Madras), and did this Perumal belong to the Mahavali dynasty? END OF NOTEs

He sent for the Brahmans and said to them : “Everybody in this Malanad (hill country, Malabar) must embrace this way (religion).” The Brahmans were embarrassed and could not eat with comfort owing to the defilement of the choultries. It is said they finally persuaded the Perumal to allow them an opportunity of controversy with the exponents of the new religion, agreeing that the party which was worsted in the encounter should have tongues cut out.

The Mappillas, it is said, were defeated and the Perumal cut out the tongues of those who remained and expelled them from the kingdom. Somewhat, inconsistently, however, the narrative runs that the Perumal himself did not revert to Hinduism and after a reign of four years he proceeded to Mecca, “saying that since he believed in the Mappilla faith he had no other way of obtaining salvation” ; and one account of him winds up thus:—“The Bhauhus (Mappillas) say that Cheraman Perumal went to Mecca- and not to heaven. That was not Cheraman Perumal, but this Pallibana Perumal1 (king of Kerala) ; Cheraman Perumal did indeed go to heaven. He was the fifth king after four kings had reigned.’’

NOTEs: 1.This Muhammadan Perumal must have lived subsequently to the seventh century A.D. when the Muhammadan religion was founded, and if, as the text says, Cheraman Perumal was the fifth of his successors, it follows that Cheraman Perumal must have lived after the seventh century A.D., whereas further on it will be seen, the text says, he went to heaven in the fourth or fifth century A.D. All the specific dates mentioned in the text are worthless. END OF NOTEs

Notwithstanding, however, the assertion in the text, it will be seen presently that the tradition about the conversion of this Baudl a (alias Mappilla) Perumal fits in accurately with the little that is known of the real Cheraman Perumal, and these traditions themselves, it will be seen, have assigned to him his proper place in history as having reigned subsequently to the partial disruption of the ancient Chera kingdom alluded to above.

The Keralolpatti then proceeds as follows – “The Brahmans went to other countries and brought Tulubhan Perumal from the northern country.” He fixed his residence, it is said, in the gramam of Kotisvaram2, and it was he that gave his name to the Tulunad (Canara). He is said to have reigned six years and to have died.

NOTEs: 2. This gramam lay in South Canara. END OF NOTEs

Indra Perumal was next, it is stated, sent for and made king. He lived at the big palace (Kovilagam king’s house) at Allur3 (Kodungallur, Cranganore). He reigned, aided by the councillors, it is said, of the four representative Brahman villages, for a period of twelve years, and then went away to the east, leaving orders to appoint another king.

NOTEs: 3. To the present day this place lies in the Native State of Cochin. END OF NOTEs

Arya Perumul was brought from Aryapuram and installed. He, it is said, inspected the whole of the country and arranged it4 into four divisions or provinces, viz. : —

(1) Tulu country, from Gokarnam to Perumpula.

(2) Kerala,5 from Perumpula to Puluppalanam.

(3) Mushika6 country, from Putuppattanam to Kannetti.

(4) Kuvala7 country, from Kannetti to Cape Comorin.

NOTEs: 4. Another version says the division took place in the reigns of the two Perumals last above mentioned as well as in this Perumals's reign (Ind. Ant. IX, 78). This version of the tradition materially helps the suggestions made further on in the text

5. N.B.—Kerala here acquires a very restricted meaning, and corresponds precisely to what was the dominion of the North Kolattiris in historical times.

6 N.B.—This Province was in the previous distribution called Kerala.

7 N.B.—This Province was in the previous distribution called Mushika END OF NOTEs

He is further said to have arranged it into seventeen nads or counties, and each nad into eighteen kandams or portions. He also, it is said, organised the country into desams (territorial military units) and named them.

He reigned with the aid of the councillors of the representative Brahman villages, and at the end of five (or twelve) years “the gods let down their chariot from the heavens, in which the Perumal went in a royal procession to heaven” to the great sorrow of the Brahmans.

They, however, next sent for Kannan Perumal “from the east country.” He is said to have built a “king’s house” at Kundivaka near Kannetti.1 He reigned four (or twelve) years and went away to his country.

NOTEs:1. In Travancore END OF NOTEs

Then Kotti Perumal was sent for and crowned as king. He lived at Kotti kollam2 for one year and died.

NOTEs: 2. Conf. p. I58. The assertion that this place was the modem Calicut (Ind. Ant. IX, 78) seems to be mere conjecture. END OF NOTEs

To him succeeded, it is said, Mata Perumal who reigned for eleven (or twelve) years and then thought of building a fort, so he sent for his younger brother Eli Perumal,3 i.e, the Perumal or Mount Deli, and went away to his country.

This Eli Perumal3 built, it is said, the Matayeli4 fort, and after reigning twelve years, he either died or went away to his native country.

NOTEs: 3. Conf. p. 6. END OF NOTEs

4. Note. This is probably the original spelling of Madayi, the third most ancient of the king’s houses of the Northern Kolatiiris. It is in the immediate vicinity of Palayangadi referred to in the notice of the Taliparamba River (ante p. 10). Col. Yule, in “Marco Polo,” has a note (II, pp. 375-76) on the various spellings of Madayi. END OF NOTEs

Komban Perumal was next sent for, and it is said he lived for three years and six months in tents or in camp on the banks of the Neytara river, another name for the Valarpattanam river5 (ante p. 10).

NOTEs: In North Malabar END OF NOTEs

Then came Vijayan Perumal, who built the fort at Vijayan kollam6. He reigned for twelve years and went away to his country, leaving orders to appoint another king.

The Brahmans, it is said, next sent for Valabhan Perumal “from the eastern country” and made him king of Kerala.7 He is said to have consecrated gods and built a fort on the banks of the Neytara6 river (Valarpattanam river). The fort (ante p. 11) received the name of Valarbhattu Kotta, and he appointed this as the hereditary residence of the future kings of Kerala.7 He reigned for eleven years and died.

NOTEs: 6. This place is subsequently mentioned in the text as being near Kanyarott (Cassergode) river in the Malayali portion of the South Canara district.

7. N.B. — Kerala, it will be noted, had now, according to the text, the restricted meaning of the territory lying between the Perumpula river and Putuppatlanam, that is, the dominion of the Northern Kolatiiris, North Malabar in fact. END OF NOTEs

Harischandra Perumal was next brought. He is said to have built a fort on the top of the Purali hill in Kottayara taluk.1 It was, however, haunted2 by forest deities, and men could not, it is said, safely go there and speak to the king. After reigning a few years, he is said to have disappeared.

NOTEs: 1. In North Malabar.

2. This tradition still survives. END OF NOTEs

Then Mallan Perumal was sent for. He built the fort of Nallurumallan in the Mushika3 province, and after a reign of twelve years went away to his country.

NOTEs: 3. That is, South Malabar, Cochin, and North Travancore, according to the distribution made above. END OF NOTEs

The next Perumal was Kulasekhara Perumal4 from the Pandyan country. He built his king’s house in the Mushika Province, introduced Kshatriya families, and organised the country, it is said, into small chieftainships to protect it against the Mappillas. He is also credited with having introduced the study of sciences into the Malayali country, for the Malayali Brahmans were, it is said, ignorant of sciences up to this time. In this, he was assisted by a person styled Udkayatungan, also called the Chetty (foreign merchant), who endowed the teacher of science, Prabhakara Gurukkal, with land sowing 5,000 kalams (bushels) of seed. The Perumal’s gift was of land sowing, it is said, 7,000 kalams.

NOTEs: 4. N.B.—This is still one of the titles of the Maharajas of Travancore, the Southern Kolattiris. END OF NOTEs

“Kulasekhara Perumal reigned for eighteen years and went to heaven with his body” in tl.o Purudisamasrayam year of kaliyuga, or in A.D. 3335, so it is said. The Bhagawati temple at Tiruvanjakkulam (near Cranganore) is also said to have come into existence in the same year.

NOTEs: 5. Note.—Considering that Muhammad himself was born only in the 7th century A.D., the date mentioned is obviously incorrect, if, as stated, this Perumal organised the country against the Mappillas.. END OF NOTEs

And here it will be as well to pause to consider who those Perumals were, who are said to have succeeded to the Muhammadan Pallibana Perumal in the manner above related. It has already been set forth above (ante. pp 72-73 . 158 -159) that there are two well-known places called Kollam6 — one in North Malabar and one in Travancore —that there are two Kollam eras in use in the Malayali countries and that the northern Kollam era began on 25th August 825 A.D.

NOTEs: 6. Note.—It is perhaps not too far-fetched to suggest that the Kolattiris were really originally the Kallattiris, i.e., chiefs of the countries lying round the two Kollams. Kollam is only an abbreviated form of Koyilagam or Kovilagam, which word means “King’s house.” The word Kollam is also applied to many other places where there were “King’s houses,” e.g., Kodungallur or Cranganore. It may be objected that the Northern Kolattiris never held sway about North Kollam which lies to the south of Putuppattanam on the Kotta River, usually assigned as the North Kolattunad southern limit, but this is rendered doubtful by the fact that down to the present day Nayar women from North Malabar may not pass to the south of the Ellattur river. All to the north of this latter river, including North Kollam, was probably at first the dominion of the North Kolattiris. END OF NOTEs

There is further extrinsic evidence (ante p. 196) that at or about the very time a king of Malabar, stated by the Mapillas to have been Cheraman Perumal, whom all—Hindus and Muhammadans alike—regard as having been the last of the kings of Kerala, embraced Muhammadanism, went to Arabia, and died at Zaphar, where his tomb is still to be seen.

Further, there is reason to think that, this date, 25th August 825, was the day of the Onam festival, when it was, and still is, customary for dependants to visit their suzerains and to do acts of homage either in person or by deputy to them, and this of all days in the year would be the day for a vassal to proclaim his independence of his suzerain.

It is not, therefore, an improbable suggestion that this was the day on which the Southern Kollattirs and possibly also the Northern branch broke away, possibly under the pressure of foreign influences, or possibly out of disgust at Cheraman Perumals perversion to Islam, from their allegiance to the last of the Kerala Perumals.

And again, for reasons which will be set forth further on, it may perhaps be guessed that the Northern Kolattiris had not up to this time attained to the dignity of a separate dynasty, whereas their cousins of the south, the Southern Kolattiris (Travancore), had, as the Jews and Syrians’ deeds show, been a distinct ruling family for some time. It is a noteworthy circumstance in this connection that even now-a-days the Travancore Maharajas on receiving the sword at their coronations have still to declare1;—“I will keep this sword until the uncle who has gone to Mecca returns.”

NOTEs: Mateer’s “Native Life in Travancore.” London 1883, p. 121. END OF NOTEs

The use of this phrase would seem to point to another solution of the problem, namely, that the Southern Kolattiris only assumed independence after the Perumal had left the country, and then only on the understanding that it was to be laid aside directly he returned. There is more in favour of this view than the former, for it renders it easier to understand how the writs obtained by Sheikh-ibn-Dinar and his family from Cheraman Perumal obtained2 ready acceptance and recognition at the hands of the various chieftains whose territories they visited with a view to the propagation of Islam.

NOTEs: Pages 193 -195. END OF NOTEs

Whichever of those views is correct, it will be noted that the principal actors on the Malayali stage after the flight or pilgrimage of the Muhammadan Pallibana Perumal ought to be the North and South branches of the Kolattiris and the other chiefs who attained independence in consequence of the Perumal’s flight, and if the traditions contained in the Keralolpatti are correct, they ought, after relating the disappearance of the convert to Islam, to go on to describe the chiefs who at this time attained to independence : nor does this test fail, for it will be seen from the details given above that the Perumals described as having reigned after Pallibana Perumal are either the North or South Kolattiris or the Tula or Cochin chiefs. The name “Kerala" even undergo a change, and instead of meaning the whole of the land between Gokarnam and Cape Comorin it comes at this time to signify merely North Malabar, i.e., Kolattunad, the kingdom of the Northern Kolattiris.

In his review of the Kerala Mahatmyam, Dr. Gundert observed 1 :—" The intention of the Purana is evidently to describe Kerala as being first under the rule of the united Travancore and Kolattiri dynasty, the sway of which being contracted by foreign aggression in the north, paved the way for the independent rule of the Kolattiri branch.”

NOTEs: 1. M.J.L.S., XIII, ii, 07. END OF NOTEs

This view, it will be seen, has much in common with what is set forth above, but it is more probable that the circumstances which finally led to the independence of the Kolattiris (or perhaps Kollattiris) were those detailed in what follows in the text.

The natural view to take of the text seems to be that two traditions— one probably a pure Brahman tradition, and the other a more popular tradition—have become mixed up, that Pallibana Perumal was really Cheraman Perumal, and that the Perumals who are recorded in the manner just set forth to have succeeded Pallibana Perumal were in reality the petty dynasties among whom Cheraman Pemmal divided his dominions, in the manner to be presently described, before he set out on his pilgrimage to Arabia.

The Keralolpatti after recording the death of Kulasekhara Perumal proceeds to describe over again the organisation of the Brahmans into an arms-bearing caste in order to protect the country. It is said eight and a half of the gramams took up arms, and were subsequently joined by two others, and it is recorded that seventy-two chiefs of one of the four selected villages fell in battle, but when, or where, or how, is not stated. One person each from two others of the selected gramams are also stated to have fallen in fight. In those cases, the names and the date of the month on which they fell are preserved, chiefly, it is presumed, because death ceremonies had to be performed for them once a year ever afterwards. Those armed Brahmans or protectors had, it is said, four chief things to attend to, viz. : —

(1) To assemble to consult about Government affairs.

(2) To assemble for play.

(3) Sankha Lakshanam, which literally means the characteristic mark of assembly, whatever that may have been. To these throe, which the protectors had from the beginning, was added —

(4) Authority to fix the flag at Tirunavayi, i.e., presumably at the Mahamakham festival held there every twelfth year.

Regarding the above organisation it seems probable that an attempt was made to form some of the Brahmans into a military caste, but it is impossible at present to say when this occurred or what was the occasion for it. That it ever supplied the place of a ruling king in the country is inconsistent with established facts and is, from the account given of the institution, also incredible.

Having dealt with this institution, the Keralolpatti proceeds as follows :—“After the country had been thus governed by the Brahmans of the sixty-four gramams and the Perumal1 for a short period, the sixty-four gramams assembled at Trikkariyur2 temple, consulted and resolved as follows :— ‘ This state of things will not do. The country will be lacking in the administration of justice. The Brahmans will have to leave the country and go away. A king is wanted.'

NOTEs: 1. The military organisation of the Brahmans seems by this to have occurred during the reign of one of the Perumals.

2. Or, as another copy says, “assembled in full at the sandy island of Tirunavayi” (ante p. 163). END OF NOTEs

“They went to the eastern country, obtained an interview with Anakundi Krishna Rayar, and after making various agreements with him asked him to send a king for Keralam to rule for every twelve years. (3He accordingly sent Perumal, the first king, and then Pandi Perumal to rule for twelve years, and after their reigns were ended) he sent the Kshatriya, Cheraman Perumal.

NOTEs: 3. The passage within brackets is a variation in the text. It seems to be on incomplete version of a tradition about the predecessors of Cheraman Perumal. END OF NOTEs

“They sat in the palace of Trikkariyur for the ceremony of coronation. Then the Brahmans of sixty-four gramams gave him an Anayatittu” (a kid of writ) to rule Kerala, the land 100 Katam (leagues) in length, and authorised him to rule as sole Emperor, giving him flowers and water. (4Thus Cheraman Perumal obtained the country of Kerala, 160 Katam (leagues) in length, with water. That Kali year was Swargasandehaprapyam,5 (A.D. 428).”

NOTEs: 4. Variation in the text.

5. Literally, “He went to heaven with his body." The value of the chronogram is 1,288,734 days of the Kali Yuga. END OF NOTEs

The Anakundi Krishna Rayar mentioned can be no other than the well known (puppet?) King of Vijayanagar, who flourished in the early part of the sixteenth century A.D; and the statement that a Perumal nominated by him came to Kerala in A.D, 428 is sufficiently absurd. This date, like the others already mentioned, is worthless, and the allusion to Krishna Rayar of Vijayanagar must also be inaccurate, since he lived in the first century after the Portuguese arrival, and the account which follows of the partition of Kerala among the existing families of Rajas by a Perumal of his nomination is palpably erroneous.

It is said that Cheraman Perumal after inspecting the country found that Trikkariyur, Tirunavayi and Valarppattanam fort were holy places, and of the eighteen seaports (literally, entrances to the deep), he selected that at Tiruvanchalimukham, and there erected the temple of Tiruvanchakkulam.

At the end of twelve years the Brahmans being pleased with him determined, it is said, to set at nought the injunction of Krishna Rayar that the Perumal was to reign for only twelve years, and they accordingly made him reign for another twelve years.

They next wished to have a race of good Kshatriyas in Kerala, so they sent for a “Surya Kshatriya” woman, and to her two sons were assigned, respectively, the Mushika1 country and the Tulunad1 country.

NOTEs: 1. Mushika here seems to mean the province between Putuppattanam and Kannetti and Tulunad, the country north of the Perumpula. This partition between the two sons of this woman is commented on further down. END OF NOTEs

It is not said that this was a wife of Cheraman Perumal, but on the contrary it is stated that the sons were the sons of a Brahman and of the Kshatriya woman after the fashion current now-a-days in the Malayali Rajas’ families. This tradition relates, as will be seen presently, to the Cochin Raja’s family. The woman was probably a sister or other near relative, natural or adopted, of Cheraman Perumal ; and in, corroboration of what is here stated the Jews, in connection with their copper-plate grant, explain the absence of the Cochin Raja’s name from the list of witnesses to the deed by asserting that he was Cheraman Perumal’s heir.

Then follows an account of three women (one Kshatriya and two Sudra), strangers from some northern land being stranded in a boat on Mount Deli. Cheraman Perumal took all of them to wife apparently, and on the descendents of the Kshatriya woman he conferred the title of Elibhupan (king of Eli) with “heirdom to the kingdom,” and he built for her the Elett king’s house at the foot of Elimala (Mount. Deli).

This tradition relates undoubtedly to the northern Kolattiri family, the second most ancient seat of the family having been at this particular king’s house under Mount Deli. The descendants of the other two (the shudra) women became, respectively, the ancestress of the Nerpatt and Chulali dynasties.

These families became the chief feudatories of the Northern Kolattiris. The Chulali dynasty apparently protected the trade2 route between Coorg and the Kolattiris’ dominion which passed through Srikandapuram or Jarfattan, where one of the original Muhammadan mosques, as already related, was built. If it is a correct tradition that the Chulali family is descended from Cheraman Perumal, it was a very natural thing for the Perumal to include among the letters given to Sheikh-ihn-.Dinar one addressed to the Chulali family; and the building of the mosque at such an apparently out-of-the-way spot becomes in this light intelligible.

NOTEs: 2. Srikandapuram is in the Chulai amsam of Chirakkal taluk. It is called in the Keralolpatti Siravupattanam (S. 7, Part 2), which is not far from the Jarfattan of the Arabs. END OF NOTEs

Another remark deserves to be here recorded, for these traditions explain a very powerful influence which was, and it may be added still is, always at work tending to the disintegration of Malayali families and Malayali inheritances. A Malayali king’s natural heirs were his sister’s or aunt’s or female cousin’s children. His own children were the heirs not of their father but of their mother. But from natural affection a suitable provision would always be made for the mother of the king’s children and her off spring; and the provision often took the shape of a grant of territory.

It was undoubtedly thus that the dominions of the Northern Kolattiris became so curtailed in extent. The Kadattunad family thus acquired the portion of their dominions which used at one time to be under the Tekke Ilankur, or Southern Regent of Kollatunad, with head- quarters at Putuppattanam, and the Keralopatti explains how the Nilesvaram dynasty holding the Malayali portion of South Canara sprang from a matrimonial alliance between a prince of the Kolattiri and a lady of the Zamorin’s house.

The more powerful the family of the lady was the more likelihood there was of the provision for her leading to the founding of a dynasty and to its semi-independence of the male parent stock. It is not at all improbable therefore that the Northern Kolattiris are descended from a matrimonial alliance between the last of the Kerala Perumals and a lady of the stock of the great southern feudatory, the Travancore (South Kolattiri) Rajas. The two families have always observed pollution, when deaths occurred in their respective houses, and, as matter of fact, the southern family would have ceased to exist long ago but for the adoption of heirs on several occasions from the northern family.

In all probability a fresh adoption will have to be made in the course of the next few years.

This solution of the problem, while in strict accordance with the text, supplies a sufficient answer to the question why the Northern Kolattiri was not, while his cousin of the south, was a witness to the copper-plate grants whereby the Jews and Christians obtained extensive privileges from two of the Perumals in the eighth century A.D.

This absence of the name of the North Kolattiri from the list of witnesses to those deed led Dr. Gundert to conjecture1 that the North Kolattiri was, at the dates of their execution, independent of the Perumal, but so far as evidence is yet forthcoming there is nothing to show that the North Kolattiri dynasty had a separate existence in the eighth century A.D. ; and it will be seen that the Muhammadan story about the introduction2 of Islam into Malabar renders it probable that the last of the Perumals had sufficient influence over the North Kolattiri to induce him to grant a site for a mosque at Madayi and to endow the institution. This would not have been a very probable occurrence had the North Kolattiri been, for perhaps a century and-a-half previously, as Dr. Gundert conjectured, independent of the Porumals altogether.

NOTEs: 1. M.J.L.S XIII, Part I.

2. Anfep. 194. END OF NOTEs

Cheraman Perumal, the text goes on to say, encouraged merchants and invited Jonaka3 Mappillas (Muhammadans) to the country. In particular he invited4 a Muhammadan and his wife to come from his native land of Aryapuram and installed them at Kannanur (Cannanore). The Muhammadan was called Ali Raja, that is, lord of the deep, or of the sea.

NOTEs: 3. Vide foot-note p. 191.

4. There are other traditions about the origin of the family of the Chief of Cannanore and of the Laccadive Islands, which will be alluded to further on. END OF NOTEs

Cheraman Perumal had reigned for thirty-six years when Krishna Rayar, it is said, sent an expedition to subdue the country and enforce his commands.

Another version of the text says that it was not Anakundi Krishna Rayar but a Pandyan king who invaded the country in Cheraman Perumal’s time : and the reason for the expedition is said to have been that the Perumal himself came from the Chola country, and the Pandyan was jealous of the growth of the Chola influence in Kerala. The Pandyan, it is said, ascended the Anamala mountains, descended through the forests on Kerala, and built a fort in the Taravur country.

To drive back the invaders Cheraman Perumal, it is said, employed Prince Utaya Varmman of the Karippatt1 king’s house, his son by the Kshatriya women : and he also sent for Manichchan and Vikkiran of Puntura,2 or, according to another version, those noble youths while on a pilgrimage came to Tirunavayi, where the Perumal was residing after having sustained a defeat in battle. He was apparently even contemplating a flight in boats when assured by the youths that they would take the fort.

NOTEs: 1. This is the earliest of the seats of the North Kolattiris. It lies in Kurummattur Amsam in Chirakkal taluk.

3 Punturakkon (King of Puntura) is still one of the titles of the Zamorin Maharaja Bahadur of Calicut, and his official title is Manavikraman, a compound of the names mentioned in the text. END OF NOTEs

So the expedition was organised and despatched under the Puntura youths. It is unnecessary to relate the events of the campaign, as they are all more or less of a mythical character and include the mention of the use of fire-arms and cartridges ! ! The battle lasted for three days, and the result was, it is said, that, the Rayar evacuated his fort, and it was seized by the Perumal’s troops. It is also related that the well known body of Nayars, the Ten Thousand of Polanad (country about Calicut), were specially solicited by the Puntura youths and miraculously marked by them with a vulture’s quill. They distinguished themselves greatly on the occasion and earned, it is said, the reward of being stationed in the best district of the kingdom.

It is known from the Jews’ and Syrians’ deeds that the Zamorin’s family had attained the dignity of Utayavar for at least a century before the dawn of the Kollam era ; the tradition then, which makes the Perumal summon the boys from school, as one version relates, to lead his army, is apochryphal unless indeed there is here to be found the real tradition of the founding of the family some considerable time previously to the reign of the last of the Perumals. It is not at all unlikely that a battle against invaders coming via Anamala, that is, through the Palghat gap, did take place, and the gallantry of the ancestors of the Zamorin brought them on that occasion into favourable notice, but it must have been on an occasion long prior to the beginning of the Kollam era.

Again it is noteworthy that the North Kolattiri, whose name is also mentioned, seems to have played no part in the campaign conducted by the Puntura youths, although, as said above, the Perumal had selected him to drive back the invaders. But this is unaccounted for if it be supposed that Kerala was threatened from two sides simultaneously—from the north via the coast, and from the east via the Palghat gap—and it may be added that, as the Keralolpatti itself says, invasions became frequent, and invaders apparently did come from both directions about this time. The North Kolattiri may possibly have reconquered for the Perumal the Malayali territory (North Malabar) which from the first description of the limits of Kerala (ante p. 224) seems to have been previously lost to the latter.

The “heirdom to the kingdom” conferred on him by the Perumal may have subsequently led to the designation of Kolattunad as Kerala (ante p. 228); but however this may be, it is pretty certain that the North Kolattiri had the duty assigned to them of protecting the north of the Perumal’s domain, just as their cousins of the south (Travancore) had already for some generations been guarding the southern passes.

“At the time of this successful war” continues the Keralolpatti, “there was born as the son (or incarnation) of Mahadevan (Siva) a celebrated genius. It was he who was afterwards known as Samkaracharyar”. And the text goes on to give one of the versions of his life which have already been summarised.1 He is further stated to have laid down laws for the guidance of the Malayali Brahmans in all the ordinary business of life, as well as for the Sudras and other classes. The Sudras (Nayars) were told off to “battle, hunting, service, guard, convoy, and escort.”

It is also incidentally mentioned that subsequently to the reign of Mayuravarmman in Malayalam, or, as another version has it in Toulavam, i.e., the Tulu province (South Canara), the Rajas were in the habit of adopting the suffix of Varmman or Sarmman to their names. The text next diverges into a general account of the Malayali castes and mentions among other facts that the Chinese were among the merchant immigrants, as also were “the men of round hats (!)” of whom there were four castes, viz. : — 1. Parinki (Portuguese), 2. Lanta (Dutch), 3. Parintirias (French), aud 4. Inkiriss (English).

The various castes, including apparently the "round-hatted” Europeans, are said to have been told off to their various functions in the State by Samkaracharyar himself. The text runs: “Thus Samkaracharyar laid down the rules to be observed by the seventy-two classes,” and he is said to have solemnly proclaimed the same “on the day next after the Mahamakkam which occurred in the month of Kumbham in the year of the cycle of Jupiter when he was in the sign of the Crab.”

This account of Samkaracharyar, which makes him a contemporary of the last of the Perumals, is interesting, because, as a matter of fact, the tradition on the point is probably correct. The last Perumal, for reasons stated, probably left Kerala on his voyage to Arabia on or shortly after the 25th of August 825 A.D., and the latest authority1 for Samkaracharyar's date places it at 788-820 A.D. As the last Perumal is understood to have reigned for thirty-six years, it follows that he was a contemporary of the “gracious teacher.”

NOTEs: 1. Ante p. 187. END OF NOTEs

The mention of Mayuravarmman's name is also important, as it was he who, according to other extraneous traditions to be noticed shortly, first introduced Vedic Brahmans into Kerala. The time when this occurred will be noticed further on, but it is important to observe that the tradition is that he was ruler of the Tulunad (Canara) Province only.

The Keralolpatti next proceeds to detail the division made of the Malayali Provinces by Cheramam Perumal : “While Cheraman Perumal was thus ruling the kingdom independently he thought as follows :— “This country was given as a poured out-gift by Parasu Raman to the Brahmans. I have enjoyed it for so many years. How am I to expiate that sin? He consulted several Sastris (selected Brahmans). They informed him the expiation was not to be found in the six Sastras and three Vedas and that the remedy must be sought for in the fourth Veda.”2

NOTEs: 2. Vide p. 191. The fourth Veda is the Koran.END OF NOTEs

Then it goes on to relate how the Perumal wished to punish his minister for a fault, which strangely reminds one of the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. The minister was miraculously saved, it is said, by being taken straight up to heaven, and his last words were to the “Ten Thousand” to “do his office of body guard.”

The name of the minister was Patamalanayar3 and therefore he was a Sudra (Nayar). As he was ascending to heaven the Perumal asked him : “How can I attain eternal bliss?” and the reply of the minister was that he should join the Muhammadans, go to Mecca, and there he would through the efficacy of the fourth Veda attain half bliss.

NOTEs: 3. Pata = warfare, Mala = hill, and Nayar = caste of fighting men. END OF NOTEs

This version of the tradition contains what was a sufficient reason for the secrecy of the Perumal’s final departure as related by the Muhammadans. The Perumal had evidently for some reason entertained suspicions of the loyalty of the “Ten Thousand ” —of the body guard, that is to say. He seems to have put the chief of that corps to death, and it was incumbent on the survivors by the old established custom of Kudipakka4 (blood feud), to seek his death in return.

NOTEs: 4. Vide p. 169. The Nayar hostages on board Vasco da Gama’s ships, when warned of the fate which awaited them because of the Zamorin’s having treacherously detained da Gama on shore, replied —“Yes, that there they were, and if any harm were done to the Ambassador on shore, the Portuguese might cut off their heads if they pleased, for they were men who had brothers and relations on shore who would revenge their deaths even upon the person of the King.” (Correa.) END OF NOTEs

Another tradition is that the Perumal’s final dispute was with the Brahmans as they were bathing in the holy water on the day of Mahamakham5. It related to the Vedas, and it is said that, being offended, the Perumal determined to go to Mecca with the Mappillas [Baudahas (sic)].

NOTEs: 5. Vide p. 163 END OF NOTEs

Whatever the immediate moving cause was, the Perumal, it is said, determined to partition his dominions among his friends and relatives. “Between Gokarnam and Cape Comorin, within Kannetti1 and Puttuppattanam, there lie on the south Changalappuratta port, and on the north Putupattanam1 port, on the east the eighteen mountain passes, on the west the eighteen entrances to the deep. Between these and the four corners, north-west, north-east, south-east, and south-west, lies the country of Cheraman.1 (Parasu Raman’s land) 160 Katam in extent. The adjoining five countries are Pandi, Kongu, Tulu, Vayanad, Pimnad.”

NOTEs: 1. N.B.—Cheraman's country by this description excluded the dominions of the two Kolattiris. END OF NOTEs

“In this country of Cheraman, Utayavarmman Kolattiri was made Perumal of the north (Crowned King and Lord of Kerala); Kolattiri was then crowned. The two barons of Kolattiri, namely, the two Nambiyars, Chulanna (Chulali) Kammal and Nerpetta Kammal, were each given twelve Katams (leagues) of territory and 12,000 Nayars. Cheraman, then blessed Utayavarman and said to him :2 ‘If I return you shall be Ilankuru (heir apparent), if I don’t return you shall have Cheraman’s crown (chief authority).’

NOTEs: 2. Compare the declaration which the Maharajas of Travancore have to make at their coronations (ante p. 231).END OF NOTEs

Then in the south to the Venatatikal3 (of Kulasekhara's dynasty) were appointed 350,0004 Nayars armed to serve him in the Omana new king’s house (on the right hand side of the fort at Kalkkulam) and territorial kingly authority (over Onanad and Venanad). Cheraman said to him:

‘You must assist Kolatliri and expend money' and he appointed him ruler5 (Valuvan) of the Kuvala kingdom. Then to the Surya Kshatriya, he gave fifty-two Katam (leagues) of territory, many (fighting) men, eighteen barons, and forty-two (or seventy-two) ministers, and conferred on him the title of Perimpatapp6 ... (His younger7 brother Kavi-simhaveru was appointed to protect the Tulunad, and was given kingly authority to the north of the Perimpala. Four chiefs were ordered to support him, viz., Parampar (Bangar of Nandvar) Ajalar (Ajilar) Savitlar (Chantar of Mudubidri) and Samantareru (Samantar of Mulukki).”

NOTEs: 3. The Travancore Maharaja.

4. The same number were assigned to the North Kolatliri.

5. It is beyond doubt that the Travancore Chiefs were Utayavar (the same word as the Woddear, e'c, of Coorg, Mysore, etc.) of the south long before the last Perumal’s time. See also the declaration which the Maharajas still have to make at their coronations (ante p. 231).

6. This is still one of the titles of the Raja of Cochin.

7 From another version. END OF NOTEs.

The text then goes on to say that donations of territory, etc., were given to the Poralatiri of Polanad , to Kurumbaratiri (or Kurumbiyatiri), (to the Raja of Kollam)8 to the Raja of Pantalam lying between Venanad and Onanad, to the Parappur, and Vettatt, and Kayankulatt Cherayi dynasties. To Valluvakkonattiri he assigned a nad (or country) and the privilege of conducting the Mahamakham1 festival at Tirunavayi. He is said to have conferred on the Valluva Konattiri the title of Arangattu2 or Arangottur3.

NOTEs: 8. That is, north Kollam (ante p. 72). This occurs in one version of the text, and it is probably an interpolation to suit subsequently existing facts, and indeed of what is here stated seems to be in the same case, for the only Malabar Utayavar families mentioned in the Jew’s and Syrians’ deeds are the Zamorins, the Valluvanad and the Palghat Rajas.

1. Ante p. 164.

2. The title was in use before the last Perumal's reign. The Valluvanad Raja was thus designated in the Jews’ and Syrians’ deeds. The name literally signifies the chief of the nad or district lying across (angottu) the river (ar) from the Perumal's palace at Kodungallur, i.e., the district north of the Ponnani River. END OF NOTEs

Under this arrangement, the Zamorin was left out in the cold, so, it is said, that as the Perumal was about to set sail for Mecca, the survivor, according to one version, of the two Puntura youths, one (Manichan) having fallen in battle, went to the Perumal, who told him he had already divided his kingdom, that there were left only one Desam so small that a cock3 crowing could be heard all over it, also one bit of thorny4 jungle, that he could give him these and that he was sorry he had not come sooner.

The Puntura youth, it is said, agreed to take this insignificant, gift accompanied, as it, was said to be, with the Perumal's sword5, and with the advice to “die, and kill, and seize” and to make himself master of all the Malanad. The Perumal gave the territory and the sword with water, and one version says he gave the sword to Manichchan and the water to Vikkruman, both being alive and present.

NOTEs: 3. Allusion is here made to the popular derivation of the name of Calicut Koli (fowl) and Kottu (a corner or empty space) or Kolta (a fort

4. Perhaps a salt swamp was intended if the thorny bush referred to was the waterholy (chulli) so common in the salt marshes.

5. The frontispiece to this volume is an engraving from a sketch of this weapon, as still preserved by the Zamorins. The blade is rusted to the scabbard, and the whole of the weapon, which is 3 feet 2 inches in length, has been carefully coated with a copper covering to preserve the original. It is daily decorated with flower wreaths. The weapon used to play an important part at the Mahamakkam festival at Thirunavayi (ante p. 163 6) and it was in all probability the weapon which the Perumals used on the occasions « of the occurrence of the assembly every twelfth year of the people at that festival. It may have been the sword of Bhadrakali referred to (ante p. 226). END OF NOTEs

The Zamorin was forbidden, it is said, to go to war with either the North or South Kolattiris, but he might go to war with the other chiefs.

The Perumal, it is further said, distributed territory among other petty chiefs and feudal lordships among others. He is also said to have appointed four men (named) to commit the laws and customs to writing, and they met at the Mahamakham festival on the day of Puyam, in the month of Magaram, when Jupiter was in Cancer.

"After doing all this, the Perumal left the sandy island of Tirunavayi with the people of the Veda and descended from a ship at harbour and entered the palace of Kodungallur with a view to proceed to Mecca (Cheruman embarked for Mecca with the people of the Veda). It was in the Kali1 year (Cheraman desaprapyah)” (A.D. 355). Then follows the Mappilla version of the story, as already summarised,2 but with the addition that the ship in which he sailed was pursued by other ships and it was only by fighting hard that he escaped.

The proper light in which to regard these last traditions is undoubtedly to view them as a repetition of the traditions already commented on, which detail how various Tulu and North and South Kolattiri Permals succeeded to the Muhammadan convert Pallibana Perumal. Cheraman Perumal may safely be taken as identical with Pallibana Perumal, the traditions about the latter being from a Brahman point of view, while those about the former are from the point of view of the common people.

The exclusion of the domains of the two Kolattiris or Kollattiris from the kingdom of the Perumal, and yet his having granted territory to them before leaving for Mecca is probably to be explained by the fact of his having conform to the “heirdom to the kingdom,” i.e., future independence of future Perumals, on the North Kolattiris, and of his having conferred somewhat similar authority on those of the South. Their independence may have been recognised before the Perumal sailed for Arabia.

The dates on the Zaphar tombstone record the Perumal’s arrival at that place as having happened some time after the Kollam era commenced, and it has been already suggested (ante, p. 196) that he may have spent at sea and at Shair Makulla, where he first landed, the interval that elapsed between the date on which he set sail (presuming that date to have been the initial day of the north Kollam era) and the date recorded on the tomb of his arrival at Zaphar.

But it is equally probable that he did not sail till some time after having partitioned his dominions in the way described, and the initial day or days of the Kollam eras may have been the day or days on which he conferred the “heirdom of the kingdoms ” on the two Kolattiris or Kollattiris. It is in favour of this view that the tradition regarding the partition by himself of his own kingdom is so strong.

The tradition about the grants of territory to the Perimpatapp (Cochin) and Tulunad Rajas, the sons of the Surya Khshatriya woman, presumably a sister or female relative, natural or adopted, of the Perumal, is merely a repetition of the tradition already commented on above (ante, p. 231). This tradition throws some light on the Muhammadan story about the introduction of Islam, for if the Perumal’s dominion extended only from Putupattanam to Kannetti as related, it is difficult to understand how the Perumal’s letters should have obtained for the Muhammadans such a favourable reception at Mangalore, Barkur and Kanyarott (Cassergode) which all lie in South Canara.

At the same time of course this tradition that the Perumal assigned the Tulunad to one of the brothers is inconsistent, with the tradition, already commented on, that prior to this Perumal’s reign the Tulunad had been definitely severed from the Kerala kingdom.

It may be suggested that a connection, either natural or adoptive, existed between the Perumal and the Tulu king. After Mayura Varmman's time it will be noted the Perumals are said to have adopted the suffixes of Varmman and Sarmman to their titles. The first authentic instance of the use of such a surname by a Perumal occurs in the Jews’ deed (circa 700 A.D.).

This fact points to a close connection between the Perumals and the Tulu kings, and if the Surya Kshatriya woman was adopted by the Perumal from the Tulu king’s family, it is not difficult to understand how her sons obtained Cochin and Tulunad, respectively, nor to understand how the Perumal even after his setting out for Mecca should have retained influence in Tulunad.

Finally, there remains the important point that the Zamorin was treated so shabbily by the departing Perumal in the matter of the grant of territory. The Jews and Syrians’ deeds show that the Zamorin had long previously attained to the rank of Ulayavar of Eralinad or Ernad, so that the family did not spring into existence at this time which was probably 125 years later than the date of the earliest of those grants.

The differences between the Perumal and the Ten Thousand, whose headman the Perumal apparently put to death, had probably something to do with the matter, for the Ten Thousand were in later times at least the Zamorin’s bodyguard.

The Ten Thousand were moreover the troops specially selected by the Zamorin with which he repulsed the invaders. The Nayar of Calicut, one of the small bits of territory assigned to the Zamorin, was, up to the time of the British occupation, one of the leaders of the Ten Thousand, and the text after describing the victory also runs that the Perumal out of gratitude for the success the Puntura youths had won called them before him, told them he would make them his successors, or heirs (Anantaravar), and station them at Calicut ; so that there is much reason for the inference that the Zamorin had cast in his lot with his favourite troops and there is little wonder then that he was not in favour with the Perumal at his departure.

It is not at all improbable under these circumstances to suggest that the Zamorin’s power and influence had been increasing after his successful repulse of the invaders, that this had excited the Perumal’s jealousy and had led him to adopt stringent measures against the Ten Thousand, ending naturally enough in his being obliged to flee the country after providing, as best he could, for his immediate relatives. In corroboration of this view it is at least suggestive that not one of the original Muhammadan mosques founded by Sheikh-ibn-Dinar was situated in territory under the sway of the Zamorin.

The grant of territory to the Valluvakonattiri (Valluvanad) and the grants to the other petty chieftains who are named in the text were not, it may be presumed, made at this time ; for the Valluvakon, as evidenced by the Jews and Syrians’ deeds, had been an Utayavar of a nad (county) like the Zamorin and Travancore Rajas for several generations before the Perumal left Malabar.

This ends the portion of the Keralolpatti dealing with the earliest traditions and with those current concerning the Perumals. The remaining traditions relate to the subsequent changes among the ruling families wrought after Cheraman Perumal’s departure (circa 825 A.D.) and will be best considered further on.

It remains to sum up the traditions already narrated and commented on before proceeding to detail such scraps of the ancient history of Malabar as are to be gathered from other sources. It cannot be doubted that the first half of the ninth century A.D, was an important epoch in the history of Malabar and of the Malayalis.

It is beyond all doubt that events of sufficient importance occurred at this time to create an era, which, dating in Malabar, Cochin and North Travancore from the 25th day of August 825, continues down to the present day to be the era in common use by the people.

What those events were may perhaps be gathered from the traditions now under consideration. The chief event was the termination of the reign of the last of the Kerala or Chera Perumals or Emperors, who for centuries had been kings of the land ; for it may be assumed, until evidence to the contrary is forthcoming, that the Muhammadan tradition is correct, and that the Hindu King of Malabar, who lies buried at Zaphar in Arabia, was indeed Cheraman Perumal.

The dates on that tombstone, which however still require verification, place this event as closely contemporaneous with the inauguration of the new era. Why it was called the Kollam era these traditions also seem to explain ; for the independence, until Cheraman Perumal should return, of the two branches of the Kolattiri (or perhaps Kollattiri) family seems to have dated from this time, and to have been brought about in the manner already described in the commentaries on those traditions.

Of the events which preceded, and of the Perumals who reigned in the county prior to that event, these traditions tell next to nothing, and the reason is not perhaps far to seek. Those traditions are mainly of Brahmanical origin, and from facts which will be detailed in the following section it is pretty certain that the Brahmans had not, for more than a generation or two at most, been settled in the land when Cheraman Perumal assumed the reins of Government.

The Brahmans are notoriously careless of history and of the lessons which it teaches. Their lives are bound hard and fast by rigid chains of customs. The long line of Chera kings, dating back to the “Son of Kerala”, mentioned in the third century B.C., in King Asoka’s rock-out inscriptions, had for them no interest and no instruction; and it is not to be wondered, at that the mention of them finds in the Keralolpatti no place.

What is substituted for the real history of this period in these traditions is a farrago of legendary nonsense, having for definite aim the securing to the Brahman caste of unbounded power and influence in the country.

The land was miraculously reclaimed for their benefit ; the whole of it was made over to them with the “blood-guilty water of possession” ; they were the first inhabitants ; the kings were appointed and the land was governed by them ; and the only allusion to prior occupants is an obscure allusion to the “serpents”, from fear of which the first immigrants fled back to the country whence they came.

This allusion to the serpents, who “protected” the land, contains perhaps an allusion to Jaina immigrants, worshippers of the twenty-third Jaina, Tirtham Kara, Parsva or Parsvanatha, whose symbol was a hooded snake. That the Perumals were originally of the Jaina persuasion is not at all improbable, considering the facts already stated (ante p. 184-86) regarding the style of religious architecture still prevalent in the land.

Judging by the extent of country over which this Jaina style of religious architecture prevails, the limits of the old Chera kingdom were not improbably those which it is said Parasu Raman miraculously reclaimed from the sea, viz., Canara, Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. But when the bearers of these traditions first came into the land Chera or Kerala had dwindled down to the small province of South Malabar, Cochin and North Travancore (Putuppattanam to Kannetti), and it was apparently to these limits that the name of Kerala, thus imported into Malabar at this time, was originally applied by Malayalis themselves.

There is also to be learnt from these traditions that the time was ripe for religious movements, the last Perumal became a convert to Islam, and the great Samkaracharyar, himself a Malayali, was engaged in creating the revival of Hinduism which has moved so profoundly every generation since.

The “great1 saying” had just gone forth, and the words “Thou art that” had set for the great mass of the people an exemplar which they have patiently and piteously, but very imperfectly, been studying ever since to attain. It was a fitting time for the commencement of an era, and the dynasty of the ancient "Sons of Kerala” (Keralaputran) drew appropriately to a close as new religious light began to be disseminated in the land.

NOTEs: 1 Ante p. 189. END OF NOTEs

It has been noticed that the Maharajas of Travancore have still to declare at their coronations that they hold their territories only on sufferance until their kinsman returns from Mecca. The Zamorins too, at their coronations, have still, when crossing the Kallayi ferry, to take betel from the hands of a man dressed up as a Mappilla woman, and are actually put-out of caste2 by the ceremony, and have to live separately thereafter to their manifold discomfort."

NOTEs: 2. Was this brought about by their having been constituted as Cheraman Perumal*a successors or heirs after the victory obtained over the invaders!. END OF NOTEs

These are no doubt relics of the time when the Perumal turned Muhammadan and left the country to its own devices. The Travancore, the Valluvakon [literally king of the Valluvar (? Pallavas)], and the Zamorin Rajas were left free by his flight to establish themselves as independent kings of their respective little States.

The Cochin and perhaps the Tulunad Rajas and the North Kolattiri Raja, the Chulali and Nerpett Kammals, being his heirs and children, respectively, were, as these traditions seem to show, provided for with grants of territory and with men to defend them ; and thus the country was split up into little kingdoms, which under ordinary circumstances would have immediately set to work to devour each other.

The organisation of the militia, however, as will be explained presently, served to retard the process, and though it may seem strange that after the lapse of so many centuries nearly all of those identical families should have remained in existence, still it is a fact which deserves careful consideration that these very families were the chief among those with whom the British Commissioners came into contact in 1792 when reorganising the country after Haider Ali’s and Tippu’s wild raids through it.

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