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Malabar Manual Vol 2
William Logan

By C Kunhi Kannan

Anjengo1 lies between Lat. 8° 40' N., Long. 76° 47' E. It is bounded on the north and south by the Travancore State, on the east by the Anengo backwater, and on the west by the Arabian sea.

NOTEs: 1. The name is said to be derived from Anchutenga or five coconut trees. The origin of the word continues to be a matter of speculation. END OF NOTEs.

It is only 211 acres in extent. Its population in 1871 was 2,410 whilst in 1881 it was 2,534 (1,240 males and 1,294 females) classified as follows : —

Hindus 1,054

Muhammadans 165

Christians 1,315

Of this number 167 were returned as "under instruction"’, 216 "instructed”, and 2,151 illiterate, including not stated”. In 1871 there were 436 houses, whilst in 1881 there were 517 houses, of which 70 were unoccupied.

Anjengo is divided into two desams—the Kottadilli farm called in Malayalam Kodutala, and Vadikkakam or Anjengo proper, including Puttura.

Kottadilli is farmed to the Travancore Government for a sum of Rs. 1,450 per annum. The terms of the lease will be adverted to hereafter.

There is a Subordinate Magistrate at Anjengo who has his office in Vadikkakam or Anjengo proper. He exercises magisterial, civil, revenue, and registration powers. He has a small establishment. He is immediately subordinate to the Deputy Collector of Cochin. In civil matters, Tangasseri is subject to Anjengo.

There is an old European cemetery looked after by a gardener on a salary of Rs. 5 per mensem. It is enclosed within walls. There was a hospital in Anjengo wffich was abolished in 1880.

Vadikkakam and Puttura are free from land-tax and duties of customs.

Physical aspects.—Anjengo has a level surface. The soil is sandy and congenial to coconut trees with which it is planted up. There is very little of paddy cultivation and the outturn is poor. The water supply for drinking is indifferent and scarce.

Churches and temples.—-There are two Roman Catholic churches and two small Hindu temples. One of the churches, St. Peter’s is an ancient one, having very old paintings. It is 116 by 36 feet. It is under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Goa ; but when there were disputes between the Propagandists and Pedroists, some of the Christians seceded from the latter party and built a small church 42 by 20 feet, dedicated to St. Philomona.

In 1850, a reconciliation took place between the two antagonistic sections who submitted themselves to the Jurisdiction of the Vicar Apostolic of Quilon.

Of the two temples Sivan kovil belongs to the Iluvars, In which Siva is worshipped, the other Amman kovil belongs to Vellalas and is dedicated to Sakti.

Festivals are celebrated here in Kumbam (February- March) and Minam (March-April).

The Fort of Anjengo.-The fort of Anjengo is in Vadikkakam or Anjengo proper. Like Tellicherry it was of use to protect the Hon’ble E. I. Company’s trade at their factory established here in the end of the I7th century. And from this place was spread the English influence on native affairs in Travancore and Cochin, which has already in Volume I been fully described.

The fort is 36 yards square. It was built in 1695, the East India Company having obtained permission from the Rani of Attingal, a village 10 miles north-east of Anjengo, to occupy the site in 1684. A portion of the lower mast of the old flagstaff still stands on the north-western angle of the fort. The fort is now quite deserted.

Though the defects of the situation were from the first apparent, it was hoped that the facilities afforded for the collection of pepper, coir, and calico would compensate for the disadvantages. During the wars of the Carnatic, Anjengo was found of use as a depot for military stores and as the point from which the first news of outward-bound ships reached Madras.

The anchorage off Anjengo under 10 fathoms is foul rocky ground, and outside of that depth the bottom is sand and shells. Ships cannot therefore anchor under 10 or 11 fathoms, and the prevalence of considerable surf on the coast particularly to the southward, renders it unsafe for ships’ boats to land.

In 1792 Anjengo was reported to be in hopeless decline. In 1809 during the hostilities with Travancore its roadstead was blockaded, and in the following year the post of Commercial Resident was abolished and the station made subordinate to the Political Resident at Trivandrum.

Robert Orme, the historian, was born here in 1728. He was the son of a physician attached to the Anjengo factory who became afterwards chief of the factory ; and here lived Eliza Draper, to whom some of Sternes’ letters were addressed.

It has already been stated that Vadikkakam or Anjengo proper was acquired from the Rani of Attingal. Kottadilli was ceded to the English on 10th January 1731 under the following circumstances: —

When hostilities commenced between the Kariyakkar of Attingal and the English at Anjengo, Mr Walter Brown of the Bombay Council arrived at Anjengo, and it was agreed that as soon as the customary annual allowance to the Rani was paid all disputes should be laid in oblivion.

Accordingly, the Chief of Anjengo, Mr. Gyfford, with a party of ten persons marched to Attingal to offer presents to the Rani on 15th April 1721. A few invalids alone were left for the defence of the fort. Though Mr. Gyfford and his party met with a good reception at Attingal, they were all later on treacherously murdered, including Messrs. Gyfford Burton, Fleming, Cowes and others.

After this the murderers made for the fort of Anjengo which was most valiantly defended by Gunner Ince, who repulsed every attempt of the besiegers to scale the walls. He kept the besiegers at bay until succoured by men sent out by Mr. Adams, Chief of Tellicherry. In satisfaction for this outrage, the Raja of Travancore and the Rani of Attingal granted the gardens of Palatadi and Kottadilli to the Honourable Company on 10th January 1731.

The grant is given below :—

"Towards Cherreungne are the garden of Palatadi and Kottadilli which were formerly bought by the Commander of Anjengo, but when on 15th April 1721, he and ten other persons went to Atenga to make presents to the Queen, they were killed by the treachery of Pullays and Karikars who seized the money of the Honourable Company. Seeing the loss and damage thus done to the Honourable Company, we have ceded the same gardens to them giving up their revenues and the right of cutting trees and ail other privileges which the Company may take and they and heirs may enjoy these gardens without any obstacle or having any obstruction ; but we are obliged to ask for a free passage and protection on the part of the Honourable Company. Thus in truth we confirm (the grants) with our signatures to the Commander on the 10th January 1731."

The terms of the lease of the Kottadilli farm to the Travancore Government are given below.

That ''all rents and taxes with revenue arising from the sale of tobacco, salt and spirits, as well as all other profits and produce whatever accruing from the said rented premises are hereby declared to become the sole property of His Highness the Maharaja’s Government. That the inhabitants of the farm of Kottadilli of all castes and descriptions whatsoever shall continue to be under the protection of the British Government and amenable to its authorities in all cases of a police or civil nature and that the British Resident is empowered by the second paragraph of the Minutes of Consultation of the Government of Fort St. George, No. 90, under date the 25th Febiuary 1847, to interfere summarily in all complaints made by the ryots against the Sirkar officers.

“The Police establishment of Anjengo shall afford every aid and support to the Sirkar servants in the detection of frauds, or attempts to introduce into the Kottadilli farm, any of the articles under Sirkar monopoly and in the collection of the revenue of the village.”

Products and Industry.—Coconut is the staple produce. The majority of the people engage themselves in catching fish. They use drag nets. They go out to sea in the height of the monsoon in catamarans to catch fish. The owner of each net has to pay one-third of the price of fish caught every Friday to the church. This rate is called Friday contribution or Velliyalcha Kuru.

Lemon-grass oil and coir yarn are manufactured at Anjengo. The former is distilled on the Travancore hills and exported from Anjengo. The trade in this oil was once great, a dozen bottles of oil fetching as much as Rs. 100. But the trade is now on the wane.

The coir yarn turned out in Anjengo is superior to that made else where on the coast. Dried fish and hides are occasionally exported to Ceylon, where the majority of Anjengo Christians go to work on coffee estates.

Anjengo is still noted for its paintings.

Archæology.—There are several old tombstones in Anjengo. The earliest inscription is that raised over grave of the wife of the Commander of the Fort, John Brabon, in A.D. 1704.

There is uninterrupted inland water communication from Anjengo to Tirur, a Railway station in Ponnani taluk, a distance of nearly 200 miles.

Commentary                MMVol 1               MMVol 2

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