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Commentary on
William Logan’s ‘Malabar Manual’
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!

It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!


The subject of Christianity is quite a complicated one. There are a few Christian denominations in current-day south India. Christians can be found in Travancore, Cochin, Kodungalur, Trichur, Calicut, Wynad, Tellicherry, Cannanore and such places. However, beyond the traditional urban areas, there are Christians to be found in the forest areas of Malabar extending from the interiors of Calicut /Malappuram to the interior mountain regions of Kasargode district.

Christians are found in Madras and in the various locations of Tamilnadu state. They are to be found in Mangalore and Udupi and even in Bangalore. I understand that Goa has a sizable Christian population. Bombay has Christian populations.

All of them can be presumed to be focused on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.

But then, as mentioned before, the Christians are not single group. Some of the denominations are not in peace and love with certain other Christian groups.

Inside Travancore itself there have been varied historical incidences connected to the various minor denominations. The main traditional Christian group in Travancore, I understand, might be the Syrian Christians.

Then there is the huge number of lower caste people who have converted into Christians. Many of them are from the very low castes of Paraih, Pulaya etc.. Many Ezhavas also have converted into Christians.

Of these converted-into-Christians from Travancore, a sizable number did move to Malabar. Some of them might have come as Church officials and teachers. Some might have come to take up jobs that required various skills, including formal education.

The converted Christians do not generally display any kind of lower mental or physical abilities in the case of individuals who have risen up financially and educationally.

QUOTE: There is consequently no inherent improbability in the tradition that the Apostle Thomas was one of the earliest immigrants from the West; END OF QUOTE.

The word ‘west’ is not clearly understood here. Jesus of Nazareth was not actually from the ‘west’, if the word is meant to mean Continent Europe or Great Britain. However, I have no personal knowledge in these things.

QUOTE: A king, who has been satisfactorily identified with, king Gondophares mentioned in IndoSkythian coins, and of whose reign a stone inscription, dated 40 A.D., has recently been deciphered is said to have sent to Christ for an architect, and St. Thomas was sent in consequence. But this king reigned in North-western India, whereas St. Thomas is understood to have preached his mission in Malabar and to have been killed at St. Thomas’ Mount near Madras. END OF QUOTE.

Quite an interesting historical confusion!

QUOTE: Likewise at Male where the pepper grows; and in the town Kalliena there is also a bishop consecrated in Persia.” “Male” is clearly Malabar, and “Kalliena” is most probably a place near Udipi in South Canara. END OF QUOTE.

It is quite curious. I do not remember seeing the word ‘Male’ to mean Malabar. What about the Mali Island? It is simply a query, with no specific arguments. The above quote also can be correct.

QUOTE: a large body headed by the venerable Bishop Mar Coorilos waited, by special request, on the Right Honourable Mr. Grant Duff, Governor of Madras, at Calicut, in January 1882, and presented to him a short account of themselves, from which the following extracts are taken:- END OF QUOTE

Parts of the narration are given below:

QUOTE: the arrival of a Persian heretic of the School of Manes, or, as is supposed1 by some, a heathen wizard. Through his teaching, many went over to him and are even to this day known as ‘Manigramakkar’ They cannot be distinguished from the Nayars, and are to be found at Quilon Kayencolam and other places. South Travancore is the seat of the descendants of those who stood steadfast in their faith during this apostacy and are known as Dhariyayikal meaning ‘nonwearers’ (of heathen symbols) END OF QUOTE.

This is one group of Christians, I suppose. However, the words ‘They cannot be distinguished from the Nayars’ can be an issue. For, there is so much self-praise and eulogising of Nayars in this book, Malabar, that everything mentioned with regard to ‘Nayars’ has to be taken up for scrutiny. A few of the items can be factually correct, despite the ubiquitous eulogising words.

QUOTE: “Some years after this first split had taken place or in (350 A.D.) was the arrival of Thomas of Cana, a Syrian merchant, whose large heartedness and sympathy for the neglected community was such that on his return to his native land, his story induced many to come out with him in his second visit, among whom was a bishop by the name of Mar Joseph. It was the first time a colony of Christians came to India.

They were about four hundred in number. They landed at Cranganore then known as Mahadeverpattanam. They settled in the country with the permission of ‘Cheraman Perumal the ruler of Malabar, who, as a mark of distinction and favour, granted to the Christian community certain privileges (72 in number) which at once raised them to a position of equality with the Brahmans. One of the privileges was the supremacy over seventeen of the lower classes; a relic of which still exists in the adjudication by Syrian Christians of certain social questions belonging to them. The grant was made on copper-plates, which with some others, are in the custody of the Syrian Metran and are preserved in the Kottayam Seminary END OF QUOTE.

This may be how the English official came to understand how a Christian community which was quite ancient was in existence in Travancore and Cochin areas. They were to form the Syrian Christians in the location. Thomas of Cana and Mar Joseph are seen as the founders of this Christian colony inside Travancore. The purpose why they relocated to Travancore might not be what has been described in the above paragraph.

That they did not come with any egalitarian principles or with the concept of ‘love thy neighbour’ concept of Jesus Christ can be seen very clearly. For, they came with the full realisation that they had to survive in a land where if they are not properly secured above the various layers of castes, they would get crushed down by the feudal vernacular verbal codes. The Syrian Christians maintained this superiority even though it is seen mentioned that all of them were not in good conditions, when the London Missionary Society came to Travancore. That is mentioned in Native Life in Travancore by Rev. Samuel Mateer.

Here the difference between the intentions of Thomas of Cana andMar Joseph team and that of the evangelists of the London Missionary Society can be seen. The former came to suppress the lower castes under them and to keep them as slaves. The latter came with the deliberate aim of emancipating the enslaved classes from their terrible state of life.

It is a curious situation. Both are Christian groups. However, it is the group that came from England that had egalitarian aims.

QUOTE: “Matters continued thus until the arrival of the second colony of Christians (who were Nestorians) from Persia, at Quilon ‘between the ninth and the tenth century. They were also received well and permitted to settle in the country. The first colony, incorporated with the northern portion of the community, had their headquarters at Cranganore and the southern portion ‘Kumk-keni-kollam’ or Quilon. END OF QUOTE.

The tale continues.

Then came the Portuguese, and then the mission of Alexis Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, who was deputed by the Pope in 1598 A.D. to complete the subjugation of the Syrian Church. The Church split into church into Romo-Syrians or ‘Old Party,’ and Syrians or ‘New Party. The presence of the Dutch brought down the antipathies.

QUOTE: The capture of Cochin by the Dutch in 1663 was followed by an order requiring the Romish bishops, priests, and monks to quit the place which was not a little favourable to the Syrians. END OF QUOTE.

QUOTE: a large number, at a public assembly, resolved upon applying to Babylon, Antioch, Alexandria, and Egypt for a bishop. “This was done, and in 1653 Antioch promptly complied with the request by sending out Mar Ignatius, a Jacobite bishop. It was from this date that the Jacobite element began to leave the Malabar church. Mar Ignatius was mercilessly seized and thrown into the sea, as is believed by the Syrians, or sent to be tried before the Inquisition as is supposed by others END OF QUOTE.

In the year 1800 came the figure of Rev. Claudius Buchanan, going from church to church, conversing freely with all and diligently seeking for information about them.

QUOTE: Coming to Kandanad, he had an interview with the Metran, to whom he set forth the advisability of maintaining a friendly relation with the Anglican church, translating the Bible into Malayalam and establishing parochial schools. This being acquiesced Dr. Buehanan saw Colonel Macaulay, the British Resident, in company with whom he visited the northern parts of Travancore and Cochin END OF QUOTE.

It is curious that Rev. Claudius Buchanan was mentioning the advisability of maintaining a friendly relation with the Anglican church, and also on translating the Bible into Malayalam and establishing parochial schools. The fact should be the last two items are actually the exact opposite of what the Anglican Church should stand for. I am not sure how much profound understanding the Anglican Church had about the advisability of connecting with the Syrian Christian church, whose traditional aims were the exact opposite of Anglican Christianity.

It is seen in the Native Life in Travancore that Syrian Christians did have lower caste slaves under them bound to the soil. It is a sure case that they would not view the activities of the London Missionary Society with pleasure. However, these Missionaries also did not promote English, I think.

So there were actually a lot complications involved. And I think ultimately with the departure of the English rule in the subcontinent, the Anglican Church also must have fallen into the hands of the other Christian denominations. These are things about which I do not have any information. It is true that these information can be collected quite easily. However, there are so many information that can be collected if enquired. If the reader wants to pursue them, he or she can.

It may be mentioned in passing that most of these above-mentioned items are connected to Travancore and Cochin. The relevance to Malabar comes only with the issue of Converted Christians from Travancore relocating into Malabar forest regions. As to the wider aims of the Bishop Mar Coorilos in meeting the Right Honourable Mr. Grant Duff, Governor of Madras, at Calicut, in January 1882, it might be just a cunning premeditated plan to make the best use of the English supremacy in the subcontinent, for furthering the interests of his own christen denomination.

QUOTE: ......The fact attracted the attention of Colonel Munro, who, after making himself acquainted with the real position, set about getting a seminary built for them at Kottayam, of which the foundation stone was laid in 1813.

At the commencement of his government, Colonel Munro undertook to get out missionaries to train Syrian deacons and lads to carry on parochial schools.

And the Resident got the Honourable East India Company to invest 3,000 star pagodas in the name of the community for educational purposes. END OF QUOTE.

Colonel Munro seems to have done more indeed. However, whether it was actually in sync with the published aims of the English East India Company might have to be looked into, to know more. He could have been hoodwinked by pretended affableness.

QOUTE: “Colonel Munro, whose tenure of office extended from 1810 to 1819, must be regarded as having been the most, earnest promoter of Syrian Christian interests. END OF QUOTE.

Syrian Christians were not a pro-English side. Nor were they happy with the unshackling of their hereditary slaves. Moreover, it was not an English Church. However, Col. Munro himself seems to be a Scot.

Generally there is a mistaken notion in native-English nations that all Christians all around the world are one team. It is a very flawed understanding of realities. Even the Continental European Christians do not support any English endeavour or side. If that be so, the feeling that the Christians in Asian/ African/ South American nations are from their side is a very foolish idea in native-English nations.

QUOTE: Travancore, the Dewan and Resident of which was Colonel Munro, endowed the institution with Rs. 20,000 and a large estate at Kallada called Munro Island END OF QUOTE.

Col Munro is seen as a great administrator in Travancore. However, that was just because he was part of the English East India Company. As to what he did as per the above statement, a feeling that he clearly went beyond his brief comes.

It was not the policy of the English East India Company to promote any kind of Christian denominations. In fact, the policy decision given to the officials was to be neutral with regard to all religious and spiritual aspirations as much as possible.

In fact, I have personally seen all kinds of Christians who speak very bad about English colonialism, after swallowing up huge contents of wholesome benefits derived from the English rule.

QUOTE: how through the good offices of Mr. Bellard, the British Resident, the Travancore Sircar restored to them their portion of the endowments which was in their custody after the adjudication by the committee, how the church is disturbed by various internal feuds; and how the community is once more going through another cycle of trials and neglect.” END OF QUOTE.

Thus ends the narration by Bishop Mar Coorilos to the Right Honourable Mr. Grant Duff, Governor of Madras. Here again, it is seen that the Syrian Christian church did take the British Resident Mr. Bellard for ride. After all in feudal language nations, the best tool for deceiving is that of pretended affability and fake friendliness.

The standards of the English East India Company droop down in these episodes.

QUOTE: As regards the Roman Catholics and their connection with the Romo-Syrians, the following extracts are taken from a short history of the Verapoly Catholic Mission END OF QUOTE.

That is a different story altogether. It goes through another route.

QUOTE: The first superior of the Carmelite mission, Mgr. Joseph of St. Mary, a descendant of the noble Sebastiano family, was appointed by the afore said Pontiff in the year 1656, END OF QUOTE.

This is from this Verapoly Catholic Mission story.

QUOTE: But, on the 6th January 1663, the Dutch having defeated the Portuguese, took possession of Cochin, and refused to the Carmelite missionaries the permission of exercising their ministry in Malabar

“However, after a short lapse of time, the Dutch Government being aware that the presence of the Carmelites in Malabar could produce no harm, cancelled the above-said prohibition and allowed them to dwell in this country as before END OF QUOTE.

It continues thus to more complicated incidences,

QUOTE: Then appeared in Malabar a certain bishop named Mar Gregory, who pretended to have been sent by the Patriarch of Jacobites at Antioch END OF QUOTE.

If the reader is interested, the detailed history of the Christian Churches in the subcontinent can be read directly from the book, Malabar. It moves through various geopolitical locations including Goa, Portugal and Rome.

QUOTE: The only Protestant mission at work in Malabar is the Basel German Evangelical Missionary Society, of which the latest report, the 43rd, shows that on 1st January 1883, the society had in Malabar 2,632 church members, END OF QUOTE.

The reader may have noted that most of the earlier-mentioned items are not about Malabar per se. However, the above quote is directly about Malabar. However, it is also not a standalone entity, I think. Furthermore, I do not know what was the route through which a German missionary society came to Malabar. In the English East Indian territories, missionary work was prohibited I think. If that is so, what was the way in which they conducted their affairs also is not known to me.

QUOTE: Chombala in Aliyur amsam is a Basel Evangelical station. The mission was started there in 1849, and the number of church members in the colony on the 1st January 1885 were 309. There is a girls’ orphanage here, which was transferred from Cannanore in 1872. A branch weaving establishment has existed here since 1883. There are three schools for boys and girls with an average attendance of about 200 pupils. The Chombala Mission has an out-station at Badagara and Muvaratt. The station at Quilandi, opened in 1857, is subordinate to the mission at Calicut. The congregation at Quilandi numbers 68. END OF QUOTE.

That is about the above mentioned Basel Mission.

QUOTE: There is also a Basel Mission Church at Calicut, The history of the Mission is briefly noted below : — In May 1842 the Mission was established by the Rev. J. M. Fritz. In the same year, two Malayalam schools and a Tamil school were opened. One of the former was raised to the standard of a high school in 1879. END OF QUOTE.

It is curious that the Basel Mission supported feudal-language education. In which case, it ceases to be education, other than empowering the ‘educated’ persons to subdue the ‘uneducated’. There is no quality improvement from the perspective of social communication and relationship.

QUOTE: In 1855 a carpenter’s workshop and a weaving establishment with six looms were opened. In the former, Christians and Heathens are employed, and in the latter the number of workmen exceed 100.

In 1868 a mercantile mission shop was opened. It is the only shop at Calicut, which fully meets the demand of the public. In 1874 the Mission started the works. Here machines of German make are used for manufacturing tiles after the European fashion, for which there is an ever-increasing demand. The tile works furnish employment for more than 150 persons both Christians and Heathens. Here it must be noted that these industrial establishments are entirely of a charitable character.

In 1876 a caste girls’ school was opened in Calicut, and in 1883 a congregation girls’ school with nearly 100 pupils was also started. END OF QUOTE.

I am unable to understand the term ‘caste girls’. Could it be a school for the relatively higher caste girls? I have seen a picture of a school for ‘Nayar girls’ of those times.

QUOTE: And it has farther been settled with the concurrence of His Excellency the Ayyan Adigal, His Excellency Rama, and the Palace-major, that the church people (Palliyar, probably heads of the Tarisa citizens) alone have power to punish the (Heathen) families of this land for any offence whatsoever, and receive the fines, expenses, head-price and breast-price (probably the right of selling males and females for serious caste offences) ; END OF QUOTE.

The above is a quote from the Deed signed between the king of Venadu and the Tarisa church. It is one of the deeds belonging to the Syrian Christians of the Cochin and Travancore States.

It is seen that this Church literally joins the feudal oppressors. They were not the liberators of shackled human beings. To this extent, this Church was anti-English, even though the English and British officials failed to understand the difference. For, it is quite easy to hoodwink the native-English.


PANDI. (Dravidian) = the Southern Tamil country with Madura as capital. The name given to a tribe of Christian fishermen and palanquin-bearers on the Malabar Coast, whom I have seen at Cannanore. They are supposed to have come from, the southernmost part of the Malabar Coast, viz., Travancore, and, perhaps, from the Tinnevelly province originally. END OF QUOTE

So that adds another Christian group from south who have come to North Malabar.

QUOTE: There is a Protestant church called the St. Mary’s Church at Calicut, which was built in June 1863. Before its erection the Anglican community held Sunday service in a portion of the Collector’s office. END OF QUOTE.

That might be about the Anglican Christians.

QUOTE: The history of the Roman Catholic Church, Calicut, which is interesting, is briefly as follows :

In 1513 A.D., a treaty was concluded between the Portuguese and the Zamorin, in which the latter allowed the former to erect a factory at Calicut to which was attached a chapel.


The church management went on smoothly till the invasion of Malabar by Hyder Ali in 1766. In that year the Portuguese Vicar and Factor waited on Hyder Ali and obtained an order to Madye, Raja of Coimbatore and Governor of Calicut, for the payment of 2,420 fanams annually to the Vicar of the church. Hyder All also ordered that the rent and revenue or benefits of the landed property should not be appropriated.


..till 1788, when a Brahman named Daxapaya came as Tippu's Revenue Collector of Calicut, and demanded from the Vicar, Gabriel Gonsalves, the church revenues and imprisoned him ; but the Vicar effected his escape with the connivance of Arshed Beg Klhan, Tippu’s fouzdar, and fled to Tellicherry.

The Vicar returned to Calicut and resumed possession of the church lands in 1792, when Malabar came under the East India Company. END OF QUOTE.

The English East India Company appears to be quite soft. The reader can read more about this in the book, Malabar.

QUOTE: In 1878 another charitable institution was attached to the Roman Catholic Mission at Calicut, denominated the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. It has since been divided into two branches—St. Mary’s conference and St. Francis Xavier’s conference. The poor and helpless of every creed are here assisted in their temporal necessities. END OF QUOTE.

Helping the poor and helpless is a great deed, indeed. However, there is a great difference in how this goes about in feudal languages, from how it is imagined in English.

QUOTE: There is a small Roman Catholic chapel called the Chapel of the Holy Cross at Calicut on the road to Wynad about two furlongs north of the Mananchira tank. It was a thatched chapel until last year, when it was substantially built by a member of the Roman Catholic congregation. END OF QUOTE

QUOTE: 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 END OF QUOTE.

That information is about Angengo.


Commentary                MMVol 1               MMVol 2

Book Profile

1. My aim

2. The information divide

3. The layout of the book

4. My own insertions

5. The first impressions about the contents

6. India and Indians

7. An acute sense of not understanding

8. Entering a terrible social system

9. The doctoring and the manipulations

10. What was missed or unmentioned, or even fallaciously defined


12. Nairs / Nayars

13. A digression to Thiyyas

14. Designing the background

15. Content of current-day populations

16. Nairs / Nayars

17. The Thiyya quandary

18. The terror that perched upon the Nayars

19. The entry of the Ezhavas

20. Exertions of the converted Christian Church

21. Ezhava-side interests

22. The takeover of Malabar

23. Keralolpathi

24. About the language Malayalam

25. Superstitions

26. Misconnecting with English

27. Feudal language

28. Claims to great antiquity

29. Piracy


31. Slavery

32. The Portuguese

33. The DUTCH

34. The French


36. Kottayam

37. Mappillas

38. Mappilla outrages against the Nayars and the Hindus

39. Mappilla outrage list

40. What is repulsive about the Muslims?

41. Hyder Ali

42. Sultan Tippu

43. Women

44. Laccadive Islands

45. Ali Raja

46. Kolathiri

47. Kadathanad

48. The Zamorin and other apparitions

49. The Jews


51. Hinduism

52. Christianity

53. Pestilence, famine etc.

54. British Malabar versus Travancore kingdom

55. Judicial

56. Revenue and administrative changes

57. Rajas

58. Forests

59. Henry Valentine Conolly

60. Miscellaneous notes

61. Culture of the land

62. The English efforts in developing the subcontinent

63. Famines

64. Oft-mentioned objections

65. Photos and pictures of the Colonial times

66. Payment for the Colonial deeds

67. Calculating the compensation

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