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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!


Basically another tiny kingdom in Cannanore, but much more powerful than the miniscule Ali Raja kingdom. They had their headquarters at Chirakkal, which is a few kilometres from current-day Cannanore town. It may be mentioned that the Ali Raja family also has certain hereditary connections with the Chirakkal raja family.

Even though this kingdom has certain traditional superiority over the other smaller kingdoms, inside this family many feuds and mutinies and insubordinations are seen mentioned.

Like all the other minor kingdoms of Malabar, they also did go on shifting their alliances with regard to the English East India Company. All of them did go to their doom. In this regard, the totally different stance taken by the king of Travancore, Marthanda Varma and his descendents might be mentioned. He declared his total support for the English Company and gave a message on this deathbed to never disconnect with the great and honourable English Company. Travancore was to grow into a stable kingdom, remained in existence, till the British Labour Party made England look like a knave. All terms and treaties and commitments were thrown to the wind, when they gave the military power to the politician of the northern parts of the subcontinent.

QUOTE: a fortnight later news came from the factors at Honore regarding “the Extraordinary Insolency of the Canarees” in having taken the guns out of several Bombay boats because the English at Tellicherry had assisted the Prince Regent against them. END OF QUOTE.

The English Company had actually connected to a prince who had ulterior motives in everything. Even his treaty of peace with the Mappillas was mentioned by him as : QUOTE: The present Treaty is only to give me a Breathing for four months. END OF QUOTE.

The social and family situation was a continually changing one, with everyone have their own private aims, and ready to backstab anyone, friend or foe, for private gains. For the English Company, it must have been a very tough situation to deal with this type of social system.

QUOTE: The country south of the river to be under the Prince Regent, who was to receive assistance against his rebellious subjects, first of whom were the Mappillas of Cannanore. END OF QUOTE

This assistance was by the Canarese with whom the Prince had patched up. The enemy was the Mappillas of Cannanore. Which might mean the people of Ali Raja, i.e., the Arakkal family. However, the joint attack on them by the Kolathiri prince and the Canarese forces was repulsed by the Mappillas.

QUOTE: In August and September 1748 matters came to a crisis by the Prince Regent “laying an impediment” on one of the Company’s merchants, on mulcting him heavily. On being remonstrated with for this and other similar behaviour, he strenuously asserted his right to take the half of every man’s property, and the whole of it if he committed a fault. END OF QUOTE.

The prince’s name was Kunhi Raman. It is quite easy to see that there is very fast shifting of loyalty and connections. All that is required to provoke such a thing was a minor change in the verbal code, mentioned by someone. These are things that could have perplexed the English Company very much.

As to mulcting the Company’s merchant, the merchant could be a native-man of the subcontinent. His own words, body posture, eye-language all could also be provocative. For, his own stance would be that he is from a more higher position than a ‘tiny’ prince.

QUOTE: In November 1748 he had, it seems, portioned out his country to certain headmen in order that they might plunder his subjects, and the Commandant at Madakkara reported that soon the country would be ruined END OF QUOTE

He, the prince, is actually acting quite similar to the current-day officials of India.

QUOTE: He was present at an affecting interview with a very old and bed-ridden lady, described as the prince’s mother ; she expressed her satisfaction on being informed that everything had been amicably accommodated, and enjoined her son as her last parental counsel and advice never to give umbrage to the Chiefs of Tellicherry, who had protected the Palli branch of their family in its utmost distress. END OF QUOTE.

It was the English Company Chief Mr. Byfeld who had conversed with the prince’s mother. However, there was actually no hope. The Kolathiri family was divided into so many mutually competing and fighting teams. There was no way for the English Company to address a single king or prince in this family.

QUOTE: The Prince Regent’s bad advisers, banished in Mr. Byfeld’s time, returned and signalled their return by an outrage on a private servant of one of the English officers at Madakkara fort. END OF QUOTE.

The English Company itself was in some kind of an issue. Their new Chief was not able to understand the social system correctly.

QUOTE: The Prince Regent on 25th September openly visited Mahe and was received with a salute. END OF QUTOE

The Prince was shifting his loyalty. As to the French, they were using that standard technique used by all feudal-language speaking groups. That of effusive hospitality to befriend a person who was on the enemy’s side. This is the same technique they used to fool young George Washington in the American Continent when he was sent to their camp with a message from the English Governor of the place.

QUOTE: Northern Regent then transferred “for ever” to the Honourable Company the “whole right of collecting the customs in all places in our dominions END OF QUOTE.

This came about from a very curious situation in which the English Company had to struggle to find a new ‘king’ when two Prince Regents died one after another. As usual, many persons staked their claims and fought for it. The English Company was forced to seek out who was the most eligible and to support him. And this was the result when he was securely placed on the ‘throne’.

It might seem that the English Company was slowly taking over the locality or ‘country’. However, the fact is that no sane person would like to be ruled by the native kings and princes. To be under them is a demeaning experience. The English Company’s rule would be supported by the discerning people.

QUOTE: On the 11th March 1761 the Kolattiri Regent wrote to the Chief to say that Ali Raja of Cannanore had given the greatest affront possible to the Hindu religion END OF QUOTE.

Kolathiris and the Ali Rajas fighting against each other

QUOTE: In April some disturbances were created in Chirakkal by a prince of the Chenga Kovilakam of the Kolattiri family, a nephew of the late Raja. He claimed the raj. Colonel Dow went with a force to restore quiet. The rebellious Raja attempted in the following month of May to take the Puttur Temple by storm, but was slain in the attempt by the ruling Raja's Nayars who defended it. END OF QUOTE.

The English Company is stuck in the midst of such acrimonious situations. They came for trade but had to stay on to set up a peaceful situation in the land.


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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