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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!


Now we arrive at the location of slavery in the subcontinent. It is a very curious situation. The whole social system worked on a foundation on indentured or bound-to-the-soil slaves. It was so common an issue that it was not seen as noteworthy at all. In many ancient traveller writings, there is mention of slaves in a most casual manner, as if they are part of the furniture.

The state of being a slave is not a statutory one as one would understand how it was treated in the US southern states. Over here it is more or less maintained by the language system, which in turn created the powerful layers and slots of the caste system. So that each downward layer or caste is a sort of slave to the higher layer/ layers.

From this perspective, the Brahmins are the highest slave-masters. However, that is not the full truth. In that many of the downwards layers would not have any complaint on being in subservience to the Brahmins. For instance, the Nayars were totally willing to allow their women folk for the cohabitation of the Brahmins, if and when they came home. The Nayar male would exhibit all kinds of reverences to the Brahmin Nambhuthiri. And the Brahmin in turn would bless him.

The Brahmins gave the Nayars the rights over the many lower castes under them. So, it was not an enslavement totally for the Nayars. For, they were to become the supervisors and the masters of the lower castes. They had full rights over them to the extent of even maiming or killing them.

This social consciousness in the Nayars continued till the advent and empowerment of the English rule in Malabar, both in north Malabar as well as in south Malabar. In the kingdom of Travancore, also there were Nayars. However, they continued it for much longer, because that kingdom continued to exist as an independent kingdom till it was taken over under military intimidation by India.

See this QUOTE from Native Life in Travancore: A good deal of controversy has taken place on the subject in the public prints, and a society for the reform of the Malabar laws of marriage (and inheritance) has been formed at Calicut by the leaders of the Nayar community, especially those educated in English. END of QUOTE

It might be true that there was no such corresponding event in Travancore. For there, subservience to the Brahmins was part of the system which gave the Nayars the authority over the lower castes. However, in Malabar, subservience to the Brahmins was a wasteful attitude which was not going to give any more returns. It is like being obsequious to an IPS officer by a constable, after the demise of India.

QUOTE: The questions of slavery and the slave trade attracted the early attention of the Honourable Company’s Government. So early as 1702, the year in which British rule commenced, a proclamation was issued by the Commissioners against dealing in slaves. A person offering a slave for sale was to be considered as a thief. The slave was to be forfeited and the person offering him for sale was to be fined five times his value. The purchaser was to be similarly treated. The houses of suspected slave traders were to be well watched and entered and searched on the smallest suspicion, and the traders caught in flagrante delicto were to be handed over to the Rajas to be dealt with.

This proclamation was, however, directed chiefly against the practice, then prevalent, of bands of robbers carrying off by force from their houses the children of “the most useful inhabitants, the Tiyars and other cultivators.” END OF QUOTE.

The most valid truth is that the English rule crushed slavery and the practise of slave selling in the subcontinent. However, there are many writings that try to prove that the English rule did sell slaves. It is all nonsense. Beyond that there are attempts to confuse the issue with mixing up the theme to the deeds of Continental European groups such as the French, Dutch &c. and then cast the blame on the English rule.

QUOTE: on the 23rd December of that year the Principal Collector received orders desiring “that the practice of selling slaves for arrears of revenue may be immediately discontinued.” END OF QUOTE.

The English rule took time to slowly remove slavery. And who is there to appreciate the actions? The people of current-day India would find it very awkward if they were asked not to use the pejorative form of addressing and referring to and about their house servants. If they are asked to allow them to sit on a chair and eat from the household dining table, they would go wild with anger. To explain the actions of the English rule to these kinds of people would be a waste of effort. For, they have no interest in the lower classes improving. However, to place a blame on the English colonial rule, they would not miss an opportunity.

QUOTE: The matter in this and other ways reached the ears of the Court of Directors, and in their despatch of 12th December 1821 they expressed considerable dissatisfaction at the lack of precise information which had been vouchsafed to them regarding the cultivators in general, and in particular said : We are told, indeed, that part of them (an article of very unwelcome intelligence) are held as slaves ; that they are attached to the soil and marketable property.

You are directed to obtain and to communicate to us all the useful information with respect to this latter class of persons which you possibly can; the treatment to which they are liable, the habits of their masters with respect to them, the kind of life to which they are doomed, the sort of title by which the property of them is claimed, the price which they bear and more especially the surest and safest means of ultimately effecting their emancipation.

We also desire to know whether those occupants, 150,000 in number, cultivate immediately the whole of the lands by their slaves and hired servants, or whether there is a class of inferior tenants to whom they let or sub-let a portion of their lands. If there is such an interior class of lessees, you will inform us under what conditions they cultivate, what are their circumstances, and what measures, if any, have been employed for their protection END OF QUOTE.

A most wonderful attitude!

QUOTE: On 16th November 1836, the Government ordered the remission in the Collector’s accounts of Rs. 927-13-0, which was the “annual revenue” from slaves on the Government lands in Malabar, and the Government was at the same time “pleased to accede to the recommendation in favour of emancipating the slaves on the Government lands in Malabar.” END OF QUOTE.

QUOTE: Government issued orders on 12th March 1839 “to watch the subject of the improvement of the condition of the Cherumar with that interest which it evidently merits, and leave no available means untried for effecting that object.” END OF QUOTE

QUOTE: Their freedom was not, however, to be proclaimed, and the measure was to be carried out in such manner “as not to create any unnecessary alarm or aversion to it on the part of other proprietors, or premature hopes of emancipation on that of other slaves.” END OF QUOTE.

QUOTE: The Directors on learning what had been done "entirely approved” of the measures adopted, and requested the Government to consider how to extend similar measures to the slaves of private owners, and urged the necessity of carrying out the measures with "extreme caution”. This was contained in the Directors’ despatch of 17th August 1838, and in penning it they evidently had before their eyes the fear of being heavily mulcted after the West Indian fashion in compensation to owners if any overt act was taken towards publicly recognising a general emancipation of slaves. END OF QUOTE.

The above are some of the quotes that stand testimony to what a private trading company was doing for the emancipation of a huge number of slaves in a far-off land. Actually if they had not even bothered nothing would have gone wrong from their trade. On the other hand, there was the brooding fear that if they acted too fast, the Nayars and their higher castes would unite to crush down the foreign power which was enforcing egalitarianism in a land where the language codes do not support egalitarian ideas.

QUOTE: Women in some taluks fetched higher prices in order to breed slaves. END OF QUOTE.

Actually in the new nation of India, no one is really bothered if anyone is sold or bought. Almost all persons are quite selfish. There are immense locations in India where people do not even bother to notice the terrible poverty all around. It is not possible to interfere. For the languages are hierarchical. They cannot go and simply converse as it would be possible in English. There are verbal hierarchies to be enforced in all conversations, if one should not get bruised by indicant word forms.

QUOTE: “Any person claiming a slave as janmam, kanam or panayam, the right of such claim or claims will not be investigated into at any of the public offices or courts.” END OF QUOTE.

This was one more step to saving the slaves from the ‘Indians’.

QUOTE: there is reason to think that they are still, even now, with their full consent, bought and sold and hired out, although, of course, the transaction must be kept secret for fear of the penalties of sections 370, 371, etc., of the Indian Penal Code, which came into force on 1st January 1802 and which was the real final blow at slavery in India. END OF QUOTE

English government made slave-trade a prohibited item. However, from the above-statement it is hinted at that the ‘Indians’ did try to continue their slave-trade in a clandestine manner. That of dealing in contraband.

QUOTE: It was apparently these letters of Mr. E. B. Thomas which eventually decided the Board of Directors to send out orders to legislate in the matter, for in their despatch of 27th July 1842 they first sent orders “for the entire abolition of slavery”, and in a second despatch of 15th March 1843 they called the special attention of the Government of India to the question of slavery in Malabar where the evils, as described by Mr. E. B. Thomas, were so aggravated “as compared with other portions of India”. END OF QUOTE

The reader has to note that the evilness of slavery in Malabar is mentioned as more terrible than other parts of the subcontinent. If the birdbrain who is demanding reparation from England is asked to compensate for the thousand of slaves his ancestral household had kept in confinement, it might wipe out the entire financial acumen of his entire family members. That is the truth.

QUOTE: The Government of India thereupon passed Act V of 1843. On the passing of the Act, its provisions were widely published throughout Malabar by Mr.Conolly, the Collector, and he explained to the Cherumar that it was their interest as well as their duty to remain with their masters if treated kindly. END OF QUOTE.

There is terrible pathos in the above statement in the offing. For this very Mr. Conolly, much beloved Collector of Malabar was hacked to death by a few Mappillas in their rage at the government interference when the Mappillas were wreaking vengeance on the Nayar and Brahmin overlords. This is the typical issue. The English rule did its best for the peoples of the subcontinent. However, the people learn from schools and colleges that they were ‘looters’ and other evil deed doers.

The same way, the Mappilla murderers had no other way to understand the government deeds to control the communal clashes. It is noteworthy that a lot of enlightened Muslims stood by the English administration and lend support to catch the Mappilla miscreants.

See these QUOTEs:

and Major Dow was deputed to the Mappilla districts, and a cowl of protection was issued in favour of the Kundotti section of the Mappilla class, who had been oppressed by the Nayar landholders. END OF QUOTE.

QUOTE: The Mappillas of this latter district undertook to assist the British to maintain their hold of the province, but when it came to the push their hearts failed them. END OF QUOTE

Now back to Mr. Conolly.

QUOTE: He proclaimed “The Government will not order a slave who is in the employ of an individual to forsake him and go to the service of another claimant; nor will the Government interfere with the slave’s inclination as to where he wishes to work. END OF QUOTE.

It was not wise to create a totally destruction of the social system. Changes had to be brought in slowly. There was the issue of a person’s wish also.

QUOTE: The number of days in this case is fourteen, but as they cannot at certain seasons afford to be idle for fourteen days together—for fourteen days’ idleness very often with them means fourteen days’ starvation END OF QUOTE.

QUOTE: 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 QUOTE.

Even though food is a very important ingredient for body growth, the suppression via feudal-language pejorative codes does induce certain suppression in the physical growth. It is a complicated issue and cannot be dealt with here. However, there is a wider issue in that in a feudal language ambience, it is best to see that the under-classes are under-fed. It is then easier to manage them. For it might be more easier to extract ‘respect’ from midget-size human beings than from individuals with very good physique.

QUOTE: With one merchant you will see one or two hundred of these carriers, the merchant himself walking. But when the nobles pass from place to place, they ride in a dula made of wood, something like a box, and which is carried upon the shoulders of slaves and hirelings. END OF QUOTE.

This is the richness of ancient ‘India’ that is proclaimed by the modern day jingoist of the subcontinent.

QUOTE: The Commissioners likewise prohibited the slave trade carried on extensively in children by Mappilla merchants with the French and Dutch ports of Mahe and Cochin respectively. END OF QUOTE

It appears that some of the Mappillas had trade connections with the Dutch and the French. And that was in slave trade. But in these kinds of information, it need to be noted that only a few Mappillas would be involved in this. Not all.

QUOTE: They also framed regulations for the custom house collections, prohibited the export slave trade and dealing in gunpowder, warlike weapons and stores END OF TRADE

English attempts at bringing in a civil administration in the semi-barbarian land.

QUOTE: and the breaking up of the system of serfdom since the assessments were fixed must have had a much greater influence on agriculture in Wynad than it had elsewhere, because in Wynad there was but a limited class to take the places of the slaves who chose to leave their ancient masters and work for hire on the European coffee-estates. END OF QUOTE

The serf system was broken by the arrival of the English rule. There are issues here. One is the pain and anguish of the landlord class when they find that their ‘respectful’ and subservient class of slaves turning into rude competitors with no more ‘respect’.

Second is the new right that the serfs had gained to choose their employers. The wider item to mention here is that as the serf moved out and their next generations came, they were very cunningly told that it was the English administrators who had enslaved them. This was made possible with the entry of the earlier feudal classes into the business of ‘communist revolutions’.

It would not be surprising to see that the so-called ‘communist’ ‘revolutions’ and even ‘freedom fighters’ are from the class of feudal lords and enslavers. Many of them are so cunning that they have pasted the whole tragic content of the history of the location on the English rule. And they, who were the original oppressors, from whose hands the English administration saved the lower classes, have become ‘great leaders’. At least a few of them have very quietly sent their children into the native-English nations.


ADIYAN. Is literally slave both in Tamil and Malayalam, and in the Northern Division of Malabar it is applied to the real slaves, but in South Malabar it means generally vassals. Under the old system, where every Tiyan was under a kind of vassalage to some superior, to some patron, to a Tamburan as he is commonly called, the patron was bound to protect him and to redress any petty wrongs he might sustain, and the client or vassal acknowledged his dependent state by yearly presents, and was to be ready with his personal services upon any private quarrel of his patron. This kind of dependency gave the patron no right of disposal of the person of his vassal as a slave, nor did it acquit the dependent individual of a superior obligation to the Raja or his representatives, the Desavali, and Neduvali, upon a public emergency. END OF QUOTE

Whatever right is mentioned or not mentioned, the fact is that due to the hammering power of the pejorative word codes in the local feudal languages, the Adiyan and his family members were literally living on the whims of their landlord. They could be beaten to a pulp and even hacked to pieces and killed. There was no law or policing mechanism in the land to prevent all this, until the advent of the English rule.

QUOTE: Cherumar: Slaves in general. It is supposed to be derived from cheru = soil, and makkal children : children of the soil, or sons of the earth. Others say from cheru, small, and makkal, children, indicating that they are to be treated as young children by their masters. END OF QUOTE.

From an English perspective, the feeling that might come forth on hearing that they are being treated by the master as his own children, might be that of some kind of affection. However, the greater lie in this sentence is that the Cherumar are placed at the lowest indicant word codes. So that a Cheruman adult would be treated like an infant in terms of intelligence. It is a very powerful degradation. However, no one in the subcontinent is really bothered. That is the solid fact. After all, it is another person. Who cares if he is ill-treated?

Even the ‘great’ ‘social reformers’ of the land do address and refer to their menial staff with the most degrading pejorative codes of addressing and referring. No one sees any problem in this. They treat them like dirt. No one is bothered. They make them sit on the floor. No one is bothered.

And when cinemas produce fake story films of the English rulers who had ‘treated the people like dirt’, these very individuals understand that it is the Englishmen who had ill-treated them. So much is the fraudulent nature of history studies in this nation of India.

QUOTE: Is a fee which is given to a kind of headman among slaves for watching a large tract of rice-land and protecting it from cattle. END OF THE QUOTE.

It then becomes the headman-slave to see that all the other slaves do exhibit their subservience to the landlord.


KANAM. I think, is generally supposed to mean mortgage or pledge, must be construed to be the thing or consideration for which the mortgage or pledge is given, and it seems applicable only to lands, timber trees, and slaves. END OF QUOTE

See the connection and the grouping. Land, timber trees and slaves. All sellable commodities. And the wonder is that formal history does not even take time to detect the slaves of the subcontinent, who literally lived like dust on the soil. The focus of formal history is on the cunning Negro slaves of the US, who have improved beyond the wildest dreams of their ancestor barbarians of Africa. Still they have only complaints. However, there are some complications in this understanding also. I cannot go into that here.

QUOTE: KUDI. A pair ; applied to a slave and his wife in speaking of their price. END OF QUOTE.

It would be quite funny to see that in the modern age, it is the landlord class of yore who have transformed into the revolutionary leader class in Malabar.


KUDICHILLARA: Tax on houses, shops, warehouses, and implements of the profession of blacksmiths &c. END OF QUOTE.

No comment other than that even taxation had discriminatory terms in the local feudal language.


PANDAKKAVAL. A watching fee, consisting of the crop of a certain portion of the field, which a slave receives from his master for his trouble. Kaval is watching and Pandal is the awning or cover under which the slave sets to watch. END OF QUOTE

The slaves were literally left to bear the rain and the wind. It was just a like a watch dog kept outside the house. What it suffered and experienced was not given any thoughts. If other dogs bite it also, it is treated as an issue among animals.

QUOTE: Adimappanam was the yearly payment of 1 and 2 fanams which every Adiyan was obliged to pay to his Tamburan or patron, END OF QUOTE

Even the slaves had to pay a tax it seems. However, this might not be the bound-to-the-soil slaves, but the slaves who had been entrusted with some land, I think.

QUOTE: Dried fish and hides are occasionally exported to Ceylon, where the majority of Anjengo Christians go to work on coffee estates. END OF QUOTE.

The above-event is an illustration of how the slaves escaped from the hands of their traditional tormenters. However, in modern Indian history studied, the description might be thus: ‘The British used to sell slaves into their plantations in Ceylon and elsewhere. One can see such Indian people in many such places all over the world, including South Africa.’

The minute understanding that these people were the slaves under the ‘Indians’ who escaped to other lands when the English administration was set up, never appears in the minds of the geniuses who write formal history in India.

QUOTE: We also have given to him (the right of) the feast-cloth, house-pillars, all the, revenue, the curved sword (or dagger), and in (or with) the sword the sovereign merchant-ship, the right of proclamation, the privilege of having forerunners, the five musical instruments, the conch, the light (or torch burning) by day, the spreading cloth, litter, royal umbrella, Vaduca drum, the gateway with seats and ornamental arches, and the sovereign merchant-ship over the four classes (or streets), also the oil-makers and the five kinds of artificerswe have subjected to him (or given as slaves to him). END OF QUOTE.

This is a sample of the rights given by the small-time rulers to people from outside who come as rich merchants and other powerful entities. What it means in the feudal languages, is the right to address and refer to a huge percentage of the local population in the pejorative word forms. This is an idea not at all understood by the native-English.


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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