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It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!




Of the London Missionary Society





The work

Designing this old book into a digital book version had its own travails and hard work. I took the text from various online sources. The text needed a lot of corrections, when it was converted into a MS Word file. Moreover, there were lots of pages missing. I think I have been able to get most of the pages intact by cross-referencing the sources, all of which had similar problems, but not in the same locations. I think I commenced the work on this project on the 20th of May 2014. Today it is June 26th 2014. The text of the book is ready and in the form of a digital book. Now I am commencing on my own commentary on this book.

This book and other books

This is a great book indeed. Even though this book ostensibly speaks of the kingdom of Travancore, the core emotions that have been dealt out can be on various aspects of the geographical area known as the South Asian peninsula, and even of the Asian landmass. In my search for realistic historical writings on the peninsular region, Indian nation and on the antiquity of the land area currently known as Kerala, I had come across a few books of resounding quality. One was the Travancore State Manual, written by a native official (V. Nagam Aiya) of the Travancore kingdom. The second was the Omens and Superstitions of Southern India by Edgar Thurston. The third has been this book. There are others.

I had really being intrigued by the fact that no one seems keen to bring these books to the limelight again. There should be a real reason for this silence. On going through these books, I found that there are umpteen reasons for many persons to dislike these books coming back into the limelight from relative oblivion.

I will enumerate the reasons after a little while.

Generally the writings of the contemporary English or British writers, of the English rule period of the sub-continent, are qualitatively good, compared to the jingoist writings of the native ‘scholars’ of the peninsula. The latter fill their writings with their passionate loyalties to various local powers, claimed antiquities and caste aspirations.

What is happening to pristine England?

England in those times was still a nation of native-English speakers. And hence the issue of being distressed by the emotions, triggers and taunt switches that spontaneously get activated with the forced presence of feudal language speakers had not yet affected the English mind. Now, England is cluttered with an immensity of languages. Most of them feudal languages. The unknown and un-understood ferocious triggers and switches that are getting activated all around England would naturally have affected the average national mental quality. And the writing quality.

This book contains a very rare insight into what were the realities of the social living conditions of the peoples of the geographical area known to the outside world as the Indian peninsular area, Indian peninsula or the Indian Sub Continent. It may be mentioned in passing that it is quite doubtful if any of the inhabitants of this Sub Continent were aware that they were living in ‘India’ or that they were ‘Indians’ before the advent of the English rule that created a nation here, extending from the edges of Afghanistan to the edges of Burma; and from the Himalayas to the tip of Cape Comorin. May be it was like mentioning that the earlier natives of the American area currently called the USA never knew that they were Americans, even though the Europeans identified the place as America.

A question mark on the fabricated history doled to Indian students

From a dispassionate perspective, books like these can stand as powerful question marks on the veracity of the fabricated history that is being taught in Indian schools and colleges.

Of a great nation that existed from 7000 years back Vedic period, which is presumed to have existed outside the current geographical areas of modern nation India, to the modern times. Of a glorious antiquity, immersed in great spiritual knowledge. Of great scientific information and high grade moral standards, in the social antiquity of the place.

When I used to read stuff about the greatness of the social antiquity of the geographical area, I had to bear the insipidity of the ‘information’ in a bemused manner.

For, I had not come across any such thing in this landmass, other than social disharmony, mutually suppressing or ennobling feudal-language usages, corruption, bribery, jealousy, insecurity about others improving, premeditated misleading of others to failure &c. Even affability was just a cloak for back-stabbing. As to married life, it transpires that such a thing was not the prevalent system as one understands it now. Yet, academic history proposes everything as the exact opposite.

Travancore and Malabar

This book written by a Christian missionary from the London Missionary Service paints the real picture of the kingdom of Travancore. Most of the general themes mentioned about people behaviour and mental attitudes can be mentioned as the common attitude of the various societies of the subcontinent as well as of Asia. However, when one goes into the particularities, it should be mentioned that the specific items are about Travancore and Travancore only.

This last sentence of mine is due to a particular issue. In this book, the terms ‘Malabar’ and ‘Travancore’ are used in many places as sort of synonyms. I do not know how the word Malabar was used in historic times. It is possible that from afar, the word Malabar could have been used as a common name for the southern-west coastal areas of the subcontinent. However, when one reaches near, the word ‘Malabar’ refers to an area that is outside Travancore and Cochin areas. So using the word Malabar as a synonym for Travancore is erroneous.

In this book, in various places, the term Malabar is used when actually the accurate term would have been Travancore. In certain other places, the word Malabar is used to denote the difference of social experience between British-ruled-Malabar and King- ruled-Travancore. It is amply clear that the writer is having very little direct information on Malabar, other than from what some of his native associates tell him.

This is one shortcoming in this book. It should be a major one, when this book is used as a fabulous book for reference. I must say that the writer did not think that a few unwary sentences of his with regard to Malabar could come to contain words which could be used as an erroneous landmarks for certain questionable contentions for later day ‘scholars’.

British Malabar

During the times of the English Empire, there was a district called Malabar which encompassed more or less the whole areas of Malabar. This district was part of the Madras Presidency and later Madras State.

Culturally, anthropologically, geographically as well as linguistically Malabar was different from Travancore as is ‘rubber’ from ‘robber’. However, after the state of Kerala was formed in 1957, this difference was scrubbed out, and a new monstrous entity was formed, carefully embedding the diabolical features in each of the components.

One of the cultural differences could be from the presence of a caste known as Thiyya. In this book they are mentioned as Tiyas. There are certain misconceptions about them mentioned in this book.

QUOTE: In the far south on both coasts they are known as Shanars; in Central Travancore as Ilavars; from Quilon to Paravoor, Chogans; in Malabar, as far as Calicut, they are called Teers, or Tiyars; and still farther north Billavars, which appears to be a slightly altered form of Ilavar. END of QUOTE

Tiyas or Thiyyas (as the word is spelt in modern times) are not Ilavars or Ezhavas (as the word is spelt in modern times). This is a major error.

Geographical dividing line (Cordon sanitaire) & Muthappan worship

The author mentions ‘as far as Calicut’. The fact is that there are actually two kinds of Thiyyas . How they became two and such things I do not know. One group of Thiyyas are beyond Calicut, towards the north. [I understand the southern border of this area then was the Korapuzha the flowed through Elathur, in Calicut district]. They can be mentioned currently as the Marumakkathya Thiyyas. The family system was matriarchal. That is, family rights move through the sisters’ or females and their children. The male members’ children do not come within the purview of the family name. Generally they are of a fairer skin complexion. They have a signature spiritual phenomenon called the ‘Muthappan’. This is a deity.

Muthappan phenomenon is something akin to what is known worldwide as Shamanism . There two claims currently in vogue with regard to Thiyya ancestry.

One is that they are of Greek bloodline (currently totally diluted). The other is that, they came from the Kazakhstan area or Central Asian areas near to Tiyan Muthappan Mountains. What is the basis of this claim, I do not know.

It may be mentioned that there are two different populations in Malabar who are known as Thiyyas. One is the Matriarchal Thiyyas of north Malabar. The other is the Patriarchal Thiyyas of south Malabar. Till around 1900, they were different castes, with no matrimonial alliances possible between them.

It is quite curious that there is absolutely no mention of Muthappan Vellattam and Thiruvappana in this book. So, it might be correct to mention that the writer’s knowledge of the locality is limited to Travancore. And slightly to the south Malabar areas. The use of the term Malabar can be incorrect.

I am not sure how much the English East India Company’s officials were connected to Muthappan worship. However, the fact is that this worship is seen in close connection with many railway stations of North Malabar. I do not know how or why this came about. I did hear a story in Cannanore that seems to bring a connection. However, I had no means to check the veracity of the claim.

Though Thiyyas are generally classified as a low caste, it can be true that the north Malabar Thiyyas did not suffer from too terrible suppression. Or may be the matriarchal family system must have led to the total breach of the Thiyya family system by the higher caste males. To the extent that there was no ground for a united stand. For, there is not much history of any mass conversion either into Islam or into Christianity among this Thiyyas. It is quite curious that Rev. Mateer totally miss mentioning this group of people in his book. Even when the matriarchal family system is discussed, there is no mention of this huge group of people existing just north of Calicut.

Thurston in his Castes and Tribes of Southern India does mention eight illam of the North Malabar Thiyyas, all of which seems to have been socially powerful entities. (Or it might be a powerful aspiration to copycat the Brahmanical systems, which over the centuries, they were indoctrinated to accept as superior). However, it would also be true that there were a lot of underprivileged Thiyyas in the area.

The second group, also called Thiyyas, are traditionally found in the area starting a little north of Calicut and extending southwards. This area was known, I think, as the Valluvanad . This area is generally mentioned as the area between Calicut and Ponnani. However, I am not sure. I feel that their average skin complexion was generally less fair compared to the north Malabar Thiyyas. The Thiyyas here followed the Makkathaya (Patriarchal) family system. (There is some mention somewhere of there being some illams among them also).

In this system, the children of the males had rights in the family. Even though many persons think that the Matriarchal system denoted a superior social level, it is really doubtful if it was so. The patriarchal family system could lay a more stronger foundation to the family system. It so happened that there was mass conversion into Islam in the Valluvanad area by the Makkathaya Thiyyas.

May be due to the fact that the family system was stronger among them. And they could take a more sterner stand, in the newly emerging social freedom generated by the English rule in the district. Or it could also mean that they suffered more terrible suppression under their caste superiors, that they had to opt for conversion.

This was to provoke the terrible series of communal clashes between the Hindus upper castes and the converted-to-Islam lower castes. Even though the low calibre Indian academic historians mention this series of communal clashes as anti-British revolts, in actuality they were just triggered by the feudal language usages of the local vernacular. For instance, when the lower caste Makkathaya Thiyyas converted into Islam, they would very easily forego all pretentions of ‘respect’ to the upper castes. Just addressing, calling or even mentioning an upper caste male or female by name can be provocative to the extent of triggering a murderous rage.

Usages such as Ijj, Oan, Oal, Ayittingal &c. which are all lower indicant words meaning for, You, Him/He, Her/She, Them respectively can lead to uncontrollable rage. It would be a thousand times more provocative and insulting than when an Indian sepoy (soldier) refuses to stand and salute his officer. Or equivalent to him addressing his officer as a Thoo (lower YOU). Moreover, the standard manner of acknowledging a social senior in those days was to uncover the bosom.

When an erstwhile lower caste male or female dares to address a superior caste female by name, it could really involve the total pulling down of the superior female to Oal level, which is equivalent to socially pasting the superior with stinking dirt. Something like a lowly police shipai (constable) calling an IPS rank ‘officer’ by name.

See these quotes:

QUOTE: The proper salutation from a female to persons of rank was to uncover the bosom END of QUOTE

In Malabar, the advent of the English rule more or less removed the higher castes from statutory superior administrative positions. The wider point is that in native-feudal languages, a government job is not a job, but a very dominant position of authority demanding huge ‘respect’ from the common man.

QUOTE: Another serious evil arising out of the idea of caste pollution is that the covering of the bosom with clothing is forbidden, in order to the easy recognition and avoidance of the lower castes by their masters. This rule of going uncovered above the waist as a mark of respect to superiors is carried through all grades of society, except the Brahmans. The highest subject uncovers in the presence of the Sovereign, and His Highness also before his god Patmanabhan. This was also the form of salutation even from females to any respectable person. Hence deadly offence was given by persons who had resided for some time in Tinnevelly and Ceylon, or by Christians who were taught in the churches to cover themselves in accordance with the claims of modesty and health. END of QUOTE

In Malabar, the advent of the English rule more or less removed the statutory prohibition on lower castes females covering their breasts with a dress of their choice. Still social prohibition was quite strong in interior areas.

I remember an instance in my own life. When studying in the Kerala Education Board schools, under insipid teachers, ‘respect’ was a forced extraction. Once when I was in my 9th class, when the teacher entered the class, I did not notice it. And hence did not get up. For, I was engrossed in reading a book. He sat down and then called me by name. Thinking that he had something special to tell me, I quickly went over to him. I was terrifically slapped on the face. For, I had not extended the statutory salutation of respect. From an English point of view, there is no crime in my inaction. For, getting up when the teacher comes inside the class is not a right thing to do in English. It just denotes an inferiority of a weird kind.

I mention this incident to denote another thing also. The author of the book, The REV. SAMUEL MATTEER, F.L.S. does miss the huge social context of a feudal language in the Travancore nation as well as the whole of the Indian subcontinent. However, it is something almost all persons who had studied the region have missed. Not only here, but everywhere. Even when discussing the weirdness of certain social behaviours, MATEER misses the core issue that lies embedded in the social communication software, the language.

However, there is this quote from this book that may be revealing:

QUOTE: Malayalam Sudras are careful to pay much respect to aged relatives. Nephews will not sit down in the presence of their uncles, but stand with the left arm crossed on the breast and the right hand over the mouth; or, at least, sit on a lower seat or level Sudras meeting Brahmans adore them, folding both hands together; the Brahman, in return. confers his blessing by holding the left hand to the chest and closing the fingers. END of QUOTE

This ‘respect’ to the seniors has deeper meanings and social and familial powers, than is understood by Rev. Matteer.

These two castes, North Malabar Thiyyas as well as South Malabar Thiyyas may not have had much representation in the Travancore Kingdom before the advent of the English rule in Malabar district. However, Thurston does mention in his book about the social aversion that the North Malabar Thiyyas showed to the Ezhavas. Yet, it is also a debatable point as to whether the Tiyas of South Malabar are a version of the Ezhavas. For, that is the way it is mentioned in this book. ‘in Malabar, as far as Calicut, they are called Teers, or Tiyars;”. The question should remain as to why Mateer was not aware of the Marumakkathaya Thiyyas who lived beyond Calicut and towards the northern tips of Malabar district.

In Thurston’s, Castes and Tribes of Southern India, it is mentioned that it was only in very rare cases that there was marital relationship between the North Malabar and South Malabar Thiyyas. For, both of them followed different social systems, and hierarchies. If a female from South Malabar Thiyyas married a North Malabar Thiyya, their children would not get any significant ancestral property. For in the south Malabar, the family system was Patriarchal, while in North Malabar it was matriarchal.

However, in the Malabar Courts of the English East India Company rule time, this rare event has been recorded.

For instance there is this from: [from MALABAR LAW AND CUSTOM by LEWIS MOORE of the Indian Civil Service]

In Chathunni v. Sankaran, the parties to which were Tiyans from North Malabar, it was held by the High Court (Turner, C. J., and Hutchins, J.) that, where a woman belonging to a Malabar tarwad governed by the Marumakkathayam Law has issue by a man who is governed by the Makkathayam Law, such issue are prima-facie entitled to their father’s property in accordance with the Makkathayam Law and to the property of their mother ’s tarwad in accordance with the Marumakkathayam Law (c). If a similar case was to come before the High Court in which Mappillas were concerned, the view taken would no doubt be the same.

In many ways, it is quite possible that North Malabar and South Malabar Thiyyas were quite different social groups, both of whom used the ‘Thiyya’ name for some deliberate purpose. Either one or the other tried to garner some social elevation by this method. It is amply reported in the writings of those times that people used to change their caste to gather higher social status.

See this quote from this book

QUOTE: Pretences are sometimes made by individuals to higher than their real caste. During a festival at Trevandrum, several goldsmiths putting on the dress and ornaments of a superior caste, walked boldly into the temple. We have known one or two apostates from Christianity, well educated in English, who assumed Sudra names, and passed in distant parts of the country as such. END of QUOTE

SEE this QUOTE from Thurston’s, Castes and Tribes of Southern India,

The Tiyans are always styled Izhuvan in documents concerning land, in which the Zamorin, or some Brâhman or Nâyar grandee, appears as landlord. The Tiyans look down on the Izhuvans, and repudiate the relationship. Yet they cannot but submit to be called Izhuvan in their documents, for their Nâyar or Brâhman landlord will not let them have the land to cultivate, unless they do so. It is a custom of the country for a man of a superior caste to pretend complete ignorance of the caste of an individual lower in the social scale.

Thus, in the Wynâd, where there are several jungle tribes, one is accustomed to hear a man of superior caste pretending that he does not know a Paniyan from a Kurumba, and deliberately miscalling one or the other, saying “This Paniyan,” when he knows perfectly well that he is a Kurumba. It is quite possible, therefore, that, though Tiyans are written down as Izhuvans, the two were not supposed to be identical.

State regulations keep the Izhuvans of Cochin and Travancore in a position of marked social inferiority, and in Malabar they are altogether unlettered and uncultured. On the other hand, the Tiyans of Malabar provide Magistrates, Sub-Judges, and other officials to serve His Majesty’s Government. It may be noted that, in 1907, a Tiya lady matriculate was entertained as a clerk in the Tellicherry post-office.

END of QUOTE from: Castes and Tribes of Southern India (Vol VII) by EDGAR THURSTON.

Here the point that was missed was that Zamorin was the ruler of the place wherein the Thiyyas were similar to the Ezhavas with regard to family system. ie. South Malabar.

Castes and Tribes of Southern India (Vol VII) by EDGAR THURSTON: A few pages in this book do deal on the differences between Thiyyas and Ezhavas . And also about the differences between South Malabar Thiyyas and North Malabar Thiyyas. In fact, it does seem that these two groups are also quite different from each other. The Korah Puzha (River) was the line that divided the two geographical areas from each other. It is possible that it was the East India Company rule that brought the geographical area under the same rule and judicial systems.

There are recorded instances when the judicial courts had to face confusion when delivering rulings in disputes involving both the Southern as well as Northern Thiyyas. For the whole social and family systems were totally different. In fact, dowry system in marriage was more or less totally unknown among the Northern Thiyyas, possibly due to the Matriarchal family system in force among them.

There is a slight possibility that the South Malabar Thiyyas were some version of Ezhavas who might have adopted the Thiyya name for sake of improving their social status. However, it is seen that their social problems did not improve much. For, during the English rule period in Malabar, in a similar manner to what happened in Travancore during the English interaction there, many individuals of the South Malabar Thiyyas went for conversion into Islam.

In Travancore, the conversion to Christianity had the effect of powerful fights between the converted lower castes and the Sudras (Nairs). Especially on the issue of the erstwhile lower caste females wearing an upper garment. In South Malabar, the conversion to Islam created a series of communal fights between the lower caste Thiyyas (newly converted into Islam) and the Hindu higher castes .

There has been mention that some of the major provocations had been the actions of the Nairs to pull out the upper garments of the newly converted to Islam Makkathaya Thiyyas. [The rank idiotism of the Indian academic, jingoist historians can be seen in their contention that the Mappilla lahala, or the communal fight between the erstwhile Makkathaya Thiyyas (converted to Islam) and Hindu Brahmanical castes and their henchmen was a revolt against the British rule].

Anthropological demeanour

Second item is the anthropological aspect. People did look different. The Malabar people did have a lighter skin complexion, especially among the lower castes. The same kind of lighter or fair or very fair skin complexion was more common in the higher castes of Travancore.

However, it must be admitted the even William Logan, the administrator of Malabar district also seemed to have made the mistake of speaking without checking facts. He must have stood in Malabar and believed the contention of the Travancore classes. Thurston does mention the cause of this error.


Geographically speaking, even the coastal regions of Malabar were mountainous and full of sharp elevations and drops. Especially North Malabar. In many areas, one can find seaside areas sort of on cliffs. In modern times, tarred roads have more or less made this geographical aspect quite inconspicuous. Generally to move even two kilometres, where there is no road, was quite difficult. It was not like places in Karnataka, where the landscape was quite flat, and with clear landscape. As to the Travancore region, generally there is a more planar geographical layout towards the coast. Especially from Ernakulum, towards Alleppey and beyond. There are exceptions off course in both areas.


As to language, Malayalam was the language of Travancore. In Malabar, there was another language (Malabari), with a series of dialects. Generally this language has not been mentioned as a language. There is a very specific reason for the non-admittance of the language of Malabar as a language separate from that of Malayalam. And this could be linked to two issues. One could be the entry of lower caste converts-to-Christianity spreading out to the Malabar area, and spearheading vernacular education in these areas, under the auspicious of the Christian church. I am not sure about this. It is just a gut feeling.

There does seem to have been a network of Christian organisations, with base in Travancore area which had spread to Malabar as well to Mangalore areas. The language inside these set ups might have been Travancore Malayalam. The fact that it was Gundert a Christian missionary who wrote the first dictionary of Malayalam might support this view. Apart from that, there is an English-Malayalam Dictionary by TOBIAS ZACHARIAS, Pleader, Tellicherry. This book was printed at the Basel Mission Press, Mangalore. The words ‘Tellicherry’, ‘Basel Mission Press’, ‘Mangalore’ &c. might give hint of this network.

I do not know if the dictionaries of Gundert as well as that of Tobias do contain words from the Malabar language. If the language of Malabar is Malayalam, then naturally the words from Malabar should be in them. A few of the Malabar words can be found on link. Many more are there.

The second is the support given to English education by the English rulers of Malabar. Administration in Malabar was in English. At least at the officer class level . Malabar was a part of the Madras Presidency. And as such the popular focus was towards Madras on the Bay of Bengal coast on the eastern side of the peninsula. Which was a Tamil speaking area. So, the local administration was not focused on improving the status of the local vernacular.

Most of the words and usages in the native language of Malabar cannot be understood by Malayalam speakers. See these sentences: ഓടെ കിമിറ് കണ്ട് ഓന് വെറ്പ്പ്പിടിച്ച്. ഓടെ മീട്ടത്ത് ഓൻ തച്ച്. അപ്പാടോള് ഊയ്യാരോം കൂക്കിയുംബെച്ച്. ബൈരംകേട്ട് എടേപോണോലെല്ലാം ആടെ പാഞ്ഞ് കാരി. അപ്പാടെ ഞാള് ഒരിയാനെ ഓനെ, ബൈയ്യാപ്പ്രത്തൂടെ കീച്ച് മീത്തലെ പെര്യയ്ലൂടെ പായിച്ച്.

There is this song from Malabar language: ഹക്കാന കോനമറാ മക്കാബ് കണ്ട് നബി...

I remember in the days of my infancy, the people of Tellicherry had a common language which was quite different from the official version Malayalam. However, in my own household, due to the eduation received in Christian schools by my parent side, and the propensity to read printed Malayalam books and newspaper, the spoken language was more of Malayalam. The general feeling was that the language taught in Christian schools was standard Malayalam of a superior quality Malayalees, while the local people’s language was an uneducated version.

However, the fact was the before the English intervention both in Malabar (direct) and in Travancore (indirect), both peoples were more or less equally uneducated . Yet, when the Travancoreans came to Malabar with the support of the Christian Church as a backing, there was a feeling that they were from a superior social set up.

In my own mother’s family, one of these Travancore Christians who actually had the looks of a very under-privileged caste midget actually could elope with a female of much elevated looks. The English-educated Thiyya females had a new social issue. They were now aware of their elevation and couldn’t bear the lower indicant words used to them, by all and sundry when they moved outside their house.

They had two options usually. Either go in for seclusion from the social system, or go in for government employment or become a teacher. The latter option had the effect of changing them from Oal to Oar. And the Inhi would change into Ingal. The female in my mother’s family took another third route to escape the boredom of seclusion and eloped with a very lower caste person, who had appeared with the address of Christian faith. Currently the lower caste converts to Christianity do not bear any lower caste demeanour. In fact, in many areas, where they have improved, they definitely have superior looks and social standards. This is especially felt if one moves in areas where they have financial dominance.

Even though Malabar language (Malabari) had only two female definitions, that of Oal (ഓള്) and Oar (ഓര്), both on extremely opposite social locations, Malayalam had a number of words given a wider ambit of social movement. That of Aval അവൻ, Pulli പുള്ളി, Pullikkari പുള്ളിക്കാരി, Ayaal അയാൾ, Avar അവർ &c. And in the You word, (North) Malabar language had only two locations: That of Inhi ഇഞ്ഞി, and Ingal ഇങ്ങൾ. Malayalam had more. Nee (നീ), Eyaal ഇയാൾ, Thaan താൻ, Ningal നിങ്ങൾ, Saar നാർ (Persian: Headman), Angunnu അങ്ങുന്ന് etc. So, it was more easier for Malayalam-speaking females to move around; than it is for females speaking Malabar language (unless they are of the relatively higher social level).

However, in Malabar language, females exist in a terribly stunted location from where they act either subdued or cantankerous. However, a small change in status, like getting a teacher’s job or a government employment or something like a higher age, they change into Oar from Oal. In this location, they are generally more powerful than their men-folk, who are in a three word code social design. Avan അവൻ, Ayaal അയാൾ, and Oar ഓര്. Most of the men-folk reach only up-to the Ayaal level, while their wives may slowly or abruptly change from Oal, to Oar, which is right above Ayaal in social location.

In fact, in my childhood days, I did find a very quixotic situation. In which the local people in Malabar, had a feeling that the language of Malayalam was the language of a superior group who spoke good quality Malayalam, while their own language was that of a lower population. However, on the other side, I was aware of another item which was of the very opposite kind. English education had been received by only a few sections of the people in Malabar, and that too in such pockets like Tellicherry.

However, this English was quite good. The pronunciations were quite good. For example, the words Work, Auto, Is, Was, Want, Wash, and almost all others were more or less of standard variety. However, a new group was arriving from Travancore with a terrible kind of English. In their educated English, Work was Vark, Auto was aato, Is was ees, Was was vaas &c. However, this information was available only to the English-educated sections of the Malabar folks, who viewed the situation with unconcealed horror. However, they were numerically insignificant.

And in the new age of democracy, when quality was simply overridden by quantity, their words of caution had no meaning. Moreover, in an ambience of a feudal language social situation, everyone was quite envious of others who stood above, in any manner. Each group strove to see the lower section did not come up, and that the higher sections got pulled down.

Malayalam itself is not old. It is mentioned as a very recent linguistic development by the mixing of Sanskrit words and usages into Tamil. See these words from Travancore State Manual.

QUOTE: Another fact disclosed by the statements already given is that the language of most of the inscriptions is Tamil. The reason here is equally simple. Malayalam as a national language is not very old. Its resemblance to old Tamil is so patent that one could hardly help concluding that Malayalam is nothing more than old Tamil with a good admixture of Sanskrit words. There are some very old works in Tamil composed in Travancore and by Travancore kings. Besides, the invading Pandyas and Cholas were themselves Tamilians and their inscriptions form more than 70 per cent of the total in South Travancore. The Sanskrit inscriptions are very few and record ‘Dwaja Pratishtas’ and other ceremonies specially connected with Brahminical worship. END of QUOTE

There is another quote from Travanocore State Manual:

QUOTE: The language spoken by the people at this period was probably Tamil. Dr. Caldwell holds that Malayalam is a recent language derived from Tamil. Dr. Gundert thinks that Malayalam and Tamil had a common source. But from the Stanzas from Nannul and Tolkapyam quoted above, it is clear that a large part of this country was Kodun Tamilnad (the tract of country where corrupt Tamil was spoken). Probably it was from this period that Sanskrit words began to be largely incorporated into the native tongue. END of QUOTE

Travancore State Manual does mention a Tamil (Vattezhuthu) stone inscription dating 27th Medam, 410 M.E (Malayalam Era) at Manalikarai, a petty village near Padmanabhapuram in South Travancore, in which there is mention of Onachelavu. This information does carry an additional burden, in that the Onam the festival, which is more or less claimed by Malayalees, does seem to have non-Malayalee heritage links. However, the fact might only lead to the contention that Malayalam was just of recent origin.

In this present book, MATEER’s does mention thus: QUOTE: As to the Keralolpathi, though said by some to be translated from the Sanscrit, such an original is nowhere to be found, and it is comparatively a recent composition, dating only from the 16th or 17th century, than which there is no earlier Malayalam literature . END of QUOTE.

In the ‘An English-Malayalam dictionary’ written by Tobias Zacharias, there is this statement in the preface: QUOTE: ............This is marked by the sign ‘¢’above the letter, an invention of the great Malayalam Scholar, Dr. Gundert, who may be rightly called, ‘ the father of Malayalam prose’. END of QUOTE.

The ‘father of Malayalam prose’ died in 1893. As to the ‘father of Malayalam poetry’, Ezhuthachan is mentioned as belonging to the 16th century. It might be a funny information to know that the current-day Malayalam academicians have managed to garner a Classical language status for Malayalam. Thereby sending an immensity of others such as the possible ancestors of many sections of people who lived in Malabar region into obscurity and oblivion forever. Their language doesn’t even seem to deserve even a mention.

Many among the modern generation of Malabar find their own ancestral language as repulsive. That much is the effect of Malayalam education. Moreover some current day Malayalam ‘scholars’ mouth words to the effect that the assigning of the term ‘father of Malayalam poetry’ to Ezhuthachan was just a sort of consolation assignment, and does not really mean anything.

Mateer does not mention the existence of another language in Malabar. In fact, he does mention incomprehensible dialects inside Travancore in these quotes:

QUOTE: As a rule, the names of individuals among this hill tribe are not Hindu; they severally signify some peculiarity, as Kannan — “the eyed one; “Pottan — “the deaf one; “Thadian — “the fat one,” for men : and for females, Madura — “the sweet one; “Shangam, and also Ponna, “the golden one; “Chakra — “the sugar one.” Where the people are under the influence of the Nayars, there only we meet with names from the Shastras. The language is Malayalam, with several words, however, not known on the coast. END of QUOTE

In this quote there is a very profound information. Even though people generally try to connect themselves to Vedic culture, Hindu puranas and such in modern times of mass indoctrination through compulsory education, the fact is that in the Malabar region, the names of people of lower castes were not popular Hindu names that are currently in vogue. Common names were Pokken, Pokki, Nanu, Nani, Chakki, Kelu, Pirikk, Chathu, Maani, Maatha, Chirutha, Chirutheyi, Cheeru, Koman (പൊക്കൻ, പൊക്കി, നാണു, നാണി, ചക്കി, കേളു, പിറുക്ക്, ചാത്തു, മാണി, മാത, ചിരുത, ചിറുതേയി, ചീരു, കോമൻ, ചന്തു, മാക്കം) &c. However, in current times, the names have totally changed to popular Hindu names, with connection to purported Vedic and Puranic antiquity.

As to whether these people really had a direct lineage to such antiquity is doubtful, other than the huge web of links that emerge as one looks backwards. As to what was the reality in the Travancore region, I do not know. However, as seen in this book, claims of links to Vedic times and Puranas are not much in evidence other than the fabricated claims that appear in school and college textbooks.

Picture taken from Edgar Thurston’s: Castes and Tribes of Southern India

QUOTE: Their barbarous mispronunciation of Malayalam is not readily understood by others: the ludicrous errors which are made are a source of amusement to other castes. END of QUOTE

Even though one might quite easily mistake this information as an uneducated Malayalam being seen by educated Malayalee folks, the fact is that both sides were adequately uneducated.

QUOTE: For some four or five hundred miles along the coast northward from Cape Comorin, the mass of the population speak Malayalam, END of QUOTE.

This sentence simply shows that Mateer was not aware of the realities of Malabar. Actually Malabar was quite a far-off place. In the sense that even in the year 1966, most of the places in Malabar which currently are just short distances were quite inaccessible. With no proper roads, and the narrow pathways filled with stones, rocks, heights and much else.

See this State highway road to Wynad and beyond to Bangalore, just in front of the house I stay. In 1966, when I first came there as a young boy, the road was just a narrow lane, with no tarring. It did not extend beyond 1 kilometre. To go beyond that was a harrowing walk through stones, shrubs, thorn &c. in a pathway that extended through Ghats roads to Wynad. Jeeps could go all the way to Wynad through a rough pathway. However, during the rainy seasons, the small streams en-route couldn’t be crossed by the Jeeps. To imagine an Indian nation from many such locations could be like imagining the geography of Moon.

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