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Commentary on Travancore State Manual
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
Marthanda Varma - an anglophile

Now coming to the real beginning of the Travancore as a powerful political entity, it may be presumed that it was King Marthanda Varma who laid its firm foundation. It is mentioned thus:

Martanda Varma, the founder of modern Travancore, succeeded his uncle at the early age of twenty-three.

It may be mentioned that there were a number of rulers in this area in various historical periods having the name Marthanda Varma. However, the king in context here is the ruler of Travancore whose reign was between 1729 and 1758. He was definitely a person with a lot of rare insights. His one wonderful observation was that there was something definitely superior and of refinement in the English East India Company. It was his desire to enter into a very powerful alliance with this entity and get their protection for his kingdom. He who was dauntless in battles, and who had actually defeated a native soldiery force of the Dutch, refrained from any chance for belligerence with the English.

See this quote: A tripartite treaty was entered into and preparations were made to oppose Maphuze Khan, the Maharajah of Travancore contributing four thousand Nayar sepoys.

The two armies met near Calacaud and after a very hot engagement the army of Maphuze Khan was put to flight. But the Travancore army, however, retired home to avoid causing offence to the English Company. Subsequently learning that the English were indifferent, a force was sent under De Lannoy, which defeated Maphuze Khan and recovered Calacaud.

Again there is this quote:

In 1750 A.D. the French attempted to form a settlement at Colachel. It does not appear that they were successful. In the next year the Rajah of Travancore wrote to the King of Colastria ‘advising him not to put any confidence in the French, but to assist the English as much as he could’”.

It was this English East India Company that was to protect the nation of Travancore from foreign enemies. The word ‘foreign’ is used in the sense used in this book. For look at this quote from the earlier part of the book:

Portions of the country now included in the State of Travancore were at various times under the sway of the foreign powers viz.. the Bellalas, Kadambas, Chalukyas, Cholas, Pandyas, Mahomedan rulers (who overran the Pandyan territory), the Zamorin of Calicut and the Rajah of Cochin.

It was this company that secured the independence and freedom of this nation during those semi-civilised days. The term semi-civilised in not mine, for I am sure many jingoist persons would feel offended when the word semi-civilised in used about the ancient and medieval times of the places of the Indian peninsula. See this quote from this book:

for what a rupee secured in those semi-civilised days could not be promptly got for a rupee and a half now.

It was this great Company that brought in peace and prosperity into this land in the Indian peninsula, which was identified by various names, throughout history. See these quotes from this book:

1. “It is the power of the British sword,” as has been well observed, “which secures to the people of India the great blessings of peace and order which were unknown through many weary centuries of turmoil, bloodshed and pillage before the advent of the Briton in India”. [Actually it was not terror of the British sword that held the nation, but the real affection for the English supremacy after 100s years of being slaves to native feudal lords that consolidated the English rule in India. If one were to look back, one can see that if the Indian army is not there in many places like Kashmir, Punjab, Tamilnadu, North East, the current day India would splinter: My words]

2. There is evidence to show that there was perpetual war between Travancore and Vijayanagar lasting for over a century i.e., from 1530 till at least 1635 A.D.

3. ...........but when he has taken some of my people he has been so base to cut off their noses and ears and sent them away disgracefully.

4. It is quite possible that in the never-ending wars of those days between neighbouring powers, Chera, Chola and Pandya Kings might have by turns appointed Viceroys of their own to rule over the different divisions of Chera, one of whom might have stuck to the southernmost portion, called differently at different times, by the names of Mushika-Khandom, Kupa-Khandom, Venad, Tiruppapur, Tiru-adi-desam or Tiruvitancode, at first as an ally or tributary of the senior Cheraman Perumal — titular emperor of the whole of Chera — but subsequently as an independent ruler himself. This is the history of the whole of India during the time of the early Hindu kings or under the Moghul Empire...................

5. ..............collecting their own taxes, building their own forts, levying and drilling their own troops of war, their chief recreation consisting in the plundering of innocent ryots all over the country or molesting their neighbouring Poligars. The same story was repeated throughout all the States under the Great Moghul. In fact never before in the history of India has there been one dominion for the whole of the Indian continent from the Himalayas to the Cape, guided by one policy, owing allegiance to one sovereign-power and animated by one feeling of patriotism to a common country, as has been seen since the consolidation of the British power in India a hundred years ago.

6. As a natural consequence anarchy and confusion in their worst forms stalked the land. The neighbouring chiefs came with armed marauders and committed dacoities from time to time plundering the people wholesale, not sparing even the tali* on their necks and the jewels on the ears of women. The headman of each village in his turn similarly treated his inferiors. The people of Nanjanad in a body fled to the adjoining hills on more than two occasions, complaining bitterly to the king of his ineffetiveness and their own helplessness.

7. While Hyder was thus attempting an entry into Travancore, his own dominions in the north and east were invaded by the Nizam, the Mahrattas and the English. He therefore abandoned his attempt on Malabar and made haste to meet the opposing armies. ..........................................About 1769, Hyder was defeated by the East India Company’s soldiers in several engagements. This convinced him of the existence of a mightier power in South India and tended to sober his arrogance and cruelty.

8. Then there is the dying words of King Rama Rajah, the Dharma Rajah, who died on a believed to be inauspicious day. The barbarianism of wars, all wars is clear in them. Imagine a land that moves one war to another, with regular periodicity.


“Yes I know that to-day is Chuturdasi, but it is unavoidable considering the sins of war I have committed with Rama Iyan when we both conquered and annexed several petty States to Travancore. Going to hell is unavoidable under the circumstances. I can never forget the horrors to which we have been parties during those wars. How then do you expect me to die on a better day than Chaturdasi? May God forgive me all my sins”

Somehow Marthanda Varma could discern that the English traders were quite different from others, including the people from his own land. Why it was so may not have been clear to him. However, the answer lies in the fact that the English men talked and thought in the English language, which was quite different from most other tongues in that there was no feudal, hierarchical, people splitting, pejorative versus respect codes in ordinary and formal conversation.

For making this idea clear, I am giving here the translation of a single sentenc in English: Where are you going?

This sentence can be translated into the following sentences in Malayalam, all meaning the same when viewed from English. However, there is a range of movement of individuals along a vertical as well as horizontal path, as well as the trignometic components, when the different sentences in Malayalam are taken up for use.

1. Nee yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

നീയെവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

2. Nee yevideyaada pokunnathu?

നീയെവിടെയാടാ പോകുന്നത്?

3. Nee yevideyaadi pokunnathu?

നീയെവിടെയാടീ പോകുന്നത്?

4. Yeyaal yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

ഇയാൾ എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

5. Thaan yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

താൻ എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

6. Ningal yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

നിങ്ങൾ എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

7. Thaangal yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

താങ്കൾ എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

8. Saar yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

സാർ എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

9. Maadam yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

മാഢം എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

10. Chettan yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

ചേട്ടനെവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

11. Chechi yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

ചേച്ചി എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

12. Ammaavan yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

അമ്മാവൻ എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

13. Ammaayi yevideyaanu pokunnathu?

അമ്മായി എവിടെയാണ് പോകുന്നത്?

For knowing more about feudal, hierarchial languages, please read my books:

1. The Shrouded Satanism in Feudal Languages; Intractability and Tribulations of Improving Others.

2. March of the Evil Empires; English versus the Feudal Languages

3. Codes of reality! What is language?

4. An impressionistic history of the South Asian Peninsula

Marthanda Varma’s love for the English people can be seen from his last advice and instruction to his heir and nephew Prince Rama Varma, on his deathbed.

Marthanda Varma’s words: “That, above all, the friendship existing between the English East India Company and Travancore should be maintained at any risk, and that full confidence should always be placed in the support and aid of that honourable association.”

See these quotes also:


1. He (Hyder Ali) then turned to the King of Travancore and demanded of him fifteen lacs of rupees and twenty elephants threatening him with an immediate invasion of his territories in case of refusal. The Cochin Rajah now placed himself unreservedly under the protection of the Dutch, but the Travancore Maharajah feeling strongly assured of the support of the English East India Company replied, “that he was unaware that Hyder went to war to please him, or in accordance with his advice, and was consequently unable to see the justice of his contributing towards his expenses”

2. The Travancore sepoys sent to garrison the Ayacotta fort retreated in expectation of attack by the Mysore troops but on the timely arrival of a Dutch reinforcement the Mysoreans themselves had to retire.

3. In the war that followed, the Travancore sepoys fought side by side with the English at Calicut, Palghat, Tinnevelly and other places.

4. “.....I am well informed how steady and sincere an ally Your Majesty has ever been to the English nation. I will relate to the Governor-in-Council the great friendship you have shown and the services you have rendered to the English interests in general and to the army that I commanded in particular.”

5. Hudleston assured the Rajah on behalf of the ‘Company, “Your interests and welfare will always be considered and protected as their own,” and added, “the Company did not on this occasion forget your fidelity and the steady friendship and attachment you have uniformly shown them in every situation and under every change of fortune”.

6. But he (Tippu) could not make bold to appear as principal in the war, for the Travancore Rajah had been included in the Mangalore treaty as one of the special “friends and allies” of the Honourable Company.

7. The Travancore Rajah replied that he could do nothing without the knowledge of his friends and allies, the English and the Nawab. The matter was soon communicated to the Madras Government who sent Major Bannerman to advise the Rajah.

8. The Governor informed Tippu that aggression against Travancore would be viewed as a violation of the Treaty of 1784 and equivalent to a declaration of war against the English.

9. Later on, as we shall see, it was due to Lord Cornwallis’ firmness and decisive action that Travancore was saved from falling an easy prey into Tippu’s hands.

10. The subsequent inaction of the Government of Mr. Holland roused his anger to such an extent as to accuse them of “a most criminal disobedience of the clear and explicit orders of the Government dated the 29th of August and 13th of November, by not considering themselves to be at war with Tippu from the moment that they heard of his attack” on the Travancore lines.

11. “Secure under the aegis of the British Queen from external violence, it is our pleasant, and, if rightly understood, by no means difficult task to develop prosperity and to multiply the triumphs of peace in our territories. Nor are the Native States left to pursue this task in the dark, alone and unaided

This was a friendship that stood the test of time, even though there were times when it was severely tested. It lasted till a fool came to power in England as the Prime Minister of Britain. He made a mess of everything that had been built up over the centuries by ordinary English folks, (not academicians) all over the world, with total participation of the common man in the far-flung areas.

When speaking about the life and times of Marthanda Varma, there are these things that come out. One very visible feature about his life is the parade of hair-breath escapes he has had from the attacks by his enemies.

The basic issue seen here is that the King’s children did not inherit the throne. Only his sister’s children were entitled to it. Even though this may seem quite a strange family tradition, when looking back from these so-called modern times, a very powerful reason is mentioned. It is connected to the general sexual customs of the times, connected to the Matriarchal family system. The females were given the freedom to sleep with a variety of personages of higher social class and caste. The females from the King’s family had such links with certain households. At the same time, the Brahmin males could sleep with the Nair (Shudra) females. It was not seen as an imposition, but as a great privilege to be such entertained by the Brahminical classes.

See these quotes:

1. “The heirs of these kings are their brothers, or nephews, sons of their sisters, because they hold those to be their true successors, and because they know that they were born from the body of their sisters. These do not marry, nor have fixed husbands, and are very free and at liberty in doing what they please with themselves.”

2. These young men who do not marry, nor can marry, sleep with the wives of the nobles, and these women hold it as a great honour, because they are Bramans, and no woman refuses them.

The fact is that this problem of certitude of bloodline in the children of the sisters, and the uncertainty of the bloodline of the father in his wife’s children was there in almost all castes that did follow the matriarchal system. This included the Nairs as well as the North Malabar Thiyyas. [South Malabar Thiyyas were of a different breed and customs].

When Marthanda Varma ultimately crushed his enemy side, the Ettuvettil Pillamars [in the melee, his own uncle’s, (the former king’s) sons were also killed by him or by his side], there was a certain streak of social barbarity that was enacted.

See this quote:

..........women and children were to be sold to the fishermen of the coast as slaves.

This barbarity is something the native English speakers will never understand. They stand like fools declaiming a foolish history that slavery had been practised in the English nation of USA. Actually what took place in USA was not slavery. Rather it was a brief period (75 years) of social enrichment programme given freely to people who had been enslaved in their own nation and sold into a newly emerging nation, where the majority were English speakers. They were the lucky black slaves. The unlucky black slaves were sold to African, Asian, Arab, South American and other-area slave masters.

The females sold by Marthanda Varma as slaves to the fishermen folks were actually of same social status of the females who later became the queens of Travancore. See these pictures:

To be sold as slaves to different levels of people is the issue here. If they had been sold as personal slaves to the Rajahs, the degradation wouldn’t be much. However, the degradation increases exponentially as the slave master class’ level goes down. For, the languages of the Indian peninsula are feudal, hierarchal and have the codes of pejoratives versus that of ‘respect’. Such words a What is your name? What is it? Edi, She, You, etc. when mentioned in the local vernacular could have different levels of impact depending on the levels of the persons who dominate. To be addressed as Nee, Edi, Alae, and mentioned as Aval (Oal).by persons who have been kept as the lower, dirt level classes by the vernacular can have deep physical and mental impacts, which can literally terrorise a person into stinking dirt.

See this quote:

1. In despair, therefore, their chiefs resolved upon marshalling a large number of foreign Brahmin settlers in the vanguard of their fighting men to deter the Maharajah’s forces from action, as they would naturally dislike the killing of Brahmins, Brahmahatti or Brahminicide being the most heinous of sins according to the Hindu Shastras. The Dalawa however ordered firing, but his men would not. Then he ordered a body of fishermen to attack the Brahmins who, at the sight of their low caste adversaries, took to flight.

2. Hyder adopted very stringent measures to subdue the refractory Nayar chiefs. He first deprived them of all their privileges and ordered that they should be degraded to the lowest of all the castes.

Modern policymakers do not understand the basic code that works here. Fighting with the British and the US soldiery is something that is worth mentioning. Even a losing can be mentioned. To fight with a low class group is not a great thing. A losing to them, is a terrible losing.

It would be like a young IPS officer being addressed as Nee (Inhi), and referred to as Avan (oan), Aval (oal), Mone, Mole etc. by a senior-in-age constable in a very affectionate tone. This affection would be a murderous one.

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