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Kingdom of Cochin

kingdom of cochin airport, kingdom of cochin chickens
Princely state of the British Indian Empire

6th century AD–1949
Anthem
Om Namo Narayana Capital Mahodayapuram Thiruvanchikulam Kodungallur
Vanneri
Cochin
Thripunithura
Thrissur/Thrishivaperoor Languages Malayalam, English Government Absolute monarchy
Princely state 1814–1947 History    Established 6th century AD    Disestablished 1949 Currency Rupee and Other Local Currencies
Preceded by Succeeded by
Chera dynasty
Travancore-Cochin
Today part of Kerala, India

Kingdom of Cochin also known as Perumpadappu Swaroopam, Mada-rajyam, Gosree Rajyam, or Kuru Swaroopam; Malayalam: കൊച്ചി Kocci or പെരുമ്പടപ്പ്‌ Perumpaṭappu was a late medieval Hindu kingdom and later princely state on the Malabar Coast, South India Once controlling much of the territory between Ponnani and Thottappally, the Cochin kingdom shrank to its minimal extent as a result of invasions by the Zamorin of Calicut When Portuguese armadas arrived in India, Cochin was in vassalage to Zamorin and was looking for an opportunity to break away King Unni Goda Varma Tirumulpadu Trimumpara Raja warmly welcomed Pedro Álvares Cabral on 24 December 1500 and negotiated a treaty of alliance between Portugal and the Cochin kingdom, directed against the Zamorin of Calicut Cochin became a long-time Portuguese protectorate 1503–1663 providing assistance against native overlords After the Portuguese, the Dutch East India Company 1663–1795 followed by the English East India Company 1795–1858, confirmed on 6 May 1809, protected the Cochin state Even today, the full official designation of the Raja of Cochin is “Perumpadappu Gangadhara Veera Kerala Thrikkovil Adhikarikal”

The Kingdom of Cochin, originally known as Perumpadappu Swarupam, was under the rule of the Later Cheras in the Middle Ages The Nambudiri the Brahmin chief of Perumpadappu not the current time Perumpadappu in Ernakulam District, but an area which include Chitrakuda in Vannery nadu, of the present day Ponnani taluk had married the sister1 of the last Later Chera king, Rama Varma Kulashekhara, and as a consequence obtained Mahodayapuram, and Thiruvanchikulam Temple along with numerous other rights, such as that of the Mamankam festivalcitation needed After the fall of the Mahodayapuram Cheras in the 12th century, along with numerous other provinces Perumpadappu Swarupam became a free political entity However, it was only after the arrival of Portuguese colonizers on the Malabar Coast did the Perumpadappu Swarupam acquire any political importance Perumpadappu rulers had family relationships with the Nambudiri rulers of Edappally After the transfer of Kochi and Vypin from Edappally rulers to the Perumpadappu rulers, the latter came to be known as kings of Kochi Ma Huan, the Muslim voyager and translator who accompanied Admiral Zheng He on three of his seven expeditions to the Western Oceans, describes the king of Cochin as being a Buddhist

Contents

  • 1 Territories
  • 2 History
    • 21 Origin
    • 22 Before the Portuguese arrival
    • 23 Portuguese period 1503–1663
    • 24 Dutch period 1663–1773
    • 25 Mysorean invasion
    • 26 British period 1814–1947
  • 3 Administration
    • 31 Capitals
  • 4 Maharajas of Cochin
    • 41 As Portuguese and Dutch protectorate states
    • 42 As British protectorate state
    • 43 Under the Crown
    • 44 Post Independence
  • 5 Chiefs of Cochin
  • 6 Matrilineal Inheritance
  • 7 Traditional Rituals
    • 71 Deities
    • 72 Naming practice of male Thampuran
    • 73 Naming practice of female Thampuran
  • 8 Parukutty Nethyar Amma
  • 9 The dynasty today
  • 10 Gallery
  • 11 See also
  • 12 References
  • 13 External links
  • 14 Further reading
  • 15 Bibliography

Territoriesedit

The Cochin kingdom the Princely State included much of modern-day Thrissur district excluding chavakkad taluk, Alathur & Chittur Taluks of the Palakkad district and Kochi Taluk excluding Fort Kochi, most of Kanayannur Taluk excluding Edappally, parts of Aluva Taluk Karukutty, Angamaly, Kalady, Chowwara, Kanjoor, Sreemoolanagaram, Malayattoor, Manjapra, parts of Kunnathunad Taluk and parts of Paravur Taluk Chendamangalam of the Ernakulam district which are now the part of the Indian state of Kerala

Historyedit

Originedit

There is no extant written evidence about the emergence of the Kingdom of Cochin or of the Cochin Royal Family, also known as Perumpadapu Swaroopam2 All that is recorded are folk tales and stories, and a somewhat blurred historical picture about the origins of the ruling dynasty

The surviving manuscripts, such as Keralolpathi, Keralamahatmyam, and Perumpadapu Grandavari, are collections of myths and legends that are less than reliable as conventional historical sources There is an oft-recited legend that the last Perumal king from the Chera dynasty who ruled the Chera dynasty divided his kingdom between his nephews and his sons, converted to Islam and traveled to Mecca on a hajj The Keralolpathi recounts the above narrative in the following fashion:

The last and the famous "Perumal" ruled Kerala for 36 years He left for Mecca by ship with some Muslims who arrived at Kodungallur Cranganore port and converted to Islam Before leaving for Mecca, he divided his kingdom between his nephews and sons

The Perumpadapu Grandavari contains an additional account of the dynastic origins:

The last Thavazhi of Perumpadapu Swaroopam came into existence on the Kaliyuga day shodashangamsurajyam Cheraman Perumal divided the land in half, 17 "amsa" north of Neelaeswaram and 17 amsa south, totaling 34 amsa, and gave his powers to his nephews and sons Thirty-four kingdoms between Kanyakumari and Gokarna now in Karnataka were given to the "thampuran" who was the daughter of the last niece of Cheraman Perumal

Keralolpathi recorded the division of his kingdom in 345 AD, Perumpadapu Grandavari in 385 AD, William Logan in 825 AD There are no written records on these earlier divisions of Kerala, but according to some historians the division might have occurred during the Second Chera Kingdom at the beginning of the 12th century3

Part of a series on the

Historians, including Robin Jeffry, Faucett and Samuel Mateer, are of the opinion that as with all other Kings of Malabar Kerala, the Cochin Raja Perumpadapum Moopil was also of Nair origin Mateer states: "There seems reason to believe that the whole of the kings of Malabar also, notwithstanding the pretensions set up for them of late by their dependents, belong to the same great body, and are homogeneous with the mass of the people called Nairs"45

Before the Portuguese arrivaledit

Cochin kingdom ruled over a vast area in central Kerala before the Portuguese arrival Their state stretched up to Ponnani and Pukkaitha in the north, Anamalais in the east, and Cochin and Porakkad in the south, with capital at Perumpadappu on the northern border Later, Calicut conquered large parts of Perumpadappu Kingdom, and made them a tributary state

Portuguese period 1503–1663edit

Mattancherry Palace-temple, built during the Portuguese period by the Cochin Raja Veera Kerala Varma

Cochin was the scene of the first European settlement in India In the year 1500, the Portuguese Admiral Pedro Álvares Cabral landed at Cochin after being repelled from Calicut The king of Cochin welcomed the Portuguese and a treaty of friendship was signed Promising his support in the conquest of Calicut, the admiral coaxed the king into allowing them to build a factory at Cochin and upon Cabral's departure Cochin allowed thirty Portuguese and four Franciscan friars to stay in the kingdom Assured by the offer of support, the king declared "war" on their superior masters, the Zamorins of Calicut

In 1502 a new expedition under the command of Vasco da Gama arrived at Cochin, and the friendship was renewed Vasco da Gama later bombed Calicut and destroyed the Arab factories there This enraged the Zamorin, the ruler of Calicut, and he attacked Cochin after the departure of Vasco da Gama and destroyed the Portuguese factory The king of Cochin and his Portuguese allies were forced to withdraw to Vypin Island However, the arrival of a small reinforcement Portuguese fleet and, some days later by Duarte Pacheco Pereira and the oncoming monsoons alarmed the Zamorin Calicut recalled the army and immediately abandoned the siege The Zamorin also retreated because of the revered local festival of Onam which the Zamorin intended to keep the auspicious day holy However, much of Cochin had been burnt and destroyed by the Zamorin

Relic of Thomas the Apostle, kept in the sanatorium of a Syrian Church

After securing the throne for the king of Cochin, the Portuguese got permission to build a fort – Fort Emmanuel at Fort Kochi, named after the king of Portugal – surrounding the Portuguese factory, in order to protect it from any further attacks from Calicut and on 27 September 1503 the foundations of a timber fort, the first fort erected by the Portuguese in India, were laid The entire work of construction was commissioned by the ruler of Cochin, who supplied workers and material In 1505, the stone fortress replaced the wooden fort Later, for a better defence of the town, a fort called "Castelo de Cima" was built on Vypeen Island at Paliport At the departure of the Portuguese fleet, only Duarte Pacheco Pereira and a small fleet were left in Cochin Meanwhile, the Zamorin of Calicut formed a massive force and attacked them For five months, Pacheco Pereira and his men were able to sustain and drive back Calicut's assaults

The ruler of Cochin continued to rule with the help of the Portuguese Meanwhile, the Portuguese secretly tried to enter into an alliance with the Zamorin A few later attempts by the Zamorin to conquer the Cochin port were thwarted by the ruler of Cochin with the help of the Portuguese Slowly, the Portuguese armory at Cochin was increased, presumably to help the king protect Cochin However, the measured led to a reduction of the power of the king and an increase in Portuguese influence From 1503 to 1663, Cochin was virtually ruled by Portugal through the namesake Cochin raja Cochin remained the capital of Portuguese India until 1530 And for a long a time, right after Goa, Cochin situated in the center of East Indies, was the best place Portugal had in India From there the Portuguese exported large volumes of spices, particularly pepper

In 1530, Saint Francis Xavier arrived and founded a Latin Christian mission Cochin hosted the grave of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese viceroy, who was buried at St Francis Church until his remains were returned to Portugal in 15396 Soon after the time of Afonso de Albuquerque, Portuguese rule in Kerala declined The failure is attributed to several factors like intermarriages, forcible conversions, religious persecution, etc

Dutch period 1663–1773edit

The Bolgatty Palace, built in 1744 by Dutch traders, is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside the Netherlands

Portuguese rule was followed by that of the Dutch, who had by then conquered Quilon after various encounters with the Portuguese and their allies Discontented members of the Cochin Royal family called on the assistance of the Dutch for help in overthrowing the Cochin Raja The Dutch successfully landed at Njarakal and went on to capture the fort at Pallippuram, which they handed over to the Zamorin

Mysorean invasionedit

Main article: Mysorean invasion of Kerala

The 1773 conquest of the Mysore by Hyder Ali in the Malabar region descended to Kochi The Kochi Raja had to pay a subsidy of one hundred thousand of Ikkeri Pagodas equalling 400,000 modern rupees Later on, in 1776, Haider captured Trichur, which was under the Kingdom of Kochi Thus, the Raja was forced to become a tributary of Mysore and to pay a nuzzar of 100,000 of pagodas and 4 elephants and annual tribute of 30,000 pagodas The hereditary prime ministership of Cochin came to an end during this period

British period 1814–1947edit

Cochin in Colonial times Cochin in 1960s Cochin in Colonial times

In 1814 according to the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, the islands of Kochi, including Fort Kochi and its territory, were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for the island of Banca Even prior to the signing of the treaty, there is evidence of English residents in Kochi7 Towards the early 20th century, trade at the port had increased substantially and the need to develop the port was greatly felt The harbour engineer Robert Bristow was thus brought to Cochin in 1920 under the direction of Lord Willingdon, then Governor of Madras Over a span of 21 years he transformed Cochin into the safest harbour in the peninsula, where ships berthed alongside the newly reclaimed inner harbour, which was equipped with a long array of steam cranes8 Meanwhile, in 1866, Fort Cochin was made a municipality, and its first Municipal Council election with a board of 18 members was conducted in 1883 The Maharajah of Cochin initiated local administration in 1896 by forming town councils in Mattancherry and Ernakulam In 1925, a Kochi legislative assembly was constituted due to public pressure on the state The assembly consisted of 45 members, 10 were officially nominated Thottakkattu Madhaviamma was the first woman to be a member of any legislature in India9 Kochi was the first princely state to willingly join the Indian Union when India gained independence in 1947 Cochin merged with Travancore to create Travancore-Cochin, which was in turn merged with the Malabar district of Madras State on 1 November 1956 to form the new Indian state of Kerala10

Administrationedit

For administrative purposes, Cochin was divided into seven taluksfrom1860 to 1905AD Chittur, Cochin, Cranganore, Kanayannur, Mukundapuram, Trichur and Talapilly

Taluk Area in square miles Headquarters
Chittur 285 Chittur
Cochin 63 Mattancherry
Cranganore 19 Cranganore
Kanayannur 81 Ernakulam
Mukundapuram 418 Irinjalakuda
Talapalli 271 Vadakkancheri
Trichur 225 Trichur
Total 1,362

Capitalsedit

The capital of Perumpadapu Swaroopam was located at Chitrakooda in the Perumpadapu village of Vanneri from the beginning of the 12th century to the end of the 13th century Even though the capital of Perumpadapu Swaroopam was in Vanneri, the Perumpadapu king had a palace in Mahodayapuram

When the Zamorins attacked Vanneri in the later part of the 13th century, Perumpadapu Swaroopam shifted their capital from Vanneri to Mahodayapuram In 1405 Perumpadapu Swaroopam changed their capital from Mahodayapuram to Cochin By the end of the 14th century the Zamorin conquered Thrikkanamathilakam and it became a threat for Mahodayapuram Thiruvanchikulam, which may be the reason that Perumpadapu Swaroopam changed their capital to Cochin from Mahodayapuram Moreover, in the year 1341 a flood created an island, Puthuvippu Vypin, and Cochin became a noted natural harbour for the Indian Ocean trade11 The old Kodungallore Cranganore port lost its importance, which may also be a cause for the shift of the capital From there on Perumpadapu Swaroopam used the name Cochin Royal Family

Finally, the arrival of the Portuguese on the Indian subcontinent in the sixteenth century likely influenced Cochin politics The Kingdom of Cochin was among the first Indian nations to sign a formal treaty with a European power, negotiating trade terms with Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500

The palace at Kalvathhi was originally the residence of the kings In 1555, though, the royal palace moved to Mattancherry,12 and later relocated to Thrissur At that time Penvazithampuran Female Thampuran and the other Kochuthampurans other Thampurans except the Valliathampuran King stayed at a palace in Vellarapilly

In the beginning of 18th century Thripunithura started gaining prominence The kingdom was ruled from Thrissur, Cochin and Thripunithura13 Around 1755 Penvazithampuran Female Thampuran and the other Kochuthampurans other Thampurans left Vellarapalli and started to live in Thripunithura Thus Thripunithura became the capital of the Cochin Royal Family

Maharajas of Cochinedit

Veerakerala Varma, nephew of Cheraman Perumal, is the person traditionally believed to be the first Maharaja of Cochin The written records of the dynasty, however, date from 1503 CE The Maharaja of Cochin was also called Gangadhara Kovil Adhikaarikal, meaning Head of all Temples14

As Portuguese and Dutch protectorate statesedit

Hill Palace, the main palace Rama Varma XIV, The Rajah of Cochin in 1868 Rama Varma XV better known as His Abdicated Highness Maharaja Kerala Varma Thampuran aka
Aikya Keralam Thampuran
  1. Unniraman Koyikal I c 1500 to 1503
  2. Unniraman Koyikal II 1503 to 1537
  3. Veera Kerala Varma I 1537–1565
  4. Keshava Rama Varma 1565–1601
  5. Veera Kerala Varma II 1601–1615
  6. Ravi Varma I 1615–1624
  7. Veera Kerala Varma III 1624–1637
  8. Goda Varma I 1637–1645
  9. Veerarayira Varma 1645–1646
  10. Veera Kerala Varma IV 1646–1650
  11. Rama Varma I 1650–1656
  12. Rani Gangadharalakshmi 1656–1658
  13. Rama Varma II 1658–1662
  14. Goda Varma II 1662–1663
  15. Veera Kerala Varma V 1663–1687
  16. Rama Varma III 1687–1693
  17. Ravi Varma II 1693–1697
  18. Rama Varma IV 1697–1701
  19. Rama Varma V 1701–1721
  20. Ravi Varma III 1721–1731
  21. Rama Varma VI 1731–1746
  22. Kerala Varma I 1746–1749
  23. Rama Varma VII 1749–1760
  24. Kerala Varma II 1760–1775
  25. Rama Varma VIII 1775–1790
  26. Rama Varma IX Shaktan Thampuran 1790–1805

As British protectorate stateedit

  1. Rama Varma IX Shaktan Thampuran 1790–1805
  2. Rama Varma X 1805–1809 – Vellarapalli-yil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Vellarapali"
  3. Kerala Varma III Veera Kerala Varma 1809–1828 – Karkidaka Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "karkidaka" monthME
  4. Rama Varma XI 1828–1837 – Thulam-Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Thulam" month ME
  5. Rama Varma XII 1837–1844 – Edava-Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Edavam" month ME
  6. Rama Varma XIII 1844–1851 – Thrishur-il Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Thrishivaperoor" or Thrishur
  7. Kerala Varma IV Veera Kerala Varma 1851–1853 – Kashi-yil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Kashi" or Varanasi
  8. Ravi Varma IV 1853–1864 – Makara Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Makaram" month ME

Under the Crownedit

  1. Ravi Varma IV 1853–1864 – Makara Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Makaram" month ME
  2. Rama Varma XIV 1864–1888 – Mithuna Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Mithunam" month ME
  3. Kerala Varma V 1888–1895 – Chingam Maasathil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Chingam" month ME
  4. Rama Varma XV Sir Sri Rama Varma 1895–1914 – aka Rajarshi, Abdicated Highness died in 1932
  5. Rama Varma XVI 1914–1932 – Madrasil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in Madras or Chennai
  6. Rama Varma XVII 1932–1941 – Dhaarmika Chakravarthi King of Dharma, Chowara-yil Theepetta Thampuran King who died in "Chowara"
  7. Kerala Varma VI 1941–1943 – Midukkan Thampuran
  8. Ravi Varma V Ravi Varma Kunjappan Thampuran 1943–1946 – Kunjappan Thampuran Brother of Midukkan Thampuran
  9. Kerala Varma VII 1946–1947 – Aikya Keralam Thampuran The King who unified Kerala

Post Independenceedit

  1. Rama Varma XVIII 1948-1964 He was known by the name of Parikshith Thampuran He was the last official ruler of Cochin Empire
  2. Rama Varma XIX 1964–1975– Lalan Thampuran
  3. Rama Varma XX 1975–2004 – Anyian Kochunni Thampuran
  4. Kerala Varma VIII 2004–2011 – Kochunni Thampuran
  5. Rama Varma XXI 2011–2014 – Kochaniyan Thampuran
  6. Ravi Varma VI 2014– – Kochaniyan Thampuran

ME – Malayalam Era

Chiefs of Cochinedit

The Paliath Achan, or head of the Paliam Nair family of Chendamangalam, played an important part in the politics of Cochin State since the early seventeenth century, and held hereditary rights to the ministership of Cochin The Paliath Achan was the most powerful person after the king, and he sometimes exerted more power than the king

In addition, there were many Desaavzhis around the Cochin area, among them Paliyam swaroopam, who was second to the Perumpadappu swaroopam Other powerful lords around these areas were "Cheranellore Karthavu" who was the head of the "Anchi Kaimals", "Muriyanatt Mukundapuram-Nadavarambu Nambiar" who was the head of Arunattil Prabhus, "Kodassery Kartha" "Mappranam Prabhu"-"Vellose Nair", "Chengazhi NambiarChengazhinad Naduvazhi", "Edappali Nampiyathiri,"

KP Padmanabha Menon in his History of Kerala, Vol 2 mentions the Anji Kaimals whose Chief was the Cheranellur Kartha as owning all of Eranakulam In fact, Eranakulam is known as Anji Kaimal in the early maps of Kerala See Dutch in Malabar Dutch Records No 13, 1910 shows a map from AD1740 that shows the area of AnjiKaimal as almost twice as large as the Cochin State The other Chiefs he mentions quoting Gollennesse Dutch East India Company is the 1 Moorianatt Nambiar 2 Paliath Achan mentioned above, 3Codacherry Kotasseri Kaimal, 4 Caimalieone female Kaimal of Corretty, 5 Changera Codda Kaimal, and 6 Panamoocattu Kaimal Panambakadu Kaimal The last four Kaimals are known as the Kaimals of Nandietter Naddu The Kaimals of Nandietter Naddu had Nayar troops of 43,000 according to Heer Van Reede of the Dutch East India Company from 1694 Page 241 and 242

"Shakthan Thampuran" destroyed their powers and confisicated the properties of most of these lords However, following the rebellion of the Paliath Achan along with Velu Thampi Dalawa in 1810, the powers of this chief were curbed

Matrilineal Inheritanceedit

Cochin Royal Family followed the system of Matrilineal succession known as Marumakkatayam Traditionally the female members of the family have hypergamous unions Sambandham with Namboodiri Brahmins while male members marry ladies of the Samanthan Nair class These wives of the male members are not Ranis as per the matrilineal system but instead get the title of Nethyar Amma Currently the family marries mostly within the Malayala Kshatriya class15

Traditional Ritualsedit

The term "Shodasakriyakal" refers to sixteen rites to be performed by all members, as structured through "Smruthi"

  1. Sekom Garbhaadhaanam : A rite to be performed just before the first sexual intercourse after marriage
  2. Pumsavanom : To be performed just after conception
  3. Seemantham : Performed after Pumsavanom
  4. Jathakarmam : Performed just after birth
  5. Naamakaranam : Naming Ceremony of the child
  6. Upanishkramanam Vaathilpurappadu : Involves taking the child out of the house for the first time
  7. Choroonu : The first ceremonial intake of rice by the child
  8. Choulam : The first hair-cut ceremony of the boy/ girl
  9. Upanayanam : The wearing of sacred thread, known as poonool in MalayalamOnly for boys
  10. Mahaanamneevrutham Aanduvrutham :
  11. Mahaavrutham :
  12. Upanishadvrutham :
  13. Godaanam : Rites as part of thanks-giving to the Aacharyan priest or teacher, which includes giving cows
  14. Samaavarthanam : A long ritual for the completion of the above said Vedic education
  15. Marriage
  16. Agniadhaanam : A rite performed as an extension of Oupaasanam and introduction to Sroutha rites, after the death

Deitiesedit

Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple
  • Paradevatha goddess: Vannery Chitrakoodam, Pazhayannur Bhagavathy, Chazhur Pazhayannur Bhagavathy
  • Paradevan god: Vishnu Sree Poornathrayeesa, Tiruvanchikulathappan Lord Shiva of Thiruvanchikulam between North Paravur and Kodungallore
  • Other Deities: Chottanikkara Bhagavathy, Pulpalli Thevar and many more

Naming practice of male Thampuranedit

In Cochin royal family all the male Thampurans were named according to the following methodology

  • Eldest son to a mother Goda Varma no longer used
  • Second Son Rama Varma
  • Third Son Kerala Varma
  • Fourth Son Ravi Varma

From then on to till date the last three naming convention is followed But the name Goda varma is followed in the other root family moola thavazhi of cochin royal family namely Chazhur kovilakam Reference – Genealogy of Cochin Royal Family

Naming practice of female Thampuranedit

In Cochin Royal Family the female Thampurans were named according to the following methodology

  • Eldest daughter to a Mother – Ammba
  • Second daughter – Ambika
  • Third Daughter – Ambalika

This naming convention is followed again to third daughter and fourth etc

Both the female and male members are called by the name "Thampuran" and have same last nameThampuran in all other royal families in Kerala, males are called Thampuran and females – Thampuratti For more details, please visit 1citation needed

Parukutty Nethyar Ammaedit

Maharaja Rama Varma popularly known as Madrassil Theepetta Thampuran, who reigned from 1914 to 1932, was assisted by a particularly able consort named Parukutty Nethyar Amma b 187416 The Nethyar was the daughter of Kurur Namboodiripad, who was a member of the family that had the traditional honour of anointing the kings of Palakkad Her mother belonged to the Padinjare Shrambhi house of the aristocratic Vadakke Kuruppath house of Trichur She married the Maharaja, then fourth in line to the succession, when she was fourteen years old in 1888 It is said that she was especially blessed by the Devi at the Chottanikkara Temple By a quirk of fate her husband ascended the throne as a result of the abdication of his predecessor Since the Maharaja was a scholar and had other interests including knowledge of how to cure snake bites and comprehend the language of lizards known as Gawli Shashtra, she took over the finances of the state Under her guidance salaries were quadrupled and the increased revenue earned her a 17-gun salute Parukutty Nethyar Amma was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal by King George V in 1919 for public work and came to be known as Lady Rama Varma of Cochin17

The Nethyar Amma was not only an able administrator but also a Nationalist, moving from being seen as an exemplary public figure in the eyes of the British to earning the ire of the colonial state for her relationships with Mahatma Gandhi and Indian nationalists As one British intelligence report stated, "The hill palace is the centre of nationalist activity and charkhas have been introduced to assist the weaving of khadi" see Fortnightly Intelligence Reports available at the National Archives of India In addition, a little known fact about the Cochin state is the attempt made by the British government and the Viceroy to force the Maharajah to abdicate under the ploy of trying to prove him insane A doctor was brought from London to bolster the case, and the physician opined that the "Maharaja was merely an old man who tired easily" This attempt was directly linked to the fear that the Nethyar Amma, or the "Consort" as she was referred to by the British, was becoming increasingly powerful in nationalist circles16

The head of the Congress party in Cochin was Kurur Nilakantan Namboodiripad who was a cousin of the Nethyar Amma The Collected Works containing Gandhi's letters include correspondence between the Maharajah's daughter V K Vilasini Amma and himself, and a second daughter VK Ratnamma was married to R M Palat, himself a politician and the son of Sir C Sankaran Nair, the former president of the Congress Party and well known nationalist16 The Maharaja's eldest son V K Raman Menon studied in Oxford, married to Tiruthipalli Payathil Madhavi and had one son by name V K T Raman Menon The Maharaja's second son VK Aravindaksha Menon was married to Malathy, the daughter of V K Narayana Menon a prominent contractor in Trichur in whose house "Pandyala", Jawaharlal Nehru, Kamala and Indira Nehru rested on their way to Sri Lanka When Gandhi visited Cochin, he was treated as a state guest, and Aravindaksha Menon, the Nethyar Amma's son personally was deputed to accompany him Soon Parukutty Nethyar Amma appeared opposedo, which proved to be a significant hurdle for British interests in India16

On the death of the Maharaja, the Nethyar Amma initially retired to the palace she had constructed for herself in her home town Trichur, near her ancestral house, Padinjare Shrambhi The house, Ratna Vilas, was named after her elder daughter Ratnam The Nethyar Amma then went on an extended tour abroad, taking along her grandson Sankaran Palat, who was admitted to Le Rosey in Switzerland and later to Charterhouse, England She returned to India and divided her time between Trissur and Coonoor, where she purchased two tea estates and a tea factory

The dynasty todayedit

Members of the dynasty are spread all over the world In five continents The family is one of the world's largest royal families, numbering more than 1000 people, and many members of the family still live in and around Tripunithura, Thrissur Chazhur, and other parts of Kochi18

Galleryedit

See alsoedit

  • Cochin Royal Family
  • Political integration of India
  • History of Kochi
  • Thrippunithura Royal Heritage

Referencesedit

  1. ^ A Sreedhara Menon 1967 "A Survey of Kerala History" Retrieved 2016-04-15 
  2. ^ Keralacom 2007 "Kerala History" Retrieved 7 January 2008 
  3. ^ Pillai, Elamkulam Kunjan 1970 Studies in Kerala History 
  4. ^ Samuel Mateer 1883, Native Life of Travancore
  5. ^ Robin Jeffary, The Decline of Nair Dominance
  6. ^ "Death of Vasco Da Gama in Kochi" MSN Encarta Encyclopedia Microsoft Archived from the original on 1 November 2009 Retrieved 23 May 2006 
  7. ^ Kochi Rajyacharithram by KP Padmanabha Menon P1914
  8. ^ "The Cochin Saga" Robert Charles Bristow employed to develop Kochi port Corporation of Kochi Retrieved 23 May 2006 
  9. ^ "History and culture of Kochi" Corporation of Kochi Retrieved 23 May 2006 
  10. ^ PBS 2007 "Hidden India:The Kerala Spicelands" Retrieved 7 January 2008 
  11. ^ "History of Cochin – Ernakulam" 2007 Retrieved 6 January 2008 
  12. ^ "Kochi – Queen of the Arabian Sea" KnowIndianetdate=2007 Retrieved 6 January 2008 
  13. ^ "Cochin Royal Family History – Post-1715" 2007 Archived from the original on 14 January 2009 Retrieved 6 January 2008 
  14. ^ Thampuran, Rameshan 2007 "Emergence Of Kingdom of Cochin and Cochin Royal Family" Retrieved 6 January 2008 
  15. ^ Staff Correspondent 3 March 2003 "Seeking royal roots" The Hindu Retrieved 5 January 2012 
  16. ^ a b c d "Cochin Royal Family History – Post-1715" 2007 Archived from the original on 14 January 2009 Retrieved 6 January 2008 
  17. ^ The National Archives | A2A | Results
  18. ^ "Seeking royal roots" The Hindu India 2003 Retrieved 6 January 2008 

External linksedit

  • Blog on Cochin State
  • Cochin Royal Family Historical Society
  • Namboothiri Websites Trust

Further readingedit

  • Genealogy of Cochin Royal Family – By Rameshan Thampuran

Bibliographyedit

  • Katz, Nathan and Goldberg, Helen S Kashrut, Caste and Kabbalah: The Religious Life of the Jews of Cochin Mahonar Books, 2005
  • Kulke, Herman A History of India New York: Routledge, 2004
  • Menon, P Shungoonny History of Travancore from the Earliest Times 18782
  • Pillai, Elamkulam Kunjan Studies in Kerala History Kottayam, 1970
  • Ramachandran, Rathi History of Medieval Kerala Pragati Publications, 2005
  • Thampuran, Rameshan Genealogy of Cochin Royal Family
  • History of Kerala, KP Padmanabha Menon, Vol 2

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