Sunday, May 08, 2005

My Mallu Heroes...

Well dont blame me if you thought this wuz goin to be abt the famed movie actors of our land. On the contrary I have been wondering how many of us even know about the great men who towered over one of the most picturesque landscapes on Mother Earth. Its not our fault though...the icse cbse syllabuses have conveniently ignored kerala in our history textbooks. I suspect the sslc syllabus wont pass muster either. I wont claim that all the men I list below to be good or great but their personalities, exploits and contributions to Kerala have made me feel we have a history inferior to none else. Factually I may be wrong at many places here, maybe I have gotten a little carried over, but this is how i wud like to view these great men...and no big historian can change that. I read that because our local historians cannot agree on the actual facts behind incidents in our history(they are even aligned as leftists and liberals!!) a comprehensive and thorough book on the history of kerala has never been able to come out without getting discredited!!!

Marthanda Varma - The greatest of all the Travancore kings. His desperate struggle to save his life - even hiding in the hollow of the ammachi plaavu which stands even today at neyyattinkara in tvm district, raising an army to fight the travancore nobles, defeating and killing them one by one before claiming the throne, his crushing defeat of the Dutch East India Company in 1741 effectively ending their influence in Kerala and further conquest to the North firmly entreched his lengend in the annals of Kerala History. Never defeated in battle this king ruled with an iron fist but was just and said to be a humble man.

Pazhassi Raja - Another brave king who resisted the British suzerainity of North Kerala. Refusing to pay the high taxes demanded he was isolated by the other princely states who feared the british, lost his kingdom in battle, retreated to the forests of wayanad from where he waged a fierce guerilla-style war against the British defeating them several times until he and his band of warriors mainly adivasis were cornered and he was gunned down in battle. With him ended the story of the resistance in Malabar.

Kunhali Marakkar - This legendary admiral of the Zamorin fought the Portugese in several pitched battles on sea and land. He succeeded in weakening their hold over the seas from where they could interrupt our flourishing trade of spices after winning several battles but the cunning parangis succeded in splitting his alliance with the Zamorin following which he is supposed to have been captured, taken to Goa, tortured, cut in sevral pieces and his head brought for display at Kannur.

Velu Thambi Dalawa - This prime minister of Travancore got fed up by the constant interferences of the East Endia Company into his kingdom's internal affairs and in 1807 he issued the famous Kundara Declaration which called the ppl to rise in revolt against the British. The people whole-heartedly joined him but the sheer size and numbers of the British Army made it a less than fair fight. The king eager to safeguard his throne declared Velu Thambi a traitor and the proud and loyal Dalawa committed suicide and his family members exiled to Maldives. For an interesting read on one of Velu Thambi's generals visit

Sree Narayana Guru - Without doubt was among the most saintly, influential and revered religious leaders in India. After Shankaracharya, centuries of a decadent and casteist hinduism found renewed vigor and renaissance with his arrival. His teachings led to opening up of temple doors for all hindus. I strongly believe that if not for the reforms, the guru's teachings triggered kerala would have been like the other parts of India like Bihar and UP! Definitely read this article on rediff and see wht Tagore and Gandhi thought abt him.

Varghese - Well I am sure this one is a shocker. My admiration for him is beyond reason, i know. He wuz a communist who became demoralised with their pseudo-concern for the poor and so affected was he by the exploitation and abuse of the adivasis and poor of Wayanad that he came to believe only a violent mass uprising would bring in a better society. He collected together a band of idealistic men and women like him and attacked police stations and cruel landlords. Their intentions may have been right but the methods they used alienated them from the public. But for the adivasis and the poor of wayanad he led...he was a saviour, reminding them of Pazhassi Raja who fought with them 2 centuries back and today he is acknowledged as the Che Guevera of Kerala. He wuz young, so committed to his beliefs and ultimately became a martyr for a cause (he knew wuz doomed from the outset...yet he tried). For the story of his death go to

P.S -The drought there is making wayanad a hotbed of PWG activities...these terrorists will exploit sentiments to chart out their anti-india naxal corridor stretching from nepal, bihar, jharkand, orissa, AP and now even karnataka...its a pity if the paradise that wayanad is will have to burn again.


silverine said...

This is amazing and very thought proviking. So we do have our share of heroes. I feel proud.

clash said...

may be thats a misconception! that our history is not well recorded, there is logans manual which in depth goes through the anthropological and natural nuances of kerala and then there are "n" no:of books that has been written about our past. now there is effort made by local panchayats in northern kerala to write the history of their particular places.

Verghese ofcourse is a hero. but the connotation "pseudo" abt the communists cannot be easily gobbled, every system has its own flip sides. in those times they were the only one's who voiced there protest against the ruthless fuedals in kerala, congress as the church did in latin america was on the side of the exploiters!

again when u talk about the draught in wayanad and people going all up in arms.. its good that, we think abt plachimaada in palghat where the cola-giant is sucking the ground water like a gluttonous leach! people fight for reasons.. they are not being "pseudo"......

sorry for this dry verbiage!

Jiby said...

well ur a commie i believe and as such most of the history that has been written is from the viewpoint of the party. the main point i put forward here wuz is our history being taught in schools...and as such i have found that a discernible pride for kerala in terms of our history is lacking in most mallus.

wht i say from now abt communism may offend u...i am really sorry but there is no other way to make the argument...communism wuz gud for the state at one time but it shud have been disbanded rite after the 57-59 ems ministry.they were a visionary and dynamic cabinet who brought in land and education reforms. if pseudo is not the word to describe a party responsible for the industrial stagnation of the state,now one which pizhiyufies the masses of kerala to build tv channels, increase circulation of the party newspaper, build 10-15 storey buildings in honor of their late comrades(one which came up recently in honor of a mahan cm under whose helm kerala went bankrupt), a manaveeyam campaign for which a top cpm comrades son wuz flown to north india for taking flute lessons and another ustad flown to tvm!!! wht gud do u do for the state now...if a smart city comes up the first thing u shout out is corruption...when kerala wuz to be computerized in 80's ur cadres destroyed hundreds of newly ordered comps saying they wud cause job loss!!! man i cud come up with a 100 such reasons why communism wont help kerala again.

well how can the draught in wayanad be related to sucking ground water in palakkad...dude we cut our trees, dont reduce our pollution, destory our rivers...the reason u can have a grouse against coke is that they brought in out-of-state labour knowing the troubles they wud have with u guys organizing unions b4 even a hand is raised in work... well! neways ur hold over kerala is weakening...ur getting fewer students to indulge in violence and campus politics with ppl realizing the amount jobs out there in the market that liberalization has produced for ppl with all kinds of education... once this generation of the dyfi is out its kudos to cadre-based politics in kerala. maybe if u want to contine this debate we can take it off this blog to email.

clash said...

yeah im critical of them too. i realise the potential degradation of the kerala communist to a phoney "social democrat" !! but when u say abt the industrial stagnation of kerala, we shud remember that kerala had the highest % of industrial growth in the seventies, when the co called trade unions were at their peak!

i have my own view points, just jotted down some of them here.. thats all.. all i wanna say is that u r another soul who is mesmerised by the facade "liberalization"!

silverine said...

Well defended Jiby. Though I do not know much about Kerala politics, I do know that the Commies are no different from their other political bretheren, except for the red flags, sloganeering and campus politiking.

Hafis said...

"The drought there is making wayanad a hotbed of PWG activities"
nice piece of observation!!!!
can't help laughing buddy
This is a general problem with all the
farex/cerelac feeded sons of India.
I agree with you
Main stream "Communists" are pseudo

"clla...... h"
all i wanna say is that u r another soul who is mesmerised by the facade "liberalization"!

very true, his leanigs shows even in his writing style

Jiby said...

hey there, thanx for the snide remarks googoo! it wuz nice of u to snub me without leaving any reasons! on wayanad...i depend on newspapers too much and since this wuz more of a nationalist than political issue i dont think they wud twist the i stand my ground. well if ur slotting me as a bourgeouis, forget interest in politics, current affairs and history is more of a hobby than a passion...u guys dont understand one thing...ppl like me blog bcoz we have an urge to do some writing...not to show off our intellectual prowess...took a look at ur blogs...i am impressed!! look at thousands and thousands of ur fellow countrymen who find it easy to get a job when they graduate from any college...the public sector had tried for 40 yrs in vain to boost job creation but look at the promise 10 yrs of private sector jobs has brought to the indian economy...thats all i have to say abt liberalization...let time decide who still wears the facade!

clash said...

to give a birds eye view of what communism had done to kerala.. u had to travel epochs!
but just look at what the present govt is doing.. right from education to sand they have sold everything!! this 5 years will be one among them, where the other alternative in kerala is proven to be a big farce!

smart city is a scandal worth 500 crores! dubai internet city is neither and it firm nor a company! its just another real estate buldozing giant!

Hafis said...

Ignorance is no excuse

"i depend on newspapers too much and since this wuz more of a nationalist
than political issue i dont think they wud twist the truth"
Which News paper buddy ? Malayala Manorama!!!

There are three sides to every story yours mine and the truth, and truth
is hard to find. sitting in the comfort of your home, won't help you find truth. There are alternatives.

I don't think it's worth my time to defend the vacuous allegations of bias against "commies"

So let's talk about something else

how can an issue involving people can be distanced from politics.
explain to me (I am dumbo).How can something in the national interest
can be distanced from politics. No matter you agree with it or not
Politics is omnipresent.It's in the air you breathe, water you drink,
food you eat. because everything that concerned with the people,
not alien to politics.

Liberalization = trade iberalisation

before going rhetoric about the benefits brought by "liberalization"
( i know u can list a lot!!! new cars, Televisions, new junk food products and a million employment created)
analyse the facts, see things in the real light

If u don't like criticism, I got to tell you this you are missing out the very purpose of a blog

good bye friend

silverine said...

i know u can list a lot!!! new cars, Televisions, new junk food products and a million employment created)
analyse the facts, see things in the real light

Analyse what fact??? See what real things in real light? Don't be vague. Spell it out!I am very sure like most Commies you only believe in rhetorics. Not facts.Cos u dont have any facts and figures.

Jiby said...

googoo,i read manorama, kaumudi, deepika, mathrubhumi, indian express, hindu and bharat rakshak daily... unfortunately i am away from home i pick and choose wht to digest and not. when i seperated nationalism from politics i meant the free-for-all that kerala politics has become and the unbelievable partiality amongst our media...while an issue which deals with india's security concerns crops up i have been delighted to read a lot of good for liberalization we are ppl whose viewpoints are poles apart...u cant shed me any light.. neither can i lecture u. why do we have to politicize everything...ask a hungry man whether politics will satiate his hunger...ask a ravished woman whether politics will give her back her pride...wht connects all ppl is not politics...its humanity...its sadly very lacking in our society now. dont put that comforts of ur home argument in front of me...i left the comforts of my home and have struggled to build from scratch a life on alien soil.

well claaasssh i neednt go epochs back... who started the sale of education ...wasnt it ur own previous govt...remember the plus-two scam...i dont want to defend this govt either. as 4 u calling smart-city nothing but a real estate firm...u got it rite hundred percent...thats exactly wht they do...and since they have invested that much money...u will see buildings sprout up fast without public money leaking out in the construction with some really good infrastructure and i can imagine the number of companies that will buy office space there...i hope that v.s and cronies allow them to start work fast having seen the stagnation tvm technopark went thru until recently!claassh i respect ur opinions...i have friends who are exactly like u...we have debated and argued over and over again thse same things but we have never been able to convert each other!

well when i set out to rite this post abt some of my heroes...i never expected even in my wildest dreams that i wud be defending some things totally perepheral to wht i wrote...googoo i had the option of deleting ur comments...that wuz the easy path out...yet i have responded to ur remarks. personally i like to leave some nice comments on blogs i visit, to encourage the person to keep writing.My idea of a blog is to do some casual writing abt my experiences & thoughts...I dont know wht ur idea of a blog is...certainly i didnt intend to have this here to be a place to debate...if u choose not to come back here frankly i will be one happy soul!

Hafis said...

I am sorry
I meant no offence
this will be my last post
but I would like to continue visiting your blog
I think silverlinegot a point here
Coz in debates we succumb to emotionalism
that we won't be able to come up with facts
(and I was busy with my work too/ sure that's no excuse)
And I agree that i was way out of line

"we have debated and argued over and over again thse same things but we
have never been able to convert each other"

yes you are right

I sure can furnish my "argument" with facts, but it seems to me that you are not interested in the other side of the story

If u want u can drop me a line @ hafizanwar(at)gmail(dot)com