HOME   
ABOUT KERALA
MATRIMONIALS
JOBS & OPPURTUNITIES
AUTOMOBILES
BUSINESS VENTURES
CLASSIFIEDS
MEDIA WAVES

 
  KERALA HISTORY
The Gods Own Country" or "The Land Of Coconut Trees", Kerala, is the most beautiful place on earth.. It is blessed with endless beaches, lush green forests, waterfalls, fertile land and palm fringed lakes and backwaters. Kerala is situated between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea with an area of approximately 39,000sq.km. It has 14 districts and it's capital is Thiruvananthapuram.

There is no unanimity among historians about the history of ancient Kerala, since so little written 
accounts exist. Much of the history is cloaked in myths and conjectures One such myth centres around the legend of Parasurama, the warrior-sage who is regarded as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu . After destroying the Kshathriya kings, goes the legend, the warrior-sage asked an assembly of learned men a way of penance for his past misdeeds. On being advised to hand over the lands he had conquered to the Brahmins to save his soul from eternal damnation, he readily agreed and sat in penance at Gokarnam, those days considered to be land's end. There having got boons from Lord Varuna, the God of the Oceans and Bhumidevi, the Goddess of earth, he proceeded to Kanya- Kumari and threw his battle axe northwards across the waters. The waters subsided and what was left over was called the land of  Parasurama, or what  is Kerala  today. 

Since geologists have pointed out that the elevation of Kerala from the sea was the result of 
some seismic activity, either sudden or gradual there is also another theory. The rivers of Kerala 
emptying into the Arabian seas bring down enormous quantities of silt from the hills. the ocean 
currents transport quantities of sand towards the shore. The coastal portions could well be due to 
the accumulation of this silt over thousands of years. 

Ancient  Kerala occupied a unique place in the commercial world. The teak found in the ruins of Ur 
must certainly have come from the Malabar Coast. This means trade flourished around 3000 BC. Cotton 
from this region was  favourite in Egypt, The Phoenicians visited the coast of Malabar around the 
same time to trade in ivory, sandalwood and spices. King Solomon is said to have sent his commercial 
fleet to Ophir which is said to be somewhere in southern  Kerala. 

Muziris (Kodungalloor or Cranganore) was reputed to be the ancient world's greatest trading centre in 
the East for such highly prized possessions as pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and other 
spices. Pliny , the younger is said to have lamented the fact that trade with the East was 
draining the treasury of Rome. The trade flourished through ships riding on the monsoon winds 
from Africa and back to Arabia, from where overland caravans took these prized items to the 
markets along the Mediterranean ports. 

By common consent among the historians, the earliest inhabitants of Kerala were the Pulayas, 
Kuravas and Vetas . It is at a much later time that migratory populations from the north subjugated 
them and ultimately enslaved them, a state to which they were in till the abolition of untouchability. 
 
By the beginning of the Christian era, there was a noticeable increase in the influence of the Chera 
dynasty from across the Western Ghats and into the political and cultural life of ancient Kerala. The 
armies of the northern empires of the Mauryas could not enter the lands of the Cheras, but Buddhism and 
Jainism did enter in a big way. But it was the entry of Brahmins from the boundaries of modern day 
Karnataka which really changed the power structure of Kerala for the next millenium . 

From Payyannur in north  Kerala, they gradually moved south and occupied the most fertile lands . 
By the time of the terminal decline of the Cheras started, it coincided with the rise of the Brahmins 
in Kerala. By the 10th century, they were a powerful entity from Gokurnum (north Kerala ) to  Kanyakumari. divided into 32 Brahmin or 'Namboothiries' communities. Soon thereafter, the Buddhists and the Jains had to beat a retreat from the social landscape of Kerala. These land owning class of Brahmins were well on their way to great wealth and power. To make their sway complete, strict segregation between classes of people came into being. In their practice, the caste system of Kerala found no equal anywhere else in the country . The edicts even include what distance a person of lowest caste must keep from the Brahmins, even considering the shadow of the persons concerned and avoiding even looking at a Brahmin.  

The Christians who had arrived from the middle East in the 3rd century AD and the Muslims who arrived 
in the 8th century were generally traders and were not involved in this social segregation and generally kept aloof from the ambit of caste politics of those days. The Jews who arrived in Kerala in the early years of the Christian era were given privileges to trade and became an influential part of the melting pot of Kerala's population. 

The Namboothiries also were the landowners ( janmi) of most lands in Kerala. Lands being leased out to 
next higher castes for share cropping, and these in turn would further be leased out to those lower on 
the caste hierarchy and to non-Hindus. The lowest castes of course were only labourers and were 
traded along with the land . In such a rigid hierarchy, the all powerful Namboothiries were the 
unquestioned rulers. 

By and by Kerala entered a phase of feudal chieftains or warlords (naduvazhis). Some were 
anointed by the Namboothiries, but most just walked into a power vacuum existing at the time. Hence, 
Kerala at the turn of the 11th century AD had power triangle in the caste system supported by the 
landlords and ruled by the warlords. This in turn gave rise to instability in the absence of a strong 
central leadership. Wars and conflicts were therefore common for control of turf. 

Ultimately, three war lords emerged with some semblance of authority in their regions - the 
Zamorin of Calicut (Samuthiri of Kozhikode) to the North, Moopins of Perimpadappu (near modern day 
Kochi) in the central region and chieftain of Kollam. 

It is also interesting to note that these kingdoms were centred around the ancient ports of Kozhikode, 
Kochi ( a small harbour appeared in present day Kochi in 1341 after a natural calamity closed the 
ancient port of Muziris or Kodungalloor) and Kollam. The name Kochi comes from the word 'kochu thura' meaning a small port or opening out to the sea. The combination of caste, feudalism and warfare ultimately took its toll. The landlords lived in supreme luxury, while the peasantry toiled to keep them in comfort. The endless feuds also impoverished the country side and was ripe for outsiders to come and take over. This is precisely what the Europeans who found a sea lane to the fabled land of spices and gold did. There was nothing anyone could do to stop the next five centuries of colonial rule   In the 15th century, when the semitic monopoly of the spice trade became too expensive 
for the European markets to bear, Portugal financed Vasco da Gama to discover the sea route to the 
spice lands of Kerala. The Portuguese were followed by the Dutch in to Kerala, then by the 
French in a limited way, and finally by the British who stayed on in India till 1947. This 
multi-layered international history has left traces throughout the state. The Arabs and Chinese also 
made their mark on Kerala and some fishermen still use Chinese fishing nets to this day. One can find ancient Hindu temples sitting serenely nearby gaily painted colonial-style churches and splendid mosques. 
Crumbling Portuguese ruins by the sea- side soften the harsh memories left behind by colonisers, while 
British residences and English town squares remind one of the recent colonial past. 

Kerala has also had Christians as long as Christianity has been in Europe. The Portuguese 
were more than a little surprised to find Christianity already established along the Malabar 
coast when they arrived here 500 years ago. Christianity, Judaism and Islam found their way 
into Kerala. A tolerant people welcomed them. Kerala has an amazing mixture of religions -Hindus, 
Christians and Muslims. Communal harmony and religious toleration are an essential part of 
Kerala's culture and heritage.
Among the modern line of traders - the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the English, it was the English that presided over the fate of Kerala from 1791, to the end of British rule in 1947. During the first eighty years of British rule life changed very little. Caste structure and the matrilineal joint family systems continued in the three units that were to become Kerala. By the end of the eighteenth century, tea and coffee plantations developed. An industrial revolution began in the 1850s - textiles, tiles, coir etc. Modern education took root. The influx of missionaries contributed to western education. Democratic institutions were formed in 1888, and political activity which began during the following decade, intensified during the 1920s when the Indian National congress spearheaded the national independence movement. This was a period when the communist movement gathered momentum especially in Malabar.

As India itself was edging towards independence from Britain in 1947, Travancore, Cochin and Malabar all entered India as separate units. This was a period when the communist movement gathered momentum especially in Malabar.

All communities in Kerala share a common language, Malayalam. Malayalam is a Dravidian language closest to the Tamil language. It has it's own script which is slightly different from Tamil. It is also different from the Devanagari script used in Hindi, the national language. The vocabulary of Malayalam is a mixture of Tamil, Sanskrit and it's own elements.

Kerala is one of the most advanced states in India in the fields of education, transportation, communication and health care delivery. Most of the advancement since independence has come in the field of education. Industrial development has lagged behind some other centers in India due to labour unrest, lack of power resources and government ineptitude.

Vast pools of highly trained technical people from Kerala are serving elsewhere in India or overseas.

Profound economic changes are taking place in India and there is no doubt Kerala too is very eager to be part of that development with major initiatives in a variety of fields such as airports, electronics and power development.

Chronology from the formation of Kerala state

Nov. 1, 1956 Birth of Kerala (Kerala Piravi)
March 1957. First Assembly Election
April 5, 1957. E.M.S. ministry (Communist ) sworn in
July 31, 1959 . E.M.S. ministry dismissed after 'Vimochana samaram under Mannathu Padbanabhan leader of the Nair community. Main reasons were an unpopular education bill which reduced the role of the private sector. An agricultural bill also met with opposition. There were also charges of nepotism , corruption in rice purchase from Andhra and charges of making the police force ineffective.
Feb. 1960. Election to assembly
February 22, 1960 :Pattam Thanu Pillai (Congress- P.S.P.) ministry sworn in.
September 25, 1962: Pattam ministry falls. Pattam appointed as governor of Punjab.
September 26, 1962: R.Sankar ministry (Congress ) sworn in.
September 10 , 1964: Sankar ministry falls
Sankar and P.T.Chacko had conflicts. P.T.Chacko resigned from the ministry. T.A.Thomman replaced him. Internal strife in Congress became worse. !5 Congress MLAs resigned from Congress and formed a special group under K.M.George. That paved he way for the formation of Kerala Congress
March 1965. Assembly election (non-productive)
Feb.1967 Election to the assembly
March 6, 1967: Second E.M.S ministry (Communist )sworn in
October 24, 1969: E.M.S. ministry falls
November 1, 1969 Achuta Menon ministry
(Left United Front ) sworn in
June 26, 1970 Assembly dissolved 
August 1, 1970 :Achuta Menon ministry resigns
September 1970 Assembly election
October 4, 1970 Second Achuta Menon ministry sworn in
March 1977: Election to the assembly
March 25, 1977 :Karunakaran ministry (Congress ) sworn in
April 25, 1977 :Karunakaran resigns
April 27, 1977: A.K.Antony sworn in as chief minister (Congress)
October 29, 1978 : Antony resigns
October 29, 1978: P.K.Vasudevan Nair ministry (LDF) sworn in
October 7, 1979: Vasudevan Nair ministry falls
October 11, 1979: C.H.Mohamed
Koya ministry (Right democratic front )sworn in
December 1, 1979: Mohamad Koya ministry falls
January 1980: election to the assembly
January 25, 1980 :E.K.Nayanar (LDF ) ministry sworn in.
October 20, 1981: Nayanar minisry falls.
December 21, 1981: Karunakaran ministry (United democratic front ) sworn in
March 17, 1982: Karunakaran ministry falls.
May 19, 1982: Assembly elections
May 24, 1982 :Karunakaran ministry (United Democratic Front ) sworn in
March 23, 1987: Assembly election.
March 26, 1987: E.K.Nayanar ministry (LDF) sworn in
June 24, 1991: Karunakaran ministry (UDF) sworn in
March 16, 1995: Karunakaran ministry falls
March 22, 1995: A.K.Antony ministry (UDF) sworn in.
April 22, 1996: Elections to assembly.
May 20, 1996: E.K.Nayanar ministry (LDF) sworn in May10, 2001: Elections to assembly. 
May 17, 2001: A.K.Antony ministry (UDF) sworn in  Chief ministers of Kerala-- In one glance
March 24, 1948 : First democratic government(Congress) under Pattam Thanu Pillai. -October 7, 1949: Pattam ministry falls
-October 22, 1949 :Paravur T.K.Narayana Pillai ministry (Congress ) sworn in. -February 24, 1951: Paravur T.K. ministry falls due to friction between Panampilli Govinda Menon and E.John Philipose.
-March 1951: C Kesavan ministry with A.J.John and T.K.Narayana Pillai sworn in. -December 1951: A.J.John ministry
-September 23, 1953: A.J.John ministry falls.
-February 22, 1954: Pattam Thanu Pillai (minority P.S.P) ministry sworn in.
-February 14, 1955: Panampilli Govinda Menon ministry
-Nov. 1, 1956 Birth of Kerala
P.S. Rao administrator rules
-April 5, 1957. E.M.S. ministry (Communist ) sworn in
-July 31, 1959 . E.M.S. ministry dismissed
-February 22, 1960 :Pattam Thanu Pillai (Congress- P.S.P.) ministry sworn in. -September 25, 1962: Pattam ministry falls. Pattam appointed as governor of Punjab. -September 26, 1962: R.Sankar ministry (Congress ) sworn in.
-September, 1964: Sankar ministry falls
-March 6, 1967: Second E.M.S ministry (Communist )sworn in
-October 24, 1969: E.M.S. ministry falls
-November 1, 1969 Achuta Menon ministry
(Left United Front ) sworn in
-August 1, 1970 :Achuta Menon ministry resigns
-October 4, 1970 Second Achuta Menon ministry sworn in
-March 25, 1977 :Karunakaran ministry (Congress ) sworn in
-April 25, 1977 :Karunakaran resigns
-April 27, 1977: A.K.Antony sworn in as chief minister (Congress)
-October 29, 1978 : Antony resigns
-October 29, 1978: P.K.Vasudevan Nair ministry (LDF) sworn in
-October 7, 1979: Vasudevan Nair ministry falls
-October 11, 1979: C.H.Mohamed Koya ministry (Right democratic front )sworn in -December 1, 1979: Mohamad Koya ministry falls
-January 25, 1980 :E.K.Nayanar (LDF ) ministry sworn in.
-October 20, 1981: Nayanar minisry falls.
-December 21, 1981: Karunakaran ministry (United democratic frnt ) sworn in
-March 17, 1982: Karunakaran ministry falls.
-May 24, 1982 :Karunakaran ministry (United Democratic Front ) sworn in
-March 26, 1987: E.K.Nayanar ministry (LDF) sworn in
-June 24, 1991: Karunakaran ministry (UDF) sworn in
-March 16, 1995 : Karunakaran ministry falls
-March 22, 1995: A.K.Antony ministry (UDF) sworn in.
- May20, 1996: E.K.Nayanar ministry (LDF) sworn in
-May20, 1996: E.K.Nayanar ministry (LDF) sworn in -May 17, 2001: A.K.Antony ministry (UDF) sworn in

KERALA TO DAYPopulation-30 millionComparison:-
Canada-26 million
Cuba-10 million
Gautimala-8 million
Iraq-16 million
Bolivia-7 million
Chili-12 million
Algeria-22 million
Ghana-13 millio
Libiya-4 million Kenya-21 million
Belgium-10 million
France-56 million
Switswerland-7 million
In this group only France has a bigger population than Kerala.
Area-39000 Sq.Kilometers(KERALA)
Comparison:- Belgium-30,000 Sq.Kilometers
Luxembourg-25,00 Sq.Kilometers
Holland-41000 Sq.Kilometers
Switswerland-41000 Sq.Kilometers
Brunu-6000 Sq.Kilometers
Burma-6000 Sq.Kilometers
Cypress-9000 Sq.Kilometers Kuwait-24,000 Sq.Kilometers
Lebanon-10,000 Sq.Kilometers
SriLanka-65000 Sq.Kilometers
In this group SriLanka, Holland and Switswerland are larger than Kerala.
Among India's states Kerala is 18th in area.
In population among India's 25 states there are eleven states bigger and
thirteen states smaller compared to Kerala.
The often used expression 'KOCHU KERALAM' is a misnomer.
 

About Us | Terms | Faq's | Contact Us
mediawaves@keralawaves.com
Copyright 2002 - 2003 Media Waves   All Rights Reserved.
All designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners
* This site is best viewed in IE 5.0 and above or in Netscape 6.0 and above.