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Thursday, February 25, 2010

What happened to Kottapparamba after the 1766 suicide?

Hyder Ali marched into Malabar from the north in 1766, leading to general panic in the area. Soon he was knocking at the gates of the Zamorin territory. There are several versions of what took place between Hyder and the Zamorin before the unfortunate event of self-immolation. The version relied on by Logan and Krishna Ayyar suggests that Hyder had sent Ali Rajah by sea to Calicut as advance party and it was he and his forces which had initiated the siege of the fort.

Logan states further that the Zamorin himself met Hyder Ali at Kurumbranad and offered to deliver the whole of his treasury and all his property but this did not satisfy Hyder who demanded a crore of gold mohur as compensation. Hyder, it seems, had even seized and imprisoned the Zamorin after break down of the talks. He was sent under the guard of 500 horse and 2000 infantry to the fort of Calicut; the Raja was confined in his own house without food, and was strictly prohibited from performing the ceremonies of his religion; and as he thought that Hyder might inflict some further disgrace upon him, either by causing him to be hanged, or blown from a gun, the Raja set fire to the house with his own hand, and was consumed by it.' (Logan, page 463)

What followed was bedlam. The Eralpad who had accompanied the women from the Calicut fort to the safety of the Ponnani kovilakam, took over as the new Zamorin and lost no time in exhorting the Nairs loyal to the Zamorin to wage a guerrilla war against the Mysore forces and their aliies from Cannanore. This was followed by the valiant revolt led by Prince Ravi Varma of Padinjare Kovilakam.

When at last Tipu attacked Travancore, the English woke up to the threat and appealed to all the rulers of Malabar to join hands in facing the common enemy. A cowlnama (agreement) was signed between General Meadows, the Commander-in chief of the East India Company forces and the Eralpad which recognised the right of the Zamorin to collect revenue etc.

It was perhaps in pursuance of this authority that the members of the ruling family started selling off bits and pieces of the great Palace and Fort of the Zamorin. Thus it was that Aiysumma of Koilandy bought a piece of the Kottapparambu and consequently the present Moideen Palli came up on that plot. Thus it was too that Kandan and Beeran got proprietary rights over plots of land where Abdul Razzak and Vasco da Gama had been received and feted.

The fascinating story of how the transfer of this prime real estate took place was revealed with the help of polichezhuthu documents by the eminent historian Prof. M.R. Raghava Warrier at the Febuary 2010 meeting of the Calicut Heritage Forum. Please read the full report at

14 comments:

  1. both the proceedings and the introduction provided here are fascinating for somebody trying to recreate the scene & topography of the city center. Read together with the extensive studies of Dr NM Nampoothiri, one can create a 3D image. Sometimes I wish we had amongst us a computer animator who can create a realistic animation...would have been great

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  2. Zamorin's fall makes me think that there might be a treachery. as he was an adopted person and not accepted fully .People's loyalty depended upon the number of gold coins!!

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  3. Can someone enlighten me as to whether any remains of the Zamorins Palace exists now at Kottaparamba?

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  4. Nothing remains of the palace today, I suppose.
    Btw, what's this sea monster of Calicut illustrated by Meissner as seen here?

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  5. Very nice read, historians and archeologists still believe that the remnants of "Koyil Palace" is there still beneath the ground, but the place is heavily developed now that its not possible to excavate.

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  7. We are grateful to Dr.Nampoothiri for asserting his right to the path-breaking toponomy studies of Calicut which was the basis of Prof.Varier's speech. Historians of Calicut and those who take pride in the glorious heritage of Calicut will be grateful to Dr.Nampoothiri for the new direction that he has given to the history of the place and for all the pains that he has been taking for digging up new sources and preserving valuable documents from the clutches of vandals.
    However, to be fair to Prof. Varier, he never claimed any role in discovering the new evidence. CHF has only faithfully reported the presentation and would not like to be dragged into academic squabbles!

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  8. Dear Manmadhan sir,
    As you know My focus in this research was to sort out some methodology to get an idea of malayali culture-not kerala culture/nor traditional political history.My research subject was Toponomy.I continued my toponomical studies on Calicut area and fortunately it opened doors to see MALAYALI culture.This aspect is analysed in my Thesis A study of Place names in the Calicut District. Chapters in thesis-
    1.TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOGRAPHY
    2.RESOURCES OF THE AREA
    3 GROWTH OF SETTLEMENTS
    4 TRADE AND EXCHANGE( URBANIZATION)
    5CALICUT PORT /FORT PLANNING OF CITY Etc.

    The subject was thus the study of settlements --.JANAPADAPADANAM.
    Calicut studies were thus based on Toponomy-Settlement patterns-Power structure- Trade and Exchange systems-Urban stdies-Port and Fort-Port georgraphy hinterland studies Etc Etc.These works were heavily depended on The mapping of items/Tables/Pattern analyses ---basically QUANTITATIVE ANALYSES
    It is thus a Trend setter in the study of study of history in general .The works were not yet Conceivable to our Traditional historians. I have done heavy work to for forteen years to see the situations of calicut to apply the out come of it to the study the kerala studies in a proper way.

    I am surprised to see that the main stream historians never mention the works done in Toponomy,Zamorins records etc mentioned above.
    -- with regds
    NMN
    N M Nampoothiri 9388603201
    February 27, 2010 11:10 AM

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  9. Our comments on an earlier version of Dr.NM Nampoothiri's views (deleted by him) holds good even for the revised comments above.

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. Very interesting. Kotaparambu must be in the Patalam. As Maddy has said, if some one could create the topo sheet using a computer, it would enable us to appreciate the ground realities of those times. Thanks.

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  14. Thank you, Onion Insights! This blog will remain non-commercial!!

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