Indian History Carnival – 36: Cholas, Malabar Soldiers, Forts

  1. Giacomo Benedetti  writes about an article by a Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Illinois which proposes that Western Law and Civilization owes a lot to the culture of Indus Valley.
  2. I have read it, and I find it really rich and stimulating, including philosophy of law, history, linguistics, anthropology, Indo-European studies and also interesting references to the ‘Oriental Renaissance’ of Schwab and the practice of meditation as a part of the Indo-European heritage which should be recovered.

  3. Vijay takes a look at a rare bronze statue from Melaikkadambur
  4. This particular image is from Bengal made in the time of the Pala rulers who were contemporaries of the Cholas of Tamilnad. This metal image belongs to 9th – 10th cent. It might have been brought by the Rajaguru of Kulottunga who hailed from Bengal. It is one of the finest and early bronze image of the Pala dynasty but found in Tamilnad. It also establishes a close link between Bengal and Chidambaram in the Chola times.”

  5. You may have heard of ragamala in the context of music. But have you heard of ragamala in the context of paintings? peacay has a post with numerous ragamala miniatures.
  6. “In [the ragamala] painting[s] each raga is personified by a colour, mood, a verse describing a story of a hero and heroine (nayaka and nayika), it also elucidates the season and the time of day and night in which a particular raga is to be sung; and finally most paintings also demarcate the specific Hindu deities attached with the raga, like Bhairava or Bhairavi to Shiva, Sri to Devi etc. The paintings depict not just the Ragas, but also their wives, (raginis), their numerous sons (ragaputra) and daughters (ragaputri).

  7. Charles Baudelaire, the French romantic poet, owed his creativity to a Malabar girl. Calicut Heritage writes
  8. Born in Paris, Baudelaire grew up as a spoilt and rebellious child resentful of the loss of his father when he was very small and the mother’s second marriage to a young and dapper colonel. The stepfather wanted to discipline the young boy and sent him off to Calcutta in 1841. A shipwreck saw the young Baudelaire landing on the shores of Mauritius, instead of Bengal. There he meets the Girl from Malabar in an account from which it is difficult to sift facts from fiction.

  9. Maddy has a post on the Malabarese soldiers who fought along with the Portuguese.
  10. So for a lot of Nairs in the Cochin, teaming up with their better paying Portuguese collaborators was but natural. In history they are termed Malabarese. Many a Moplah also joined these groups. Interestingly as you pore through these musty old history books, you come across many battles fought in Malabar where the Zamorin or the Cochin king had many tens of thousands of Nairs whereas the Portuguese or Dutch had tens to hundreds of white soldiers with guns and a score of armed auxiliaries, but in many of these cases the Portuguese or Dutch win the battle.

  11. There was a time when Tamil was considered unsuitable for Carnatic music. Sriram writes how that changed.
  12. It was at this juncture that an announcement appeared in The Hindu dated 28th July 1941 under the caption “Encouragement of Tamil Songs”. The Annamalai University Syndicate had “approved a scheme for the composition of new Tamil songs and the popularisation of old songs”. The announcement stated that “a conference of votaries of music in this part of the country will be held .. in August and all that songs that will be sung there will be in Tamil only.”

  13. fortmapper is a new blog which tries to document as many forts as possible. If you want to volunteer and help the author with this effort, please leave a comment on that blog.

With this post, the Indian History Carnival completes three years. The next post will appear on Jan 15, 2011. Please send any nominations via e-mail ( @gmail) or Twitter (@varnam_blog)

3 thoughts on “Indian History Carnival – 36: Cholas, Malabar Soldiers, Forts

  1. JK
    I look forward to the Indian history carnival every month where I get to come across new authors and new blogs and of courswe ,new information. This time it was Sriram’s Madras heritage website and the Fortmapper. After seeing the Ragamala paintings and copying the idea of Fortmapper I am wondering if a similar effort can be made to trace every book ever written in India and about India, personal travel diaries including prior to 20th century. It would be a massive effort that will begin with the major public libraries and some well known private collections.

    1. Sumitra,
      What you are suggesting is a gargantuan task, which is beyond the capabilities of a single human being. That said, with Google books, it should be possible to compile a fair list of books.

  2. caste system is basically unnatural and this can be seen by any one who thinks.earlier during the period of severe caste indulgences each caste actually dependent on other castes. and so no castes never intended to destroy other castes nor were against other castes. so when social modification struggles started it wasn’t really or brutally crushed nor that struggles were violent in nature.mannathu padmanabhan founder nss even organized a march to declare that all savarnas are not opposing the social change.
    now the caste has no relevance in terms of its use.nor we actually know what its purpose was during the earlier period.we actually dont know what this actually’t it? for some 100 years many tried fervently to find historical background of caste system.many if not all were either distracted by the old stupid stories or were oriented by their prejudice.
    caste system invariably exists on the caste lower or higher.this itself is a good proof that caste system is falsely created.its difficult to maintain such a system for long term even with lot of political power to back support.system will fall down soon.this will happen very soon if inter marriage is restricted or prevented.many castes will disappear and other castes finds difficult to move forward.this has happened in all states and kerala too.

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