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Pazhassi Raja

Serious defects and misinformation

This article is having serious defects. For one thing, the Kottayam connected to the so-mentioned Pazhassi Raja has nothing to do with the Kottayam of South Kerala. This is a common mistake borne by most people of Kerala, and by the students of schools in Kerala.

Actually the Kottayam connected to this person is a minute village near to Tellicherry (Thalashery). As to his being a great king and his popularity connected to a freedom struggle that he is supposed to have conducted against the British is mainly connected, I think (but not sure) to a Black & White film of the yesteryears, acted (I think) by Prem Nazir. The film producers were naturally seeking stories, and naturally they must have come across this theme. {Like the Vadakkan Pattukal stories got statewide fame through the films).

As to his being a king and all such thing is really doubtful, and if any serious interest in there in this regard, his current descendants and family members need to be traced. I think most probably he would only one of the feudal landlords, who in those days did don such titles as thamburan, raja, adhikari etc.

Again, the usage of such terms as commanders etc. can give a false understanding, for I think in those times, the places mentioned in connection to him were mostly sparsely populated areas. Then again the mention of his killing British soldiers is also doubtful; I think it was native (of Malabar) police constables that he killed. I am not sure about this, but then I remember reading thus many years ago in a Malayalam weekly.

And as to his revolting against the British, could have more to the introduction of the police machinery, so that traders were not looted, teased and tormented by the henchmen of various janmis (in the guise of extracting tax karam) as their wares moved on bullock carts and horse carts to the trading centers and markets.

As a person having some information on British colonial history, I feel that that the incident mentioned is not a great event, and could possibly be just a police action against a truculent land lord.

As a person knowing the places mentioned, including Panamaram, in a cursory manner, I do not think that in those times, he was a great ruler or any such thing. And to his being a liberator and such claims, I think, it was the British education in Tellichery that really gave support to a small section of the suppressed classes there. It was Brennen college and the English schools there that gave the lower classes a chance to escape the suppression inflicted on them by both the thamburan class as well as their own caste superiors and family karanavars (terrible matriarchal family system). But then, this could also have been a reason of friction between the landlord and the British, for it was more a less a terrible situation of the servant class getting English education.

It is really funny to see Mammooty acting as Pazhassir Raja, when he had once acted as Ponthan Maada, wherein he exists as a member of the thoroughly suppressed class of the local janmi, to the extend that even his wife is dominated by the janmi.



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