A brief history of Kerala

A Brief History of Gods Own Country…

“Kerala was formed by merging the princely state of Cochin, the kingdom of Travancore and the Kingdom of the Zamorin of Calicut”
“It's one of the most advanced states in India in the fields of education, transportation, communication and health care delivery”

Going by the legend, Kerala was reclaimed from the waters. As the folklore proclaims Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu, threw his axe into the sea, covered the maximum distance possible and formed the state of Kerala. No doubt, the geographical features of Kerala with its lush green vegetation, and palm trees, uphold such a legend's existence.

Click to enlarge A coastal area of kerala

Kerala is one of the smallest states in India along the Malabar Coast of the Arabian Sea, with 15000 square miles that stretch 75 miles in breadth and 20 miles in width. Kerala is a distinct region, which is separated by the Western Ghats that runs parallel to the sea for about 85 miles along the shores of the Arabian Sea.

Kerala's main native language Malayalam is originated as an offshoot of Tamil, the principal native language of neighboring Tamil Nadu. Malayalam (from the Tamil: mala (“mountain”) and alam (“location”) as a composite phrase means the 'living/inhabitants in the mountain regions'.

This phrase, which in earlier times implied the geographical location of the region, was later replaced by Kerala.The plains are very humid and warm with an average temperature of 85 degrees. Two annual monsoons provide adequate precipitation, the South West monsoon from mid June to September and the Northeast monsoon from October to the end of November. The rest of the year is dry with occasional showers. Even though Kerala has the highest density of population in India, it has a literacy rate of almost 100%.

State of kerala is rated as…

  • One of the 50 must see destinations of a life time
    – “National Geographic Traveler”
  • One of the 10 paradises of the world
    – “National Geographic Traveler”
  • One of the 100 great trips for the 21st century
    – “Travel & Leisure”
  • One of the 10 hot spots for the millenium
    – “Cosmopolitan”
  • One of the 10 love nests in india
    – “Emirates In-Flight Magazine”
  • One of the 6 destinations of the millenium
    – “Khaleej Times”

The recent history of Kerala includes the prelude to independence, the road to Communism and the evolution of the modern state of Kerala. Kerala was formed out of three political units- the princely state of Cochin, which dates back to the middle ages, the kingdom of Travancore, which was created in the 18th century, and the Malabar district which was the former Kingdom of the Zamorin of Calicut. 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 had changed very little. Caste structure and the matrilineal joint family systems continued to rule the roost in Kerala. By the end of the eighteenth century, tea and coffee plantations developed. An industrial revolution began in the 1850s in the form of textiles, tiles, coir etc.

Modern education began to spread its wing. The influx of missionaries contributed to the 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 entered India as separate units. This was a period when the communist movement gathered momentum especially in Malabar. The princely states of Thiruvithamcoore and Kochi were merged to form the province (after 1950 a state) of Travancore-Cochin on July 01, 1949. Madras Presidency then became India's Madras State.

Click to enlarge Worker in Paddy Field

The state of Kerala was created on November 01, 1956 when Malabar District was merged with Tranvancore-Cochin state and Kasargod taluk of South Kanara District. Based on the recommendations of the State Reorganisation Commission set up by the Government of India, elections for the new Kerala Legislative Assembly were held in 1957; this resulted in the formation of a communist-led government headed by E.M.S. Namboodiripad.

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 reflected in the field of education.

Vast pools of highly trained technical people from Kerala are serving at different corners of the subcontinent and abroad. Profound economic changes are taking place in different cities in India and there is no doubt that Kerala too is very much eager to be part of that development. To attain this purpose, major initiatives have already been started in various fields like infrastructure, electronics and power development.

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