Dr. AISHWARYA PREMAN
This year, November 1 marks 64th Kerala Piravi which is celebrated as the birth of Kerala state in India. The state of Kerala was created after the merger of Travancore, Malabar and Cochin leading the creation of modern Kerala, a paradise on earth.
Kerala, the gift of Arabian Sea is not just celebrating the anniversary of its genesis. It is a great year of being the cleanest state of India, the only state to have hospitals in every village, the state which receives the first spell of rains, home of Ayurveda, highest literacy rate, highest female ,male ratio, least female and infant mortality rate, most secular state, state to celebrate highest number of festivals, home to a vast variety of herbs, teak trees, spices etc, second least corrupt state and the list never ends.
It has never failed to attract and enchant anyone by its sheer charm and elegance since historical times.
Even though every spot and site in Kerala has a vital role in making it an eye catcher, the center of attraction of the state lies in its Malabar region. Until the arrival of British, the whole Kerala was known as Malabar.
Chirrakal Taluka in Malabar was the main source of pepper also known as Black Gold of Malabar which robustly attracted the Dutch, English and Portuguese. Hortus Malabaricus (meaning “Garden of Malabar”) conceived by Hendrik van Rheede, who was the Governor of Dutch Malabar at that time, is a comprehensive treatise that deals with the medicinal properties of the flora of Malabar.
The book was written in Latin which was later translated into English and Malayalam. The attraction that stuck the foot of Portuguese in the fertile Malabari soil from 1500 to 1663 has been described in the book “Portuguese in Malabar” by Charles Dias and the British conquered Malabar from Tipu Sultan in 1792.
The Malabar coast had brawny trade ties with the Arab world. Traders were dependent on favourable winds to travel across the Arabian Sea and thus they had to stay on this shore for long stretches of time which lead to the commencement of their relations with the local people.
According to William Logan, the word Malabar came from the Malayalam word Mala (hill) and the Persian/Arabic word Barr which meant a continent. Dr. Hermann Gundert, German scholar and linguist who compiled the first Malayalam-English dictionary spent a major part of his life in Thalassery and during this period he made remarkable contributions to malayalam journalism and literature.
Malabar had also been invaded by many of the ancient South Indian rulers like Perumals,Utyavars and many more.