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THRISSUR - HISTORY

The term Thrissur is the abbreviated anglicized form of the Malayalam word "THRISSIVAPERUR" which means the town of the "SACRED SIVA". The town is built on an elevated ground, at the apex of which is the famous "VADAKKUMNATHAN" Temple. A place of great antiquity, Thrissur was also known as "VRISHABHADRIPURAM" and "TEN KAILASAM" in ancient days.

From ancient times, Thrissur District has played a significant part in the political history of south India. The early political history of the District is interlinked with that of the Cheras of the Sangam age, who ruled over vast portions of Kerala with their capital at Vanchi. The whole of the present Thrissur District was included in the early Chera Empire.

The District can claim to have played a significant part in fostering the trade relations between Kerala and the outside world in the ancient and medieval period. It can also claim to have played an important part in fostering cultural relations and in laying the foundation of a cosmopolitan and compose culture in this part of the country. Kodungalloor which had the unique distinction of being the "Primum Emporium India", also belongs to the signal honour of having first given shelter to all the three communities which have contributed to the prosperity of Malabar'. These three communities are the Christians, the Jews and the Muslims.
The history of Thrissur District from the 9th to the 12th centuries is the history of Kulasekharas of Mahodayapuram and the history since 12th century is the history of the rise and growth of Perumpadappu Swarupam. In the course of its long and chequered history, the Perumpadappu Swarupam had its capital at different places.

We learn from the literary works of the period that the Perumpadappu Swarupam had its headquarters at Mahodayapuram and that a number of Naduvazhies in Southern and Central Kerala recognized the supremacy of the Perumpadappu Moopil. The Perumpadappu Moopil is even referred to as the "Kerala Chakravarthi" in the "Sivavilasam" and some other works.
One of the landmarks in the history of the Perumpadapu Swarupam is the foundation of a new era called Pudu Vaipu Era. The Pudu Vaipu Era is traditionally believed to have commenced from the date of which the island of Vypeen was thrown from the sea.

The 14th and 15 centuries constituted a period of aggressive wars in the course of which the Samorins of Calicut acquired a large part of the present Thrissur District.

In the subsequent centuries the Portugese dominated the scene. By the beginning of the 17th century the Portugese power in Kerala was on the verge of collapse.

About this time other European powers like the Dutch and the English appeared on the scene and challenged the Portugese. Internal dissension in the Perumpadappu Swarupam helped the Dutch in getting a footing on the Kerala Coast. As the Kerala Chiefs were conscious of the impending doom of the Portugese, they looked upon the Dutch as the rising power and extended a hearty welcome to them,.

The decadence and consequential want of solidarity opened the flood gates of aggression. Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan figured very prominently during the period.

The Architect of Thrissur Town

Sakthan Thampuran (1790-1805)

In 1790 Raja Rama Varma (1790-1805) popularly known as Saktan Tampuran ascended the throne of Cochin. With the accession of this ruler the English or modern period in the history of Cochin and of the District began. It may be noted in this connection that Saktan Tampuram had been at the helm of affairs since 1769 when all administrative authority in the state was delegated to him by the then reigning sovereign on the initiative of the Travancore Raja and the Dutch Governor. As his very name suggests, this prince was a strong ruler and his reign was characterized by firm and vigorous administration. We have seen that by the end of the 18th century the power of the feudal chieftains had been crushed and royal authority had become supreme. Saktan Tampuran was mainly responsible for the destruction of the power of the feudal chieftains and increase of royal power. Another potent force in the public life of Trichur and its suburbs was the Namboodithiri community. A large part of the Trichur Taluk was for long under the domination of the Yogiatiripppads, the ecclesiastical h4eads of the Vadakkunnathan and Perumanam Devaswoms. The Yogiatirippads were elected and consecrated by the Namboodithiri Yogams of the respective places. Under their leadership the Namboodithiri families of Trichur and Perumanam were playing in active part against the ruler of Cochin in his wars against the Zamorin of Calicut. Hence after the expulsion of the Zamorin from Trichur in 1761 drastic action was taken against these families by the Raja of Cochin. The institution of Yogiatirippads was discontinued and the management of Trichur and Perumanam Devaswoms was taken over by the Government. The Namboothiri Yogams were reduced to impotence. 1. Thus the antifeudal measures of Saktan Tampuran coupled with the several administrative reforms introduced by him marked the end of the medieval period in the history of Cochin and ushered in the modern epoch of progress.

1. It may be interesting in this connection to know something about the institution of the Yogatirippad. The Yogiatirippad of the Vadakkunnathan Devaswom was elected by the Namboothiri illams of Trichur and its suburbs The Yogiatirippad was elected for life in the august presence of the ruler of Cochin, local chieftains and prominent Namboothiris from places outside Trichur. An interesting account of the Yogiatiri Avarodham (ceremony connected with the consecration of the Yogiatirippad) as gathered from the Grandhavari or chronicles of the Trichur temple is given by K.P. Padmanabha Menon in his History of Kerala Vol IV (p.82086). The Yogiatirippad was a very powerful and influential dignitary. The last Yogiatirippad was banished from Trichur 1763 for having joined the side of the Zamorin against Cochin. Saktan Tampuran put an end to the institution of the Yogiatirippad. Since then the numerous Namboodiri illams situated in Trichur gradually became extinct. But even today there are a few Namboothiri illams in Trichur town and its suburbs reminding one of those old days when the Namboothiri Yogam of Trichur along with the Perumanam Yogam exercised jurisdiction over a large portion of the present Trichur Taluk.

Settlement of territorial claims.

Saktan Tampuran ascended the throne just before the conclusion of the treaty with the English East India Company1 according to which Cochin threw off all allegiance to Tipu and became tributary to the Company. One of the conditions of the treaty was that if any Raja preferred any claim to any of the places and districts mentioned therein within a period of five years after the date of the treaty it should be entitled to an impartial investigation and be submitted to the final decision of the company's government. Taking advantage of this provision in this treaty. It may be noted in this connection that the Chettuvai island inclusive of Cranganore and Patinettaralayam was leased to Cochin on a rental of Rs. 40000/- a few months before the treaty was signed in 1791. The Zamorin also claimed it as his, but his claim was rejected on the ground that it had been taken from him by the Dutch in 1717 and from the latter by Haider Ali in 1776 and again by the English from Tipu in 1790. The lease to cochin was renewed for two years from November 1791 and again for 10 years in 1793 on the same rent. One of the conditions of the lease was that the Cochin Raja should not exercise any civil or criminal jurisdiction over the tract and that if any complaints were to be made by the local inhabitants of oppression by the Raja and his officials and such complaints were proved to be true, the lease would be cancelled. The Raja of Cochin was not willing to submit to such conditions and the lease was therefore cancelled in 1801 even before the expiry of the stipulated period. Patinettaralayam had alternatively been in the possession of the Zamorin, the Dutch and Cochin. But in 1761 it was finally made over to Cochin by the Dutch and on the strength f this Cochin's claim to it was now conceded. Cranganore had more often been under the Zamorin or the Dutch that under Cochin and at the time of Haider's invasion it was under Tipu. But the Mysore Sultan treated it as subject to Cochin and levied his tribute from it through Cochin. In view of its historic past and strategic importance the company's officials wanted to bring Crannganore under their direct rule, if only they could get the concurrence of the Cranganore Raja. But when questioned by the Malabar Commissioners the Cranganore Raja expressed himself in favour of his being placed under Cochin. After a prolonged correspondence with the Raja and the Dutch Governor of Cochin the English East India Company at last decided to allow Cranganore to remain under the Raja of Cochin until a final decision was taken in the matter. This arrangement was later ratified by the British Government. As Vanneri was under the possession of the Zamorin at the time Haider conquered Malabar, Cochin's claim to this tract was disallowed by the English East India Company. However, the claim of Cochin to the tract of Territory known as Chittilappilly in the prest Trichur Taluk was upheld by the Company in preference to that of the Zamorin.

1. The formal treaty was signed on 6th January 1791 but negotiations for the treaty took place and the terms were settled several months ago. The formal signing was delayed due to the death of the Raja in August 1790, but the treaty was to have effect from the 25th September.

SAKTHAN THAMPURAN PALACE, THRISSUR

This palace named as Vadakkekara Palace, was reconstructed in Kerala-Dutch style in 1795 by Shri. Ramavarma Thampuran of the erstwhile Princely State of Cochin, well known as Sakthan Thampuran, and is preserved by Archaeological Department.

The wave of nationalism and political consciousness which swept through the country since the early decades of this century has its repercussions in the District as well.

Even as early as 1919 a Committee of the Indian National Congress was functioning in Thrissur. In the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1921, several persons in Thrissur Town and other places in the District took active part and courted arrest.

Thrissur District can claim the honour of having been in the forefront of the country-wide movement for temple entry and abolition of untouchability. The famous Guruvayur Satyagraha is a memorable episode in the history of the national movement.

The Government of Cochin under the guidance of Sri.R.K.Shanmughom Chetti followed a policy of conciliation. By degrees the public demand for the introduction of responsible Government in the State grew strong In August 1938 Cochin announced a scheme for reforming the State legislature and introducing a system as per the Government of India Act of 1919 in the British Indian provinces. The administration of certain departments was entrusted to an elected member of the legislature to be nominated by the Maharaja. IN the elections to the reformed legislature two political parties, viz, the Cochin State Congress and the Cochin Congress won 12 and 13 seats respectively. With the help of a few independents Ambat Sivarama Menon who was the leader of the Cochin Congress Party took up office as Minister under the scheme in June 1938. On his death in August 1938 Dr.A.R.Menon was appointed as Minister. When the State Legislature passed a vote of non-confidence against him, Dr.Menon resigned office on February 25, 1942 and was succeeded by Sri.T.K.Nari, Sri.Nair was in office till July 11,1945.

The introduction of diarchy did not satisfy the political aspirations of the people of Cochin. The idea of full Responsible Government on the basis of adult franchise had caught their imagination. On January 26, 1941 a new political organization called the Cochin State Praja Mandal took shape on the initiative of a few young politicians under the leadership of Sri.V.R.Krishnan Ezhuthachan.

The Quit India movement of 1942 has its echoes in the District. After the release of the leaders from jail in 1943, the Cochin State Praja Mandal pursued its organizational activities more vigorously. In the elections to the State Legislature in 1945 it won 12, of the 19 seats contested by its candidates. At the annual conference of the Praja Mandal held at Ernakulam in 1946 it was decided to start a state wide movement for the achievement of a Responsible Government. The State Legislature was scheduled to meet on July 29, and it was decided that the day should be observed all over the State as Responsible Government Day. In pursuance of this decision, meetings and demonstrations were held all over the State demanding the end of Dewan's rule and the transfer of full political power to the elected representatives of the people. The Maharaja of Cochin announced in August 1946 decision to transfer all departments of the State Government except Law and Order and Finance to the control of Ministers responsible to the State Legislature. In co-operation with other parties in the State Legislature, the Cochin State praja Mandal decided to accept the offer. Consequently the first popular Cabinet of Cochin consisting of Panampilly Govinda Menon, C.R.Iyyunni, K.Ayyappan and T.K.nair assumed office.

The first step towards the achievement of the goal of Aikyakerala was taken with the integration of Travancore Cochin States in July 1949. With the linguistic reorganization of States in India, in November 1956 the Kerala State came into existence.

The wave of nationalism and political consciousness which swept through the country since the early decades of this century has its repercussions in the District as well.

Even as early as 1919 a Committee of the Indian National Congress was functioning in Thrissur. In the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1921, several persons in Thrissur Town and other places in the District took active part and courted arrest.

Thrissur District can claim the honour of having been in the forefront of the country-wide movement for temple entry and abolition of untouchability. The famous Guruvayur Satyagraha is a memorable episode in the history of the national movement.

The Government of Cochin under the guidance of Sri.R.K.Shanmughom Chetti followed a policy of conciliation. By degrees the public demand for the introduction of responsible Government in the State grew strong In August 1938 Cochin announced a scheme for reforming the State legislature and introducing a system as per the Government of India Act of 1919 in the British Indian provinces. The administration of certain departments was entrusted to an elected member of the legislature to be nominated by the Maharaja. IN the elections to the reformed legislature two political parties, viz, the Cochin State Congress and the Cochin Congress won 12 and 13 seats respectively. With the help of a few independents Ambat Sivarama Menon who was the leader of the Cochin Congress Party took up office as Minister under the scheme in June 1938. On his death in August 1938 Dr.A.R.Menon was appointed as Minister. When the State Legislature passed a vote of non-confidence against him, Dr.Menon resigned office on February 25, 1942 and was succeeded by Sri.T.K.Nari, Sri.Nair was in office till July 11,1945.

The introduction of diarchy did not satisfy the political aspirations of the people of Cochin. The idea of full Responsible Government on the basis of adult franchise had caught their imagination. On January 26, 1941 a new political organization called the Cochin State Praja Mandal took shape on the initiative of a few young politicians under the leadership of Sri.V.R.Krishnan Ezhuthachan.

The Quit India movement of 1942 has its echoes in the District. After the release of the leaders from jail in 1943, the Cochin State Praja Mandal pursued its organizational activities more vigorously. In the elections to the State Legislature in 1945 it won 12, of the 19 seats contested by its candidates. At the annual conference of the Praja Mandal held at Ernakulam in 1946 it was decided to start a state wide movement for the achievement of a Responsible Government. The State Legislature was scheduled to meet on July 29, and it was decided that the day should be observed all over the State as Responsible Government Day. In pursuance of this decision, meetings and demonstrations were held all over the State demanding the end of Dewan's rule and the transfer of full political power to the elected representatives of the people. The Maharaja of Cochin announced in August 1946 decision to transfer all departments of the State Government except Law and Order and Finance to the control of Ministers responsible to the State Legislature. In co-operation with other parties in the State Legislature, the Cochin State praja Mandal decided to accept the offer. Consequently the first popular Cabinet of Cochin consisting of Panampilly Govinda Menon, C.R.Iyyunni, K.Ayyappan and T.K.nair assumed office.

The first step towards the achievement of the goal of Aikyakerala was taken with the integration of Travancore Cochin States in July 1949. With the linguistic reorganization of States in India, in November 1956 the Kerala State came into existence.

 

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