Uthrittathi Thirunal Gauri Parvathi Bayi
When Swathi Thirunal's mother Gauri Lakshmi Bayi passed away in 1914 when Swathi was less than 2 years old, her sister Rani Gauri Parvathi Bayi was recognized as Regent. Gauri Parvathi Bayi outlived Swathi Thirunal and was like a mother to him and to hlis sister and brother too (Swathi's sister has composed a song Sreekantesa paahi Paahi - in Khamas, where she laments that she prays that her 'mother' be blessed with children. Parvathi Bayi, though married thrice, did not have children). Even after Swathi assumed the throne, Parvathi Bayi was behind him, advising him on matters of administration, in the initial phases. Irayimman Thampi, courtier and relative of Swathi
makes mention about Parvathi Bayi's greatness in some of his padas. When she became the Regent, being very young (13 years old), she was without any experience of the country and its affairs. Naturally the world entertained serious apprehensions of her capacity to rule. But her natural intelligence, mild and kindly disposition and a robust patriotism combined to make her one of the greatest rulers of Travancore. Col. Munro continued to give her his advice with unabated ardour. She had also the benefit of the counsels of her brother-in-law, besides that of her husband, a Koyil Thampuran of Kilimanur.
The first act of the new ruler was the appointment of a permanent Dewan. Bappu Rao, the Dewan Peishkar, in chage of the administration stood in high favour with the Resident, but the Rani decided to confer the appointment on one of her own subjects. The choice fell on Sankaranarayana Aiyar, commonly known as Sanku Annavi, who though thoroughly loyal to his sovereign was found to be inefficient. Parvathi Bayi preferred the interests of the state to her personal inclinations towards an old dependent. Sanku Annavi's services were therefore dispensed with after a period of ten months, and Raman Menon, a Judge of the Huzur Court, was appointed in his place on the 22nd Vrschikam 991 M.E. The new Dewan was a capable and energetic officer. Entering the legal profession he had risen to a seat in the highest judicial tribunal of the land by dint of industry and intelligence. Col. Munro recommended him for the office of Dewan and the Rani was pleased to confer it upon him. The new Dewan directed his attention to the improvement of the administrative machinery. His work gave satisfaction to the public as well as to the Rani. But the situation was soon complicated by the Dewan's sense of duty and fearless independence. Captain Gordon, the Commercial Agent of the Travancore Government, though an officer of considerable experience in the line, conducted the affairs of the Department under his charge in defiance of rules passed by Government as to the manner in which certain items of work were to be performed. From independence Gordon soon made himself liable to the charge of insubordination. The Dewan took the investigation of certain affairs into his own hands. This step created a feeling of animosity on the part of Gordon towards the Dewan. In those days it was easy for European officers to gain the ear of the Resident. Munro made a prompt enquiry into the matter, but found that some of the acts of the commercial agent were unwarranted and clearly against the rules prescribed for the conduct of those transactions. Yet he upbraided the Dewan of the stern action taken against Captain Gordon. Misunderstanding between Munro and Raman Menon soon grew to a crisis. Dewan Perishkar Janardana Rao Venkata Rao (alias Reddy Rao) saw his chance of becoming the Dewan in his turn through his patron's help in Travancore. Munro proposed to the Rani that the old office of Dalakartha should be revived and Raman Menon appointed to the place. The Rani had no alternative but to yield. From the headship of the administration Raman Menon was degraded to a position of complete innocuousness. This was in the middle of 992 M.E. His duty as Fouzdar or Dalakartha was merely to sign death-warrants on behalf of the ruler. His salary was reduced and he was consigned to a life of enforced idleness and insignificance. Raman Menon escaped the humiliation by retiring from service in the same year.
Reddy Rao soon obtained the object of his ambition. He was appointed to act as Dewan on 28th Makaram 992 M.E. and was subsequently confirmed in the place. The commencement of his administration augured well for the welfare of the country. He had the benefit of Munro's advice and the advantage of his steady and effective support. But the Resident's retirement in 994 M.E.(1819 A.D) marked change in the political atmosphere. The inefficiency of Reddy Rao led to the decline of discipline in the public service. The Rani who took a personal interest in the affairs of Government and acquired by this time some experience of administrative matters, found that the Dewan Reddy Rao would not be able to maintain the high level in the management of affairs. The court was therefore obliged to scrutinise the proceedings of the Dewan even in the most trivial details.
The politics of the Residency complicated the situation still further. The channel through which Reddy Rao worked his way up to the ministership was open to other adventurers. Col. Munro Dowall, the new Resident, had his own favourite, another Mahratta Brahman, called Gundo Panditha Venkata Rao. The latter was a man of considerable ability. He possessed a good knowledge of English and the South Indian languages. He was soon appointed the Resident's Agent and Interpreter, the accredited channel of communication between him and the Rani. He soon rose in the Rani's favour. Within a short time of his coming to Travancore he was able to secure for himself the high office of Dewan Peishkar. He was influential at Rani and the public buy pandering to spectacular displays. He repaired some buildings in the pagoda at Trivandrum; and made a golden ornament for the image of Sri Padmanabha; improved the uttupura; added various ornamental accessories to the royal processions and improved the dress of the sepoys and troops in imitation of the Mysore fashion. The Peishkar's name was in every man's mouth, both at court and in the country at large. The Dewan feared that he might lose his office in the rising wave of the Perishkar's popularity. He apprehended that what he himself did against his predecessor might be done against him by the ambitious Peishkar. Reddy Rao therefore resolved to fortify his position through the help of the astute Najappayya, the Cochin Minister, a member of the fraternity of Col. Munro's dependants. He came to Trivandrum under some convenient pretext. The mission proved successful and Nanjappayya managed to create in the minds of the Rani and the Resident the most favourable impressions of his friend. Reddy Rao's position was secured against the machinations of his opponent and Najappayya was able to secure for himself from the Rani an extensive tract of land in the taluk of Parur adjoining the territory of Cochin.
Close upon this came the marriage of the princess Rukmini Bayi which was conducted with great pomp and splendour through a prolonged period of fourteen days instead of the usual four. The efforts made by the Dewan in the successful management of the ceremonies strengthened his hold on the confidence and goodwill of the Rani. But Reddy Rao soon overshot the mark. Taking advantage of the favourable turn in his affairs he asked for a tangible recognition of his 'devoted' service. His friends in the domestic circle of the ruler sang his praises and enhanced the favourable impression of the Rani by reiterating his great personal services to the ruling family. The young Rani was greatly pleased that she granted to him the two villages of Sambur and Vadakara in the Shenkotta taulk as a Jaghir. This gave Dewan Perishkar Venkata Rao his chance and he was not slow to impress upon Col. Newal, who became Resident after the death of MacDowel, the impropriety of the minister receiving the grant which was prejudicial to the revenues of the State. The resident accepted the argument and directed that the Dewan should immediately disgorge his ill-gotten property and surrender the lands to the state. This was done. Reddy Rao resigned in disgust on the 16th Minam 997 M.E. The Resident appears to have given his advice on general grounds of public policy. But it was justified by a superior reason. The rulers of Travancore, it is authoritatively stated, administer the affairs of the country as the servants of the Deity to whom the whole state was dedicated by Marthanda Varma and confirmed by Rama Varma. That being the case, the Rani had no right to alienate a portion of the territory. The prejudice to the state was great as the grant did not reserve the right to levy tax, the tenure being Sarvamanya.
Gundo Panditha was raised to the dewanship. His administration was vigorous and he made himself popular by a general remission of arrears of tax. He fixed his headquarters at Quilon, a central position from which he could make himself accessible to the people from all parts of the country. He took deep interest in improving irrigational facilities and the means of communication. In 999 M.E. the construction of two canals, one from Trivandrum to Kathinamkulam and the other from Paravur to Quilon, was sanctioned. The Dewan patiently listened to all classes of the people and did his best to redress their grievances. He continued in office till 1005 M.E.
The reign of Rani Parvathi Bayiu was remarkable as one of the best periods in the annals of the state. We learn in Indian history of several queens who in the absence of male members in the ruling dynasties kept up the reputation of their ancestors by efficient administration as well as by leading military forces to resist invasions from outside. There have been regents and reigning queens whose work has brought them permanent fame. But no queen or regent in India made the instruments of peace to yield more in the shape of permanent public welfare than Parvathi Rani. She was a precocious princess and exhibited in her tender years more talent, more patriotism and more benevolence than one generally does in the course of a long and spacious life. She assumed the reins of administration in her 13th year and surrendered it to Swathi Thirunal when she was barely twenty seven. But during these fourteen years the noble queen worked without intermission to build up an administrative machinery for the good of the people of all castes and communities and all stages of social evolution; land-lords, cultivators, merchants and agricultural labourers, taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded by British peace.
Whatever might have been the civic rights and the political privilege of the people of Travancore in the good old days, those rights and privileges had been reduced to the lowest level, partly by the well-meant efforts of successive rulers to establish a strong central authority and partly by those measures of public policy inaugurated by the Government after the suppression of Velu Thampi's rebellion. Towards the end of Bala Rama Varma's reign the very right of organized petitioning was taken away and Thampi Iravi prohibited the use of the usual assemblages. The memory of the insurrection of 1809 and the fate of Velu Thampi Iravi and his associates removed the last vestiges of popular control over the officers of Government. The short reign of Lakshmi Bayi and the efforts made by Munro to strengthen the powers of government and to broaden its ambit encouraged the conviction that government and government alone could protect life and property.
Parvathi Bayi encouraged by appropriate acts the belief that government was their sole protector and arbiter of their fortunes. The unlawful collection of moneys, whether by the representatives of the aristocracy or by the professed leaders of the Ilavas, Channars and Mukkuvas was forbidden under rigorous sanctions. It was impressed upon the Muthaliyar of Alakiyapantipuram that he should not regard himself as anything superior to an ordinary subject. Men of influence were distinctly told that if they continued the old practice of exacting payments from the people for the exercise of ordinary civil rights, such as the celebration of marriages, the performances of funeral ceremonies, using palanquins or wearing head dresses (Thalayilkettu), they would meet with condign punishment. The officers were strictly warned against similar acts of exaction. Civic rights were to be respected. Orders were issued prohibiting the impressments of labour to carry loads for Government without payment. If supplies and services were requisitioned from the people they were to be paid for at the prescribed rates. The British regiments in Travancore were also placed under the ordinary law so far as they remained in Travancore territory. They were forbidden to seize the property of the inhabitants in the tracts through which they passed from Puliyara to Quilon and back or to impress labourers for their service. Thus the rule of law was firmly established. The officers were placed under strict disciplinary rules. Rank afforded no immunity. For example, a Tahsildar was awarded twenty-four stripes besides rigorous imprisonment for twelve years for dishonest conduct in connection with his official duties. But prevention was regarded better than cure and rules were laid down that even the taxes paid by the landholders should be received by the three officers, the Pravrthikar, Chanthrakkar and Tahsildar, sitting together. Due provision was made for complaints being made against offending officers. The agencies of protection were assumed by Government. Desa Kaval or village watches were appointed in Najanad and certain other places and made responsible for public security, and neighbouring land-holders were also charged with the duty of giving information of preparation of dacoites and apprehending of offenders.
The beginning of social reforms were carefully laid. Members of communities low in the social scale were, for the first time, allowed to use ornaments of gold and silver without paying the atiyara, (payments to the king for the privilege). The poll-tax levied on castes such as Ilavas, Vannars, Kavuthis, Chettis, etc., was abolished. The trend of legislation tended in the direction of doing away with invidious rules of social precedence and establishing civic equality so far as it was possible at the time. A prominent instance is afforded by the proclamation issued by the Rani permitting all persons to have tiled roofs for their houses. The significance of this change will be fully understood only when it is remembered that even the chiefs of Malabar could not have their palaces tiled without causing offence to the more prominent rulers like the Zamorin. The higher strata of the population was not let alone. Seeing that large sums were demanded as dowries by intending Namputhiri bridegrooms the Rani issued a proclamation which deserves citation.
"Whereas large sums of money amounting to Rs. 1000 or 2000 are demanded as dowry and whereas the practice leads to the alienation of Brahmaswam properties and the ruination of families and women are constrained to remain unmarried till their thirtieth or fortieth year of age and consequently many untoward things are seen to happen. We are pleased to issue this proclamation for the welfare of the people and the good of the state.
“All virgins in the families of Nampuris and Pottis should be married between the ages ten and fourteen. No person shall demand and none shall pay more than 700 fanams (Rs.100) as dowry. All the women above fourteen, remaining unmarried, shall be married within a period of two years form this date. Those who violate his law will be subjected to judicial process and punished in conformity with the Dharma Sastra."
It may be argued that legislative power of the sovereign should not be used in this manner to the prejudice of individual freedom. But the ruling ideas of the time were different. The status of a person depended on the laws of the Dharma Sastra and the uninterrupted custom of Malabar. Of that law and that custom the sovereign was the guardian and protector. At the same time the Rani was unwilling to encourage changes which would lead to social unrest. When certain classes imitated the dress of those who were regarded as the aristocratic classes the Rani and the Government refused to permit the innovation.
The arrangements for the administration of justice were amplified. Frivolous litigation was sought to be minimised by the imposition of stampduty in the form of achatiyolas on which alone plaints in civil cases were to be written and presented to the courts. Persons who through poverty were unable to purchase the achatiyolas were enabled to obtain them gratis in appropriate cases. False complaints in criminal cases were discouraged by the award of compensation to innocent persons accused of crime. Rules were passed to prevent illegal and unnecessary detention of under-trial prisoners in gaol. It was directed that the accused should be kept in custody only in such serious cases as murder, dacoity, theft, rioting and mischief to government property and in other appropriate cases, and officers were ordered to be punished for transgressing their authority or taking action in arresting and detaining prisoners except on substantial grounds. Officers guilty of illegal action against the subjects or of misappropriation of government funds in any manner were not only removed from office but their properties were confiscated and their persons imprisoned.
The timely collection of the revenues was a subject in which the Rani took a continuous personal interest. A number of proclamations was issued stating the manner in which the taxes sanctioned by law were to be realized with regularity and promptness, and prescribing the course of action to be taken by the officers. Imprisonment for default in payment was a practice sanctioned by law in Travancore as well as in other parts of India. That extreme remedy, however, was administered only in cases in which that course of action was absolutely necessary. It is worthy of mention that he Rani understood clearly that the people's capacity to pay the taxes was more essential than compulsory process. She therefore devoted her steady attention to the improvements of the economic condition of the landholders and cultivators, the back-bone of the state. The revenue settlement of 992 M.E. enabled the Government to find out at a glance the persons from whom the imposts on particular plots were realised. The revenue records were corrected and brought up to date by verification on the spot and by an effective system of checks and balances by superior officers .The use of stamped cadjans recording transfers of removable property minimized disputes of title. Security of possession and the virtual fixity of assessment drew more vigorous efforts from the agriculturists in the operations of tilling. Encouragement was given to the cultivation of waste-lands, thus opening up large tracts of forest lands; and concessions were granted in the way of exempting such lands from taxation for prescribed periods in the beginning so that the concession might encourage ventures in that direction. Cultivation of cardamom received special beneficial treatment. Measures were adopted to protect crops form the ravages of elephants and other wild animals. The government also made arrangements for the supply of provisions for cultivators on the hills at moderate rates. Chakuti and Pokuti lands i.e., escheated and abandoned areas, were assigned to those who were prepared to take them up under reasonable terms. The planting of trees was encouraged by granting natuvukur remission, paying due regard to the labour bestowed on the rearing of trees by the cultivator. Whenever, the Government required timber other than royal trees form private compounds the owners were paid their price (kutivila). Non-productive trees were exempted from taxation. In addition to follow remissions granted from time to time general remission of arrears was allowed on particular occasions, as for instance in connection with the birthday of the young prince Swathi Thirunal.
The obstacles to trade were removed by the abolition of export duty on rice, paddy and other cereals, thus enabling the cultivators to obtain the maximum profit. Later on certain import duties were also abolished to provide for an adequate supply of necessary goods. Communications were improved and laws were passed permitting intending boat-builders to fell and use timber except teak from private holdings as well as government lands on payments of the prescribed seigniorage which was sufficiently low to encourage the business. Certain duties levied on boats were also done away with. Freedom was guaranteed to merchants and others to deal in any commodity they thought proper by prohibiting the organized attempts of certain influential the help of the officers of Government. The coinage was reformed to meet the requirements of increasing trade and offences against the currency were severely punished. An adequate supply of small change was ensured by permitting traders and others to have bullion minted in the government mint at Quilon and stamping. The cost of coining was made reasonably low, the purpose being more to help circulation than to obtain , a large seigniorage. The financial stability of the state was always kept in mind.
The tolerant religious policy of Rani Parvathi Bayi elicited the appreciation of the world as well as the commendation of the British Government. Conscientious scruples generated by religious convictions were consistently respected. A prominent instance is afforded by the exemption of Christians and Mussalmans from the coercive rules regarding viruthi service for temples. Even in regard to services to be performed by the Christian viruthikkar for the Government, Sundays and the days of important religious ceremonies were declared holidays. But in matters affecting the privilege and authority of Government the Rani refused to permit any course of action by individuals, associations or congregations to violate or evade the laws in force. She set her face resolutely against the efforts made by priests and others in certain parts of the country to usurp criminal jurisdiction to detain persons in custody and inflict their own punishments. Rewards were offered to those who intimated to the authorities of Government cases of unlawful actions by the ministers of religion. In one of her proclamations the Rani said:- "While granting individual permission to embrace any religion according to conviction and inclination, we shall not allow Christians, whatever be the section to which they belong, to offend the higher classes by their behaviour in violation of established custom". "The very root of the Christian religion", she said, "was humility and respect for constituted authority"” It was also proclaimed that neither Hindus nor Christans nor Muhammadans should establish places of worship without obtaining the previous sanction of Government. Seeing that certain converts to Christianity sought the protection of missionary societies for the maintenance of their rights the Rani proclaimed that complaints should be laid before the officers of Government and none else. Those who are guilty of doing anything which would endanger the peace and prosperity of the state would meet with the punishment they deserved. Not only was the authority of the sovereign emphatically asserted over individuals and congregations, but it was also declared that the jurisdictions of the heads of religion could be exercised only when recognized by the ruler. The territorial jurisdictions of the Metrans were also defined by Government.
It was in the regency of this Rani that the English missions received substantial help. In 991 M.E. the London Mission at Nagercoil, the nucleus of which was started in Myladi in south Travancore ten years earlier by the Missionary M.Ringeltaube, was placed on a firm footing. A few European missionaries were permitted to make their permanent residence in the state. Lands were given for church sites, and timber for the erection of buildings. In Nagercoil a large bungalow was granted to them besides a sum of Rs. 5,000. Rev.Mead, one of the missionaries, was appointed a Judge of the Zilla Court at Nagercoil. In 991 M.E. the Rani sanctioned the erection of a protestant church in Alleppey and supplied the timber free of cost. Permission was accorded to the Church Mission Society to commence its operations at Kottayam for improving the condition of the Syrians, the oldest Christian subjects of Travancore. The Rani also made a generous grant of 21,200 rupees at the instance of Col. Munro to enable the authorities to purchase paddy fields and gardens for its maintenance. A similar grant was made to the Church Mission Society of a tract of land in Kallada in the district of Quilon in order to encourage education among Syrians. Co. Munro addressed the Government of Madras in these words:-
"The temporal situation of the Syrians has also been materially improved. I have frequently taken occasion to bring them to the notice of Her Highness the Ranee of Travancore; and her intelligent, liberal and ingenuous mind has always appeared to feel a deep interest in their history, misfortunes and character. She is aware of the attention excited to their situation in Europe and her anxiety to manifest the sincerity of her attachment to the British nation has formed, I believe, an additional motive for the kindness and generosity she has uniformly displayed towards the Syrians. She has appointed a considerable number of them to public office; and lately presented the sum of Rs. 20,000 to the college at Kottayam, as an endowment for its support. The Syrians are most grateful for her goodness, and cherish in no ordinary degree the sentiments of affection and respect towards her person, that are entertained by every class of her subjects'”
After the insurrection of 984 M.E. the Travancore army was disbanded. Seven hundred men of the Nayar batalion and a few mounted troops were however retained for purpose of state ceremony. They were also allowed to retain possession of a certain number of unserviceable muskets. The force was placed under the command of an officer of the Madras native infantry. In 992 M.E. (1817 A.D) Col. Munro at the suggestion of the Queen proposed to the Madras Government a reorganisation of the troops. He observed that the seven hundred men, the remnants of the old army, were of little use as they were without arms or discipline. The proposal was to increase the strength of the Nayar infantry to two thousand one hundred, to supply them with arms, and to place them under the command of Captain Mc Leod, an officer, who, by permission of the Commander-in-chief, was then employed in Travancore as Killadar of the Fort at Trivandrum and in command of the Rani's escort of cavalry. The Resident observed that the finances of Travancore were in most prosperous state and the maintenance of an augmented body of Nayar troops would unite more closely the Raja with the people and provide for the relief of the Company's troops from several detached duties and likewise for the maintenance of internal peace in Travancore during the eventual absence of the greatest part of the whole subsidiary force. The Government of Madras approved of the proposal in 994 M.E. The enlistment was voluntary but was confined to the Nayars. This was the origin of the Nayar Brigade, though that designation was given to it only in 1005 M.E.(1830). A squadron of mounted troops and a detachment of artillery were also formed. One officer being found insufficient for he discipline and control of the reorganised troops, application was made to the Madras Government to lend four officers, one for each of the two battalions as Commandant and another as Adjutant. The Commander-in-chief while declining to lend the officers from the regular army permitted the employment of am officer on the half-pay list. Later on three more officers were appointed.
In 994M.E.(1819 A.D) the resident recommended that two thousand rifles and bayonets and two six-pounders and two nine-pounders, the latter for firing salutes, together with the necessary supply of gun-powder might be made to the Travancore Government on payment. This proposal was sanctioned by the Madras Government. In the same year the reorganisation of the brigade was completed. The principal duties which fell to the brigade after the reorganisation were of a civil or police nature. They were employed in guarding palaces, taking charges of prisoners and others in course of transit form station of station, preventing smuggling , seizing robbers and men charged with offences, assisting Tahsildars and civil officers and in employment about the pagodas and various duties during festivals. Of the number of men thus employed nearly eight hundred appear to have been distributed among sixty-six different stations, the remainder being at headquarters.
As the inhabitants of certain parts of Travancore showed preference to Jaffna tobacco over the stuff which was imported from the adjoining districts of British India, the Government entered into a commercial arrangement with Ceylon for its supply at prescribed rates(1818). In 1823 Thankasseri was taken on lease by Travancore from British Government for a period of twenty-four years. In 1825 the English obtained possession of the Dutch factory at Cape Comorin in pursuance to a treaty. In the same year an interestatal question was also settled as regards the sovereignty over Edappalli.
It was in the reign of Rani Parvathi Bayi that the sovereignty of Travancore was extended over the territories of the Edappalli chief. Edappalli (Rapolim) was formely an independent state ruled over by a Namputhiri Brahman dynasty. Besides the patch of territory surrounding their ancestral seat at Edappalli which was an enclave , so to speak, in the territory of the king of Cochin, the chief holds plots of land in Travancore, Cochin, Calicut and Kolathunad. Some of these were acquired as remuneration for spiritual services. Hostility with Cochin was the normal rule of policy with the rulers of Edappalli quite as much as friendship with the Zamorin. The island of Cochin formerly belonged to Edappalli, and it is stated that the Raja of Cochin acquired it as a patrimonial gift. One of the Zamorin's many invasions of the Cochin kingdom was on behalf of the Edappalli Raja who claimed the island as belonging to him. Many a time the kingdom was invaded by the Portuguese. The attacks by Pachecco in 1504 and by D'Souza in 1536 were the most disastrous. In later times the Edappallli chief entered into alliance with the Dutch Company (1740). Marthanda Varma and Rama Varma of Travancore spared the small state from invasion, it is said, on the score of the Raja's sacerdotal character.
The Edappalli Rajas continued to exercise sovereign powers till the end of the first quarter of the 19th century. But as their power had become weak they habitually obtained the help of Travancore in realising their dues from their subjects. The Raja of Cochin, however, influenced the British Resident, Col. Mac. Dowall, to place Edappalli under his protection. They sought the permission of the Madras Government on the allegation that the Raja of Edappalli desired to place himself under the protection of Cochin and that the Rani of Travancore had no objection to allow him to do so. The transfer was effected in 995 M.E. (1820 A.D). But it was soon found that the Resident's representation was not true and that Edappalli which disliked the relationship with Cochin was anxious to place itself under Travancore. “"he Rajas of Cohin", said the chief, "had always been hostile to my house from the earliest ages and the protection of the soveriengs of Travancore has saved what remains to me of the possessions of my ancestors from the encroachment of the Rajas of Cochin; under these circumstances and from a strong feeling of respect that my possessions may be replaced under the protection of Travancore". The Resident opposed the request and intimated to the Madras Government that as the dispute and scuffles which formerly existed between the servants of the two states in the matter of collection of revenues were already at an end the retransfer need not to be allowed. But the Madras Government said that "as their previous order was caused by the misrepresentation made by the former Resident regarding the attitude of the chief himself, the Governor-in-Council was of opinion that the arrangement founded upon it was harsh and unjust and desired accordingly that the Tributary might again be retransferred to the authority of the Travancore Sircar". The transfer was accordingly effected in 1000 M.E.(1825). Edappalli now one of the Edavakas in Travancore, the other Edavakas being Punjar, Vanjippula, and Kilimanur. The Edappallli chief pays to the Travancore Sircar a subsidy of Rs. 1082 chs. 16 per annum. Edappalli comprises the five pakuthis of Edappalli north and Edappalli south in Parur, Valappali in the taluk of Kunnathunad, Thrkkunnappula in Karthikappalli and Kallappara in Thiruvalla taluk.
The history of Punjar is closely associated with that of Edappalli. According to Padmanabha Menon, the ancestors of the Punjar chief's were originally of the Pandyan stock. Unable to maintain themselves against the aggressions of enemies one of the prince sought safety in Kerala with his family. Accepting the hospitality of certain Rajas and Namputhiris in succession, the party arrived at Edappalli where the Raja treated them with kindness. Eventually Manavikrama Kulasekhara Permual purchased the tract of Punjar from the Raja of Thekkumkur and exercised ruling authority by covenant with the inhabitants thereof. On the extinction of the line, the people invited certain members of the Sarkarakovilakam of Cranganore who readily stepped into the vacant place with the approval of the Raja of Thekkumkur. The introduction of members from Sarkara is referred to by Gollenesse, the Dutch Governor. The Punjar chief continued to be subject to the Raja of Vatakkumkur until the absorption of that state into Travancore.
The territory of the Panthalam Raja was absorbed into Travancore during the reign of Rani Parvathi Bayi (996 M.E.). The Panthalam Rajas are of the line of the Thenkasi Pandyan kings. Their advent into Travancore appears to have taken place by about 79 M.E. They had possessions on both sides of the Ghats. They were always friendly to the kings of Travancore and their co-operation was of great advantage of Marthanda Varma for the subjection of Kayankulam. During the invasion of Tippu Sultan Travancore called upon the Panthalam Raja to contribute a share of the expense of the war which he did by borrowings two lakhs and twenty thousand Rupees charging the debt on the tracts owned by him. In 969 M.E. the lands with all their revenues were hypothecated to Travancore, the Raja retaining possession thereof under the condition that he would pay every year Rs.50,000 by way of interest and instalment of the principal. Arrears having accrued from time to time, Velu Thampi Dalava effected an arrangement by which forest produce and certain other items of revenue in the Panthalam tract were to be collected by contractors engaged by Travancore. The debt still remained undischarged. Ultimately all the Panthalam possessions were taken over by Travancroe, the Raja agreeing to that course accepting a pension to him and to the other members of his family.
In 1004 M.E.(1829 A.D) prince Swathi Thirunal completed his 16th year of age and was installed as the ruler of the state (10th Medam) amidst the great rejoicings of the people. The Regent, who so successfully administered the kingdom on his behalf, cheerfully retired to a peaceful private life with all the honours of a reigning sovereign. The Maharaja consulted her on all matter of importance and profited by her advice. So did his brother Marthanda Varma after him.
Copy Right 2003 , All Rights Reserved, Designed and Maintained by C-DIT , www.cdit.org