Christians, warriors and princesses

Christians, warriors and princesses: In this excerpt from The Ivory Throne, shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2016, we read about Kerala’s relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, and its once-relaxed behavioural norms for women...

"Indeed to the first Europeans, Kerala seemed to marinate in blood as Nairs, serving their numerous lords and princes, lived in a state of perpetual warfare and violent enmity; as Galleti would dryly remark, “War was in fact the natural state” here. Perhaps the most emblematic of their ingrained will to kill (or to get killed) was the custom of blood feuds known as kudipaka. If a Nair died at the hands of an enemy, the slain warrior’s family vowed not to rest until they had exterminated the killer’s clan, avenging their dead kin. Families in such epic vendettas often prepared doggedly for years before assaulting each other on a chosen date in a great duel or full-fledged battle, witnessed by massive baying crowds. Bloodthirsty loyalty of this nature extended to feudal overlords also. In 1502, for example, when the Zamorin’s soldiers killed three princes of Cochin, 200 Nairs serving as the latter’s bodyguard set out to avenge their dead masters’ honour. Their mission was to claim the lives of an equal number of princes from the house of the Zamorin, and it is said to have taken five years before the soldiers of Calicut put the last of these warriors to death, just outside the capital city. Until then, these chavers, as they were called, persevered on, advancing further and further into the Zamorin’s country, acting as a deadly squad of killing machines, cutting down every enemy Nair they encountered. “Their chief delight,” Francis Buchanan would write about the Nairs, “is in parading up and down fully armed. Each man has a firelock, and at least one sword; but all those who wish to be thought as men of extraordinary courage carry two sabres.”

Wonndering, am I nearer to finding some raw logic for the current riddles in erstwhile Malabar?
Will read the book "Ivory Throne"...Have ordered a copy from
M G Warrier


Popular posts from this blog



Infinities of being a housewife