The Dhow to Khor Fakkan

In 1957, the first democratically elected Communist government took office in Kerala. By 1960, the people of Kerala were willing to do anything, including  voyages across the open ocean in dhows to get away from the state and find employment. A recent Malayalam movie, Pathemari (Dhow), is the story of one such man, Narayanan, who […]

Indian History Carnival-76: Ramayana, Tipu, Coolie Woman, Palghat Achans

The Asian and African studies blog has been writing about the influence of Ramayana in various countries in India’s neighborhood. Here are the links: Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, Indonesia and Malaysia, Burma In the Malay Muslim courts of the archipelago, literary traditions now transmitted using Arabic script continued to reflect deep-seated Hindu-Buddhist roots. The Malay […]

Sree Padmanabhaswamy and Subhas Chandra Bose

In 1941, a British official in Chennai received an anonymous letter which claimed that Subhas Chandra Bose had returned to India and was living in the premises of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The letter was forwarded to the dewan Sir C P Ramaswamy Iyer who immediately put a close watch around the area. The letter, received by […]

In Pragati: Secrets of the cellars

The 8th century CE was a period of Hindu resurgence in Kerala. Adi Sankara, who wrote about Advaita with literary force and philosophic depth lived during this period. The Tamil poets—Saiva nayanars and Vaishnava azhvars—created large volumes of influential devotional literature and triggered a popular mass movement. Economically these were prosperous times due to extensive […]

Indian History Carnival – 43: Sree Padmanabhaswamy, Vasco da Gama, Buddha, Indus Script

manasa-taramgini has an interesting post which goes into the question of illiteracy of Indo-Aryans. This TED talk will provide a good introduction to the subject. Indeed when one analyzes the early brAhmI inscriptions from megalithic sites in India and Lanka they routine co-occur with graffiti. The dravidianist Mahadevan claims that the use of these symbols […]

A 2nd century Jaina in Kerala

(Image via KCHR) The picture shown above is the broken rim of a pot found at the Muziris Heritage site at Pattanam, Kerala. The words, written in Tamil-Brahmi, read “a ma na” which means a Jaina and attests to the fact that Jainism was present in Kerala in the second century CE. Mr. Cherian, who […]

Saving Megalithic sites

Recently, a new protected area was declared in the Jordan Valley to protect megalithic structures dating back to 3000 BCE. Similar megalithic structures exist near Thrissur in Kerala, but their situation is not as good. No one has so far protected and preserved any of the ‘kodakkal’ or umbrella stone of megalithic culture found in different […]

Gama's Eastern Christians

An iconic scene during the Portuguese arrival in Malabar in 1498 is when the ex-convict Joao Nunes stepped into land and met two Moors from Tunis. The Moors greeted the ex-convict, “The Devil take you! What bought you here.” He replied, “We came to seek Christians and spices”. While the Portuguese search for a direct […]

Indian History Carnival – 21

The Indian History Carnival, published on the 15th of every month, is a collection of posts related to Indian history and archaeology. Sukumar has a hypothesis about the Indus valley women: unmarried women wore bangles only in one arm, whereas married women wore bangles in both arms. He wants help with this symbology associated with […]

How old are our mantras?

The Michael Wood documentary, The Story of India, which was telecast in six parts on PBS mentioned something interesting in the very first episode. Wood talked about the Out of Africa theory – the migration of humans 70,000 years back, from Africa along the shores of Arabian Sea into South India – and mentioned that […]