Friday, March 26, 2010

When the Kerala history Begins

Geologically Kerala is much younger than rest of India, and it is believed that it came out of the ocean floor following some seismological event in the distant past.

The ancient history of Kerala is shrouded in the mists of tradition. The most popular legend would have it that the land crust that forms the State was raised from the depths of the ocean. Parasurama, the Brahmin avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, had waged an epic series of vengeful wars on the Kshatriyas. Came a moment when Parasurama was struck by remorse at the wanton annihilation he had wrought. He offered severe penance atop the mountain heights. In a mood of profound atonement, the sage heaved his mighty axes into the midst of the distant ocean. The waves foamed and frothed as a prawn-shaped land extending from Gokarnam to Kanyakumari surfaced from the depths of the sea to form the state and hence the sobriquet - "Gods own Country".

The original inhibitors of this land were dark skinned negritos of the proto-australoid race. These original people have negroid features. About three thousand years ago, when the Dravidians moved to south India they pushed these original inhabitants to the hills and forests. They were kept separate from the rest of the population till recently as untouchables.

The Dravidians originally came to India from the Mediterranean region passing through Iraq, Iran, and Baluchistan. Many scholars believe that they came out of the same stock as the Abraham's ancestors of the Sumerian civilization. They left for India before Abraham started his journey to the Promised Land in Palestine.

According to this legend, Kerala was a gift of the Arabian Sea to Parasuraman, one the 10 avatars or incarnations of Lord Vishnu. In order to atone for all the sins he committed in 21 wars, Parasuraman threw his favorite weapon, the axe, in to the sea standing in Gokarnam. The axe fell near Cape Comorin. A land came out of the sea from where he stood to the place the axe fell. He called the land Keralam. He divided it in to 64 parts and gifted it to 64 Brahmins families.

Kerala has been a true melting pot of many cultures for the past 3,000 years. Though the breaks in the Western Ghats, the Dravidians and Aryans came to Kerala in the beginning, but Kerala's long seashores have left an open door for foreign visitors always. Some Jews came to Kerala in 585 BC, soon after their Babylonian captivity and also others later during the Roman persecution in 72 AD. After the Middle East, Kerala has the most ancient Jewish community in the world though most have left for Israel since its founding in 1948. According to many Jewish historians, Kerala is the only land where the Jews of the Diaspora were never persecuted.

In modern history

15 AD: St. Thomas visited Kerala

24 December 1500 : The first Portuguese fleet called on its port, a firm ally of the Portuguese.

1604: The Dutch arrive in kozhikode

1800: British established their supremacy in Kerala

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