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Thrissur

The term Thrissur (also Trichur, Trishur) 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. Thrissur is a revenue district of Kerala situated in the central part of that state. Thrissur district is home to over 10% of Kerala’s population. Thrissur district was formed on July 1, 1949, with the headquarters at Thrissur City. Thrissur is known as the cultural capital of Kerala, and the land of Poorams. The district is famous for its ancient temples, churches, and mosques. Thrissur Pooram is the most colourful and spectacular temple festival in Kerala.

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. Thus the anti feudal 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.

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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One comment

  1. Very informative page. Never have I seen a travel article with so much details on a place’s political history. Really informative. Keep up the good work.

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