Why History? Why Cochin Royal Family History?
In this segment, after having studied the history, I pause to answer this question: Why History? Why Cochin Royal Family History? Why is it a unique narrative?
History is a continuous record of important events. A study of past events is history.
It is a curious thing for us, self-important human beings, to see one’s continuity in the future as well as in the past. For example, I look at my son or my daughter and try to see something of ME in them. As I have grown older, I look at myself in the mirror and try to see something of my parents, my uncles, and I wonder if they did the same. Whether we like it or not, we live in a continuum. The past merges with the present and the present soon becomes history. Navigating the present without remembering the past is akin to a stage of Alzheimerism. Recording events of the present is also important. That is why we keep diaries, photographs, and video tapes. We do that to keep a history of our family,even if it is a nuclear one.
If we extend it to a particular Kovilakam, it becomes the Kovilakam history. Why not a Thavazhy history? Why not the history of all the Thavazhis of the Cochin Royal Family?
Our family Thavazhis resulted from one single woman – Chittamma Thampuran’s grandmother who was adopted from the Chazhiyur Thavazhi, a sister thavazhy, to the Royal Family in 1715. Unfortunately, we do not know her name.
From 1715 onwards, the continuum has continued. What an evolution! An adopted ancestor after 12 to 13 generations, evolving into many who belong to the Cochin Royal Family heritage. Today we are over a thousand independent, self-important, totally dissimilar individuals; all with a different story to tell - that is the story to be told, to be recorded.
Political survival as an entity for over 7 Centuries for this Royal Family is either miraculous or sheer providential.
The ingredients that created this unique narrative are:
1. The spiritual values.
The Royal Family had imbibed through the interaction with Namboodiris, a significant amount of spirituality and religiosity. This has percolated through generations and through centuries. Even today, every child born in the Family goes through a ritual of ‘ Adima Kedathal’- consecration to Lord Poornathrayeesa in Tripunithura.
2. Defensive un- war like posture and diplomacy.
History will show that Cochin has never waged war to expand. They have been at war only to defend when they were attacked and very seldom to claim lost territories.
This probably has been the greatest creed followed by the Rajas of Cochin. From time immemorial, Christians, Jews, Muslims, migrant Hindus and western traders like the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British were allowed to practice their religion and pursue their lifestyles in spite of the scriptural injunctions of casteism of the Hindus.
Historically, trade with the Phoenicians, the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese and the Moors has been a hallmark of the Perumals and Cochin welcomed the Portuguese and the Dutch with open arms.
5. Simple living.
According to Rig Veda tenets- There were never any pretensions of ostentatious aspirations and that is true to this day.
6. Progressive thinking.
An ability to accept changes while staying true to traditions.
For the public and for themselves. It is not surprising that Kerala boasts of a very literate society.
8. Total renunciation with no regrets (1947).
Cochin was one of the first Kingdoms to join the Union without any pre-conditions. They had introduced a rule by legislature, starting from 1900, that progressively handed over governing responsibilities to the representatives of the public.
We can now see the uniqueness of the Cochin Royal Family Heritage. It's humble solitary beginning, it's relatively privileged position, it's proliferation and progress in its own inimitable style – modest, elegant, simple yet dignified and with honour.
An innocent girl of just twelve years, who was adopted to continue the continuum after several generations, resulted in over a thousand of ordinary men and women of present day Cochin Royal Family.
Today, we embark on a history-making odyssey. We try to tell our story to ourselves and to our younger generations.