Sakthan Thampuran was getting used to dealing with the British, who were very different from the Dutch. He was well-versed in various of the previous treaties and was always willing to argue in favor of his point of contention. The numerous arguments he put up against Jonathan Duncan and the latter’s counterpoints are interesting reads. Ultimately, he was sincere in his compliments about Duncan, for his thoroughness and impartiality.
Going through the various letters he has written, which were published by the Kerala State Archives and the ones included in his biography by Puthezhath Raman Menon, his greatness as the Raja of a small Kingdom and a leader in the annals of the history of Cochin has been established. Myths and legends over a period of two hundred years have already immortalized the Great Sakthan. But there is so much more to document, study and analyze about this extraordinary Raja. Treaty concluded with the Raja of Cochin in 1791
Perumpadappu Valiya Rama Varma, the Raja of Cochin, having solicited an alliance with the Honorable United East India Company, which the Honourable Governor in Council in Madras has accepted of, on condition that the said Raja shall throw away all of his allegiances to Tippu Sultan, and become a tributary to the said Honorable Company; Mr. George Powney, on behalf of the Honourable Governor in Council of Madras, has settled with the said Raja, this Treaty, which consists of nine Articles.
I. It is agreed that Raja Rama Varma of Cochin shall not swerve from the conditions of this treaty, and shall faithfully adhere to them without diminution or reserve.
II. That the Honourable Company’s forces shall assist Raja Rama Varma in recovering the possessions wrested from him by Tippu Sultan, and shall render him independent of him.
III. That upon the time when the said possessions or districts which are underwritten are recovered; Raja Rama Varma shall be given full possession of them.
Names of the districts that were wrested from the Raja by Tippu Suthan
1. In the District of Nandevalam, the following Dependencies :
1.1. Mookanapooram 1.2. Irinjalacoodel 1.3. Kodashery 1.4. Maperanum 1.5. Pooducadoo
2. In the District of Paravattany, the following Dependencies :
2.1. Treshour 2.2. Paravattany 2.3. Paragom 2.4. Parumanum 2.5. Yenamakel 2.6. Chettalepolley
3. The District of Tallapilly
4. The District of Moohlurkarah
5. The District of Parattoo Veedu
6. The Village of Tekkemangalam
7. The District of Kawoolpar
8. In the District of Palgautchery, the following hills :
8.1. Temmalapooram 8.2. Vadamalapooram
9. Between these Districts :
9.1. Kodagara Nadu 9.2. Naledesam
10. In the Districts of Chetwai and Manapooram :
10.1. Padanittaulum 10.2. Kanrah 10.3. The Village of Cranganore 10.4. Trevangekadum Church 10.5. Yada-Turtie
IV. That upon Raja Rama Varma, being in possession of the above-mentioned districts, shall become a tributary to the Honourable United East India Company, and shall pay to the Representative or Delegate of the Honourable Governor in Council of Madras, a yearly tribute, in the following manner : for the first year he possesses the aforementioned districts, Seventy Thousand Rupees; the second year, Eighty Thousand Rupees; the third year, Ninety Thousand Rupees; and the fourth year, One Hundred Thousand Rupees; and everafter, the last-mentioned sum (Rupees 1,00,000) shall be annually paid by him. The yearly tribute shall be made in equal quarterly payments.
V. That in the event of any claim being preferred by any Raja to the places and districts mentioned above, within a span of five years after the date of this Treaty, it shall be entitled to a fair and impartial discussion, and be subject to the final decision of the Honourable English East India Company’s Government.
VI. That in consideration of a Treaty, which subsists between the Honourable Dutch East India Company, and the Raja Rama Varma of Cochin, the Honourable Governor in Council of Madras, not wishing to enter into any condition which may not be compatible with the spirit of the Treaty, subsisting between the above-mentioned parties, it is agreed that Raja Rama Varma shall become tributary to the Honourable East India Company only for those Districts, and place before recited, which were in the possession of Tippu Sulthan, and for which the said Raja paid him tribute, and with which the Honourable Dutch Company have no concern.
VII. That Raja Rama Varma shall exercise complete and uncontrolled authority over the afore-mentioned possessions, under the acknowledged sovereignty of the Honourable English East India Company.
VIII. The Honourable English East India Company relying on the constancy and firmness of Raja Rama Warma’s alliance and vassalage, and his continuing faithful to these engagements, it is agreed that no further demands shall be made upon him, and he shall receive that protection to which he is entitled, as the Honourable English East India Company always give to their faithful tributaries and allies.
IX. It is agreed that this Treaty shall be considered to have effect from the time (25th of September, 1790) Raja Rama Varma regained possession by power of the Honourable Company’s Arms’ of the districts and places wrested from him by Tippu Sulthan, and that from that period the said Raja shall commence to pay the tribute mentioned in the Fourth Article of this Treaty.
COCHIN, The Mark of the Raja.
6th of January, 1791.
We, the President and Council of Fort St. George, by virtue of the authority vested in us by the Governor General in Council of Fort William in Bengal, do acknowledge the within copy of the Treaty between the Honourable East India Company and the Raja of Cochin, and declare it binding upon all the said Company’s settlements in India, and have signed and sealed the same in Fort St. George, the 2nd February of the Christian Era. (Signed) W. MEADOWS. (Signed) CHARLES OAKELEY. (Signed) JOHN HUDLESTON.
The Raja, prior to Sakthan Thampuran's rule, died in August, 1790. This caused a delay in signing the Treaty. Sakthan Thampuran was extremely pleased with the conditions in the treaty and was not going to accept anything less. He was contentious with the final decisions of the Commissioners who adjudicated for the English East India Company. The details provided by Achyutha Menon can be summarized as follows :
After Sakthan Thampuran signed the treaty with Mr. Powney who was representing the East India Company in 1798, the contentions between the two parties regarding certain districts and places that were assigned to Cochin continued. According to the treaty, the British gave to Cochin, the territories Tippu had usurped from Cochin. This included Mukundapuram, Irinjalakuda, Kodassery, Mapranam, Puducaud, Thrissur, Paravattani, Perumanam, Enamakal, Chittilapilly, Thalappilly District, Ollurkara, Perattuveedu and the village of Thekkemangalm. Tippu had occupied Kavalappara. But the Kavalappara Nair claimed it for himself since the members of his family were feudal chiefs from 1718 onwards and was considered as an 'amsham' of Valluvanad with divided loyalties between Zamorin and Cochin. Cochin had helped Kavalappara in a prior war. He opted to merge with the British Residency and as a result, Sakthan Thampuran ended up losing that territory. Similarly, the Raja of Palghat reclaimed the hills of Thenmalapuram and Vadamalapuram.
There was no contest regarding Kodakara and Naludesam. The District of Chetuva was claimed by the Dutch East India Company and Article VI was probably inserted in the treaty for this reason. The Chetuva Islet was leased to Cochin for rupees 40,000 for a few years. Cranganore had often been under the Zamorin and the Dutch. But when questioned by the British Commissioners, the Raja of Cranganore opted to go with Cochin. The British then disregarded the Dutch claims. Parur, Alangad and Kunnathunadu were once ceded to Travancore by the treaty of 1761 by Cochin. But Tippu had occupied these territories. Therefore, Travancore claimed them and British granted that request. Sakthan Thampuran argued that they were ceded to Travancore by his ancestors for the help rendered by Travancore to push the Zamorin back up to Pukkaita. But since Vanneri, which was on the south side of Pukkaita was not recovered from the Zamorin, Cochin should not have ceded those territories back to Travancore in the first place. But this argument was challenged and found to be baseless, and the territories were granted back to Travancore. So this was the way the territories captured by Tippu in Malayala Nadu was divided between Travancore, Cochin, and Madras Presidency. Obviously, this was one of the major reasons for Sakthan’s disenchantment with the English.
Sakthan Thampuran was always critical of the provision in a prior treaty giving control of the Konkinis and the Latin Christians to the Dutch. With the new alliance with the British and the waning influence of the Dutch the Raja started extorting money from the Konkinis and the Christians and those who refused were punished, in some cases even by death. The Dutch tried to rescue their wards by attacking the Palace at Mattanchery. The Raja was ready to besiege the Cochin Dutch enclave. But for British agent Powney’s intervention, open hostility was quelled. In 1795, the British literally ousted the Dutch. Though the Dutch requested help from the Raja on the basis of their longstanding friendship, Sakthan saw the writing on the wall and offered no help. Those who wanted to leave Dutch Cochin were asked to go to Bombay. Many preferred to stay in Cochin.
From the time of the appointment of Colonel Macaulay as the first British Resident of Travancore and Cochin, Sakthan Thampuran’s relationship with the British had deteriorated rapidly. But, he had assessed the amazing power of the British and had cautioned his would-be successors to not alienate the British.
Another caution that Sakthan had conveyed to his successors was to alienate the Paliath Achan, and to not make him the adviser and minister. It was previously mentioned that the feudal properties were forcibly returned to the State after the last war with the Zamorin, in order to curb their influence. Many of the Paliath properties at various locations in the State of Cochin was thus lost to the Paliath Estate. The first noble of the Cochin State status was questioned by the Raja. Sakthan also considered the Paliath Achan then, to not be mature enough.
In 2005, a symposium was held at Tripunithura and it is available for viewing in the video gallery. The Symposium 2005 is presented in 5 parts.
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