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Important Personalities in Kerala History

ACHUTA MENON


One of the most competent and popular Chief Ministers of Kerala.

AYYENKALI

A prominent leader of the oppressed classes. Born in 1863, he successfully organised educational and other rights for people of the lowest strata of society.


AYYAPPAN (Sahodaran Ayyappan)

A noted leader of the oppressed classes. He started the paper Sahodaran in 1921 and hence the name Sahodaran Ayyappan. He was a noted member of the ministries of Kochi from 1946 onwards till 1949. Died in 1968. The main arterial road from East into Kochi is today named after him


ARNOS PADIRI

A German priest who later became a Sanskrit scholar and penned many notable Sanskrit books of high repute. Also produced the first Malayalam - Portuguese dictionary.


AL BARUNI

A traveller from Arabia circa 1000 AD, who first described Malabar in his writings. Talks about Buddhist influence in Kerala during his travels.


ALPHONSA DE ALBURQUEQE

Portugese governor of Kerala from 1506. He is credited with expanding Portuguese power to the entire coast of Kerala, Goa and Malacca in the east by force of arms and shrewd alliances. He was an able administrator and brought in a semblance of law and order and sensible civil laws.


AROMAL CHEKAVAR

Legendary figure of 12th century AD. Hero in many Vadakkan Pattu or local chronicles. Reputedly man of great chivalry and bravery. His memory is revered in many parts of Kerala to this day.


CABRAL ALVAREZ

Soon after Vasco de Gama returned to Portugal, Cabral sailed to Kerala with 33 ships and 1500 men. Cabral was noted for his treachery and cruelty. Soon the entire coast was a battle field and forced Cabral to seek the help of the Kochi Raja to fight the Zamorin.


C KESAVAN

Freedom fighter and Chief minister of the state of Thirukochi in 1951.


E.K.NAYANAR

Veteran politician. The mild mannered and popular former Chief minister of Kerala .


GUBERNADOR, PAREMACKEL

A priest from a small parish of Ramapuram, he undertook a journey to Rome in 1778. Thereafter he wrote the first ever Travelogue in Malayalam.


GUNDERT SAYIP

Herman Gundert, a German missionary is credited with having prepared and published the first Malayalam dictionary in 1872. A noted educationist and literary figure.


IBN BATUTA

Another great traveler, from Africa, who wrote about the great port cities of Kerala - Caulum (Kollam), Calikooth (Kozhikode). There is no mention of Kochi in his memoirs.


JOHN NEUHOFF

A Dutch traveler to Kerala in 1664 wrote an exhaustive travelogue on Kerala.


KANAI THOMMAN


This Arab merchant arrived at Kodungalloor in 345 AD and laid the foundations of the Syrian Christian of Kerala. The local Raja accorded him great honours and positions in credited with founding the Syrian Christian community of Kerala.


K. KARUNAKURAN

Karunakaran was one among the able Chief Ministers of Kerala. Popularly known as 'Leader'


KUNJALI MARAKKAR

The Admiral of great courage and tactical capabilities, was reportedly o Arab descent. He is probably the only person to have effectively challenged the might of the Portuguese fleets. But the odds were too great against the might of the Portuguese empire


KAYAMKULAM KOCHUNNI


A famed highwayman of Central Thiruvithamkoor in the early part of the 19th century. He is reported to have stolen from the rich and given to the poor. Legends about his exploits are part of the local folk lore. Died in jail in 1859.


KELAPPAN


A Gandhian who fought ceaselessly against all form of subjugation and oppression. Closely identified with the Vaikom satyagraha (temple entry for all castes).


KUNJAN NAMBIAR

A great Malayalam poet in the court of Marthanda Varma


MARTHANDA VARMA

The founder of the unified state of Thiruvithamkur in the 18th century. He conquered all the medium sized principalities upto Kochi and laid the foundations of a modern state. He employed people with known capabilities in the military, administration and education.


MUNROE, JOHN, COLONEL


A able administrator and resident of Thiruvithamkoor in the early years of 19th century. Introduced very far reaching and sensible reforms.


PATTOM THANU PILLAI


One of the early Chief Ministers of Kerala in its formative years in 1960.


PANAMPILLY GOVINDA MENON


An eminent political figure of Kochi. He was the Chief Minister of Kochi in 1947 and 1955. He was also member of the Union Cabinet.


PAZHASSI RAJA


The Pazhassi raja led an insurrection against British rule in Malabar in 1797. The British took causalities in the beginning, but asserted themselves as the campaign wore on. By 1804 Pazhassi's revolt was all but suppressed. In 1805 he was killed in the forests of Wayanad. He is to this day revered as one of the greatest patriots of Kerala.


R. SHANKAR


One of the Chief Ministers of Kerala after Independence.


Sir C. P. RAMASWAMY IYENGAR

Powerful Dewan of Thiruvithamkur state at Independence. It must be said that Sir CP (as he was popularly known) nursed ambitions of making Thiruvithamkur an independent country. However, a violent personal attack on him demoralised him and he went to self exile.

 


SRI NARAYANA GURU


One of the greatest social reformers of India and a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi. His call for equality among people found a great following. His teachings have had a profound effect on the caste-ridden Kerala landscape and helped the state achieve great social progress when compared to the other states of India. Founded many ashrams, the most important being at Sivagiri near Kollam. He died in 1928.


THACHOLI OTHENAN


Another legendary warrior from North Kerala at the end of the 16th century. Highly stylised songs and stories of his valour and chivalry abound.


UNNIARCHA


Legendary warrior figure , sister of Aromal Chekavar, mother of Aromalunny. The songs and chronicles have to this day kept the legend alive.


VASCO DE GAMA


The European merchant prince who opened up the East to European rule. Landed at Kozhikode in 1498 and established trading stations and in the end Portuguese rule over Kerala.


VELU THAMPI DALAWA


Velu Thampi led what is perhaps the most courageous rebellion against the British which started as a direct fall out of the British Resident Macauly's humiliating interference in the affairs of the Thiruvithamkur . Th e revolt started in 1808 . The Kundara Proclamation of 1809 was an open call to arms and thousands flocked to his banner.


Initially, he was helped in his cause by the Dewan of Kochi, Paliath Achan, but in the later stages he fought a lonely campaign against the British. He was no match for the military might of the British Army and finally fled the state and reportedly committed suicide in March 1809. Most of Velu Thampi's followers were either hanged or imprisoned after the termination of hostilities. There would not be any insurrection on this scale for the rest of the British presence in Kerala.
 

 
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