At the Turn of the Tide


Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (1895-1985)

An earlier post by me on Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi had generated much debate and heated argument. In the commentary that followed I had cited several documents many of which can be accessed online now. “At the Turn of Tide: The Life and Times of Maharani Setu Lakshmi Bayi, the Last Queen of Travancore”, the biography of the Maharani by her granddaughter Dr. Lakshmi Raghunandan has now been released on Google as an ebook. This can now be read by everyone and the relevant letters and documents that are cited, with a wealth of pictures, may now be accessed. Any comments regarding the book may also be made in the reviews column.


57 Responses to “At the Turn of the Tide”

  1. Dear friend,
    I am very glad to know about yr family from this website. I have read this website following a request from guruji ( SRI SRI SRI
    GURUPRIYAJI ). She is aged 60yrs ,residing in Tambaram , chennai.
    She is the founder of SRIMAHADEVI SATHSANGAM ,Radha Krishna mandir.She is a highly spiritualised lady (Kindly open her website

    Last month she visited kerala, Guruvayur for Darshan of
    Lord Krishna and she adopted sri krishna as her own son like kururammai lived with sri krishna as her son. After her visit to kerala the thought of travancore maharani was there in her vision very often. She wanted to know if somebody from the royal family was very much intimate to Lord Krishna, whether any poojas were performed from the royal family.

    My Guruji ‘s has told that her paternal grandmother was a friend of the Travancore Maharani. Her father was a sanitary Assistant and had done renevation works in Travancore Palaces.Her father was born in Nagapatinam in 1905. These are some of the reminiscenes from her father
    in her younger days. But all these thoughts were revived only after her
    visit to kerala.

    Pls contact us.9840283208(Guruji ‘s no)

    His name is R.R.Chari.

  2. Wonderful News! I’m sure all the Travancore enthusiasts will be happy as this book was very hard to procure due to inavailability in the market.
    I personally have seen this book only once and had to photocopy some important pages for my reference.

  3. Thank You. Uncle, Congratulations I have sen a copy of the book and your name is also mentioned in it. I have posted some new posta.Please post some comments and if you sent me your emailid i will send you some pictures related to Travancore. Iam going to tell princess Pooyam Thirunal Gauri Parvathi Bayi about you and how brilliantly you have done things

    • manupillai Says:

      Dont call me “uncle” :-s I am a college student. Anyway I doubt Pooyam Thirunal Thampuratti will be too pleased with my work. Anyway yes I will look up your blog. thanks for the comment.

  4. Yes, She is a soft person with soft characters .She would be very pleased with your work. She will be happy to hear about you.And what shall i call you?
    Thanking You

  5. Manu chetta. I will call you like this. Did you post comments. Iam creating a page in wikipedia about Karthika Thirunal Thampuratty, Pooyam Thirunal Thampuratty and Ashwathi Thirunal Thampuratty. Can you help me with pictures and information

    • manupillai Says:

      haha please dont call me chetta. call me manu. anyway go ahead and create the pages. i will add whatever I know.

  6. then manu. can you help me with the pictures

    • manupillai Says:

      sure. start with the pages and i will add relevant material if i can find any with me. go ahead.

  7. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    Is this blog owned by Mrs Lakshmy Reghunandan or by you, Manuji?

    • manupillai Says:

      You must have felt really smart after posting that comment. Anyhow, this blog is mine as you very well know. And if you’re planning to come up with something like “Your spreading Dr Raghunandan’s propaganda against the GREAT GREAT QUEEN SETHU PARVATHI BAYI” or something similar, please desist. It bores me to hear that over and over again. If you desire I can offer suggestions for a better pastime than commenting on my insignificant little blog. Good day!

  8. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    I should not add any thing to any place. Evryhting is crystal clear. I have no hatred towards any one. It was Mrs Lakshmy who started this by spreading lies against the Late Mother Queen and King Emperor Chithira Thirunal. You are just a blind believer of that Regent’s hyprcracy.

    I had received two valuable documents from Mathilakam Records which say that:

    1) In 1928 the Governor of Madras and Viceroy took serious note of the financial condtion in Travancore and they were so critical of Fiscal stability under Regency.

    2) Stanley Therston of Viceroy’s Council had reported to the British Parliament of Funds mismanagement under regency in 1930.

    So Regency too was subject to Crticism from Britons.

    • manupillai Says:

      (1) Lakshmi must have gone to great lengths to fabricate documents and spread lies, if they had to end up in the British Archives, the National Archives and records of the Dewans, Residents etc. Your talking the same thing again and I am greatly disinclined towards giving you any further response on this matter.
      (2) “King Emperor” is the most hilarious term I have ever heard with reference to any Indian Maharajah. You are clearly unaware that the British always translated “Maharajah” as “Prince” which is also why the native states were called “Princely states”. There was only one King Emperor and he sat in England. Chithira Thirunal, speaking legally, was the Prince of Travancore. Your devotion towards the royal family appears to have introduced an amusing style of magniloquence in your reference to them always.
      (3) I do not remember saying that the Regency was never criticized. The “criticism from Britons” does not change any aspect of my argument in so far as the biographical sketch of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi goes.
      Thank you for the comment.

  9. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    Yes I’m in a hurry to defend my beloved Maharaja. Sree Chithira Thirunal was God himself. He wasmore than King Emperor. Prince means Rajakumaran and not King. He was King Emperor only. But Regent and her family could not digest this and they chose to spread nonsense.

    Another important thing. I was told by a learned scholar that Regent Maharani has asked her family member never to personally criticize ‘kuttan’, Kuttan was the pet name of our Emperor. So her family member including MRs Reghunandan broke tjhis promise given t their Grand mother, the former Regent and is using the Internet as a medium to spread lies which are not even fit to be heard for it will destroy the very idealism of Truth.

    • manupillai Says:

      Chithira Thirunal was not God. You are free of course to have your own grandiloquent images of the Maharajah but that will not change certain proven historical realities. What the Regent and her family could or could not digest is not the subject of my blog or the post in question. Your declaration that anything other than your own views is “lies” cannot be accepted in objective history. Once again, I would advice a dispassionate assessment of facts, free from sentiments of grandeur and loyalty. Chithira Thirunal and other members of the royal family were men and women like anybody else and all the virtues and vices prevalent in ordinary society persisted within their households as well.

  10. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    and one more thing Who wants the certificate of British Bitches. Our MAharaja is still living in our hearts and u thought that u n wicked witch lakshmy can go to any extreme defaming His Highness. Let me repeat i have no persnal grudge againsta anyone including you and even if i have i know that it will least bother u. But my support and devotion to Travancore Royal family is just a small reflection of what the vast majority of people here in Trivandrum still think even now.

    • manupillai Says:

      Your choice of words will not be accepted in any further correspondence through my blog. If you cannot use acceptable language then refrain from further comment. Coming to your ill worded allegations, I wonder what seems to suggest that I have a personal interest in “defaming” anyone at all. Also Lakshmi is not a witch. Indeed that colorful superlative that you have employed made me laugh. Lakshmi is a grandmother of three who retired as a college principal and lives peacefully in Bangalore, with a particular devotion towards Sri Poornathrayeesa; attributes not generally associated with witches. I wonder on what foundation you formed your opinion. As for people’s devotion: Everyone is free to choose their idols. I am primarily interested in Travancore history and intent upon putting up a rational, objective description of the same. My intention is not to harm anyone’s devotion and loyalty. But facts are facts, whether or not they appease everyone.

  11. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    Why r u jumping into your own conclusions even when you have weak evidences?

    Why are u being so supportive of those who looted, raped and destroyed India?

    Why are you not accepting the destiny and fate of Travancore which was made into a progressive, peaceful and proud state under the guidance of Sree Chithira Thirunal?

    Why can’t you gracefully accept the greatness of Great Queen Mother and King Emperor Chithira Thirunal rather than behaving like a henchman of a ‘heretic’?

    Why are you getting so angry and restless when truth is knocking you blog?

    Why are’nt you sincere towards learning the real history of Travancore rather than relying upon some Amar Chithra Kathas as told by wicked story tellers?

    Why can’t you be realistic of the fact that even witches can have their quota of devotion to God, as Ravan had to Shiva?

    and finally

    Why don’t you Consult a doctor for Laughing untimely?

    and please don’t think that, just like certain skunks enjoying their fart to drive away the enemies, your mentor Lakshmy and others can play around with the Life history of one of the Greates Daughters of Mother India, Maharani Sethu Parvathy Bai……….and Our Beloved Maharaja……

    Long live the Great Royal Branch of Moolam Thirunal Sethu Parvathy Bai…
    and Shame on the those hopeless, good for nothing people who think they can change history by sitting in Bangalore or London and writing sub standard books carrying attractive titles………….

    May God Lead you unto the Right Path……..

    Sree Padmanabha be with everyone………..

    • manupillai Says:

      (1) Please point out at what juncture I “jumped to conclusions”.
      (2) I do not support the loot, rape and destruction of India. I do, however, support history and objective thought.
      (3) Travancore was a “progressive state” much before Chithira Thirunal was even born. Nevertheless, I have not once refuted his accomplishments.
      (4) I am not angry and restless. On the contrary I am indifferent to your mistaken notions.
      (5) I have time and again supported my arguments with documents and facts. My history is undoubtedly “real” whether or not you accept it.
      (6) Really now! I have no intention of wasting my time debating the characteristics of witches with you.
      (7) My laugh was most appropriate. Having known Lakshmi for quite some time now, the suggestion that she is a witch was most hilarious.
      (8) I can lead myself onto the “right path”. I am sure God has better things to work on.

  12. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    and Last but not the Least, Why haven’t you understood that the People of Trivandrum are sensible enough to reject book like ATTOTT even if it was written by one of grand daughter of Former Maharani.

    God does not come every time to earth, he send his most confidential assistants like Sree Chithira Thirunal who was described as Modern Ashoka by Gandhiji, Modern Manu by Rajaji, Man of Strong Will by Patel by and Pratyaksha Padmanabha the Vast Majority of his subjects.

    and if you want to measure vices in such great personalities, I think the most wicked n poisonous snakes in the world will be reluctant to do such henious things.

    • manupillai Says:

      (1) Please dont say “last but least”. Both of us know your going to keep commenting again and again with the same old arguments.
      (2) I wonder what makes you think the book was “rejected” by “sensible” people. The book was quoted by several sensible people like Sreedhara Menon, Rupika Chawla, T. Madhava Menon among others. Your personal rejection of the book is inconsequential.
      (3) Chithira Thirunal- God’s Confidential Assistant. I must thank you for adding an element of humour to every comment to post here. However I must state that I respect sentiments like “Pratyaksha Padmanabhan” etc. It is your “confidential assistant” remark that I find terribly funny. Now please don’t retort with “go to the doctor” for this comment. You have already said that.
      (4) I was not aware that snakes assessed people and occasionally displayed reluctance and other characteristics.
      Have a good day!

  13. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    Yes I can understand your feelings. The very thought that no one could ever challenge ur blog n ATTOTT has come to an end. When many people rsponded witht their sharp feeling about ur crtcsm, at one point u even said that it was me who came in their names. Highly disgusting statement it was!

    But Please Visit Trivandrum atleast once in ur life time and see what people still think of Sree Chithira Thirunal. Dont try to have a birds view of the Land. Even the Airport in Tvm is going to be renamed as Sree Chithra Int Airport by PM this year.

    People are so fond of Sree Chithira Thirunal and Amma Maharani even now
    Come into terms with reality MAnuji and even When Lakshmy Dadi spoke nonsense, evryone in Trivandrum including Pooyam Thirunal gave her a warm reception in the Lakshaseepam. That is the culture of We Trivandrumites. For all of us here, Chithira Thirunal is God……….Please don’t try to question this. I sincerely hope that once you come to Tvm and check the un biased MAthilakam records.

    • manupillai Says:

      (1) The criticism my post received was far from “sharp”. Not one of those comments were supported with authentic recorded facts and history.
      (2) Just because the airport is being renamed, it doesnt invalidate what I posted.
      (3) You make it sound like Lakshmi being given a “warm reception” was some kind of patronage extended to her. You might want to remember that in the Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its rituals she can always appear as Princess Makham Thirunal, whether or not a “warm reception” is accorded. You also make it sound as though if Pooyam Thirunal visits Bangalore, Lakshmi will drive her out. This isnt even a point!
      (4) Please end this now. I am exceedingly bored.

  14. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    I know you would be bored because blind followers always prefer the ignorant depth of darkness.

    I dint know that Lakshmy Gudiya and other chamchas of Regent are Greater than Gandhiji, PAtelji, Rajaji, Mountbatten etc.

    About Makam Tirunal, I must say that Noboy drove anyone away from the temple. They themselves preferred to settle in Blore. They had many palaces here, but they sld it off at small amounts.

    The male Royal memebers of Tvncr Dynasty although would naturally be entitled to the Sree Padmanabha Dasas n the female members would get the title of Sree Padmanabha Sevinies. But there is a ritual called Adima kidathal or placing the one year old baby on Ottakkal Mandapam only then will he be able to declare his Royal Serfdom to God. Makam Tirunal or Sree Kumar Varma or any one of the Bangalore branch was not even interested in doing this ritual and hence the total control of the temple now vests in the Trivandrum Branch OKKKKK?

    So it was the esteemed culture of the Trivandrum Branch to extend full reception to the blore members in 2008 even after Lakshmy Dadi came with here notoriuos stool stinking masterpeice ot ATTOTT……..

    Any way the way in which you and ur bafoons had fought only invited criticism from all quaters. MGS Narayanan, Dr Sasibhooshan, Shiva Shankaran Nair, Kizhakkemadhom Govindan Nair (All eminent Historians) had written up coloums in news papers criticising the work of Mrs Lakshmy. Not only this, the great grand daughter of Former Dewan Madhava Rao had termed this book as ‘historical ‘ waste, when she came to Tvm in a meeting in Victoria Town Hall.

    You simplky can’t accept all these and Mannathu PAdmanabhan had revealed in one of his article that Regent’s husband was more sypathetic towards Christian masses in Travancore and the Wicked Thapuran played a role in PAdmanabhapuram Palace Destruction controversy. The Great Maharani Sethu PArvathy Bai who was the Original Queen came to know of this conspiracy and asked Mannam to save the Palace. This was quoted
    by Prof AG Menon who is the guru of Sreedhara Menon and can be seen in the book written by TN Gopinathan Nair. This dark tactics of Regency are even described in the recent book written by Marthanda Varma.

    You have not even shown the courtesy to answer these and go on bluffing.
    Any way, we can end this 4 sure.

    • manupillai Says:

      (1) “Ignorant depth of darkness”. Your language amuses me now as always.
      (2) Praises bestowed upon people do not change history. Incidentally, the very same people also said great things about the Regent Maharani. Praise is no parameter of judgment of character.
      (3) Control of the temple is with the Kowdiar branch and I have it from Lakshmi that her family is not in the remotest interested in the management of the temple.
      (4) Receiving Lakshmi cordially was not “esteemed culture”. It is ordinary politeness and manners. There was nothing great in that.
      (5) All books are criticized. What would critics do otherwise? I did not say the book was never criticized.
      (6) Even if it was said by Mannathu Padmanabhan, unless and until something has credible evidence backing it, it cannot be accepted. By the way tell me the story about Padmanabhapuram. I have not heard of this before. Why did the “wicked” Thampuran want to destroy it?

      • Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

        ur amused to hear my langauge and im flattered plz don praise me like this

        The wicked Thamnpurans strategies are not echoed by me and they are clearly said in many books written by the Present King MArthanda Varma and by Shri TN Gopinathan NAir , father of Ravi Vallathol.

        I can also ask Y wud Amma Maharani do a Mrigabeli?
        Who told Lakshmi Bithiya this nonsense. Any Proof??????

        Be Realistic and ask her not write those stuff which she sees in her dreams..

      • manupillai Says:

        Uthradom Thirunal’s book is a little costly for me to buy now, since i recently made a purchase of some 4 books. It would be interesting if you could echo some of those stories for me. And as I have stated in my other comment, yes there is proof of the Junior Maharani’s black magic misadventure.

  15. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    Ok MAnu you are saying such things about British residents. Even Lakshmi Dadima also told that in her book. What Have you shown the copies of these evidences which u say are being preserved in London or Delhi?

    • manupillai Says:

      Yes indeed copies of many of these are printed in the book. Since you asked about black magic in your other comment, go to chapter 10 of the ebook. All the letters exchanged between the Resident and the Dewan are published therein. There is also an actual document that records almost word to word the conversation that the Resident had with Rajan Thampuran (Junior Maharani’s brother) who was the principal actor in the ceremonies. Also you might be interested to note that intelligence of these ceremonies reached the Dewan’s ears from none other than Captain Harvey, Chithira Thirunal’s tutor. If you read subsequent chapters you will learn how Chithira Thirunal was sent to Bangalore by the Viceroy for “administrative training” so that he would be free from his mother’s overwhelming influence. I would suggest you read the book and its documents.

  16. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    Junior Maharani’s black magic misadventure?
    Who were you refering to? We know only one Maharani HH Sethu Parvathy Bai and if you still think that she did black magic, thn i think you have some preassumed objectives for which i cannot do anyhitng.

    What did Amma Maharani do against Regent, She Begetted a male child thas all. Y r u so obssessed with that?

    Whats wrong in sending Chitira Tirunal to Bangalore for learning Adm affairs, it was his right tolearn these as he was destined to ascend the throne one day.

    No mother can exert evil influence on her child. Dear Manuji, I would again request you 2 stop spitting venom and lets try to convey a positive message than finding fault with evryone.

    Lets be constructive, At this age u have mastered this much use that for good n not bad.

    • manupillai Says:

      (1) “Preassumed objectives”. There is no such thing. For the umpteenth time I refer you to the documents which prove the Junior Maharani conducted Black Magic ceremonies at Kowdiar. Anyway, we are going around in circles about this topic simply because you refuse to acknowledge facts. So I have no intention to attempt to convince you further.
      (2) The Amma Maharani did several things during the Regency against the Senior Maharani that was largely due to the disaffection that originated during their childhood, which, as they grew older, assumed greater and more serious proportions.
      (3) Anyone who has been following these arguments will understand that if at all there is any obsession, it is yours with attempting to convince me that Chithira Thirunal was God and so on. And I refuse to buy any such nonsense in the face of historical facts.
      (4) I did not say sending the Maharajah to Bangalore was “wrong”. I said he was sent so that he would learn to think for himself and not remain under his mother’s domination.
      (5) Very clearly I am not going to acquiesce to your “requests” and hence you might as well stop making them.

  17. Manu , if you want I can echo stories from the book to you. The Royal Family had personaly invited me for the function and i purchased one copy.

    • manupillai Says:

      Please do Soheb. I would be very grateful.

      • Thankyou for yor comment in my blog. Did you know that there is a secret passage from the Kaudiar Palace To Padmanabhaswami Temple? the kaudiar palace was built in 1915. Gautham padmanabhan is wrong. Manu, can u pls tell him to visit my blog for more details and his statement is wrong. You can also visit it.

      • manupillai Says:

        You are welcome Soheb 🙂
        I didnt know there is a passage to Kowdiar as well. I have heard that there is an ancient locked up tunnel that goes somewhere far south towards Kanyakumari or something. It is interesting to note that there might be a link with Kowdiar. I once heard an unsubstantiated story that the temple wealth was moved by the Amma Maharani from the temple so as to ensure its safety in the event of a communist rising.
        Yes my understanding also is that Kowdiar was built in 1915. There are proper records which show that Poojappura was given to the Sreepadom (and therefore to the head of the Sreepadom, the Senior Rani) while Kowdiar was given to Vadakkay Kottaram (the official residence of the Elayarajah and thereby to the Junior Rani who was the ERs mother) in 1915 by Moolam Thirunal Maharajah. However the building constructed then was much smaller and through the 1920s and 1930s many additions were made, resulting in the present structure.

  18. Gautham Padmanabhan Says:

    Since Shri Soheb had decided to deliver what you have asked, i would restrain from anything on that.

    Even Our Family was invited for the function and heard from APJ Abdul Kalam that the book was one of the excellent records of Travancore History

    Sree Uthradom Thirunal’s Book is devoid of any controversies, but HH made a specific reference with regard to the conspiracy hactched during Regency to demolish Padmanabha Puram Palace.

    That is certain

    The book is priced at 2000 bugs and we got it 4 1200 as it was on for a special price.

    Manuji, I was agitated because there were personal references against my Idols, ofcourse you still differ with them and u have a democratic right to oppose as i do have.

    Although Mrs Reghu quoted from Britishers’ Records, there were many possibilities that these were not supported by reliable facts. Bcoz at that time Mathilakam records and Palace records, supplemented by theTravancore State Manual were the main source of information.

    The so called enemity that existed between 2 Queens are not worth discussing publicly. This was the mistake done by Mrs Reghu when she wrote the book. The so called facts as quoted by the author and repeated here by you can itself be biased bcoz, HH Moolam Thirunal Sethu Parvathy Bai complained about certain OFFICIALS TO KING MOOLAM THIRUNAL ABOUT THEIR ENEMITY TOWARDS THE BRANCH OF SETHUPARVATHY BAI. ITS A FACT.

    But Since Kaudiar was not keen at opening up a controversy, Mrs Reghu’s book could not have come at a bad time. So my Opinion which i know is not of any concern to you, is that when you point one finger at the other person the rest of your fingers would point back at you.

    • manupillai Says:

      (1) My intention was never to hurt your sentiments. At the same time I must reassert that history must be studied devoid of any such emotions, in an objective manner. And to understand the history of the royal family dispassionately, it is essential to see them as men and women first, and then as royalty.
      (2) Lakshmi has quoted from the Mathilakom records also I think. Unfortunately many of the papers pertaining to the regency were destroyed in a mysterious fire some time in the 1930s. Hence the letters that were exchanged between the Maharani, Dewans, Residents and those documents in the National Archives and British records are the primary source of information.
      (3) Discussing the clash between the two branches of the royal family is not a mistake in my opinion. After all these years of independence it makes perfect sense to release documents that were hitherto unseen. Even the US government releases its most controversial papers every 30 years. Lakshmi’s idea in writing the book was not to discredit anyone. The idea was to publish all the documents they had with their family so that historians could use them. And several historians have benefited.
      (4) I am not pointing fingers at anyone.

  19. Yes the photo of regent rani is correct. I got it from london museum

    • manupillai Says:

      No actually the National Portrait Gallery has made a mistake. Sethu Lakshmi Bayi never even visited England. That photo was of Sethu Parvathi Bayi when she went to England in 1932. You just need to look at photos of the two Ranis to know that the lady in that picture is the Junior Maharani and not the Regent Maharani.

      • manupillai Says:

        And i sent you an email Soheb. Also I am finally purchasing a copy of Uthradom Thirunal’s book through my friend Sharat.

  20. Manu, can you give me your email. i will sent you some pictures

  21. i have changed the picture of the maharani. you can view it.

  22. I did not get your mail


  24. I have sent you the mail. iam sending more pictures, so pls wait for2 minutes more

  25. Whats your new email id. i have to sent you more pictures. pls.

  26. I have sent them in your new one.

  27. I was searching for pictures of vadakke kottaram, when i came across this post.

    As an architect, and basically from trivandrum, i find it interesting the arguments and counter arguments.

    Is there any links you can give on vadakke kottaram

    All the best.

  28. Bhuvaneswari Says:

    I was in Trivandrum in 1994-95 and had met up with her highness Pooyam Thirunal Gouri Parvathy Bhai Thampuratti in relation to a book release authored by her. This book was written on details of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Kshetram and its customs. Can any of you recollect the name of the book? I am unable to find it on the net.

    • There is a book by Aswathy Tirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bayi (not Pooyam Tirunal) called Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple which was published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in the mid 90s. This is perhaps the book you are referring to.

  29. GN Thampi Says:

    Dear Manu,
    On March 17, 2010 you wrote that Amma Maharani has moved wealth out of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This myth has been busted. All the wealth is stacked there in the 6 kallaras.

    • I can’t seem to find this comment dated March 17 2010. However, if it is there somewhere, as they say, “my bad”. There is however a book from 1933 that speaks of a rumour that Amma Maharani had sold some jewels to pay for her Europe tour and how this had chagrined many in Thiruvananthapuram at the time.

  30. I have only just read your book, The Ivory Throne, and OMG! It was the one book I needed to read! I have a deep emotional link to Kerala and when I was a child, I used to go there every year to stay with my grandparents. My own parents and brothers and I lived in Madras (of those days, 56 years ago), and being an instinctive atheist from my very young days, I never got along with any of my family. Consequently, there were huge gaps in my understanding of the history of my home state. To think that all that missing information should come to me at this late date from a young college student! What can I say? From the mouth of babes! It is simply amazing how such a young person can write with so much maturity, wisdom, understanding and objectivity. I had thought nothing but experience can bring us those qualities and I have been proven wrong, if this book is any indication.
    Also praiseworthy is your strength of conviction in the face of extremely clever and ingenuous minds who may even be highly talented and who may be used to twisting vulnerable, stupid or lazy thinkers (who have been dime a dozen in every nation in every yugam) to their own devious points of view and think they can do so to everybody.
    The Travancore royalty have always impressed me, as I am sure they have millions of others, with their simplicity of attire, and even lifestyle, to an extent, at least as compared with royalty elsewhere. But that is really not saying much, given that they actually believe themselves to be directly descended from the sun, moon and stars and their temporal humility seems to be based on the knowledge of their spiritual and hereditary supremacy, as is evident from their legendary titles, like Rajadiraja, Rajarajeshwari, etc.(to put it briefly, because their actual titles are a mile long, haha!).
    These days, one can see so much of trumpeting by the stars of the Kowdiyar dynasty, esp on Youtube, being so dismissive of the Maharani Regent and her accomplishments and service to the state and declaring that while she and her descendants ‘chose’ to leave their duties to the family deity and to the people and run away (as if they were not literally forced to leave by the humiliating terms and conditions heaped upon them), they themselves have chosen to remain, at great sacrifice, to hold the fort and serve the people! The opposite seems to be true, according to the documentary and other evidence you have furnished in your book. It is simply that while one party managed to grab everything, the other simply took whatever little they could reclaim, and left.
    I cannot but end by saying how fortuitous it was for me to find another gem in your offerings- the Meenachal story. My grandmother’s home was in Vennikulam, and while I have never been there, I would hear my mother tell of her childhood there and how she and her siblings and cousins used to bathe in the Meenachil river and watch the elephants bathing there too. Another gap in the history of my family filled, many thanks to you, Manu!

  31. Hi Manu, since posting my previous comment, i happened to read among your writings elsewhere that the Satelmond and Kowdiyar families today seem to be of a mind to bury their differences. In the light of that, my two-penny worth opinions expressed above look out of place. So please feel free to delete these comments of mine, if you can.

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