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  • Ram Varmha
    Prof. A. Sreedhara Menon, in his book: A Survey of Kerala History, (p. 135; 1970 Ed.) writes the following regarding the Last Cheraman Perumal. “Cheraman
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 6, 2005

      Prof. A. Sreedhara Menon, in his book: A Survey of Kerala History, (p. 135; 1970 Ed.) writes the following regarding the Last Cheraman Perumal.

      “Cheraman Legend:

      The legend relating to the conversion of the last Chera King (Cheraman Perumal) to Islam after partitioning the country comes as a dramatic climax to the fanciful story of the Perumals. The Perumal who left Kerala is said to have landed at a port on the Arabian coast and met Muhammad, the Prophet, at a place called Jeddah. After having been duly canonized by the Prophet, so goes the story, he married the sister of the king of Arabia, lived there in comfort for five years and then undertook a journey to Kerala for the spread of Islam in this country, but before he could accomplish his mission he died and was buried at a place on the Arabian coast. The different versions of the ‘Keralopathi’ give the above story with differences in the details which embellish them.

      The Cheraman legend is not corroborated by any contemporary record or evidence. None of the early or medieval travelers who visited Kerala has referred to it in their records. Thus Sulaiman, Al Biruni, Benjamin of Tuleda, Al Kazwini, Marco Polo, Friar Odoric, Friar Jordanus, Ibn Babuta, Abdur Razzak, Nicolo-Conti – none of these travelers speaks of the story of the Cheraman’s alleged conversion to Islam.

      …………Shaik Zainuddin, the author of the Tuhafat-ul Mujahidin writing in the 16th century, has spoken of the Cheraman legend …………but the learned historian was not inclined to believe in its historical authenticity.……..It has now been proved that the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries comprised the age of the Second Chera Empire when the Kulashekharas exercised their authority over the whole of Kerala from their capital at Mahodayapuram. It is inconceivable how this would have been possible had the kingdom been partitioned, as alleged.”


      Also, this from a web site:  http://jaihoon.com/watan/perumalgift.htm

      A tradition of the Holy Prophet has also been reported from one of the companions, Abu Saeed al Khudri, regarding the arrival of Cheraman Perumal.

      “A king from India presented the Messenger of Allah with a bottle of pickle that had ginger in it. The Holy Prophet distributed it among his companions. I also received a piece to eat.” Hakim reports in Al Musthadrak.”


      The Second Chera Dynasty began with the Perumal, Kulashekhara Alwar, in 800 AD and the dynasty lasted till 1102 AD. The question is: how could the last Perumal, who died in 1102 AD, given up his kingdom and left to meet the Prophet Mohammad (569 – 632) in Jeddah? Obviously there is a misunderstanding here.


      Perhaps, the legend of the conversion of the last of the Perumals to Islam came from the following:

      1. There is a story that one of the Perumals was so impressed with Buddhism, (which was well established in Kerala at that period), that he provided considerable financial support to numerous Buddhist shrines. It is not known, historically, whether his enthusiasm towards Buddhism actually resulted in his conversion to that religion, or who that Perumal was?  

      2. A chieftain from Malabar (“A king from India ”) may have converted to Islam and met with the Prophet in the 600’s (?). If so, it would seem that the Cheraman legend had its origin in the wrong identification or mixing up a minor ruler who became a convert to Islam.

      3. The Second Chera Dynasty ended with the passing of the last Perumal, Rama Varma Kulashekhara (1090 – 1102). The Perumal’s sister, who was married to a Namboothiri Brahmin of Perumpadappu Illom near Ponnani, had five daughters out of which only the last daughter had a son. During the last days of his reign, the Perumal divided his kingdom between his son, Kotha ( Gotha ) Varma, and his nephew, Cherala (Kerala) Varma. Historically, the reason for doing this is not recorded. It is said that the Perumal, lying on his death-bed, gave his sword to his son and his shield to his nephew. It is historically established, however, that the kingdom that was ruled by his son was called Venad Swaroopam and that by his nephew, Perumpadapu Swaroopam; which later became the States of Travancore and Cochin , respectively.


      It is conceivable that the legend of the last Perumal of Mahodayapuram (Kodungalur, the city known to the ancient Greeks/Romans as Muziris), was the result of a blurred concoction from all of the above! The legend still lingers, but there is no historical evidence to support it.


      Later, by the 13th century, the Erady brothers, local chieftains of North Kerala , rose to power, and carved parts of the Venad and Perumpadapu Swaroopams to form the powerful kingdom of Malabar . They were not related to the Perumals. The Samuris or Zamorins, as their dynasty name came to be known, were among the most cultured and accomplished sovereigns of Kerala. It was during their rule that the Europeans came to trade for spices. Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British were all there trying to corner the lucrative spice trade. It was the British who finally gained a footing in the region, when they signed protectorate treaties with Travancore and Cochin .


      The Zamorin’s magnificent rule was ended by the advance of Tippu Sultan in the 1700’s, when the Samuri escaped and sought asylum in Travancore. The British finding Tippu’s adventures rather troublesome attacked Mysore . In 1790, Tippu died in battle when his army was defeated by Lord Cornwallis, at SriRangaPattanam, and the British reinstated the Zamorin in Malabar. But, the Samuri got into trouble after a failed attempt to over-throw the British. The Zamorin was dethroned and his kingdom annexed with the territory of Madras . The Samuri was pensioned off, with a generous annuity.  


      The British left Travancore and Cochin alone as ‘Protectorate States’ and never actively interfered in their internal affairs. The lines of the Perumals continued till 1947, when India gained independence from Britain , and all Princely States were abolished and democratic administrations established. In the late ‘50s when India was rearranged to States on linguistic basis, the new ‘Malayalam’ State of Kerala was formed by joining Travancore , Cochin and Malabar, into one.


      It is perhaps of interest to note that the nation of the Second Chera Dynasty that was split into two and later divided into three, (with the rise of the Samuris of Malabar), should once again be re-united, as Kerala (Cherala), to the same geographical size and boundary  as that ruled by the Cheraman Perumals of Mahodayapuram, many years ago!      


      According to historians the rulers of the Second Chera Empire, the Cheraman Perumals were:-
      Kulasekara Alwar 800- 820
      Rajasekara 820-844
      Sthanu Ravi Varma 844-885
      Rama Varma 885-917
      Gotha Ravi Varma 917-947
      Indukotha Varma 944-962
      Bhaskara Ravi 1 962-1019
      Bhaskara Ravi 2 979-1021
      Vira Cherala 1021-1028
      Rajasimha 1025-1043
      Bhaskara Ravi 3 1043-1082
      Ravi Rama Varma 1082-1090
      Rama Varma Kulasekara 1090-1102




      norenxaq <norenxaq@...> wrote:

      What were the names of the king and his sister? what, if anything, is
      known about their genealogy? What are Cheramanperumal's dates and names
      of his family members he gave his kingdom to?


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    • norenxaq
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 6, 2005

        Ram Varmha wrote:

        >Prof. A. Sreedhara Menon, in his book: A Survey of Kerala History, (p. 135; 1970 Ed.) writes the following regarding the Last Cheraman >Perumal.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />



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