Malayalis mark Kerala formation day with fun and games

 

Nitha Vayoth speaking at the Kerala Piravi Festival (Photo Supplied)

Malini Yugendran
November 2, 2022

More than 60 men, women and children got together at the Western Springs Community Hall in Auckland on October 29, 2022, to mark the formation of the State of Kerala.

Called, ‘Kerala Piravi’ (Birthday of Kerala), the event includes patriotic speeches, songs and ‘The Games that People don’t’ play.’

The Organisation of Hindu Malayalis New Zealand (OHM NZ) put together a programme to evince the interest of the young and the old.

President Sasi Nambissan said that one of the main objectives was to ‘revive the spirit of Kerala in New Zealand’ and to inculcate the spirit of pride of being a Malayali among the members of the younger generation.

“We believe that the meeting achieved its purpose. Among the highlights of the evening was a series of traditional games that were played indoors. These included ‘Kuttiyum Kolum’ (Boy and the Cane) a traditional game played in the villages even today. Some say that it is a predecessor to modern-day Cricket,” he said.

Among the other games played were blindfolded contestants applying Sindhur on the forehead of the portrait of a woman, The Sack Race, The Lime and Spoon Race, Dumb Charades and writing Malayalam words with the correct font on a whiteboard.

Among the Committee Members  who coordinated the event were Sasi Nambissan, Devi Sobhana, Dhanya Anup, Nitha Vayoth, Abi Manayil,  Ramesh Keetezhathu, Sankar Namboothiri and Sudheesh Nair

Malini Yugendran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Kerala Piravi

The following is an article written by Bhagyasree Nair for Indian Newslink and published in our

November 1, 2021 issue.

History of the State

Kerala Piravi marks the birth of the State of Kerala and is a significant day for Malayalis around the world. Present-day Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956, nine years after India gained Independence.

Kerala previously consisted of four major provinces: South Canara, Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. Malabar had been ruled by the Zamorin of Calicut, the Arakkal Kingdom, the Kingdom of Valluvanad, and several other small feudal States before being unified by Tipu Sultan. Tipu launched campaigns against the expanding British East India company that led to the Anglo-Mysore wars. The Anglo-Mysore wars led the northern parts of the State to be ceded by the British East India Company and were later annexed by the Madras Presidency. Cochin was administered from Thrissur and the southern Kingdom of Travancore was ruled from the city of Thiruvananthapuram.

Kuttiyum Kolum is an interesting, traditional game of Kerala (Photo Supplied)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Raj

By the end of the 18th century, the State fell completely under the control of the British Empire. Initially, they suffered local resistance against their rule under the leadership of Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, who had popular support in the Thalasseri and Wayanad regions. The municipalities of Kozhikode, Palakkad, Kannur and Thalasseri were founded on November 1, 1866, making them the first to be formed under the British Indian Empire.

The Malabar Special Police was formed by the colonial government which had its headquarters in Malappuram. The British also converted the ‘Thiyyar Pattalam,’ the Thiyyar Army into the official Thiyyar Regiment centred in Thalasseri in 1904.

The Malabar Rebellion

There were major revolts in Kerala during the independence movement in the 20th century, most notably the Malabar Rebellion and the social struggles in Travancore. Some social struggles against caste inequalities also erupted in the early decades of the 20th century, leading to the 1936 Temple Entry Proclamation that opened Hindu temples in Travancore to all castes. The reform was issued by Maharaja Chithira Thirununal Balarama Varma on November 12, 1936. It was signed by him on the eve of his 24th birthday.

The Proclamation abolished the ban of ‘low caste people’ from entering Hindu temples. This was a landmark social reform judgement made in Travancore and Kerala. After the reform was made, Mahatma Gandhi addressed a letter to the young Maharaja stating that he had become a ‘mahatma’ himself by rejecting archaic, regressive, age-old customs by throwing open the temples to all brothers and sisters whom the hateful tradition referred to as “untouchables.”

Doting the forehead blindfolded was a fun game (Photo Supplied)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Aikya Keralam Movement

After partition in 1947, the regions of Cochin and Travancore merged to form a union in 1949. The Aikya Keralam ‘United Kerala’ Movement gathered momentum in the 1940s. In 1945, a combined meeting of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, the Cochin State People’s Congress and the Travancore State Congress planned to form Kerala as a separate State.

Kerala Varma, the Maharaja of Cochin sent a message to the Cochin Legislative Council in 1946 favouring the early formation of the State comprising Travancore, Cochin and Malabar. In April 1947, the ‘Aikya Kerala’ Conference was held in Thrissur. It was attended by hundreds of delegates from all regions.

The Convention demanded that the State be formed with the princely States of Travancore, Cochin, Malabar and British-occupied Malayalam-speaking areas and Mahe.

The States Reorganisation Act 1956, a major reform organising India’s States and territories which were brought about by the first democratically elected government of India led to the formation of fourteen States based on linguistic lines.

Thus, on November 1, 1956, the four provinces merged to form the entire State of Kerala as we know it today based on the common language of Malayalam that the people speak.

Children in the Lemon and Spoon Contest (Photo Supplied)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democracy becomes the norm

The State formed its first democratically elected government under the historic leadership of EMS Namboodiripaad, who became the first chief minister of the State. His Communist-led government resulted from the very first elections conducted to form a new Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1957. His government pioneered radical landmark reforms within the land and education sectors of the State which helped Kerala become the country’s leader in social indicators.

Ayappa Vilakku coming up

Mr Nambissan said that the next major event of OHM NZ will be ‘Ayyappan Vilakku,’ paying obeisance to Lord Ayappa, a favourite God of Malayalis.

“This programme of prayers and recitation of hymns on Ayyappa will be held in association with the Lord Ganesha Temple in Papakura. More than 600 people are expected to attend this event. We are also planning to have daily Bhajans for 41 days, symbolising the ‘Makara Jyothi, marking the Pilgrimage Season in Sabarimala in Kerala,” he said.

Malini Yugendran is an Indian Newslink Reporter based in Auckland

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