|Parukutty Nethyar Amma.|
|Statue of Rama Varma XVI,Thrissur city. en.wikipedia.org/|
Throughout the British India history, after the take over of the huge province of Bengal in the late 1600s from Nawob Siraj-ud dualah, the British East India company had been on a land grabbing spree from the Indian rulers across the land and many of them lost their kingdoms, pelf and power. The British took over their lands, palaces, etc., through dishonest and diabolic means, following the dictum of ''divide and rule''. For instance in the north, the last Mogul emperor Bahadur Shah II (1775 -1862) was deposed mercilessly in 1858 by the British East India company and exiled him to Burma. His death marked the end of the Mogul dynasty in the Indian subcontinent. The last young Mogul princes were murdered right before a big crowd by a mad British military officer by shooting them point blank at Khoon Dharwaza near Delhi towards the end of 1857 Sepoy Mutiny.
|Rama Varma XV better known as His Abdicated Highness. en.wikipedia.org|
In the south, as early as 18th century, Rani Velu Nachiyar, queen of Siva Gangai, was in exile along with her daughter for eight long years near Dindukal, under the protection of Hyder Ali and one Gopala Naicker. Being a courageous woman, she took revenge on the British, who killed her husband, first queen, their son and some of her close relatives. In 1780, she fought the British along with support Gopala Nayaker and won the decisive battle and got back her kingdom. The British gave all kinds of problems to the Maratha rulers of Tanjore (Thanjavur,TN) and rulers of Mysore kingdom during the same period.
Cochin kingdom, en.wikipedia.org
|Maharajah Rama Verma. www.guide2womenleaders.com|
Parukutty Nethyar Amma (b. 1874), (the daughter of Kurur Narayanan Namboodiripad and Chinnammu Amma Vadakkeruppa ) was the wife of Rama Varma Thampuran
(reign:1914-1932). He was popularly known as Madrassil Theepetta Thampuran, because he died in Madras (now Chennai). The Nethyar Amma, a talented woman, was a member of the family that had the traditional honor of anointing the kings of Palakkad, Kerala. She had the rare distinction of being the first woman from the royal family of Kerala to have been awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal by King George V in 1919 for public work and since then she had been known as Lady Rama Varma of Cochin. On her maternal side, her mother was a member Padinjare Shrambhi house of the aristocratic Vadakke Kuruppath house of Thrissur
Unexpected turn of events in the royal family put the ruling members in a fix with respect to successor to the throne in the aftermath of abdication of the present ruler. As fate would have it, Rama Varma Thampuran had to become a ruler again. In the olden days, Indian royal rulers seldom ever allowed the women of ruling class to take the responsibility of administration, part of the reason is their being prone to emotional outbursts and fatigue due to over work. As for Rama Varma of Cochin, a scholar he believed in women's equality. No doubt, the Nethyar Amma was entrusted with the management of state finance. Through various fiscal measures, trimming unwanted expenses, etc., she vastly improved the revenue and the government coffers, for the first time, showed increased revenue and surplus funds.
The British rulers, who had the nasty ability to outwit the villains of Shakespearean dramas when it came to diabolism and intrigues, decided to dethrone the Maharajah under some pretext because active, but subtle participation of the Nethyar Amma in the freedom struggle, went beyond the limits of their tolerance. As planned before hand, the British higher ups succeeded in the abdication of the ruler on grounds of insanity and senility due to old age with a falsified medical certificate from an English doctor who was specially brought (for this purpose) to Cochin all the way from England. Subsequently, the British got what they wanted and their British interests stood unopposed.
After the death of her husband, Maharajah Rama Verma in 1932, she limited her public participation. However, Nethyar Amma's close relations and her sons, like her, were nationalists and had close contact with Congress stalwarts and made valid contribution toward the development of Kochi.
“To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?" - Gandhi; To the Women of India (Young India, Oct. 4, 1930)
Following the preaching of Gandhiji, Parukutty Nethyar Amma had become an immortal figure in the history of Kerala and of Kochi, in particular. A great, gentle aristocratic lady of Cochin.
01. ''Cochin Royal Family followed the system of Matrilineal succession known as Marumakkatayam - Traditionally the female members of the family have hypergamous union (Sambandham) with Namboodiri Brahmins, while male members marry ladies of the Samanthan Nair class. These wives of the male members are not Ranis as per the matrilineal system, but instead they get the title of Nethyar Amma. Currently the family members marry mostly within the Malayala Kshatriya class.'' (from En. wikipedia. org)
02. The Nethyar Amma, when she was just fourteen years old in 1888, married the Maharaja Rama Varma, then fourth in line to the succession. It was believed that she was blessed by the goddess (Amman) of Chottanikkara Temple.
03. The Maharaja, being a scholar, had other interests like herbal medicine and Gawli Shashtra - the language of home lizards. He is also believed to have cure for snake bites, etc.
04. According to the British intelligence report, "The hill palace is the center of nationalist activity and Charkhas have been introduced to assist the weaving of khadi."
Thampuran, Rameshan (2007). "Emergence Of Kingdom of Cochin and Cochin Royal Family". Retrieved 6 January 2008.