THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The biography of Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the titular head of the erstwhile royal family of Travancore, is aptly titled ‘Trippadidanam’. For, the Elayaa Raja, descendant of the royalty that dedicated the Kingdom to Lord Sreepadmanabha, places his memories in the backdrop of the vital bond shared by the deity and the members of the royal family. The 289-page biography is penned as an independent work commissioned along with the memoir in English - ‘The Footprints of Destiny, My Life and Times Under the Grace of Lord Padmanabha’ - which was published last year by Konark, says author Uma Maheswari.
“The Malayalam book is an independent work and not a translation. It has finer and more elaborate details not included in the English memoir which was meant for a different audience,” says Uma Maheswari. “ ‘Trippadidanam’ has an abundance of local flavour with very detailed descriptions of rituals related to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. It can very well serve as a documentation of the temple rituals,” she says.
The book also has a graphic chapter on Amma Maharani Sethu Parvathi Bayi who was a connoisseur of music and art. “Very little has been written about Amma Maharani and the book will throw light on the varied talents of Amma Maharani,” Uma says. The Elaya Raja has also shared intimate details about his personal life, dedicating a whole chapter to the memories about his beautiful wife Radha Devi, who passed away in 2005.
The writing of the Malayalam book was far more laborious than the English one, says Uma. “Since the quantum of local history covered in the Malayalam book is far greater in proportion, it required a lot of research for which I relied on primary sources, archives and libraries.”
She cherishes the conversations with Elaya Raja and describes them as “enlightening”. “Every session was revelatory and one would emerge far more educated each time because such is his knowledge and memory of events. One of the points that he returns to time and again is the disappointment about a general lack of reverence towards Indian culture among our people. He emphasises that as a nation, we are endowed with every blessing, to which, we turn a blind eye. Only when the westerners point out the merit of something are we ready to recognise it. This is something that torments him a great deal,” she says.
The book is published by Mathrubhoomi books and will be released by the Chief Minister in a function to be held at the Levy Hall, East Fort on December 21 at 4 pm.