Revisiting history is always a spectacular experience. And when it essays a centuries-old tradition and the rituals associated with it, the whole thing becomes more alluring.
Paliam History, an elaborate narration on the life and times of the famous Paliam family, portrays the significant role that the Paliath Achans of Chendamangalam played in the history of the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin. Paliath Achans, once the Prime Ministers of the Cochin Kings, had scripted their contributions in the state’s culture and tradition also.
Penned by Professor Radha Devi Moorchilot, the book traces the roots of the family, its associations with the Perumpadappu Swarupam and Thiruvanchikulam and the evolution of Paliath Achan. Published by the Paliam Eswara Seva Trust, it comes in the backdrop of the state government’s proposal to protect the centuries’ old ‘Nalukettu’ and ‘Kovilakam’ as heritage building under the Muziris project.
“The effort has been to trace the roots of Paliam family, which claims an antiquity of not less than a thousand years. The evolution of Paliath Achan as the Lord of Chendamangalam, his services to the Kochi Raja and the key role he played in the fortunes of Kochi for a century and a half, confronting all its rivals. I have tried to trace the Paliam heritage in literature, art and religious harmony of Kerala,” says the author in the preface. A major attraction for history lovers would be a rare collection of letters, official as well as personal, which serve as the primary source of history on the family.
A bunch of letters, correspondence between Paliath Achans and the Kings of Cochin and Travancore, foreign rulers, the Dutch and English - are well documented in the book. Written in old Malayalam and English, the 51 letters essay the life and practices of the kingdom of Cochin.
What would be more eye-catching is another collection of photographs from one of the biggest joint Hindu families, till 1952. A detailed table on Paliam temples, the rituals followed and festivals have also been included here. The Paliam History will no doubt serve as the most authentic record on the genesis and life of the Paliam family, the Paliath Achans and their contributions. — Express Features