East and West – The Twain Shall Meet (New Book of Travancore History)
Cochin, 11th November, 2013.
HH Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma released a book on Travancore British Heritage EAST AND WEST – THE TWAIN SHALL MEET. HH handed over a copy of the book to HH Prince Charles during HH’s visit to Kochi on 11th November 2013 at a function in Taj Malabar. The book is authored by HH Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, Dr. Y.M. Fazil Marickar, Dr. Oommen V Oommen and Uma Maheswari. The book is published by Ms. DC Books.
This book is an attempt by the Association of British Scholars (ABS) Trivandrum to recognise and propagate the message of cordiality and friendship that existed in the past and continues to the present day between the people of Travancore and the people of Britain. An exhibition of photographs depicting the history of this great connection was held in Ranga Vilasam Palace, Trivandrum in December 2012. The extensive collection of His Highness Uthradam Thirunal’s photographs and memoirs give deep insight into the history of the colonial past. The astounding success of the exhibition promoted the officers of the ABS to publish this book. The present officials of the ABS Trivandrum are Dr. Y.M. Fazil Marickar, President and Prof. Oommen V. Oommen, Secretary.
Several thrilling stories of the past, hitherto not properly published in a historical perspective are incorporated in this book. The book gives the history of Travancore from the 1600s, when the state was very weak and approached by foreign powers like Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British. Travancore made alliance with all of them and tried to avoid quarrels. A very close look at the history of Travancore shows that the British East India Company came into the picture of Travancore at this period of troubled times. Venad was a small princely state where the King had little authority and the state was controlled by several nobles who did not want the monarchy to function effectively. Killings were common in order to distort the healthy transition of lineage of the monarchy, which followed matrilineal system of succession. The friendly beginning of the relationship of the East India company with HH Umayamma Maharani became a strong friendship in troubled times of Venad. To the present day, the British connection which started in the seventeenth century has created a lasting impression in the minds of the Travancore citizen. The warm relation continues to the present day.
The British connection with Travancore was beneficial in so many ways. No one can forget the contributions of the British officials to the progress and development of Travancore. The rulers who were great visionaries could implement schemes, related to education, health, science and technology etc. Thus when India became independent, Travancore was not just a mere princely state that merged with the Indian union but a progressive, well developed state.
Though Rudyard Kipling in his Ballad of East and West wrote – East is east and West is west; and never the twain shall meet, it did meet in Travancore and continues to be in touch through the Association of British Scholars.
The Book is available with DC books at Rs. 295.