Showing posts from June, 2013

The Humble Telegram and the Lofty Rocket mail

Human communication over long distances have evolved in very interesting ways. While American Indians and perhaps others elsewhere used smoke signals to start with, it was largely written instruments like messages and letters carried by messengers, horsemen, horse carts or stage coaches, pigeons, telegraph, airmail, sea mail, balloon mail, zeppelin mail, light and morse code, semaphore signaling, surface mail and now it is at lightning speed as email, SMS or other visual forms, which got news from point A to point B. Nothing beats that feeling or thrill of opening an envelope with a bunch of handwritten sheets – not something today’s world appreciates of will enjoy. Things like fountain pens which were the norm in the older days have become objects of collectors fancy, I had written about that before - if you recall my visit to an Office Depot store here in USA and my asking for ink, only to be asked what that was! Recently there was news that the Telegram facility in India was coming…

The Veluthampi Revolt 1807-1809

Was Veluthampi a Hero or a Victim?

At the Sainik School Kazhakootam, students were divided into various resident halls named after freedom fighters and I belonged to the Veluthampi house, but at that time I hardly knew the persona behind the name. True, we covered a fair number of his heroic acts as narrated in text books, of course retold with a lot of patriotic fervor, and I let the story pass by all these years, since Travancore was somewhat outside my periphery of studies. In fact I was researching the Paliayth Achan family, but seeing the connections with Dalawa in the 19th century, I decided to go over that portion first and then get to the story of the Palaiyath family. While a number of books cover Veluthampi to a certain extent, the story lines seem to have originated from one or two accounts, perhaps those of Shangoony Menon or Nagam Aiya, of the TSM fame.Anyway let’s take a look at the known versions, the linkages to the Zamorin and the Cochin kingdom as well as the less tal…