Showing posts from March, 2009

The Malayalees in Pakistan

Earlier I had written about the Anglo Indians who were the remnants of the British rule in India. There were some Luso Indians (Parangi’s) in Cochin, Bombay, Goa and North Malabar after the Portuguese left and there were of course the descendants of the Islamic rulers in Lucknow, Delhi and Hyderbad. There existed during this time a dominant minority group of Arab (Aden & Gulf origin) Muslims who integrated into the diasporas of Malabar, but this article relates to the minority group of Mappilas of Kerala.. The early Arab settlers married locally the offspring were the forbearers of the Moplah community.

This is about the Malabari community who left India after the Mappila revolt in 1921 and went to Pakistan. Some may also recall my previous mention of the roaring Betel leaf trade between Tirur near Kozhikode and Pakistan. Due to the deep cultural divides in Malabar after 1921 Mappila revolt and the subsequent partitioning of Pakistan a sizeable number of Malayali Muslims moved to K…

Keep it locked

When I saw this article in a Sunday's LA times issue some months back, I was amused, to say the least. Man….as they say in the USA, what is the world coming to? Moral virtue and moral policing is one thing, but personally this is a little too much if you ask me. Which made me think of Malabar as the Europeans saw it in the 15th century. Until the late 16th century men & women walked bare chested…Today one can’t imagine what will happen if somebody did that… Cost of development I guess…

So what is the news? In a bid to prevent any hanky-panky (officially called ‘full service’) between masseuses and their clients, several massage parlors in the hill resort town of Batu in Indonesia are insisting that the women wear padlocks across the zippers of their work pants. Look at the pictures, it is self explanatory.

Batu, 75 km south of Indonesia's second-biggest city, Surabaya, is a tourist destination popular for its cool climate, apples, hot springs and mountain scenery. Batu’s tra…

John Leyden, the poet

John Leyden, a Scott, was born to this world in 1775 at Denholm, some 50 miles south of Edinburgh to a shepherd family. From his early childhood, he was a voracious reader. As he started schooling, his reading continued, much beyond his years and one anecdote stands apart. As his school was 3 miles away, his father brought him an ass to ride. The little boy would not fearing ridicule from his classmates. However when he heard that the owner of the ass had a rare book in his possession, he agreed. Graduating to the University of Edinburgh, he studied Greek & Latin. A boy of bashful countenance, an ‘orrible accent, he was nevertheless brilliant in his studies. Later he studied math, logic, history, philosophy, rhetoric, divinity & church history. When he started public speaking he cut a sorry figure at first, with many laughing at his attempts. He persevered and said thus to his friend (something I will remember for a very long time for I myself have been on this path) who was i…

Tulip Mania

This story starts with one of the many versions of the famous Persian legend of the handsome stone cutter named Farhad who was stricken with love for the princess of the land, named Shirin. Shirin chances upon him one day and decides that she likes him too. The king who loved his daughter could not refuse outright her request for marriage with Farhad, but instead puts the lad to an impossible task, to dig a 40 mile channel through the mountains. The young man toiled for long and reached midway, alarming the king who now understands that Farhad may succeed. So the King sends a plausible message to Farhad that Shirin is dead, and Farhad hearing this is overwrought with grief and kills himself. The story is beautifully translated here. What happens to Shirin is told differently in the two versions with Shirin killing herself in one and in the second, a prince called Khusru marrying her.

It is said that from each droplet of the dying Farhad’s blood, a scarlet tulip sprang up, making the fl…