Elements of Caste and Communal Consciousness in the Malayali Memorial of Modern Travancore (1891)

  • A Shaji Faculty Member, Department of History, School of Distance Education, University of Kerala, Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram, kerala, India
Keywords: foreign Brahmins, western education, Telugu Brahmins, Travancore Nayar, Dewans


In 1891 there were 31,200 foreign Brahmins in Travancore, constituting 1.22% of the total population and 1.67% of the total Hindus.1 They were a heterogeneous people consisting of Tamil Brahmins, Kanarese Brahmins, Telugu Brahmins and Maratha Brahmins. Of the different classes of population in Travancore, these foreign Brahmins were the first and foremost to avail themselves of the advantages of western education. The foreign Brahmins had their control over Travancore trade and commerce and many of them came as traders, grain merchants, cloth dealers, stockbrokers and moneylenders. When Dewan Munroe relinquished his Dewanship, a Telugu Brahmin was placed in that post and since then the authorities treated this post as one reserved for the Telugu Brahmins. The non-malayali Brahmins held the Dewanship continuously until 1877 and only one Travancore Nayar was ever to be Dewan again.2

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