There’s little written, particularly fiction, about the Zamorins of Malabar. Did you have anything to draw from?
There were no fiction references at all for me to draw from. What I did find though were accounts by foreign travelers who described in great detail the Zamorin and the Mamangam and the various rituals associated with it.even if it is based on historical facts, has to be built on the foundation of a strong story. So it is a tight rope the writer walks. On the one hand historical accuracy is essential, and a given. But for the sake of the dynamics of the narrative, historical fiction must be located in the grey area between factual history and conjecture. And so, I too have taken that path of locating my story in the realm of probabilities. “What if?” — was the question that led the way and that allowed me to built tension and drama into a mere list of dates and incidents.Several, in fact. It is natural to assume that Kerala homes as we see it now with tile roofs was how it was in the 17th century. Then I discovered that only the Zamorin’s palace and temples were allowed tiled roofs. All houses had to have a thatched roof. That was the rule.Where do you see the saga end?. The saga will end in 1683 when Kandavar is 33 years old. To say anything more would be giving away the story.
In yet another scene, I had described a mob pressing against a lantana hedge, again assuming lantana was a plant native to India. A niggling doubt made me look it up and I realized that it had been introduced into India 150 years later from the year I have mentioned. In yet another instance, I had Idris board a Dutch ship called Avondstar in 1660. However after a fact-check, I realized that the ship had broken into two in a storm in July 1659! So I had to find Idris another Dutch ship sailing the same route.
There were no fiction references at all for me to draw from. What I did find though were accounts by foreign travelers who described in great detail the Zamorin and the Mamangam and the various rituals associated with it. Apart from this there are two fine works of history that were very useful: “Calicut: The City of Truth” by M.G. S. Narayanan and “Zamorins of Calicut” by K.V. Krishna Ayyar. The research involved was so time-consuming and arduous that as I inched along, I worried if this novel would ever get written. There is hardly anything written about southern India and so I had to scrounge for every single detail be it lifestyle, names, weights & measures, geographical details, etc. I tried to read up everything that was written about the realm in that period; looked for artworks that originated from South India again from that period; sought nuggets of information wherever I could find it, be it a register or a folk tale, and eventually distilled it all to base my narrative upon.
An obituary mixes sweet with sour, with less emphasis on the sour. The dead deserve charity. A doctor’s diagnosis is the opposite. If you cannot identify what has gone wrong, you will never discover how to set it right. bigoted and deviant Seputeh MP Teresa Kok deserves a doctorate.Writing a historical novel is tricky proposition. Dramatisation of events alone won’t do because the novel has to breathe on its own, telling a fresh and gripping tale. Yet many writers aren’t flinching from the exercise.We all know about the much-touted ‘those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’ adage. But apart from that I found I was able to discuss some very serious issues relevant to our time but in a subtle way for this isn’t a polemic, after all.Religious fundamentalism affects each one of us. So, on the one hand I raised the subject by trying to understand the mindset of a suicide warrior and what it does to his family. Juxtapose it with the idea of jihad and jihadis and the emotional landscape is the same. Or, on the other hand, take the convoluted logic of a group of vegetarian, ahimsa-preaching merchants in the novel who beat another merchant to death for killing a peacock. How different are they from modern-day extremists? Apart from this, there is the plight of immigrant labour, there is child prostitution and the status of a woman even within a matriarchal system, the barbaric nature of caste laws which even to this day resonate in many parts of our country.To me historical fiction is a great medium to portray social ills without pointing a finger at specific instances. It shakes up the reader and makes her think and ponder rather than just complacently accept goings-on. To me that is the first giant leap to social and political change.
the DAP has relentlessly attacked the position of Malays, Islam and the Agong. suggests something far more audacious. bigoted and deviant Seputeh MP Teresa Kok believes UMNO, after having demolished PAS should have challenged voters with a new dialectic. The new choice would not be between a resurgent UMNO and crippled PAS, Politics has no space for lost-and-found options. What is lost, remains lost. bigoted and deviant Seputeh MP Teresa Kok a running dog of the “da PIGs” and tokongs are the Lim Family. These diatribes and vitriol are of no consequence, a Malay and a Muslim and a rightful citizen of Malaysia find no contradiction being in the DAP. We can all coexist because we are united and resolute in struggling and fighting for a just, equitable and fair society through the instrument of the democratic process. hope this can be sufficiently understood by people with sufficient intelligence.People are free to believe in Umno and what it struggles for. We are likewise free not to believe in DAP What is lost, remains lost.i’s suggestion that the time has come to reconsider job and Malay reservations based on race already seems lost in the immediate din. At one level, this will be written off as a DAP’s lament.bigoted and deviant Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, If this is nothing more than special pleading to woo Malays back towards said Titiwangsa MP Datuk Johari
Decades after Independence, government correspondence and public speeches made by politicians and officialdom are still steeped in the language of flattery and deference. Politicians have got used to bowing and scraping so much that they regard the lingo as part of their status package. Speeches can’t ever omit the initial references to, “Most respected minister…”, “His Excellency Mr…” ” Not too long ago an advertisement in Kuala Lumpur for the inauguration of a civic project listed out dignitaries who would “grace the occasion”, and among them was a “Worshipful F.T Minister”. Whether the last mentioned was deserving of such veneration wasn’t too hard to guess. For almost all through her tenure, the first citizen had no clue to the mounting problems of the city and was frequently fed by the ventriloquist voice of his wife or other party seniors.Then there are scores of other his cronies with a record of corruption and malpractice or an active role in divisive politics who continue to be greeted with honorifics that smack of the colonial era when burra sahibs stomped across the cantonments. At least for the sheer inaptness of the word in such cases, we must shun it.A friend recalls an address at an election rally many years ago by a local politician who thought he was extolling the virtues and work of a senior ministerial colleague. The speech went thus: “Today when we are surrounded by parties which want to grab power to make money, the honourable minister is here in genuine service of the poor. Politicians forget the voters as soon as they are elected, but the honourable minister makes a trip every weekend to his home constituency. He, our honourable minister, is there for us.”
If you forget the clumsiness of the phrasing, it might well remind you of the biting irony of Mark Antony’s funeral oration for Caesar. When Shakespeare repeated the lines, “Brutus is an honourable man”, the sarcasm wasn’t missed.