was Kerala created? Geological evidence points to the continuing
growth of the land within proto-historic or even historic times.
There were at least two phases of upward movement of land from
the sea. The first is represented by erosion surfaces on the laterite
of the midland region at about 250 and 600 feet. The second stage
of some eight-mile wide shore-creation is reflected in the legend
of Parasurama and the literature of place-names. There is a line
of villages in Kerala eight miles from the seashore in whose names
"sea" or "island" is prominent.
the existence of marine fossils at Vazhappilly near Changanacherry
is pointed out as evidence for the aforementioned theory. The
first land-rise probably was the result of volcanic operations
or seismological factors. The second land-creation was most likely
accomplished by the numerous rivers which brought along large
quantities of silt and mud from the mountains while ocean currents
deposited quantities of sand on the shore. The geological theory
seems to receive support from the Parasurama legend.
to the legend, Parasurama, the son who killed his mother in obedience
to his father, atoned for the crime of his massacring of the Kshatriyas
by doing penance for years (one of the Kshatriyas apparently killed
Parasurama's Brahmin father!). To protect the Brahmins from the
encroachments of their enemies, Parasurama decided to create some
land and donate it to the Brahmins. Accordingly, he threw his
battle axe from Gokarnam (Goa?); the weapon fell in Kanyakumari;
all the sea between Gokarnam and Kanyakumari became dryland which
the hero gave to the Brahmins.
the idea of the donation of the land to the Brahmins is like the
papal claim and the forged documents on Emperor Constantine's
donation of lands to the Pope; Brahmins, of course, told the story
to suit their needs. The remarkable thing about the legend is
that it is also popular in the Kulu Valley of Northwestern India
and the Chotanagpur region of Central India among the Mundas.
a folklorist and ethnologist, I would argue that the people of
Kerala who originated in the Northwest and moved through Central
India carried with them their local traditions and applied them
to Kerala's creation by their folk-hero, Parasurama, when they
finally settled down in Kerala. According to another tradition,
it was Parasurama who made a gap in the Western Ghats at Palghat
with his axe (parasu).
Parasurama-legend is found in the Mahabharata and the Puranas;Kalidasa
refers to Parasurama in Raghuvamsa (canto 4. verse 53);
the Thiruvalangad plates of Rajendra Chola (1012-1044) also refers
to the hero. The story of the creation of Kerala by Parasurama
is also found in the 18th century Keralolpathi, the Malayalam
work, which all Kerala children study in their schools.