Dalit Conversion and Social Protest in Travancore, 1854-1890

by George Oommen

The Rev. George Oommen, Ph.D., received his doctorate at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is Chairperson and Professor of History of Christianity and Dean of Graduate Studies at the United Theological College, Bangalore, India.

This paper originally appeared in the Bangalore Theological Forum, Vol. XXVII, Nos. 3 & 4, Sept – Dec. 1996, pp. 69-84.


The Travancore Pulaya mass conversion movement to Anglicanism in the latter half of 19th century was an expression of social protest. For thousands these conversions were protests heralding exit from the inhumanity of the caste system. These oppressed also saw the doors opening for them as a way out of the misery with the success of the anti-slave campaign championed by the missionaries.

This paper examines the Travancore Pulaya mass conversion movement to Anglicanism in the latter half of 19th century as an expression of social protest. Highlighting aspects of the dissent and dissociation from the Hindu system involved in this movement is likely to add another dimension to the theories on conversion movements in India set forth by Oddie (1975), Webster (1976), Forrester (1977), Manikam (1977), Gladstone (1984) and Kooiman (1989)1 While these historians observe Christian conversion movements from a purely sociological standpoint they seem to have missed the elements of protest and remonstrance involved. It is hoped that this discussion will help us to look back and see things, although darkly, and raise a few questions.

To understand the aspects of social protest in Pulaya conversions it may be helpful to draw a fine distinction between dalit consciousness and caste consciousness. Dalit consciousness is a reaction to dominant forces rooted in an yearning for relief from human conditions of existence and a sense of utter powerlessness in the depths of oppression. Caste consciousness of middle and upper low castes is another kettle of fish. It is response to material deprivation, that is, denial of material goods.2 While disadvantages or deprivations of a materialist nature, the delicate lines of difference are of a mental category. The degree of response and its intensity has a relation to the variations of humiliation and despair felt by the oppressed. Let me just say the "collective psychology" of the respondent groups makes a difference. If this distinction is recognised the nature of dalit consciousness may show up more clearly in the conversion movements in Travancore.

As Pulayas themselves let only sparse written records we have no option but to rely heavily on missionary sources. Missionary materials were written from a western angle and meant for an audience in England. In spite of the bias and imperfections of an "outside" view, if used, critically, it makes a good start for reconstructing past events. We can see examples of such critical use of colonial material in Benedict Hjejle (1967) and Ranjit Guha (1983). Having said that, let us go into the subject matter; who were the early Pulaya converts? What were the deprivations experienced by them? Was mass conversion a collective form of protest to injustice?

1. The Pulayas of Travancore

It is hard to establish whether the Pulayas had self perception of themselves as a sizable caste group embracing all regions of Kerala. However, it is clear that they were a homogeneous group with common caste customs and practices. There were several internal divisions within the Pulaya group, with some of them claiming ritualistic as well as social superiority over others The two major groups in central Travancore were the Kizhakke Pulayan and the Padinjare Pulayan.5 Within all these divisions of Pulayas were cleavages into Illams (families) or Koottams (groups) which regulated conjugal relationships. Consequently marriages took place only between two persons belonging to two separate Warns and not within Illams.6

At the beginning of the 19th century, it was clear that Pulayas were the most numerous caste among the dalits of Travancore. In 1836 when the first census was taken, there were 90,598 Pulayas, constituting more than half of the total of the "least ran king castes."7 By 1875, Pulayas had almost doubled in number to 188,916.8

Pulayas were ranked just above Parayas in the local caste hierarchy. The caste system prevailing in Travancore was more rigid than elsewhere in India, as indicated by the fact that other castes considered Pulayas both untouchable and non-approachable. Pulayas had to stand at a distance of ninety feet from Brahmins and sixty-four feet from Nairs.9

Correspondent to the Pulayas’ low caste status was the imposition of a highly restricted manner of speech. They were compelled to use self-degrading language, for example, instead of "I" they use adiyan (your slave); for "rice," not chow, but karikadi (dirty gruel), and for their homes they use rnadum (hut).10

Most Pulayas were agricultural labourers and were held in bondage (adirna) or in a client relationship with their high caste landlords Part of the ‘privilege’ of being such a client relationship was a right to claim bare maintenance from the landlord, and to a small share in the produce of the land It was a highly exploitative and oppressive system

In the 1836 census there were 164 864 "soil slaves in Travan core, of whom Pulayas constituted the majority.11 By 1891, Pulayas constituted 8.18% of the total population)2 In 1875, 97% of the Pulayas were attached agricultural labourers and only 3% seem to have owned any property.13

From 1850 onwards, CMS Missionary reports and journals contained information on the conditions of the Pulayas in Travancore, providing a particularly rich body of source material on slavery Hawksworth and George Matthan, two untiring champions of the Pulaya cause, presented the "unparalleled" conditions of the Pulaya slaves by highlighting the inhuman treatment by the landlords, and the poverty and misery of the Pulayas. In his journal on Dec 5, 1850, George Matthan wrote:

The condition of these unhappy beings, is, I think, without a parallel in the whole range of history. They are regarded as so unclean, that they are thought to convey pollution to their fellow creatures, not only by contact, but even by approach. They are so wretchedly provided with the necessities of life that the most loathsome things are a treat to them. Their persons are entirely at the disposal of their masters, by whom they are bought and sold like cattle, and are often worse treated. The owners had formerly power to flog and enchain them, and in some cases to maim them, or even deprive them of their lives. . . . They were everywhere paid for their labour at the lowest possible rate.14

2. Traditional Forms of Resistance

Pulayas, squeezed at the bottom of the most repressive socio-religious structures known to man, were not incapable of striking discordant notes while eating the humble pie.

I) Cast the Spell

Pulaya medicine men and witch doctors claimed secret and close communion with the spirits of the dead and performed rnantra va darn or sorcery. Mantravadis were believed to possess the powers of bringing malaise and misfortune on wrongdoers, especially the cruel landlords and wicked bossmen. Pulayas believed in the all pervasive dominion of the spirits on human affairs and held the sorcerers in awe and esteem The upper castes dreaded these agents of the demons and ghosts According to Mencher some social control over the excesses of the high caste landlords was exercised through the threat of Pulaya black magic in Travancore. 15

ii) Angry Song and Dance

The yyarn, the traditional mask dance form of dalits in Kerala, was used as a means to rebuke, ridicule and to some extent question the atrocities and injustices done to them. Theyyam dances and the group songs sung during the agricultural operations were a sort of inversions and defiance to the dominance of the high castes.16 Some of the Pulaya folk songs were loud expressions of indignation and retribution.17

iii) Steal and Escape

Pilfering and migration were traditional methods of defiance. James C. Scott describes them as "weapons of the weak" and "everyday forms of subordinate class’s resistance."18 Pilfering of paddy was very common in Travancore during the harvest season.

iv) "Frighten Women" Days

To still the guilty conscience of the oppressors, a custom was in vogue by which Pulayas were given a chance to challenge the dominance of high caste landlords. It was supposed to recompense the cruelties inflicted on them all the year round. This custom was called Pulaped, that is, terror from the Pulayas. On a few days of the year, Pulayas were granted the "right" to "frighten" and to pollute high caste women who were moving around alone without a male escort.19

All the above examples reveal that the Pulayas of Travancore had means, some of which even passed into Kerala tradition, to give vent to their frustrations. From the socio-psychological perspective, it is important to assume that conversion to Christianity was another outlet to channel suppressed feelings of revulsion at, and opposition to, the evils of landlordism. It may be seen as a sequel to, and sequence of, the forms of collective protest with which Pulayas were not unfamiliar.

3. Anti-slavery Movement and the CMS Missionaries

The CMS missionaries who came to Travancore in 1816, were by the 1850s, acquainted with social conditions in Travancore, especially about the rights and sufferings of the dalits. The development of missionary sympathy towards the plight of the slave castes in Travancore culminated in the submission of a memorandum by Anglican missionaries dated 20 March 1847. The signatories, Bailey, Baker, Hawksworth and Baker Jr., all had either long experience in the state or were closely acquainted with the lower classes of central Travancore. Indeed, the text of the memorandum clearly reflects their humanitarian concern with the evils of the slave system They demanded the emancipation of all the slaves in Travancore as an act of ‘humanity and kindness’ The petition stated:

With the condition of the slaves we have had many opportunities of becoming acquainted, and have been distressed to find in reference to these people, employed in the most laborious and unhealthy services, that even when hardest wrought, their food is barely adequate to their sustenance -- their clothing miserably scanty, their dwellings affording but little shelter from the moisture and cold surrounding them, and that generally no provision is made for their support when their labour is not required, or disease or age render them unable to labour -- that no medical aid is provided for them when ill, that they can be and are bought and sold as cattle, and that in (the) heartless traffic the husband and wife, the parent and child can be widely separated and sold in different directions, that they are often subjected to very cruel treatment from their masters, and that, owing to their degradation, they are in a great measure, deprived of the benefit of the lower courts, and entirely cut off from all access to their prince.20

Early 1850s was a period of intense campaign of CMS missionaries against the adirna (bonded labour) system. Extensive interviews with Pulayas were published by the missionaries.21 At this stage of the campaign the CMS missionaries developed not only a sense of sympathy for the Pulaya community, but also a degree of emotional commitment to do something concrete about the Pulayas’ social condition. Missionary propaganda about the disabilities and miseries brought the attached labourer system into disrepute.

Missionaries went to Travancore with no declared aim of altering social relationships. Nor was the slave-liberation campaign a deliberate strategy to win the Pulaya over to the Anglican Church. There is no evidence that they became actively involved in the anti-slavery movement because they believed it would maximise opportunities for evangelism among the slaves. In fact anti-slavery and evangelistic campaigns were (at least initially) considered by the missionaries as separate issues. However, this disjuncture was obvious neither to the high caste landlords nor to the Pulayas.

By 1850, at the height of the anti slavery campaign, the emancipation efforts and the possible conversion of Pulayas were already being linked at the village level. Consequently, widespread "rumours" were going around in areas where the missionaries had started evangelism about the conversion of Pulayas to the Anglican Church, even before the missionaries had anticipated any such group movement.22

However, the landlords perceived missionary moves as a potential threat to the Pulayas’ subservient role in the social system. George Matthan observed, "strong fears exist among all classes of people that the enlightenment of slaves will be followed by their liberation, and the consequent ruin of the interests of agriculture. We are therefore being regarded as enemies to the best interest of the country."23 Indeed many landlords felt that the missionaries had usurped the landlord’s position of authority over the Pulayas.

The missionaries’ anti-slavery campaign and their continued pressure on the Travancore government finally ended in the emancipation of the slaves. On 24 June 1855 it was declared that owning slaves was illegal.

Baker, a leading missionary campaigner, was disappointed that the proclamation was not given any publicity by the government.

He immediately printed copies of the proclamation in Malayalam.24 The missionaries personally supervised the prompt distribution of the pamphlet among the slaves. Although "the slaves and some others gladly received them," the landlords were less than pleased. They tried to prevent the distribution of the proclamation.25 The persistence of the missionaries reinforced the unprecedented influence CMS Missionaries now exercised among the dalits, and perhaps in the general social system, and led the Pulayas to perceive CMS missionaries as their powerful allies.

Following the emancipation of the slaves in Travancore in 1855, a significant number of Pulayas from different parts of Central Travancore approached CMS missionaries or their representatives with requests for "Christian instruction" and "slave schools," clearly indicating their readiness to move to a new religion and further their alliance with the missionaries The annual number of adult baptisms recorded by CMS missionaries did not exceed 100 during 1850s and early 1860s From late 1860s onwards, the number of adults baptised shows on increase to 500 a year26

4. Explaining Pulaya Conversion:

It is evident from the sources provided by the missionaries that unprecedented changes were taking place in Pulaya attitudes and behaviour as a result of their emancipation.

In mid-19th century Travancore, the high caste landlords were already feeling vulnerable and their sense of confidence was beginning to wane. The traditional system of control over the dalits was threatened by the missionaries’ antislavery campaign

Mid 19th century developments afforded opportunities for Pulayas to express resentment to many aspects of the existing patron-client relationship. They confidently pushed for more autonomy and freedom.27 Alliance with the missionaries through conversion was an added incentive.

Growing signs of assertiveness and defiance were evident in the actions of many Pulayas during this time. H. Andrews, a CMS missionary who worked among them, described the change as follows:

In fact, an upheaving is taking place generally among the slave masses; and it is our general belief here, that if some escape in the way of direction for good is not at once pointed out, much, very much, mischief may arise. In some places they have begun to resort in insult and sarcasm upon the Nairs as opportunity offers; and indeed, it is but natural, though not excusable. It is my growing conviction that their evangelisation will soon be permanently forced upon our notice, in spite of it, being logically proved by some that they are not the influential class. But to show that they have some influence, I know that when the master of some twenty of the Vellur slaves bade them work on Sunday, their plain "No" settled the matter.28

CMS missionary correspondence makes numerous references to an increase in conflict between Pulayas and landlords and the consequent persecution of the former. In places in the major paddy belts in Vellur, Mepra and Mallappally, all Pulaya strongholds, tensions arose frequently.29 In some cases, Pulayas showed continued defiance by "running away" from their landlord’s geographical area of influence. Mundakayam and the high ranges of Travancore are places where the fugitives found abode.30 Significantly, these are the places where most of the initial conversions among the Pulayas took place, confirming the direct link between Pulaya-landlord conflict and conversion to Anglicanism.

Any open declaration of association with the Anglican Church and missionary evangelism was considered as a "subversive action" on the part of the Pulayas. Along with Christianity, the CMS missionaries were acquiring a special place in the life of the Pulaya community. In the context of the emotion-laden conflicts of the period, Hawksworth observed, "some of them speak as if they had at length found a friend -- a friend that sticketh closer than brother," in the CMS missionary.31

Mateer reports that in Central Travancore Pulaya converts at work in the field were delighted to sing "Christian" songs which made direct reference to the freedom they had found in Christianity. The following was one of the songs:

Our slave work is done, our slave bonds are gone, for this we shall never henceforth forsake Thee, O Jesus:

To purchase cattle, fields, houses, and many luxuries (we were sold).

(Now) Messiah himself has settled in the land a people who once fled in terror.

As the Lord has freed from slavery the much-suffering Israelites in Egypt,

So he has freed us from our distress.32

Such "slave hymns" were popular among Pulayas from 1857 onwards, and were sung with fervour during the baptism ceremony.33

5. Main Features of the Initial Conversion

I) Runaways

A significant number of Pulaya converts initially drawn to Christianity was "runaway" slaves. The information available on their background is scanty. Nevertheless, missionary reports agree that most of them were either unwilling or unable to tolerate the excessive cruelties which landlords inflicted on them. Many found refuge in far away places where they could labour in comparative independence.

It is significant that during the 1850s, some of them were prepared to break traditional ties and leave the territorial confinements of a desarn (locality), effectively challenging the pattern of social relations and "internal bond of solidarity."34 Many of them trudged more than 160 miles to reach places like Mundakayam, Eraviperoor and Ranni. Most of them attempted to reach places remote from their homes and outside their landlord’s sphere of influence, or where missionary protection was readily available.

Sometimes "armed" agents of landlords, including Syrian Christians, raided abodes of the "runaways." CMS missionaries directly intervened to protect the Pulayas. In some cases they made the landlords bring back people who had been "mistakenly carried off."35 On other occasions, landlords directly approached the CMS missionaries with the promise of "slave schools," "provided that (the Pulayas) work for them on weekdays." Even in such circumstances, many of the Pulayas resisted attempts to return them to their former patrons "as they placed no confidence in the men’s promises."36

In fact, a 1858 Travancore government circular acknowledges that

some "former slaves" were being "persecuted" and intimidated by the landlords for "seeking to work for whom they choose." As a result of CMS missionary interest in "runaway" slaves, and the CMS missionaries’ continued pressure on the State government, Pulayas were protected from further violence. The landlords were warned by the government against physical violence against dalits.37

ii) Sorcerers

Several traditional priests and sorcerers (mantravadis) of the Pulaya community were also involved in the initial conversion movement. They exercised a great deal of influence and power over their people: performed religious rituals, sacrifices and black magic for the Pulayas and also at times for the high castes. It is significant to note that the first baptism from among the Pulayas of Central Travancore and from among the "runaway" slaves in Mundakayam were the mantravadis.38 In places like Mepra, Punnapra and Vembala near Alleppey where the conversion movement was particularly strong, CMS missionaries acknowledged the leadership of the Pulaya priests.39

The factors that accelerated the conversion of these priests are not entirely clear. The missionaries were eager to attribute this to religious reasons by comparing "the foolishness of the Hindu Gods" "with the purity and holiness and love" of Christ or by suggesting the priests were tired of "vainly striving to please by frequent offerings 40 Matthan’s report about an "intelligent Pulaya priest Choti reads as follows:

Choti expressed to me his hope that I would not consider him to be an unbeliever from his delaying to be baptised and stated that his whole motive in this acting was his desire to bring more of his fellow caste men to the knowledge of truth, for his influence would be lost among them if he entirely separated from their community by baptism.41

It is worth noting that the initial leaders of the conversion movements were those who spearheaded Pulayas’ traditional forms of protest against high castes.

iii) Enthusiasm

The conversion movement among the Pulayas was spread more widely by their own initiative and enthusiasm. As a result, whole groups in the community were brought over to the new religion, resisting intimidation and coercion of the landlords far more effectively than as individuals. Andrews observed, ‘The movement is now beyond the masters’ power to check it. . ." 42 The mutual "determination among these slaves to come and hear at any risk" not only surprised missionaries but annoyed the landlords.43

George Matthan’s observations were similar:

This increase is attributable more to the zeal and diligence of the slaves themselves than to the endeavours on our part. They in general show a praiseworthy anxiety to communicate the inestimable treasure they have freely got to others of their own class, and thus afford an evidence of the sincerity of their profession, the purity of their motives, and the love they have for their fellow creatures.44

By the beginning of the 1860s it was rather apparent that the spread of Christianity among the Pulayas was really indigenous Andrews, examining 200 Pulaya candidates for baptism noted, "it shows itself"

iv) In the Face of Opposition

Another important feature of the conversion was the conflict that followed the independent initiative shown by the Pulayas. The nature and effect of this conflict had wider implications,

Both individual and group initiatives by Pulayas to place themselves under Christian instruction met with stiff resistance and organised violence from Syrians as well as Nairs. In several places, Syrian and Nair landowners "consulted together about slaves attending schools on Sundays and resolve to put a stop to it."46 The landlords were concerned about the rising rebellious attitude among attached Pulaya labourers and were "strongly prejudiced against (Pulayas) being taught, under the erroneous idea that when taught they will cease to work." Hence their policy was "to terrify the Pulayas" from availing themselves of the opportunities of instruction. However, the united action of the landlords, their tactics of intimidation and coercion, did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Pulayas who continued to show their defiance by attending Christian instruction.

Initially the landlords attempted to burn down the "slave schools" and places of worship where Pulayas received Christian instruction and were eventually baptised. Often baptisms were followed by acts of violence. At other times Pulayas were forcibly driven away from their places of regular Sunday worship. Once after a "slave school" had been burnt down twice by the landlords, the Pulayas assembled at the usual worship time and stood "among the ashes" and one declared, "It was here we first found the Saviour, and here, on this spot, we will still worship him." Missionary advice to seek another place was rejected by the Pulayas, who continued to show their defiance. On yet another occasion a Pulaya rejected the suggestion that he could leave his home on account of the violence of the landlords towards their "slave school" and declared, "I will not leave the spot: they may murder me, but it shall be upon th(is) ground."47 As a result of these attacks, Pulayas showed an "anxious desire to secure" their places of worship and instruction. Although resources were scanty, in several places they offered small landed properties for the erection of schools.

Continued defiance created tension between Pulayas and the landlords. The conflicts involved physical violence, kidnapping, flogging and confining the victims in the custody of the landlords. Threats of murder and physical violence leading to near deaths of some Pulayas were also reported by the missionaries.

In almost all cases reported by the missionaries, it is evident that the Pulayas sought their help in dealing with conflicts. In many instances Pulayas traveled great distances to reach missionaries, seeking active intervention in a particular case or redress of grievances against the landlords. Due to lack of proper witnesses, the missionaries were unable to take up many cases of oppression brought to their attention. However, those they did take up had a considerable impact of missionary activity in the area and growing confidence of Pulayas. Missionaries displayed extraordinary courage in intervening on behalf of the Pulayas, as in effect, it was an attack on the entire patron-client system. Sometimes missionaries did not hesitate to strike a militant note in their approach to certain powerful landlords. Missionaries encouraged Pulaya converts and those under Christian instruction to take these conflicts to the local authorities, giving them sufficient outward support. Where this was ineffective, the missionaries themselves intervened.49 Many of the cases thus ended up in the hands of the British Resident or the Dewan.

In a prominent case in Kottayam, a Syrian Christian landlord was fined and punished for kidnapping a Pulaya convert as a result of the united action of a group of Pulayas. Hawksworth gave support to the Pulayas in their opposition to the landlord’s action.

When local authorities failed to act, Hawksworth took a statement from the people concerned and sent it to the Dewan, "recommending that the defendant should be fined ten shillings." The Dewan raised the fine to two pounds and ten shillings. The local officer "set sail accordingly" and fined the Syrian Christian landlord three pounds. Hawksworth concluded: "A statutory dread has been infused into the minds of those who might otherwise have continued to persecute; and the converts, recognising the hand of God, in the midnight rescue and the final decision, thank God and take courage."50 In another case a Tahsildar was forced by Andrews to reverse his unjust punishment of a Pulaya. Andrews, an ardent supporter of the Pulayas’ efforts for emancipation, reported: "My poor people rejoiced that the hands of the oppressor had been broken."51 Given that this was a region where the Pulayas were suppressed, the readiness of the missionaries to stand up for their rights is impressive.

The missionaries’ local influence and the mere threat of intervention were sufficient to create "fear" among the landlords. In some cases, landlords came directly "to beg pardon" of the missionaries in order to resolve conflicts and sometimes to forestall intervention from higher authorities. When such tactics failed, landlords were made to pay fines or to build "slave schools." Andrews’s evaluation of one such case where a Nair was fined, made to build a "substantial prayer house" for his "slaves" and to write a conciliatory letter to the missionary agreeing not to "molest" the slaves anymore is revealing. He reports that the Nair landlord had "learnt a lesson --that his power was limited by another. . . ," now he found himself beaten by those "dogs and slaves. Some twenty slaves (he continued) have stood firm through all this fiery opposition, and if the persecution somewhat lessens I am told great numbers will join. . ."52 Events such as these demonstrate how powerful missionaries could become in local society. They also illustrated how Pulayas could continue their acts of defiance with outside help.

6. Conclusion

From the history of the Pulaya conversion movement in Travancore, what emerges uppermost is the development of social consciousness of a community in the various stages and changes of society in transition. Self-realisation of oppression and slavery naturally lead to finding ways and means of liberation. Forms of protest are evident in traditions, religious rituals, folk arts, and subversionary acts. An ideology of liberation slowly builds up, inspired mainly by the winds of the 19th century change which reach Travancore through the missionaries. The oppressed saw the doors opening for them as a way out of the misery with the success of the anti-slave campaign championed by the missionaries. An alliance is forged. For thousands, conversion was an act of social protest heralding exit from the inhumanity of the caste system.


1. G.A. Oddie, "Christian Conversion in Telugu Country, 1860-1900: A Case Study of one Protestant Movement in the Godavary-Krishna Delta," Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. XII, No. 1, Jan-March, 1975.

John C.B. Webster, The Christian Community and Change in Nineteenth Century North India (Delhi, 1976). D. Forrester, Caste and Christianity(London, 1970). S. Manickam, The Social Setting of Christian Conversion in South India (Wiesbaden, 1977). J.W. Gladstone, Protestant Christianity and People’s Movement in Kerala (Trivandrum, 1984).

2. T.K. Oommen, Protest and Change (New Delhi, 1990), pp. 256f.

3. B. Hjejle, "Slavery and Agricultural Bondage in South India," Scandinavian Economic History Review, Vol. XV, Nos. I & II, 1967, pp. 71-126. Ranjit Guha, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India (Delhi, 1983).

4. LA.K. lyer, The Cochin Tribes and Castes. Vol. I (Madras, 1909), p. 97.

5. George Matthan, Journal 31 Dec. 1850 ClO/161/21, CMS Archives.

6. iyer, The Cochin Tribes, p. 97f.

7. Census of Travancore, 1875, p. 105.

8. Census, 1875, p. 206.

9. iyer, The Cochin Tribes, p. 120f.

10. J. Knowles, "Rescue the Pariah," The Harvest ReId, IV, 1892-93, p. 135.

11. Census, 1891, p. 105. Also see Kusuman, Slavery in Travancore, 1973, pp. 79f.

12. Census, 1891, p. 189.

13. Robin Jeffrey, The Decline of Nayar Dominance (London, 1976), p. 29.

14. The Missionary Register (1852), pp. 444f.

15. Joan P. Mencher, 1964. Also see Kathleen Gough, "Cults of the Dead Among the Nayars," in Milton Singer (ed.), Traditional India (Philadelphia, 1959), p. 264. 16. Guha, Elementary Aspects. (1992), pp. 33f.

17. See an excellent study of dalit songs and poems by Paul Chirakarod and others, Dalit Kavithagal: On, Padanam (Tiruvalla, 1992), pp. 95-99.

18. James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak (1990), pp. xv-xxiv.

19. See for details, Ayyar, "Pulappedi and Mannappedi in South Travancore," Man in India. Vol. ii, No.1, 1927, pp. 22-29.

20. C12/M23, p. 273, CMSA.

21. The Missionary Register, 1854, p. 472.

22. Matthan, Journal 31 March, 1853, Ci2/0161/23, CMSA.

23. The Missionary Register, 1852, pp. 444f.

24. Baker, Report on 4 Aug. 1855, Ci2/029/46, CMSA.

25. Proceedings of the CMS, 1855-56, p. 131.

26. Moddox, Annual Letter 11 Nov. 1871, C12/01 56/16, CMSA. CMS Record, Vol. ii, 1872, p. 177.

27. Andrews, Journal 30 May 1858, c.12/23/15, CMSA.

28. CMS Record, New Series, Vol. III, 1858, p. 330.

29. CMS Report, 1856-57, pp. 141-142.

30. Matthan Letter to P.S. Royston 11 Aug. 1858, C12/M26, CMSA. CMS Report, 1856-57, p. 140.

31. Hawksworth in The Missionary Register, 1852, p. 444.

32. Samuel Mateer, Native Life in Travancore, London, 1883, pp. 33f.

33. Oommen Marmmen, Journal 30 June 1857, C1210157/II, CMSA.

34. For a discussion of "the system of territorial segmentation" and the effects of social change on such old boundaries, see Eric J. Miller, "Caste and Territory in Malabar," American Anthropologist, Vol. 56, No. 3, June 1954, pp. 418-19.

35. Baker Jr., The Hillarrians, 1862, p. 35.

36. CMS Record, Vol.-VI, 1861, p. 280.

37. A. F. Painter, ‘The Pulayas of Travancore," in The Diocesan Gazette, April, 1882, p. 195.

38. CMS Record, Vol. XXIII, 1857, 0. 302, Headland, ‘The Rev. Henry Baker," in Brief Sketches, 1897, pp. 5f.

39. Oommen Marnrnen, Journal July 1858 to June 1859, c.12/0157/12, CMSA.

40. Annual Letter of W. Johnsons, 12 Nov. 1876, c.12/0141/22, CMSA.

41. Matthan, Journal, June 1856, c.12/0161/24, CMSA.

42. Andrews, Journal 21 Feb. 1858, c.12/023/14, p. 17, CMSA.

43. Andrews, Journal 1 Feb. 1858, c.12/023/14, p. 8, CMSA.

44. Annual Letter of George Matthan, 12 Feb. 1861, in CMS Record, Vol. VI, 1861, p. 280.

45. Proceedings of CMS, 1861-63.

46. Koshi, Journal, 22 July to Sept. 1857, c.12/01/47, CMSA.

47. The Missionary Register, 1855, pp. 477-480.

48. Andrews, Journal, Aug. 1858, p. 9, c.12/23/16, CMSA.

49. CMS Record, VII, 1862, p. 289.

50. CMS Record, VI, 1862, p. 256.

51. CMS Record, New Series VII, 1861, p. 272.

52. Annual Letter of Andrews, 7 Jan. 1862, p. 3f. c.12/023/26 CMSA.