What Led to the End of Kerala’s Matrilineal Society? – The Caravan
In The Ivory Throne, Manu Pillai retells the history of a unique Indian monarchy: the princely dynasty of Travancore in southern Kerala. Travancore, a dominion loyal to the British Raj, was relatively newer than the ancient houses that once warred over this slice of south-western India, set between the Arabian Sea and the tail-end of the Western Ghats. Yet a ruthless ancestor and generations of shrewd management ensured its endurance, as well as its political and cultural currency. As Kerala was ushered into the modern era, closer to democracy and republicanism, the women of Travancore came to occupy a central role in its fortunes. In this excerpt from the book, Pillai delves into the history of Kerala’s unusual history of matriliny.