Copying of content without prior written permission from the author strictly prohibited - Copyright - Historic alleys Total Pageviews Posted by Maddy Labels: British Malabar The author of The Malabar Manual and a friend of Malabar There are many Scotsmen, Irish and Englishmen who have spent long tenures in India, and some have spent their entire adult lifetimes in India but have done little. Logan Sayipp as he was known in Calicut spent only a few years but left a huge mark, for unlike many others who followed, he loved the land and the people which he was sent to administer. This man of Scottish farming stock went on to write what we still consider as source book on Malabar and his history, the Malabar manual. Interestingly, and many would not know it, he was the last foreign owner of the collectors bungalow in East hill, the very building which houses the Krishna Menon museum today. William Logan appointed as Collector of Malabar, purchased it from Athol MacGregor and lived there until his early retirement at the age of 46, after which he sold it to the brothers Koyotti and Chekutti Koya Haji in
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Copying of content without prior written permission from the author strictly prohibited - Copyright - Historic alleys Total Pageviews Posted by Maddy Labels: British Malabar The author of The Malabar Manual and a friend of Malabar There are many Scotsmen, Irish and Englishmen who have spent long tenures in India, and some have spent their entire adult lifetimes in India but have done little.
Logan Sayipp as he was known in Calicut spent only a few years but left a huge mark, for unlike many others who followed, he loved the land and the people which he was sent to administer. This man of Scottish farming stock went on to write what we still consider as source book on Malabar and his history, the Malabar manual.
Interestingly, and many would not know it, he was the last foreign owner of the collectors bungalow in East hill, the very building which houses the Krishna Menon museum today. William Logan appointed as Collector of Malabar, purchased it from Athol MacGregor and lived there until his early retirement at the age of 46, after which he sold it to the brothers Koyotti and Chekutti Koya Haji in Some years later, the British government acquired it from the brothers.
Those were the days when the British lived in a different Calicut than the one we see today and I had tried to recreate the scene in a couple of earlier articles. Calicut in those days was a bigger place though considered a dying entrepot, compared to the little village of Reston with people and Malabar was where the young lad would soon head to, to better his fortunes.
Even during his school days at the age old Musselburgh academy, William distinguished himself with a Dux medal in , before moving on to Edinburg University. It was at this juncture that fate intervened and the Sepoy mutiny took place. In the aftermath of the Rebellion, under the provisions of the Government of India Act , the British Government nationalized the Company. The Crown took over its Indian possessions, its administrative powers and machinery, and its armed forces.
With the British crown now responsible for the governance of the presidencies of India, youngsters desirous of going to India did not any longer have to buy commissions, but obtained positions after open competition.
That was how William Logan, a bright and plucky lad, appeared and passed the exams to travel to India and join the MCS or Madras civil service, in Aug His first challenge was to pass the vernacular tests in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu which he did. At the age of 21, in , he was appointed as an assistant to the collector and magistrate at North Arcot. He was then moved to Malabar as an assistant to the collector, but was quickly reposted to Tanjore and soon enough, right back to Malabar in , as acting head assistant and then head assistant.
He then took a number of positions within the Tellichery and Calicut Collectorate till he finally became the chief administrator of Malabar — The collector and magistrate, in , aged But in between all that he did find time to settle himself by finding a wife, in , while on furlough. As DLH states - Logan was often seen on horseback touring the areas of Malabar frequently, accompanied by one or two servants, constantly stopping and talking to small groups, and asking questions.
His care for the people of Malabar, his passion for doing what was right, his built in faith in God, all of these were put to work during his stay in Calicut.
The islands had been controlled by the Ali Rajas and the Beebi of Cannanore and generally accepted so by the British who had agreed to a status quo, until W Robinson visiting the islands in suggested much needed reforms.
The islands were later attached by the British due to unpaid arrears and it was in that Logan was deputed to the islands for a review, with the Ali Rajah in tow and trying his best to obstruct him from getting information. Logan completed his investigations and submitted different schemes for raising revenue, entailing the abolition of the monopoly but these suggestions were not accepted and from the time of the British government taking over the control of these islands in , the prices paid were assimilated to those paid on the South Kanara islands.
But a bulk of his work was done in the mainland, all resulting from his love and sympathy for the people of Malabar. Even though he was a mainstay for the British Raj in Malabar, his appreciation for the unique culture of Malabar can be seen in his writings. I will not dwell in too much detail with his specific contributions and for that one only needs to peruse the commentaries in the Kerala gazetteers edition of the Malabar manual circa , especially the contributions of KKN Kurup, Ravindran Gopinath and Kesavan Veluthat.
Nevertheless, I will provide an overview for the sake of completeness. Editions of Malabar Law and custom which were published after the Malabar manual often refer to his works and his legal decisions, as a base. As a collector he had a tremendous amount of work to do and we can still see the fruits of his efforts. He was very much involved with the plantations of Wyanad, starting of garden schools, and the development of the Calicut port. The railway link to Beypore had been completed and Logan wanted to link it to Trivandrum and other sections of the South eastern railway through Cape Comorin.
His efforts in understanding the issues with the Moplahs of Malabar is well documented and Hussein Randathani adds - As a political and economic analyst Logan had done a wonderful job in finding out various reasons connected with the peasant revolts of Malabar. He thoroughly goes through the economic grievances which precipitated Mappila revolts and at the same time he brings out the ideological factors behind them.
However sympathies aside, he administered the law in very strict terms as was the case during the Trikkaliyur riots. Perhaps his biggest contributions lie in the understanding and documentation of the traditional land and agrarian systems of Malabar. While it is said that he erred on the side of the peasant and did not quite side with the landlord due to his own background as a Scottish peasant, his recommendations on land tenure decisions did not find favor with his masters who for the sake of smoother administration decided to maintain a status quo.
Ironically, some of the succeeding Kerala administrators of independent India, though many decades later, found many of his arguments perfect. The government did not agree and kept Logan out of the final committee drafting the revised Malabar tenancy bill. While he was an acting resident of Cochin and Travancore between , he was again on special duty relating to land tenures and finally sent back to Calicut as collector.
Calicut remembers him for many an interesting action when he served as its collector. He was the first to record the peculiar trail of chastity or smartavicharam where an offending Nambudiri woman was cruelly outcasted. One should also not forget his relentless effort to create a classic botanical garden in the area where we have the SM Street these days. Even when Logan changed his plans to have a much smaller 1 acre garden, the idea did not eventually get an approval from his superiors.
Logan was a just man, who was severe not only on people who disobeyed the law, but also errant government officials. He was also against the smalltime kuris of Malabar mainly because many of them were dishonest and robbed the poorest off their little earnings. His involvement in demarcating the lands of the French Loge was something we talked about earlier.
Stories of his direct involvement in many such matters make interesting reading and prove that he was a collector who really loved and cared for the people of his district.
RJ Herring observes, citing Logan - the effect of colonial law was to simplify, collapse and locate concretely the bundle of rights in land with the objective of creating property rights in the sense of market property. Simultaneously, vast tracts were "reserved" for the state on the claim that unused "waste" land had traditionally been "the property of the state" But his superiors were in general not too pleased with all this I suppose, for Logan was transferred in to Cudappah as the district and sessions judge, and for Logan I believe, that it was the last straw, and just two months later he resigned and went back aged just 47, to Scotland to lead a life in obscurity, to retire as they say and become a gentleman hunting and playing golf.
His picture from Scotland does show a portly country man in breeches, with his cap and a bent pipe hanging from his lips. It is mentioned that for a while he continued correspondence with some of his friends in Malabar. But he left behind what is considered to be his magnum opus- the Malabar manual in 3 parts. A fine page manual later printed in two parts, he recorded all that he could about the people of Malabar, their history, culture and varied practices.
Logan is sometimes titled the Gazetteer of Malabar. Now what was a Gazetteer supposed to do? Gazetteers became popular in Britain in the 19th Century, many of whom were Scottish, documenting activities to meet public demand in Britain for information on an expanding Empire.
Narayanan opines "Logan was sincere and serious about the task entrusted to him. He was an efficient Collector who had an affinity with the people of Malabar. The personal contribution is evident all along. The details given by Logan with regard to dress, festivals and other social customs go a long way in providing insights on the social history of Malabar.
He stated "I would more especially call attention to the central point of interest, as I look at it, in any descriptive and historical account of the Malayali race - the position, namely, which was occupied for centuries on centuries by the Nair caste in the civil and military organization of the province, - a position so unique and so lasting that but for foreign intervention there seems no reason why it should not have continued to endure for centuries on centuries to come.
It is said that the manual shows a stellar administration in charge of Malabar and issues such as the famines were not depicted correctly. But Logan with characteristic humility states in the preface of his work "I shall consider that I have MM sculpture Calicut failed in one main object if I do not succeed in arousing a feeling of interest on many points whereon I have necessarily touched, but briefly in this work.
A wonderful man, all in all. I only hope that the people of Malabar will continue to prove that they deserved him and I do hope they do more to remember him.
It is a huge book of more than , words. It might not be possible for a casual reader to imbibe all the minute bits of information from this book. On these quoted lines, I have built up a lot of arguments, and also added a lot of explanations and interpretations. However, the book, Malabar, contains much more items, than what this Commentary can aspire to contain. This book, Malabar, will give very detailed information on how a small group of native-Englishmen built up a great nation, by joining up extremely minute bits of barbarian and semi-barbarian geopolitical areas in the South Asian Subcontinent. First of all, I would like to place on record what my interest in this book is.
William Logan (author)
Quotes[ edit ] Malabar Manual [ edit ] The book Malabar Manual discussing about systems and history of Malabar or currently known as Kerala. The wild elephant is the most important animal of the district. Without his assistance, when domesticated, it would be difficult indeed to work the forests. Wherever you go in the forests you find numberless pitfalls excavated for his capture; but, as a rule, they are mostly old ones, half filled in. Numbers of. Malabar Manual, Page 58 The Gramams are presided over by six Smarthas , who are presidents of the assemblies at which caste offences are tried.
Malabar Manual by William Logan - along with a Commentary by VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS