Today, November 1, marks the celebration of Kerala Piravi, or Kerala Formation Day. This marks the 67th anniversary of Kerala’s existence as a state. The formation of Kerala can be traced back to the enactment of the State Reorganisation Act in 1956. It also led to the reorganisation and division of several Indian states
Despite India gaining independence from British colonial rule and forming the Indian Union, the Malayalees found themselves divided among regions, including Malabar, Thiru-Kochi, and Travancore. As a response to this division, demands for a united Kerala began to emerge from various quarters.
The state of Kerala officially came into existence on November 1, 1956, through the amalgamation of the Malayalam-speaking regions of Travancore, Kochi, and the Malabar region, previously part of the Madras Presidency. This event was driven by the desire to reorganize states based on linguistic factors, and it is now celebrated as Kerala Piravi.
Initially, Kerala consisted of five districts: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Thrissur, and Malabar. In subsequent phases, additional districts were created, resulting in the current administrative structure with 14 districts and 63 sub-districts in the state.
Beyond the historical narrative, Kerala is enriched with legends and folklore that add to its cultural tapestry. One such legend speaks of the mythical creation of ‘Keralanadu’ in the southwest of India.
According to the mythological tale, Lord Vishnu incarnated as Rama, the son of Sage Jamadagni and Princess Renuka. Rama, a devoted follower of Lord Shiva and a formidable warrior, earned the title of Parashurama after wielding the ‘Parashu’ or axe as his weapon.
The legend narrates how Parashurama brought peace and prosperity to the land by engaging in 21 battles to vanquish the power-hungry, arrogant, and selfish Kshatriyas. Following this, Parashurama ventured into the Karinila forest region of the Western Ghats in search of a place to meditate.
It was in this forest that Lord Varuna appeared before Parashurama and granted him a boon. This boon allowed Parashurama to create land by casting his axe (‘Parashu’) into the sea, where the landmass of Kerala is believed to have emerged. This legendary narrative offers a unique perspective on the origin of Kerala, often referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’ in the southwestern part of India.