The old Maharaja of Travancore grew frail and there was talk of who
should succeed him. By matrilineal tradition his nephew, Maarthaanda
Varma, was the heir. But councillors were plotting to break with custom
and install the Maharaja’s gullible son on the throne. The best way to
get rid of Maarthaanda, they decided, was to kill him.
The story of Maarthanda’s escape and his coronation has been adapted
from the novel Maarthaandavarma by CV Raman Pillai, one of the
great Malayalam writers. In Maarthaandavarma, he writes a historical
romance about an actual Maharaja of Travancore. Historically,
Maarthaanda Varma is still remembered for uniting the kingdom of
Travancore, and providing it with a just and strong government.
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