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Updated: April 30, 2014 13:40 IST

A symbol of amity is no more

Special Correspondent
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M.K. Raghavan, MP, pays last respects to Zamorin Manavikraman Raja who
passed away on Tuesday. Photo: K. Ragesh
THE HINDU M.K. Raghavan, MP, pays last respects to Zamorin Manavikraman Raja who passed away on Tuesday. Photo: K. Ragesh

Zamorin Manavikraman Raja's cremation at Thiruvannur at 8 a.m. today

In July 2013, shortly after he succeeded as Zamorin, Sree Manavikraman Raja, attended a rare function. It was an Iftar arranged at the historic Mishkal mosque in Kuttichira, a milestone in the Spice Route of Indo-Arab trade.

The Zamorin quietly sat with a beaming smile on stage as his host K.V. Imbichammad Haji, Chief Khasi of Kozhikode, greeted him with warm words.

The occasion was the 520th anniversary of the attempt by the Portuguese to burn down the mosque — a watershed moment in the history of Kozhikode. The function was a reminder of the communal amity which was characteristic of the region.

The Zamorin and the Chief Khasi listened intently as noted historian M.G.S. Narayanan spoke of the Portuguese’ simplistic plan to weaken the Zamorin’s hold over trade by sacking the mosque and burning it to the ground.

So, the Portuguese, led by Albukar, in the Hijra year 915 on the 22nd day of the holy month of Ramzan, attacked the mosque.

The marauders were metby the joint forces of Nairs and Muslims. The event is remembered for the strong bonds of friendship that existed between the Nair and Muslim communities during the Zamorin’s rule. The Zamorin has always been a symbol of communal harmony for Kozhikode. And, Manavikraman Raja, armed with his quiet geniality, strove to accomplish the role during his brief tenure of 13 months and two days as Zamorin until his death on Tuesday.

He died at a private hospital this afternoon due to respiratory illness.

He was 94. After his retirement from the foreign services as an official of the Indian Embassy in erstwhile Czechoslovakia, Manavikraman Raja led a quiet life with his wife, Kamala, at their ancestral Thiruvannur Kovilakom here until the death of his predecessor P.K.S. Raja in March 2013.

Manavikraman Raja was considered a soothing presence with his wealth of international experience and passion for Kathakali. He will be put to rest at the family crematorium at Thiruvannur at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The next in line for succession is K.C. Unnianujan Raja of the Kottakkal Kovilakom, family sources said. He resides in Ernakulam.

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