Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maritime Heritage. Admiral Kunjali IV Marakkar 400th Death Anniv.

Date of Issue: December 17, 2000
Denomination: Rs. 3
Design: S. Samanta

According to tradition, Marakkars were originally marine merchants of Kozhikode (Calicut) who left for Ponnani in the Samoothiri Raja's dominion when the Portuguese came to Kozhikode. The Raja took them into his service and eventually they became the Admirals of his fleet.

Of the four Marakkars, Kunjali Marakkar IV is the most famous.

India Post issued a stamp commemorating the maritime heritage of Kunjali Marakkar on December 17, 2000 on the 400th anniversary of the end of the Marakkars. The stamp design shows the 17th century Galley/war-paroe, a small craft used by the Kunjalis, which, manned by just 30-40 men each, could be rowed through lagoons and narrow waters. Several of these crafts were deployed at strategic points and they would emerge from small creeks and inconspicuous estuaries, attack the Portuguese ships at will, inflict heavy damage and casualties by setting fire to their sails and get back into the safety of shallow waters. In these guerilla raids, the Marakkars had shown remarkable prowess.

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