Malabar ( Malayalam മലബാർ Malabār ) is a region in India . Malabar originally referred to the entire area of what is now the state of Kerala on the southwest coast of India. Today, the Malabar region is usually only understood to mean the northern part of Kerala, while the Malabar coast refers to the entire stretch of coast between Cape Komorin and Mangalore .
The name Malabar comes from the Arab and Persian seafarers who maintained trade contacts with southern India and originally referred to the coastal region between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea in southwest India, which essentially corresponds to the present-day state of Kerala . The part of the name mala- is a Dravidian word stem for “mountain” (cf. Malayalam മല mala , Tamil மலை malai ). In Sanskrit , the Malaya ( मलय ) derived from this has been used as a name for the Western Ghats and the neighboring region since the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana . In the 7th century, the Chinese traveler Xuanzang mentions the Western Ghats under the name Molaye ( 秣 剌 耶 ). In a Tamil inscription in the Brihadisvara Temple of Thanjavur from the 11th century, the region in question is called Malaināḍu ( மலைநாடு ; nāḍu means "land"). In the local language Malayalam, Malayāḷam not only describes the language but also the region in which it is spoken, i.e. today's Kerala.
The ending -bar in Malabar probably comes from the Persian ( بار bār ). The etymology of the word is unclear, but it appears in the names of various coastal regions on the Indian Ocean (cf. Zanzibar , from Persianزنگبار Zangibār ). The name Malabar is first used in the 12th century in the form Manībār (منيبار) documented by the Arab geographer al-Idrisi . In the 13th century the name Malibar appears at Zakariya Qazwini . The European explorers also adopted this name. At the end of the 13th century, for example, John of Montecorvino spoke of Minibar and Marco Polo of Melibar . When the Portuguese began to colonize the region in the 16th century, Malabar had established itself as the name.
During the colonial period, the term Malabar was also transferred to the Tamils and their language living on the east coast of what is now the state of Tamil Nadu , as the Europeans were not aware of the differences between Malayalam and the closely related Tamil . The Portuguese Jesuit Anrique Anriquez wrote a grammar and dictionary of Tamil at the end of the 16th century, which he calls Lingua Malauar Tamul . The German missionary Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg , who worked in Tranquebar at the beginning of the 18th century , referred to the Tamils living there as Malabars and their language as Malabar . The word was used with this meaning by Europeans until the early 19th century, but then went out of use. The term Malbars has survived on Réunion and Mauritius as a name for the Tamil inhabitants of the islands.
Malabar originally stood as a geographical term for the entire area of what is now Kerala. To this day, the Malabar Coast refers to the southernmost section of the west coast of India between the city of Mangalore and Cape Komorin , the southern tip of India, and thus includes the entire coast of Kerala. Today, however, the Malabar region is usually only understood to mean the northern part of Kerala, i.e. the districts of Kasaragod , Kannur , Kozhikode , Wayanad and Malappuram . In this restricted meaning, the region is largely congruent with the Malabar district , which the British had established after they had brought the area under their rule in 1792. When the Indian states were reorganized according to language boundaries by the States Reorganization Act in 1956 , the Malabar district was united with the Travancore-Cochin Federation formed from the two former princely states of Travancore and Cochin (Kochi) to form the state of Kerala. At the same time, the Malabar district lost its administrative importance, but Kerala is still divided into the three regions of Malabar (northern Kerala), Kochi (central Kerala) and Travancore (southern Kerala).
The Malabar region of Kerala hardly differs geographically from the rest of the state, but has a number of cultural peculiarities. The region is strongly influenced by Islam : According to the 2011 census, Muslims and Hindus each make up 47 percent of the inhabitants of the five districts of Northern Kerala (in all of Kerala: Hindus 55 percent, Muslims 27 percent). The Christians , on the other hand, are significantly underrepresented at 6 percent (compared to 18 percent in all of Kerala). In contrast to southern and central Kerala, the Malabar region is hardly developed for tourism despite suitable beaches. In 2010, only 6.3 percent of the foreign tourists who came to Kerala visited the Malabar region.
- Sebastian R. Prange: Like Banners on the Sea. Muslim Trade Networks and Islamization in Malabar and Maritime Southeast Asia . In: R. Michael Feener, Terenjit Sevea: Islamic Connections. Muslim Societies in South and Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore 2009. pp. 25-47.
- ↑ TA Burrow & MB Emeneau: Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, 2nd ed, Oxford, 1984, entry "4747 Ta malai.".. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- ↑ Monier Monier-Williams: Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Oxford 1899, p. 792. See also the search for “malaya” in Oliver Hellwig: DCS - The Digital Corpus of Sanskrit, Heidelberg, 2010–2012. ( Memento of the original from January 27, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- ^ Henry Yule: Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, London 1903, entry "Malabar (a.)". ( Page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- ^ Yule 1903, entry "Malabar (b.)". ( Page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- ↑ Calculation based on the figures for the districts of Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram according to the 2011 census ( Census of India 2011: C-1 Population By Religious Community. Andhra Pradesh. ).
- ↑ The Times of India, February 17, 2012: "Malabar takes a back seat in state's tourism growth".