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27 January 2020

Formation of a multicultural society in Kerala|Cultural Heritage of Kerala-KAS-Kerala Administrative services

Formation of a multicultural society in Kerala|Cultural Heritage of Kerala-KAS-Kerala Administrative services

Buddhism and Jainism 

Budha Statue in Kerala
Buddhism and Jainism reached Kerala in this early period. As in other parts of ancient India, Buddhism and Jainism co-existed with early Hindu beliefs during the first five centuries. 

Karumadikkuttan Shrine

Jainism in Kerala
Sulthan Batheri Jaina Temple

Merchants from West Asia and Southern Europe established coastal posts and settlements in Kerala.

Jews arrived in Kerala as early as 573 BCE.

Jews in Kerala

The Cochin Jews believe that their ancestors came to the west coast of India as refugees following the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century CE.

 Saint Thomas Christians claim to be the descendants of the converts of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Jesus Christ although no evidence that Thomas ever visited Kerala has been established.

 Arabs also had trade links with Kerala, starting before the 4th century BCE, as Herodotus (484–413 BCE) noted that goods brought by Arabs from Kerala were sold to the Jews at Eden.

They intermarried with local people, resulting in formation of the Muslim Mappila community.

In the 4th century, the Knanaya Christians migrated from Persia and lived alongside the early Syrian Christian community known as the St. Thomas Christians who claim to trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century although no evidence has been established to this claim.

 Mappila was an honorific title that had been assigned to respected visitors from abroad; and Jewish, Syrian Christian, and Muslim immigration might account for later names of the respective communities: Juda Mappilas, Nasrani Mappilas, and Muslim Mappilas.

According to the legends of these communities, the earliest Christian churches, mosque, and synagogue (CE 1568) in India were built in Kerala. The combined number of Jews, Christians, and Muslims was relatively small at this early stage.

They co-existed harmoniously with each other and with local Hindu society, aided by the commercial benefit from such association.

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