Kunjali Marakkar

A commemorative postage stamp on the Maritime Heritage – Kunjali Marakkar – 400 Years :

1805 Kunjali Marakkar - Maritime Heritage [India Stamp 2000]Issued by India

Issued on Dec 17, 2000

Issued for : The Department of Posts is proud to issue a stamp in honour of these great Admirals who wrote a heroic chapter in India’s Maritime History.

Stamp Design : The stamp design shows the warparoe, 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 causalities by setting fire to their sails and get back into the safety of shallow waters. In these guerrilla raids, the Marakkars had shown remarkable prowess.

Designed by : Sankha Samanta

Type : Stamp, Mint Condition

Watermark : No

Colour : Five Colour

Denomination : 300 Paise

Stamp Overall Size : 2.91 x 3.90 cms.

Stamp Print Size : 2.75 x 3.90 cms.

Perforation : 13.5 x 13.5

Paper : Matt Chromo

Stamps Printed : 0.7 Million in sheets of 40

Printing Process : Photo Offset

Printer : Calcutta Security Printers Ltd.

About : 

  • The power equations along India‘s coastline, however, changed with the advent of the European mariners in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In the early 15th century, the Zamorins of Calicut were among the dominant rulers on the West Coast of India. Consequently, they also dominated the profitable spice trade from Malabar. After the landing of Vasco Da Gama in Calicut in 1498 A.D., the Portuguese slowly gained influence and started interfering in the trade. Long accustomed to free trade and the freedom of the seas, Indian seamen bitterly resented this interference.
  • Mohammed Kunjali Marakkar, the first Admiral of Calicut who offered to the Zamorin his sword, ships and services, dedicated his entire energies in fighting the foreign domination of Indian seas. He was the first of the four Kunjalis who played a heroic part in the Naval wars with the Portuguese.
  • The most famous of the Marakkars was Kunjali IV, who fought the Portuguese more fiercely than his predecessors and with far greater success. He further frustrated them by extending support to their enemies like the Rani of Ullal and the Sultan of Bijapur. However, the initial successes appear to have made him arrogant to the extent of ignoring the authority of the Zamorin. The Portuguese were quick to capitalise on the growing rift. They clinched a deal with Zamorin to suppress the ‘rebel’ Admiral, and in 1600 jointly laid siege of his fort, bringing to an end the long tradition of the legendary Marakkars. Kunjali IV who surrendered to the Zamorin was handed over to the Portuguese, only to be taken to Goa and executed. He displayed great dignity and courage till the last moment.
  • Text: Based on material furnished by sponsors.

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