|Revival of Bhakti
We have seen how the wave of religious
devotion that swept over the land in the 9th century under the leadership of the Nayanars
and the Alwars gave birth to temples.There was a revival of the Bhakti movement during the
Portuguese period (A. D. 1498-1663) which was one of political violence, social decadence
and economic depression. The arrival of the Portuguese put an ond to the advance of the
Zamorin and prevented the unification of Kerala under him. Instead, the local chiefs
quarreled amongst themselves and intrigued with foreign powers to ruin one another.
Economically, the Muslims were ousted from the profitable
sea trade in ginger, pepper and other spices with Arabia and they had to contend with
petty coastal trade in coconuts and cloth. Thus began a drain to Europe resulting in
progressive impoverishment of Kerala.The Portuguese also poisoned the social atmosphere.
Their policy so utterly different from the Kerala Maryada of 'Live and let live',
substituted hatred and suspicion for love and trust,and selfishness and opportunism for
co-operation and idealism. They indulged in atrocities such as large-scale killing of
civilian population and destruction of temples and mosques. All this created a feeling of
revulsion among people and they craved for a message of hope and cheer.