The rise and fall of Kerala Varma, celebrated scholar of Sanskrit and Malayalam and consort to the Queen of Travancore
In September 1914, an unplanned encounter with a dog led to the death of a Sanskrit scholar. The man was in a car on the outskirts of a town in Kerala called Kayamkulam when the canine jumped on the road. As the driver tried to avoid running over the animal, the car skid, turning turtle as it fell into a ditch. For some time, the 69-year-old languished by the roadside, till finally a palanquin arrived, carrying him off for medical attention. It was all in vain, though, and two days later the man was dead. “O! Land of Kerala, thy light has gone!" lamented the poet Kumaran Asan: “Thou art engulfed in darkness!"