Upcoming Talks


Penang and the Indian Ocean Lecture presented ……

The Muslim Trade from Coromandal Coast in relation to Kedah and Penang by Dr. J. Raja Mohamad.


The lecture was conducted in two languages: Tamil  and English

The dates and venues were as follows:

Tamil Lecture in Penang:
Date and Time: 9 June 2013 (Sunday), 8pm
Venue: MPPP Town Hall, Jalan Padang Kota Lama

Download pdf brochure in Tamil

English Lecture in Penang:
Date and Time: 10 June 2013 (Monday), 10am
Venue: Think City, Level 14, KWSP Building, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah

Photo galleries:

(1) Tamil Lecture                                   (2) English Lecture

About the speaker:

Dr. J. Raja Mohamad was born in 1946 at Udayarpalayam in Tamil Nadu. A post graduate in history, archaeology and anthropology, he worked in the Department of Museums, Tamil Nadu for over 35 years. Dr. J. Raja Mohamad is the author of several books including Maritime History of Coromandal Muslims – A Socio-Historic Study on the Tamil Muslims 1750 – 1900 (2004), Islamic Architecture in Tamil Nadu (2004)and The Role of Muslims in Indian Freedom Struggle in TamilNadu 1857 – 1947 (2004). He has brought out many new facts on the history of the Tamil Muslims. In addition, he has published more than 100 research papers in the field of history, art and architecture, archaeology and maritime history; there are many new discoveries due to his credit. A well known researcher in the study of maritime trade of the region, he has visited various countries in the course of his research. He is highly appreciated by various social, cultural and academic organisations.  He was recently awarded by the Tamil Nadu State Government in 2012 for “The Best Services for Communal Harmony in the State”.


The Coromandel Muslims – the Cholias(Chulias) – picked up the maritime trade in the ports of Kedah in 17thcentury. They became the favourites of the ruling house and were nominated as harbour masters and royal merchants. The Sultan of Kedah sent his ships to the ports of Coromandel Coast where the Cholia merchants negotiated goods for him. Thus the Coromandel trade was initiated in both ways. The concentration of Cholia Muslims swelled in Kedah in due course of time and they stood in the forefront of the sea-borne trade here. The commercial records of the British portray the dominant role of the Coromandel Muslims in the maritime trade of Kedah. The Tamil – Cholia –Muslim, Jamal, was the most influential minister in the State and was authorized by the Sultan to handle the negotiation with Francis Light over the British settlement in Kedah. The deep rooted commercial contact of the Cholia families continued in Kedah beyond 19thcentury.

When English settlement was founded in Penang in 1786 it captured the imagination of the Cholias as a place with a future. Penang became a free trade zone where the Indian and British goods were exchanged for Straits products. Hence Penang was the most desired destination of the Coromandel Muslim vessels. Muslim traders from Nagapattinam, Nagore, Karaikal, Tranquebar, Porto-Novo and Cuddalore conducted vast trade in Penang. Immigration also flowed along with trade. The early birds got bigger worms. The Coromandel Muslims could not withstand the competition of the British in the long run and their trade enterprises declined. However, many of the immigrants settled here as traders, big and small, and continued at various levels to the present day.


Ramzan Ali Bin Abdul Hamid was born in Sakkarakottai, Ramnad District on 25May 1960. He and his family move to Penang in 1965. During his primary education (1967-1972), Hj Ramzan Ali was studying in SMK Hutching while for his secondary (1973-1977) in SMK Westland. It was after his secondary education that he joined Habib Jewels in 1978. In 1992, Hj Ramzan Ali decided to start his own business called Ramzan Jewels. Not only was Hj Ramzan Ali successful in business trades, he shows prominent communication skills when he joined Toastmaster International – Tamil in 2007. He had won first place for three times in International Tamil Toastmaster contest 2008, 2009 and 2013. In addition, he contributes in various ways for different Indian Muslim society in Penang.

Download Abstract document (pdf).








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