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VOLUME I


FLYING TOGETHER

M.M.Ninan

2014


FOREWORD

M.M.Ninan

I am a little angel, a Son of God

Created in His own image

But God created me

With just one wing behind.

I asked God "Why only one?

Where is the other?"

And He said "You are only half my image

There is another half with one-wing too."

"You must find each other

Because you are meant to be

You must fly back here together

And forever stay with me."

So many angels have come my way

But they come as fast as they go

Where is the other one-winged angel

That God has once told me so?

Then one day from far behind the church pew

We found each other

And with all our hearts we tightly hug each other

So we can fly beyond the horizon Home.


This is that story of flying together.


FLYING TOGETHER

VOLUME 1

M. M. NINAN


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I

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are

spirit and life." John 6.63

We are all evolved and grow into what we are because of the words that were spoken to us.

These words become flesh in our lives. What we have been told of who we are and what we

are that creates us and becomes the life we live.

Here is a poem, which I wrote a few years back:

We are all holographs, each carrying the same data.

We all carry the same heritage,

A heritage handed down through generations,

Of eternal love that poured out from heaven.

We all carry the same message,

A message of love, which calls us all to serve and to love to die

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For those who are our brothers.

Loved ones from the past and present, we always remember;

Legacies of love and pride.

We pass them down to generations.

Legacies of triumphs, tragedies and tears.

Tales of joy, sacrifice and sorrow,

Histories of Fathers, who fought,

Stories of mothers who gave life.

Our roots are tied to our past;

Our heritage is embedded in the present.

In the years to come, a new generation will tell

The stories of our love, joy and sacrifice.

All because God cared.

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It all started with the words transmitted through generations of a history that are embedded in

our lives, which blossomed out to what it is today.

Right from our birth we were told who we were. We were reminded that there was a Thomas

who was the disciple of Jesus of Nazareth who came to the shores of Malabar with the message

of salvation through the sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. I have written extensively on the

conversion of Dravids and the Aryan Brahmins under Thomas. At any rate all Brahmins

disappeared from history of Kerala as Brahmins from the first century to eighth century leading

to the possible assertion that all Brahmins who were present in Kerala became Christians along

with other Dravids. A new form of argument has come up now asserting that that there is no

such race as Aryans and it only means noble people and Brahmins only mean priestly people.

Thus the Aryan Brahmins joined the rest of the believers and became Christians. Out of this

four families were given the responsibility of being teachers. Among them was the family known

as Sankarapuri in which comes my family.

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Thus we trace our family traditions from Thomas to the present and every generation was

reminded that they were responsible for the teaching of the message of salvation to all mankind

in their lifetime.

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My mother was Ooriyapadickal Cherian Mariamma who studied upto the middle school and

became a government middle school teacher. She walked over three miles to the school every

day and back. She was born in June 10, 1985 and was married in September 5, 1912 when

both my father and mother were 17. Her brother Advocate O.C. Ninan became the first

Mayor of the City of Tiruvalla and the Treasurer of the Congress Party of Kerala.

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Our Family in 1937

Back Row standing: M.M.Sosamma, M.M.Cherian, M.M.Thomas, M.M.Aleyamma, M.M.George

Sitting on Chairs: Mrs. Mariamma Mammen (Mum), M.M.Ninan, Mr.M.M.Mammen (Dad), Mrs Aleyamma Mammen (Grand

Ma), Cousin Sister Mary with her baby Floor: M.M.Abraham, M.M.John, M.M.Mammen

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Our Family in 1944

944 Standing: M.M. Ninan, M.M.Thomas , M.M.Cherian, M.M.Mammen, M.M.George. Thomas Thomas, M.M.Abraham,

M.M.John.

Sitting: Mrs.Elizabeth Thomas, Mariamma Mammen (Mum), Lalitha , Mammen Mammen (Dad), Aleyamma (Grand Ma),

Aleyamma Thomas, Sakhy, Sosamma

Grandma Aleyamma (Nallammachi) was buried in this cemetery of Kozhencherry Marthoma Church by the side of the Old

Church.

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St.Thomas Evangelical Church of India, Kozhencherry;

where My Father M.M.Mammen and my mother Mrs. Mariamma Mammen were buried. They were two of the first

pioneers who stood by the reformation principles when the Marthoma Church tended to go back to the Orthodox

anti-reformation status.

The burial ground is close to the back of the church.

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II

My Grand father Geevarughese Chennattu Mammen died in his youth.

The story is that he moved to Kozhenchery buying out a Brahmin Madam (House). But he went

to supervise the estate, which was in Mannarakulanji. The entire Mannarakulanji area of

hundreds of acres with its paddy fields belonged to the Chennattu family.

Thus through generations we were given the Christian teachings, which we were aware that

they were modified through history in terms of worship, rituals and doctrines. At any rate during

the seperation of Jacobite Orthodox tradition and Reformation tradition, they have opted the

Reformation tradition with no icons or even crosses in our homes. We have no idea of the

native faith and traditions before the sixth century AD when all the history was erased by the

domination of Brahmins who left just a name - Kalabhra Inter-regnum for the period. It just

meant "the period of the rule of Kerala Putras whose history is not known". The only biblical

reminders were the Bible verses hanging or written on the walls. Invariably all Nazrani families

rose early and gathered the whole family in prayer before routine work. So also in the night for

prayer before going to bed.

Even our dog Caesar came and sat down for the prayer in our younger days. Bible was read on

those occasions. Every Sunday it was inevitable that we go to Church.

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Proverbs 22:6

How true. As such even when we gave no importance to religious faith and doctrines we

invariably went to Church. Read the Bible, discussed bible and got involved in the church

activities and discussions. There is an anchoring force in the rituals even when it lost its impact

which in most cases brought almost every one of us back to Christ.

Even as an atheist, I went to church every sunday. Took part in the discussions and activities of

the Student Christian Movement, Young Men's Christian Assoication, and camps and

gatherings associated with the Church.

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This is the family background which gives lot of insight into the behaviour of our family in the

social and philosophical context. The foundation of our morals and behaviour remained at all

times on the solid rock of Christ.

This is true of most Nasrani families of the period. This was reinforced by the Anglican

Missionaries (Church Mission Society) which was able to freely enter India because East India

Comparny wanted to take over Indian continent as its area of exploitation. Finally it provided the

Bible in Malayalam in every Christian home in Kerala.

Continuing the family story:

One day on his journey back my grand father had a heart attack and died in the bullock cart in

which he was traveling. The bullocks being familiar with the rugged routes of the land brought

him back home to Kozhenchery Madathilparampil house. He was only in his thirties.

Grandma Aleyamma Chakkalamannil Thomas (Mrs. Mammen) did not remarry and brought up

her children alone. She lived to 96 years and died when I was in the train returning to Bombay

doing my second year M.Sc. in Physics. We all called her Nallammachi (meaning Good

Grandma). As far as I can remember she was blind in both eyes but kept her faith and hope,

which she invariably transmitted, to all of us even at our tender age. Mammen Varughese the

first-born died when he was 18 and his wife was remarried under the care of the Good Grandma

to another man. I still remember this Aunt coming to our house every year during the Maramon

Convention on her House Boat and visiting us.

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The uncle who married my father's sister Mariamma, Poratur Abraham lived over a 100 years

and spoke good English. Poratur Appachen used to tell us of his marriage going on a horse to

the Church when my father was still a child running around playing with marbles.

The younger Aunt Sosamma married into Kaipuraidom family. K. A. Mathai was born on August

3, 1888 as the first son of the youngest son, Avirachen of the father who had moved from

Nedumprayer to Mallappally. He had his primary education in CMS English School at

Mallappally, and his high school education at CMS College Kottayam. He took Teacher’s

Diploma and became a teacher at CMS School, Mallappally. He married Saramma Mammen of

Madathilparampil, Kozhenchery when he was 16 years of age and Saramma when she was 12

years. After working for ten years (1910-1920), the Anglican Church wanted to start an English

Middle School at Punnaveli (about 10 km from Mallappally). He was appointed as the first

teacher and head master.

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III

My grand father's older brother Ithac died very young. Mammen and his younger brother

Varughese were Spice merchants in the bussiness of exporting the world famous Malabar

Spices - Black Pepper and Ginger - to the Western world. They amassed a lot of wealth in cash

and land to which my father was heir. My father M.M.Mammen was born in 26th March 1895

My father was thus tutored at home by Sanskrit Scholars (Guru) in the Indian way. His early

writings were in Sanskrit. English was also coming of age and he did some study in English

also. When he came of age, 16 he did an India tour and returned home and settled down.

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His first business was banking. He started the Malankara Sri Vilasam Bank lending money on

interest. Both the Travancore State coins and the British coins were in circulation at that time.

However he soon found out that most of his loaners were unable to repay the amount on

schedule and he has to resort to law in order to regain the money. This was a heart breaking

process as it did hurt many who were very close to him. Finally after three years he decided to

liquidate the Bank.

Kozhencherry bridge connecting Kozhencherry and Maramon was opened in 1948.

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III

It was at this time printing press came into India. C.M.S Press, the first printing press in Kerala

was established in 1821 by Rev. Benjamin Baily, a British missionary, at Chalukunnu in

Kottayam. 1824.C.M.S Press published complete Malayalam translation of the Bible in 1842

and a Malayalam- English Dictionary in 1846.Treasury of Knowledge the first printed Newspaper

was published in Kerala in 1848.

Rev. Benjamin Bailey

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The Front page of the first printed Malayalam New Testament printed in Kottayam in 1824

and

The Front Page of the First Five Books of Moses in Old Testament Printed in Kottayam in 1839

It was followed by Malayala Manorama in 1888.

The first printing press in central Travancore was established by M.M.Mammen under the name

CPMM Press (in honor of the reformer Cherukara Philipose Malpan, the Professor of Theology

in the Kottayam Seminary who was one of the founders of the Mar Thoma Church). He also

started a Malayalam Daily newspaper for the region, which was banned by the government

during the freedom struggle period. The press continued to grow and was the major publishing

press in Travancore until 1970. We had very sophisticated machinery in the publishing. My

father came to be known later as Press Mammachen.

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Pedal Powered Printing Press worked by foot

This press remained in our family CPMM Press until my brother M.M.Mammen sold it out when

he retired.

More sophisticated newspaper press that prints and folds the paper, ready for delivery. Energy

supplied by hands.

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The Pedal Press remained with us till 1970. The more sophisticated self folding press machines

were employed in printing large number of Daily News Papers. I have only faint memories of

that as these were sold off while I was still in my middle school. This unit was bought by

another printer who started a newspaper "Powra Dhwany" (Citizen's Voice).

The five-column newspaper page, ready to print on the large printer

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The type setting was done by hand as in this picture. We all had our share of setting the type

during our school years. The letters were made of special alloys. Pictures were made

separately in special process and added to the page setting as needed. The setting as one

page is tied with a string and placed inside the machine and inked before each sheet is printed.

In the tedal machine it was done by a roller activated by the foot pedal.

We had experts in each area who were with us for very long periods. We as children were

involved in the proof reading before the final printing is done. We all looked at it as an

apprentice period, in case we were to take over the business in future.

Initially the press function in the building at the junction joining the Tiruvalla - Kozhencherry

Road through the Kozhencherry Bridge and the Road to Boat Jetty. Today at this junction there

is a statue of C. Kesavan who was an independence leader during the Independence struggle

for Travancore joining the Indian Union ( This Statue is shown in this picture.) Right to the left

across the Road was the C.P.M.M.Press for many years. It was a rented place and so later it

was moved down the Boat Jetty Road at the junction where the road from Government Hospital

met.

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The press moved to our own building at the junction of the Hospital Road and the Boat Jetty

Road across the Kozhencherry Market Place and Bus Station as indicated by the arrow.

With nine children growing up and in the school the printing press provided the necessary

finances to keep them in school. All of them went to the minimum level of Bachelors degree

except the oldest sister who got married early. The finances for all these came from the press

and from the estates my father started in Mannarakulanji.

The whole area of over 200 acres belonged to the Chennattu Brothers.

Madathilparampil was a double storey building with two levels of land.

Chennattu

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IV

RUBBER

The Rubber Estate

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Tapping the Rubber

Fresh cut is made in the outer skin of the tree, which causes the rubber sap to flow down into

the coconut shell collector, In ordinary practice, the incision is made sometime in the afternoon

and the latex is allowed to flow into the receptacle. By the next morning, a cupful of latex is

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usually obtained. This is collected and mixed with formic acid, which gives it some of its

hardness. It is then flattened by a press and hung out to dry.

Making Sheets of Raw Rubber

It is now sent to factories as raw rubber for processing further to make useful products.

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V

COCONUT

Cocos nucifera

KALPA VRIKSHOM : TREE OF LIFE

Every part of it is useful

We also had Coconut groves. When the property was divided, my portion included five acres of

coconut grove. It was called "Anchu Thengu" (Five Coconut Trees).

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Harvesting Coconuts

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They often cuts steps on the trunk of the coconuts to the top and uses rope rings on hands to

keep them in place.

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A simple rope or cloth string acts as a hold most of the time.

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Tender coconuts provides Coconut Water

"Coconut water, good for your daughter"

was the slogan we remember in Jamaica where it was in abundance.

Few beverages on this planet are as biocompatible to the human body and its hydration needs

as coconut water. Indeed, coconut water was been reported to be used for intravenous

hydration and resuscitation of critically ill patients in remote regions of the world for over half a

century .

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young green coconuts (fruits of the coconut palm). In

early development, it serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during their

nuclear phase of development. As growth continues, the endosperm mature into their cellular

phase and deposit into the rind of the coconut meat. Coconut water has long been a popular

drink in the tropic

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A coconut vendor in southern India, a tender coconut ready to drink, and the flesh of a young coconut

being scraped with a piece of the husk.

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Dehusking with iron spike

Structure of Coir Fibre

The individual fibre cells are narrow and hollow, with thick walls made of cellulose. They are

pale when immature but later become hardened and yellowed as a layer of lignin, is deposited

on their walls. Mature brown coir fibres contain more lignin and less cellulose than fibres such

as flax and cotton and so are stronger but less flexible. They are made up of small threads,

each less than 0.05 inch (1.3 mm) long and 10 to 20 micrometres in diameter. White fibre is

smoother and finer, but also weaker. The coir fibre is relatively waterproof and is the only natural

fibre resistant to damage by salt water.

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Green coconuts, harvested after about six to twelve months on the plant, contain pliable white

fibres. Brown fibre is obtained by harvesting fully mature coconuts when the nutritious layer

surrounding the seed is ready to be processed into copra and desiccated coconut. The fibrous

layer of the fruit is then separated from the hard shell (manually) by driving the fruit down onto a

spike to split it (De-husking).

Drying Coconut in the sun to form Copra full of Oil

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Traditional oil extraction (Chaku ) protected by the rotating tent (Chak aala). Oil is drained out

from the bottom

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level

maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism.

It also provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV,

and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength. These benefits of oil can

be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective

properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities.

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It is dipped in water to soften and then seperated to form soft fibers.

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Making coir ropes from coconut fibre was the main industry in the coastal townships.

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Coir Mats and Carpets

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Leaves of Coconut Tree

The leaves of the Coconut are used in various ways. They are used in decorations and toys to building

houses.

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Woven coconut palm thatch mat

Thatching the roof of a house. Multiple layers displaced by few inches provide a roof that can protect the

home from intense monsoon rains

Seperators are made with thatched palm leaves also.

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Making Today - The alchohol

Toddy, the standard Kerala liquor is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree. Sap is

collected by tapping the palm. This is achieved by making an incision in the tender flowering of

the coconut,between the kernels. A clay pot is placed around it to collect the sap which is

collected a day or two later. The fresh palm juice is a sweet, clear, colourless juice containing

10-12 percent sugar and is neutral. The quality of the final wines is determined mostly by the

conditions used in the collection of the sap. It is the fermentation process that produces the

alcohol.

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The best place to get the sap is the stem carrying the buds of tender coconut - the flower of

coconut tree.

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Raw material preparation

The sap is collected by slicing off the tip of an unopened flower. The sap oozes out and can be

collected in a small pot tied underneath.

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Processing

The fermentation starts as soon as the sap collects in the pots on the palms, particularly if a

small amount of toddy is left in the pots. The toddy is fully fermented in six to eight hours. The

product is usually sold immediately due to its short shelf-life.

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The toddy is collected and a new cut is made in the tender kernel and the collecting pot is

replaced.

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It is not just for alcohol, it is a restaurant with exotic menu

It comes with the statutory warning. "Alcohol is injurious to health".

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VI

BLACK PEPPER

Pepper is a vine plant that holds on to the trunks of the trees. They can coexist with others and is often

interwoven with coconut trees.

Harvesting the pepper corns.

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They are then dried in the sun

Black pepper was native only to south India, and was extensively cultivated there and elsewhere

in tropical regions. The word "pepper" has its roots in the Dravidian word "pippali".

Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavor and as a medicine. Black

pepper is the world's most traded spice. It is one of the most common spices added to

European cuisine and its descendants. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical

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piperine, not to be confused with the capsaicin that gives fleshy peppers theirs. It is ubiquitous in

the modern world as a seasoning, and is often paired with salt.

Black pepper is indigenous only to Kerala, a province in southwest India. References to pepper

appear in Greek and Roman texts, suggesting an ancient trade between India and the West. As

early as 1000 B.C., traders from southern Arabia controlled the spice trade and pepper routes,

enjoying a huge monopoly over an increasingly profitable business. To protect their valuable

routes, traders created fantastical stories about the hardships endured in order to procure

spices. What Englishman in his right mind would want to travel around the globe just to be

attacked by a dragon guarding a pepper pit?

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By medieval times, the middle leg of pepper trade routes was still firmly controlled by Muslim

traders, while Italian city-states like Venice and Genoa held a monopoly on shipping lines once

the spice reached the Mediterranean. Pepper was costly to ship—the Silk Road, the most wellknown

trade route, stretched over 4,000 miles—but was such a desirable spice that Italian

traders could essentially set their own prices. This led to pepper’s status as a luxury item in

medieval Europe. Even today, the Dutch phrase “pepper expensive” refers to an item of

prohibitive cost.

Eventually, the rest of Europe got tired of paying the high Venetian prices for pepper imports

and decided to take matters into their own hands. Thus began the age of Christopher

Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Sir Francis Drake and other explorers. Indeed, Columbus stocked

the holds of his ships with what he believed to be pepper and brought the spice all the way from

the West Indies. Only back in Spain did he discover that his ships weren’t full of priceless

peppercorns but worthless chili peppers.

Pepper’s popularity quickly spread through world cuisines once more trade routes were

established. At one time it accounted for a whopping 70 percent of the international spice trade.

As it became more readily available, the prices dropped, and ordinary people were able to enjoy

it. Regional cuisines began incorporating pepper into their foods alongside native spices and

herbs. This resulted in typical spice blends such as garam masala in India, ras el hanout in

Morocco, quatre épices in France and Cajun and jerk blends in the Americas.

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VII

GINGER

Ginger formed the hedges of almost all estates, providing another source of income.

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VIII

PADDY

Mannarakunji house as it looked from the rubber estate (Looking Down)

Mannarakunji house as it looked from the rubber paddy fields (Looking Up)

It is built on two levels of land. From the lower level it is a double storey building while from the

upper level it is a one storey building.

It contains a wooden store room for seedlings of paddy.

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Flowing streams and the wooden bridge .

The trunks of coconut tree forms the stretch of the bridge.

This bridge led to the home of Avran Appachen (My father's cousin)

Preparing the ground and sowing

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Ploughing is needed both in the wet land and the dry land before sowing the paddy

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Paddy can be sown in the loosened ground

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The lady puts the paddy along the line of the furrow and covers it in this case.

Paddy can be scattered over the waters to sow

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The paddy when grown to some height is then replanted in the paddy field giving space to grow

and carry the 60 and 100 fold grains on each stem.

They are gathered into bundles

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Replanting the seedlings

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The ripe paddy getting ready for the reaper

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The harvest

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Carrying the harvest to process into paddy

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Threshing - Separating the paddy seeds from the plant is done by hitting it against a hard object.

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Seperating the Chaff from the wheat is done sifting under the wind. Sometimes a person will

use fan to provide the wind energy.

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The Paddy alone without the chaff

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Para

The measuring standard

Nira Para (Full Measure) with the first fruits of the field is the symbol of prosperity

Nira Para, and Nila Vilakku (The lamp) is the offering to God on harvest.

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The Straw is fodder for the cattle.

These are gathered and compressed into stacks called "Thuru" which provides fodder for the

cattle all through the year

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Stacking and pressing down the straw to form a "Thuru"

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The Thuru

The Paddy is then converted to rice

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The Bronze or Copper Varpu (Cast) are used to bulk boil the paddy

These are heirlooms of the families shared between brothers and cousins.

The Paddy is bolied in water in large bronze vessels. This produces the parboiled rice.

This step is sometimes missed

The raw paddy is then milled just to remove the husk leaving the brown coating (Thavidu) on it

to produce brown rice. Others remove even the brown coat to make white rice. It removes the

brown covering (Thavidu) of the rice then completely in pounding process.

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and then dried in the sun

The paddy is pounded with (Ulakka)a Pounding Stick in a special wooden Ural

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The husk that is seperated is then sifted and seperated out.

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Brown rice is a whole grain. Unrefined, its germ and bran layer are left intact, and are not

removed during the milling process. The hull, otherwise known as the outermost layer of the

grain, is the only layer removed. If the brown coat is also removed we get the white rice. The

parboiled rice because it was boiled before milling still carry many of the nutritious components

even if is polished to whiteness. It is best to leave some browness as it carry thiamine.

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IX

UNDERSTANDING THE RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND OF THE PERIOD

In order to understand the process of growth and development of the families, especially

Christian families in Kerala we need to look into the Socio-Political - Religious environment

which moulded the characters during the period.

Defeat of Christian Commune is encoded in the Mahabali - Vamana mythology.

Predominantly Christian Kingdoms (Known as Mahabali Period) were subjugated by the Aryan

immigrants and erased even its memory with the reference to the period simply as Kalabhra

Inter-regnum. Brahminic based Gnosticism dominated the philosophical-theological arena to

produce what is today known as Hinduism with all the new gods. Yet Thomas Christianity stood

its ground, refusing to surrender and transmitted their faith through generations even though

there were no Bibles in any Indian language. They had freed themselves from the Portugese

Religious domination by taking the oath at the "Bent Cross" (Coonan Kurisu Sathyam on 3

January 1653).

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The Coonan Cross Oath (Koonan Kurishu Satyam), taken on 3 January 1653,[1] was a public avowal by members

of the Saint Thomas Christian community of Kerala, India that they would not submit to Portuguese dominance in

ecclesiastical and secular life. The swearing of the oath was a major event in the history of the Saint Thomas

Christian community and marked a major turning point in its relations with the Portuguese colonial forces. The oath

resulted in the excommunication of 54 years Roman domination started with the synod of Diamper in CE 1599 by

the Portuguese and declaration of the sovereignty Malankara Church in 1665 AD, with Mar Thoma I.

On 3 January 1653, Archdeacon Thomas and representatives from the community met at the Church in

Mattancherry to swear what would be known as the Coonan Cross Oath. The following oath was read aloud and

the people touching a stone-cross repeated it loudly:

The Oath

"By the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that henceforth we would not adhere to the Franks,

nor accept the faith of the Pope of Rome."

They brought in Syrian Priests to teach them and to lead in the worship while maintaining the

administration of the Churches to themselves as Deacons. Into this came the British who found

a thriving Christian Community and joined hands with the Orthodox to start teaching theology.

The Anglican Church reformed theology found opposition from the Orthodox and the British

Mission separated themselves to form their own church (1879). When India became

independent in 1947, the Church of South India (CSI) was formed as a united church of

Anglicans, Baptists, Basel Mission, Lutherans and Presbyterians.

A small group of deacons within the Thomas Churches held on to the reformation theology to

start the Marthoma Church in 1893. After a prolonged court battle, the Marthoma Church

obtained only three churches as their own. They got only Maramon and Kozhencherry churches

by court decision, and the Kottarakara church without contest. Five churches were to be used by

the two parties on alternate Sundays. They put up small sheds in other places to hold worship

services.

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My grandfather belonged to this Kozhencheri Church. Evidently they had to make choices

regarding their faith and they took the side of the reformation. The Maramon Convention

(Evangelistic Meeting) was started about this time in the year 1896 and is considered the largest

convention in the world. It is held on the shores of the River Pampa near Kozhencherry Bridge

on the Maramon side.

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World's largest Convention at the shores of River Pampa which runs between Kozhencheri and

Maramon.

The Maramon Convention is a Christian convention held at Maramon, Pathanamthitta, Kerala,

India annually during the month of February on the vast sand-bed of the Pampa River next to

the Kozhencherry Bridge. It is organized by the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association, the

missionary wing of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church.

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The origin and growth of this annual get together for one week at a stretch can be traced to the

great revival movement which gathered momentum along with the reformation in the ancient

Syrian Church of Malabar (Malankara) under the pioneering leadership of Abraham Malpan.

This brought about the resurgence of the ancient apostolic Church in Kerala founded by

St.Thomas the Apostle of Jesus Christ, believed to be in AD 52.

Our family always had a stall on the shore selling out christian literature printed in our press and

we the children took turns to be the supervisors in the stall. We had in fact hired shorthand note

takers to write down the entire sermons and we sold them the very next day in the stall. Now

forgotten Chacko System of Malayalam Shorthand was used and we in fact had the priviledge of

Mr.Chacko himself rendering the sermons in shorthand and later translating it in long hand

ready for composing and printing immediately.

There was thus an ongoing embedding of Christian Values in the life of every member of the

family which reflected in all the spheres of social, political and religious activitiess

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X

UNDERSTANDING THE POLITICAL BACK GROUND OF THE PERIOD

In the political arena this was reflected in the reaction to the independence movement. Kerala

Nasranis were fiercely independent and were known even for their martial prowess. Thus it was

a natural step for all Nazranis to join the independence movement.

In December, 1929,the Indian National Congress declared that, total independence for India

was its avowed objective, and to that effect January 26,1930,was celebrated as Independence

Day throughout the country. People everywhere enthusiastically pledged themselves to fight for

“purna swaraj” (Complete Self Rule). Against this background, Gandhiji under the authority of

the Congress took the first step and launched the civil disobedience movement known as the

Salt Satyagraha.

On March 12, 1930. Gandhiji, staff in hand, frail, but full of energy even at the age of 61, led the

78 satyagrahis. These represented a cross-section of the people from all over the country.

The Salt-Satyagraha under the leadership of Gandhiji had its own repercussions in Kerala.

Payyannur in Malabar, was the main venue of the Satyagraha in Kerala. Many batches of

Satyagrahis from different parts of Kerala marched to Payyannur to take part in the Satyagraha.

Civil disobedience movement came to an end with the release of Gandhiji and Gandhi-Irwin pact

was signed on March 4, 1931. This only promised a "dominion status" for India in some future.

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The Working Committee of the Congress met at Allahabad in June and recommended in its

resolutions continuation of civil disobedience, complete boycott of foreign cloth, inauguration of

anti-tax campaign, weekly breaches of the salt law, boycott of British banking, insurance,

shipping and other institutions, and picketing of the liquor shops.

Following the call my father Madathilparampil Press Mammachen vowed to wear Khadi only

and he remained faithful to his vow till his death and declared his loyalty to his country and his

faithfulness to the call of God to the uplift of the fallen and the downtrodden.

In Travancore, Dewan (Chief minister) Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer declared that Travancore will

remain independent without joining the Indian Union, after the British left India.

Sir C.P.

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People of Travancore continued their struggle and they had to fight against 'Independent

Travancore Plan' also. As a result of the agitation, at last, Dewan Ramaswami Iyer had to

leave Travancore State. With India achieving Independence in August 1947, Travancore and

Cochin acceded to the Indian Union.

Dissatisfied with the progress of the passive struggle, many like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose,

and Bhagat Singh resorted to armed struggles. These did add impetus to the process of

independence. A group who held that revolution is justified started the Congress Socialist Party.

In 1934 these formed the Congress Socialist Party. Eventually it was those who were in the

CSP that took up the ideals of Marxism and formed the Communist Party. The socialist parties

of Malabar, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and other places started functioning as units of the Communist

Party. These were more emotional and moral thrust than philosophical. Marxian Socialistic

Principles were slowly being spread into the Indian Struggle, especially the Kerala area. Many of

the Christians found this attractive because of the idenity of Classless Casteless Society ideal

with that of the Kingdom Principles. Without the atheistic component Communism was

attractive to the Christians. After all Christianity started as Communes and had always

remained the ultimate ideal state of mankind. Though doctrinally Christians could not agree with

the Communists, they were ready to cooperate with them in their programs and practice.

In the heat of the independent movement period, our family sitting around the dinner table

consisting of a dozen people from teen to adulthood argued every night for hours on end before

we fell asleep. Each came to their own conclusion, which eventually were expressed in their

idealogies and social actions. My older brothers were by this time actively involved in the

Communist Movement directly of indirectly.

Communist Party was declared illegal and they went underground. Though my father did not

actively participate in the activities of the party, because of the involvement of my brothers, he

offered our house as a hiding place for those who were actively participating in the organization

of the party. These included E.M.S Namboothiripad, A.K. Gopalan, T.V.Thomas, A.K.Thampy,

P.T. Poonuse, Rosamma, and Gowry. This led to the marriage of my sister Sosamma with

A.K.Thampy.

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EMS, AKG, Punnose, AK Thampy, Gowry

Alongside with this came the Agricultural Revolution of the serf labor against the feudal system

of the country. This led to three armed stuggle in Kerala alone. These are the historic armed

struggles in northern Kerala -- the Moppila rebellion of 1921 and the Kayyur revolt of 1941 and

the Punnpra- Vayalar struggle of 1946.

"Moplah Rebellion", "p " Māppila Lahaḷa in Malayalam) was an armed uprising in 1921 against

British authority and Hindus in the Malabar region of Southern India by Mappila Muslims and the culmination of a

series of Mappila revolts that recurred throughout the 19th century and early 20th century. The 1921 rebellion

began as a reaction against a heavy-handed crackdown on the Khilafat Movement by the British authorities in the

Eranad and Valluvanad taluks of Malabar. In the initial stages, a number of minor clashes took place between

Khilafat volunteers and the police, but the violence soon spread across the region. The Mappilas attacked and took

control of police stations, British government offices, courts and government treasuries. The largely kudiyaan

(tenant) Mappilas also attacked and killed jenmi (landlords) of the Hindu Nair and Brahmin Nambudiri castes.

Kayyur is where one of the first Communist peasant rebellions happened, and the British hanged four of its

young men for it. Madathil Appu, the first accused in the Kayyur was hangeed on March 29, 1943. Hanged with

him was Chirukandan, Kunhambu Nair and Abu Backer. Kayyur, the cradle of agrarian revolution in Kerala, is

located in Kasargod District.

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The Punnapra-Vayalar uprising (October, 1946) was a communist uprising in the Princely State of Travancore,

British India against the Prime Minister, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer and the state.[1] Communist Party members

killed 200 people at Punnapra on October 24 and more than 150 at Vayalar on October 27. The total loss of life is

allegedly estimated to be more than a thousand This was a proper struggle against the declaration of

'Independent Travancore' by the then Travancore government. Some people suggest certain Communist leaders

instigated the coir workers belonging to the Ezhava community to wage a war against the then administration led by

C. P. Ramaswami Iyer. T K Varghese Vaidyan, a leader of the struggle, had gone on record saying it was a

rehearsal for a larger revolution with the ultimate objective of establishing a "Communist India".

The leaflets against this brutal attack on the Punnapra and Vayalar agricultural laborers who

faced the armed police forces with axe and sickle were printed in our Press. As a result the

Press was sealed for over three months until the Divan C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer was forced to flee

from Tranvancore and Travancore and Cochin and Malabar together became part of the Indian

Union as Kerala State.

Punnapra Vayalar struggle memorial.

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XI

SCHOOL YEARS

PRIMARY SCHOOL

The Marthoma Lower Primary School

The Marthoma Lower Primary School, opposite across the road to our house was the school for

all of us from grade 1 to 5. From then on until the 10th grade -Middle and High Schools- were

done in the Mar Thoma Senior Secondary School situated about half a mile away from home.

My father was invariably one of the governing body members, all his life.

SECONDARY SCHOOL

It was then known as St.Thomas High School since the progression was then as follows:

Elementary School: Class 1 to 5

Preparatory Class: 1 year

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Middle School: Form 1 to 3

High School: Form 4- 6

Then it went on the Intermediate Class for 2 years and Degree for 2 years

As I came to the fourth form a new system came into effect when we were to take four optional

subject over and above the two languages English and Malayalam. My options were Physics,

Chemistry, Mathematics and Geography. The final Secondary School Leaving Certificate was a

critical examination which I passed with first class.

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School Days

Kozhencheri Chapter was organized under the name Bhagat Singh Memorial Balajana

Sakhyam that met in the Marthoma Lower Primary School opposite to our house. Children were

encouraged to get involved in various social and artistic activities. The branch was named after

the freedom fighter Bhagat Singh who was hung in London for his armed protest against British

Rule as a struggle for freedom. It is in this organization under Malayala Manorama that I got my

training in oration and communication skills. I had choreographed dances. I was the central

committee member of the All India Young Peoples Association in charge Compassionate

Ministry, helping those who were underprivileged.

It was a time of changes. The British were trying to hold on the country with a strong hand. An

ongoing struggle for freedom was on. Violence bursted out killing the poor and the innocent. It

was also a period of struggle for the working class, the poor in a period when feudalism was

breaking down and the new capitalism and individuality was setting in. Agricultural laborers who

were silent under their yoke broke out and demonstrated for more wages. Small businesses

came in a workers united to form trade unions.

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In the midst of all these, we as a family had to make choices; based on the Christian values we

were giver through generation. Where does Christ come in? Where does the Church stand?

What is my stand?

The whole ethos of the family is expressed in the poem my brother M.M.Thomas wrote during

the Cherthala famine where hundreds died. Here is the poem.

Where is God?

M.M.Thomas

Written during the great famine of Cherthalai, Kerala, India in 1941

There was heaviness in my heart,

A loneliness cut me through,

Have I put my trust in God in vain?

Have I placed my feet on slippery ground?

Vain was the faith in a caring God;

Vain was the trust in a loving Father,

For God is with the wicked in their pleasures;

A slave of them that seek for themselves.

He prepares a table for them anywhere they want,

And spreads a carpet for them wherever they walk.

He makes them shine like holy men;

And gives the honoured places in His Church;

And in His Heaven, palaces decked with jewels;

But for these, they must fade and fall

Like flowers in the forest,

With not a soul to watch, nor a tear to mark their end;

From dust they came, and to dust they return,

And none, not even God cares.

But then thought I....

The sun had set and it was dark,

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The silence of Death filled the earth.

And while I looked I saw a flickering light far off.

I made for it.

A man was digging a little grave.

Thought I, who must this man be?

All around was silence --

Who has strength enough to dig a grave for his little child?

He was weeping as he dug; his sighs were deep, and his sobs loud,

And he was alone, amidst the corpses that lay all around.

With fear in my heart, I approached the man digging the grave,

In the flickering light He turned his face to me;

Lo, it is Christ!

His eyes were red with weeping, and his face wet with tears.

Jesus wept.

He said to me in a low voice, through sobs,

Why dost thou do this to me?

I thirst, I starve

For in as much as ye did it not to these, ye did it not to me.

I am dying.

Why dost thou break my heart?

For in their afflictions am I afflicted

In their deaths I am crucified.

Then was my heart grieved and I was pricked in my veins,

I had almost said in my heart, 'Thou dost not Care',

Ye who praise him in the sanctuary,

Ye who call on him with doors all shut,

Open your eyes and See your God is not before ye,

He is there in the land of desolation,

Alone,

In The dark

Amidst the corpses,

Starving with the millions that starve,

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So foolish was I and ignorant

I was a beast before Thee.

During the break after the Secondary School Leaving Certificate was made use of to learn the

art of type writing which was coming to be popular. Type writing schools run by private people

gave the opportunity for this.

It takes about two months to type fast on a typewriter.

After their invention in the 1860s, typewriters quickly became indispensable tools for practically

all writing other than personal correspondence. They were widely used by professional writers,

in offices, and for business correspondence in private homes. It became a necessary skill for

those who are looking for office jobs. By the end of the 1980s, word processors and personal

computers had largely displaced typewriters in most of these uses in the Western world, but as

of the 2010s the typewriter is still prominent in many parts of the world, including India.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

It is an English-language pangram—a phrase that contains all of the letters of the alphabet. It is

used to show fonts and to test typewriters and computer keyboards. How fast can you type it.

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INTERMEDIATE SCIENCE

I passed out from the Sixth form (Tenth grade in the High School) in 1950 and left Kerala to

Madras to take my inermediate course. I took my intermediate studies in the Madras Christian

College, Tambaram, Madras with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics along with languages

English and Malayalam

Rev. Alexander John Boyd (Our Principal)

I was a resident of the Bishop Heber Hall.

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The warden at that time was Professor Chandran Devanesan who was a close friend of my

brother M.M.Cherian. Chandran later became the first Indian to hold the position of Principal of

MCC and later became the Vice Chancellor of the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong.

There was a roll call for residents by eight pm and invariably Chandran Devenesan ended up in

my room and spent long hours of conversation in theology, philosophy and national politics.

Heber Hall, as it is known, has several features that are unique to it- a natural pond in its

courtyard, the Bishop Heber Chapel and the bridge across the facade of this chapel.

The hall coat of arms, originally of the Bishop Heber College, bears the rock at Trichy, a cross

and a Bible, surmounted by a pelican, feeding its young with its own life-blood, symbolizing

sacrificial giving.

The motto, in Latin, is "Nisi Dominus Frustra". This means, "In vain, without God." It is from the

first verse of Psalm 127, which reads, "If the Lord builds not the house, the builders labour but in

vain". A hall resident is generally known as Heberian

Here there was a debating club that kept high standards known as Heber Athenaeum where I

did a lot of leadership.

The Motto, in Latin, is "Nisi Dominus Frustra". This means, "In vain, without God", This motto is from the first verse of Psalm 127

which reads "If the Lord builds not the house, the builders labour but in vain".

The Hall Emblem, originally of the Bishop Heber College, bears the Rock at Trichy, a cross and a Bible, surmounted by a pelican,

feeding its young with its own life-blood.

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HEBER SONG

If you come to Tambaram, darling come to Heber Hall.

Heber is a paradise, Fish Pond and all.

Ulunthuvadai, Masalvadai anything you want

Mess bills as big as hills

Heber is our haunt

(Chorus)

Way down in Tambaram there's old Heber Hall

Is there another like it?

No-not at all.

If you come to Tambaram, darling

Traveling in the trains

Get the Heber lads to meet you;

They've got the brains:

If you want to marry my darling and to marry well

Stick to a Heber lad

And send the rest to Hell!

(Chorus)

Come along on Sports Day, darling

See me run the mile,

High jumping, hurdling - In the Heber style

Some of us are fat and some of us are thin

But Heber is a sporting Hall

Whether we lose or win!

(Chorus)

We are all the members of the Heber family.

Kachia moru, pachai moru eating happily.

The Tamilian, the Telugu, the Coorg, the Malayalee

We are the Sons of Heber

Home of the free

(Chorus)

A view of Heber Chapel from the outdoor stage

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The Chapel is a unique and prominent speciality of Bishop Heber Hall. It is located between the

building's C and D blocks. The garden in the frontyard of the chapel is also home to the bell

tower. Sunday services are held weekly and the order of worship is a blend of Anglican and

Southern Indian styles.

“May God grant us continuing courage and faith to so transform and regenerate our college that she may

serve Him and our country in an ever-widening circle beginning with our immediate environment and

reaching out to the far boundaries of the world till all mankind is knit together in one great, universal

fraternity.”

— Chandran Devanesan, First Indian principal, Madras Christian College. (1962-73) Heber Hall

Warden (1950-52)

Dr. K.M.George and Warrier were my Malayalam teachers. It was Warrier who introduced me

to Buddhism as it was one of the Malayalam texts for the intermediate class that year.

The Four Noble Truths

The Dharmachakra represents the Noble Eightfold Path

1. The truth of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness)

2. The truth of the origin of dukkha

3. The truth of the cessation of dukkha

4. The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha

The first truth explains the nature of dukkha. Dukkha is commonly translated as “suffering”, “anxiety”,

“unsatisfactoriness”, “unease”, etc., and it is said to have the following three aspects:

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• The obvious suffering of physical and mental illness, growing old, and dying.

• The anxiety or stress of trying to hold onto things that are constantly changing.

• A subtle dissatisfaction pervading all forms of life, due to the fact that all forms of life are

changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance. On this level, the term indicates a

lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards.

The second truth is that the origin of dukkha can be known. Within the context of the four noble

truths, the origin of dukkha is commonly explained as craving (Pali: tanha) conditioned by ignorance

(Pali: avijja). On a deeper level, the root cause of dukkha is identified as ignorance (Pali: avijja) of the

true nature of things. The third noble truth is that the complete cessation of dukkha is possible, and

the fourth noble truth identifies a path to this cessation. Noble Eightfold Path

The eight factors of the path are commonly presented within three divisions (or higher trainings) as

shown below:

Wisdom (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā)

1. Right view samyag dṛṣṭi, sammā ditthi Viewing reality as it is, not just as it appears to be

2. Right intention samyag saṃkalpa, sammā sankappa Intention of renunciation, freedom and

harmlessness

Ethical conduct (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla)

3. Right speech samyag vāc, sammā vāca Speaking in a truthful and non-hurtful way

4. Right action samyag karman, sammā kammanta Acting in a non-harmful way

5. Right livelihood samyag ājīvana, sammā ājīva A non-harmful livelihood

Concentration (Sanskrit and Pāli:samādhi)

6. Right effort samyag vyāyāma, sammā vāyāma Making an effort to improve

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7. Right mindfulness samyag smṛti, sammā sati Awareness to see things for what they are with clear

consciousness; being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion

8. Right concentration samyag samādhi, sammā samādhi Correct meditation or concentration,

explained as the first four jhānas

The MCC campus is over 360 acres.

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BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAM

I joined the St. Berchman's College, Changanachery for my B.Sc in Physics and Mathematics.

For the first two months I stayed with my sister Aleyamma, whose husband Thomas Thomas

was the Engineer in Charge of the Electrical Substation of Changanacherry.

I took up residence in the St.Thomas Hostel of the College soon after .

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Prof. S.L.Thomas was the Head of the Physics Department who took most of our classes. One

event stands out in mind during this period. To mark the Silver Jubilee of the Natural Science

Departments a grand Science Exhibition was conducted in 1952 in which all the science

Departments participated and put up stalls. I was in charge of one of the Physics stalls. The

Exhibition and the College Day celebrations were inaugurated by H.H Rajapramukh, Sri Chithira

Thirunal Balarama Varma. I remember meeting him and greeting him when he visited my stall.

Amma Maharani was also present on the occasion. Rajapramukh made an impressive speech

in which he showered praise on Rev. Fr. Mathew Purackal and the Bishop of Changanacherry

who nurtured the College over the years. Students from over a hundred schools and a good

number of citizens visited the exhibition.

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I am told that Ponnamma also visited the exhibition along with the rest of her class and she was

in the final year school then.

English was taught by Prof. C. A. Sheppard in most interesting way. In the first year

Shakespear's Hamlet was played as part of the teaching process where Prof.S.L.Thomas

played the part of Hamlet and Prof. Sheppard played the part of Claudius.

Sheppard's lesson on Michael by William Wordsworth has always been with me.

story of an aging shepherd, Michael, and his only child Luke.

It tells the

Michael lost half his land when he used it as a surety for a nephew who had met with financial

misfortune. When Luke reaches the age of 18, Michael sends Luke to stay with a merchant that

he might learn a trade and acquire sufficient wealth to regain the land that Michael has lost. It

breaks Michael's heart to send Luke away and he makes Luke lay the first stone of a sheepfold

as a covenant between them that Luke will return. However, Luke is corrupted in the city and is

forced to flee the country and Michael must live out his life without his son. He returns

sometimes to the sheepfold but no longer has the heart to complete it. Here is the verse that

has been retained with me for decades and was a comfort.

Taking Malayalam as second language

Kathakali is a unique classical dance of Kerala. This was one of Malayalam literature for our

study. It is a dance in which the dramatic elements are predominately emphasized. In addition,

there is a rare blending of literature (sahithyam), music (sangeetham), painting (chithram),

acting (natyam) and dance (nritham). The actors in this drama are silent. It is the singers carry

various instruments and sings at the background. The actors express the content through facial

expressions and mudras (gestures) and body action. Costumes will tell you the character of

the actor.

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The art form intrigued me and I went around temples whenever the Kathakali literature which we

were studying was performed.

Another more classical art form in which I got involved was the Classical dancing. My nieces

were studying this art form that I actually choreographed dances myself. I have actually learnt

the classical mudras and choreographed several dances. Among them was the Verada Nritham

- the dance of hunter. It so happened that the Kuravilangad 'Kozha Sree Narasimhaswami

Temple' has some mythical relation to Vana Veda (Forest Hunter) myth. My room mate in

St.Thomas College was one of leading members of temple and he was interested in the dance

when he saw it performed.

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'Kozha Sree Narasimhaswami Temple' is a Hindu temple located in Kuravilangad, kottayam,Kerala, India. The

temple is dedicated to Narasimha.

Lord Narasimha is the fourth incarnation (Avatar) of lord Mahavishnu to kill and give moksha to

Hiranya Kasipu.Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by human, deva or animal, Narasimha is

neither one of these, as he is a form of Vishnu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He

comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a

courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his lap (neither earth nor space).

Using his nails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the

demon.

Kozha Sree Narasimha Swami is the one and only Swayambhoo Narasimha Idol (Idol which

formed by itself, found and not cast by human hand) in Kerala. In ancient time this place was

ruled by the Vadakkumkoor Raja. At that time this place was a thick forest. Kozha Sree

Narasimha Moorthy had been taking his birth in Kozha, kuravilangad a valley at that time.

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It is believed that a Vana Veda who found at first the idol of Lord Narasimha from the soil. Some

people believe that he was not a real hunter but the lord Shiva himself in the form of veda who

found the idol. The Vettakkoru Makan (Son of Sree Parameshwara and Parvathy when they

took the form of Kiratha and Veda Sthree) temple is situated near by the Narasimha swami

temple. Thus there is a mixing up of both Vaishnavism and Saivism.

At the invitation of Raghavan Nair of Kuravilangad temple I presented their Vana Veda Dance

performance during their festival in the temple campus to the surprise of many of my Christian

friends.

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X

Elanthoor (Ellangalude Oor)

Elanthoor is a village in Pathanamthitta district in the state of Kerala, India. The village owns a

significant position in ecumenism,with temples and churches at a hand's distance.

When Mahatma Gandhi visited the erstwhile Travancore in 1937, he visited Elantoot and one

his disciples Khadar Das T.P. Gopala Pillai founded the 'Mahatma Khadi Ashram' at Elanthoor

1941.

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According to the tradition the name should have been Chelanilkunnathil Varughese Sarah.

The story is that the teacher who took her to register her in the school put it as

C.S.Ponnammma instead of Chelanilkunnathil Varughese Sarah. Ponnamma was the pet name

called by the parents at home. In the foreign countries she came be known as Sarah.

The Original family was named Areekal (near the creek) and Oriprathil refers to the flowing

creek and water falls of the area. They were still the fun places for the families for many years

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Oriprathil Varkey Varughese

Grand Father

He is holding a Bible declaring his faith to all generations.

Ponnamma's grandfather was Oripurathil Geevarughese. Geevarughese had three sons. His

second son Varughese moved to Chelanilkunnathil house. He married twice. In his first wife he

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had two children; one boy (kunjachayan) and one Girl (Annamma Kochamma). When his first

wife passed away, he married Sosamma of Mathilunkal, Chengannur. Mathilunkal family is the

offshoot of famous Kotturethu family. Kottureth Achen was one of the early reformers of the

Church when the Mar Thoma Church was formed. In the second marriage he had two boys and

four girls. Ponnamma is the second in this group.

Ammini, Ponnamma, Joy, Kunjamma, Kunjumon, Susamma, Leelamma

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Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association

In the heat of the reformation in Kerala, by 1877, there were two factions in the Malankara

church, known as Bishop faction (Methran Kakshi) and Patriarch faction (Bava Kakshi). By a

court verdict on 12 July 1889 Bishop faction lost all the properties. Just before the verdict was

given, on 5 September 1888, 12 members of the Bishop faction formed a missionary group

called "Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association". These 12 members are considered to be the

founding fathers of the Maramon convention. The names of these 12 members are:-

Kottarathil Thomas Kasseessa, Chengannur, Edavamvelil Mathai, Eraviperoor.

Kottooreth Yohannan, Chengannur

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Chempakasseril Kadavil Abraham, Kallissery, Chakkalayil Cherian Upadesi, Puthencavu,

Chempakasseril Kadavil Mathuchen, Kallissery, Azhakinal Thommi, Kallooppara, Nathaniel

Upadesi, Chengannur, Kurichiath (Vattadiyil) Ittiyavara, Niranam, Arangat Philipose, Maramon,

Ottaplammoottil Kunju Mathew, Kallissery, Kochumannil Skariah, Edayaranmula

Kadavil Malika

They met at the Kadavil Malika belonging to Chempakasseril Kadavil Abraham and

Chempakasseril Kadavil Mathuchen (1860 - 1897). This house is at Kallissery near Chengannur

(The Kadavil Malika was reclaimed by the Marthoma church and renovated on 10 September

2005.)

By 1900 Methran Kakshi adopted the name Malankara Marthoma Suriyani Sabha now known

as the Mar Thoma Church.

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to Chengannur in the late 16th century.

.

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Mathilunkal and Mukkathu are branches of the Kotooreth Family. Ponnamma's mother

belongs to the Mathilunkal branch of the family. Vanjippuzha chief had given the power of local administration to Thomman Thomman, founder of the Mukkathu family of Syrian Christians, who had migrated The

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Inside the Old Church

Kottooreth Valiachan and Kottarathil Thoma Kaseesa. Valiachan were active in the reformation and starting of

the Mar Thoma Church. Rev. M. Joseph Kottooreth, was the first translator of the Syrian liturgy and first

Secretary of the Church. He was also the first editor of the Malankara Sabha Tharaka. He also successfully

conducted the Suriyani Pally case. Thoma Kaseesa and 11 others founded the Marthoma Suvishesha

Sangham, as they met in the Kadavil Maalika (The double storey building at the river shore) which has been

organizing the renowned Maramon Convention which grew up into the biggest convention in the whole world.

The age old tradition of aval nercha is attributed to an elderly matriarch of the Mukkathu family named

Ackamma who used to take a small packet of aval to distribute it to the devotees after the Holy Qurbana on

Maundy Thursday. Aval is flattened flakes of rice. Ackamma used to give a pinch of rice flakes to all around

her, and the members of the Mukkathu family continued the practice even after her death. The aval nercha

became an elaborate event in later years. It is believed that a unique eight-headed coconut-scraper was gifted

to the church by the royal chief for the annual aval nercha. There are others who believe that the foldable

eight-headed coconut scraper is as old as the 1,700-year-old church.

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More than a thousand coconuts, 300 kg of rice flakes, 200 kg of jaggery, and spices go into the preparation of

the aval,


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Maavi (Father's Sister), Amma(Mother), Ammini (Sister carrying Sally)

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Chelanilkunnathil House

Amminey the oldest in this group married Eapen George when she was 17. Sally George

became the Professor of Mechanical Engineering in Trivandrum Engineering College.

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This was the Marthoma Church where the family of Ponnamma worshipped. It was here at the

age of 12 she was confirmed before the assembly of believers by open acceptance of Jesus as

her personal savior.

The first salary of Ponnamma was send to this Church as offering to buy a clock since there was

no clock to know the time until then, Since those days a new Church was made by the side of

the old one

.

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Ponnamma did her Malayalam High School in Chengannur Government School for two years

and later joined the English High School in Kuzhikkala. She graduated SSLC in 1953.

Church Mission Society Higher Secondary School, ,KUZHIKALA is located in the area -

Mallapuzhassery, Kozhencherry Block, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, India. It was established

in the year of 1854

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Here is the High School today.

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The graduating class of 1953.

You can see the head of Ponnamma. She did not like the picture so cut out her picture.

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Chenganur Railway Station

The journey starts from here

First Stop

Bombay

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India's biggest city at that time.

New Land, New People, New Language

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BOMBAY HOSPITAL COLLEGE OF NURSING

12, NEW MARINE LINES, MUMBAI-400 020.

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Dr. Balabhai Nanavati Hospital is a hospital in Vile Parle, Mumbai which was

inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru in November 1950 and opened in May

1951.

Swami Vivekanand Road,Vile Parle West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400056, India

Ponnamma was put in charge of the Pediatric Ward situated on the second floor (taking G as

first floor) on the left side as we enter.

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Here are a few of her collleagues and Dr. Joshi.

Chief Technician in the Laboratory was Mr. Nambiar a Malayalee who provided a home for the

girls away from home with some malayalee food for a change

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Some Malayalee Colleagues

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Kerala University had only 6 seats for Master's degree. These were therefore kept in reserve for

those who have passed years before and working in various universities as demonstrators. As

a result I have to go to Bombay to find a seat in Post Graduate Course. This decision took an

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year to make which period I worked with the Sarvodaya group visiting and leading seminars in

the Kodaikanal Christavashram of Rev. Richard Keithan and Manganam Ashram of Sadhu

Mathaichan and Rev. K.K. Chandy.

Bombay 1955

Mr. K.M.Mathai, Head Tutor, Distance Education

British Institutes of Engineering and Technology , Fort , Mumbai

Distance Education , Language Training Institutes

359, UCO Bank Building, 3rd Floor, Dr. DN Road, Flora Fountain,Fort, Mumbai

Landmark: Opposite American Express

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I stayed with my first cousin Matthaichayan in his home in Kalina, Santacruz for one month

finding admission for Master's degree.

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This is a typical Bombay Apartments. Since there was no washing machines and dryers, people

washed their clothes in the bath room and hang them out to dry.This was the beginning of the

Bombay life for every youth starting their life.

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Having obtained admission in the (Royal) Institute of Science, Colaba I moved my residence to

Student YMCA, in Lamington Road.

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Bombay YMCA Student Branch , Lamington Road

This is the same building I lived for two years but vastly renovated by funds from US. It had only

two floors now another two more are added on top. U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural

Organization (UNESCO) honored the new site work with an Award of Merit in its 2009 Asia-

Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation. The street behind that was a red

light street in those days. Mr. C.P.Pothen was the Secretary who lived in the building.

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History

The lower level of the College hosts the Post Graduate Physics Section.

The Institute of Science was established as a result of serious consideration extended to

science education in the erstwhile State of Bombay by Sir George Clark, later known as Lord

Sydenham, the then Governor of Bombay and a Fellow of the Royal Society, London. His

appeal for a Science Institute in Bombay received immediate response in the form of princely

donations from Sir Cowasji Jehangir, Bart., Sir Jacob Sassoon, Bart., Sir Currimbhoy Ebrahim,

Bart., and Sir Vasanji Trikamji Mulji, Kt. These donations were supplemented by the

Government of Bombay. The foundation stone of the building was laid on 5th April 1911 by Lord

Sydenham and the construction was completed by 1915. During the visit of his Majesty the King

Emperor in 1912, the word ‘Royal’ was associated with the Institute and it was designated as

Royal Institute of Science.

Dr. D. V. Bal was the Director of the Institute of Science for the period 1956-1964.

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Rajabhai Tower of the University of Bombay

Elphinstone College is the undergraduate section.

Built in yellow Kharodi basalt stone from the district of Thane, this elegant, curving facades of

the two wings, joined by the flat central dome of the Cowasji Jehangir Hall, manage to

harmonize with the 19th century buildings surrounding it. Protected from the street by the manyarched

facades are a botanical garden, herbarium and a park.

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Sir. Cowasji Jehangir and Cowasji Jehangir Hall our College Hall.

C. J. Hall was donated to the city of Mumbai in 1911 by Sir Cowasji Jehangir. The complex of

the Cowasji Jehangir Hall and the Institute of Science was built by the British architect Wittet at

a cost of 19 lakhs, with the balance of 11 lakhs being contributed by Sir Currimbhoy Ibrahim and

Sir Jacob Sassoon. The only other public hall being Town Hall, the new hall filled a vacuum in

the city’s social life. Opposite to it was the Museum of Arts called formerly Prince of Wales

Museum of Western India which is now called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu

Sangrahalaya

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CJ Hall

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New Friends

in YMCA

YMCA friends

Among these PV Oommen and NK Alexander remain in contact to this day

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Saint Thomas Marthoma Syrian Church

Chapel Lane, Santacruz West, Bombay, Maharashtra, India

"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went

into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16

The Marthoma Church Picnic

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SCMI is affiliated to the World Student Christian Federation, the oldest ecumenical student

movement, founded in Vadstena, Sweden in 1895 moulded by the great evangelical awakening.

The Federation grew with the emergence of national movements including the Indian SCM

founded in 1912 at Serampore, Calcutta. SCMI has the history of generations of students who

tried to discern their context and mission who strived to become genuine Christians in different

walks of life.

The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) is a federation of autonomous national Student

Christian Movements (SCM) forming the youth and student arm of the global ecumenical

movement. The Federation includes Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic, and Anglican students.

Together with the YMCA and the YWCA, WSCF has as a foundational document the 'Paris

Basis'. WSCF's aims include: to call members of the academic community to faith in God, to

discipleship within the life and mission of the Church and to help them strive for peace and

justice in and among nations. At one point "the evangelisation of the world in this generation"

was seen as the main aim. Throughout its history the Federation has brought students together

across theological and cultural boundaries and provided training and opportunities. For over a

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century WSCF has supplied leaders to the Church, the ecumenical movement and the Christian

left, governments and social movements.

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Together the WSCF and SCM provide a context for young Christians from all churches and

nations to meet. The motto of the WSCF is "Ut Omnes Unum Sint"—"that they all may be one"

(John 17:21)

As such SCM had been the window of opening for many Kerala Christians to enter into the

World Concil of Churches. My brother M.M.Thomas started as SCM secretary at Trivandrum

and was absorbed as the Secretary of the WSCF and from their rose to the level of the

Chairman of the WCC. In the same way my cousin brother Dr. T.V. Phillip started as SCM

secretary in Kerala and was absorbed as Secretary of WSCF and was sent to many countries.

He was thus in Ghana when I went there.

In 1956 the SCM of Maharashtra held its seminars in the hills of Mahabaleshwar. One of the

subject of study was the then on going socio-political philosophy of Sarvodaya - "The

Development of all Humanity". I was asked to lead the session. Here you can see me

presenting the paper which was followed by several groups meetting to discuss it.

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The ideal of Sarvodaya is implied in the word itself; Sarva and Udaya. Sarva means "all" and the

key to this and Udaya means "uplift". Since Sarvodaya stood for the welfare of all, commitment

to all kinds of sacrifices, even unto death, for the welfare of others was at the core of Sarvodaya.

Indians conceived of universal love and universal service in terms of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam",

the concept of universal brotherhood, universal love and service to the entire creation.

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Needle Point Mahabaleshwar

Nestled in the lush green mountains of the Western Ghats in the Maharashtra district of

India, is the hill station of Mahabaleshwar. Located only few hundred kilometers from

Mumbai, it make for a quick getaway from the city. Away from the maddening crowds of

the cities, it is an ideal holiday destination.

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Mahabaleshwar derives its name from the famous Mahabaleshwar temple where the

presiding deity is 'Mahabali'. Considered very sacred among Hindus, the temple is

thronged by thousands of devotees to seek blessings.

At an altitude of 1372 meters, Mahabaleshwar opens up a whole new world with its rustic

settings and a myriad of activities that this place offers!

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The student parliament of YMCA is an exercise in political leadership within the Student YMCA.

In the year 1956, I was elected as the Speaker. Along in the dais is seen the Speaker of the

Karnataka Assembly and Mr. C.P. Pothen the Secretary of the Student YMCA. Sleeping in the

pew is Mr. P.R.Lele a prominant leader.

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III

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Two Marthomites comes to Dadar Marthoma Church for Christmas

Two YMCA friends (P.V.Oommen and M.M.Ninan) who study Master's in Physics also came to

Marthoma Church for Christmas

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An Old Student meets her High School Teacher (P.V.Oommen)

The student was excited to see her long lost teacher in Bombay.

As it was late in the evening, we decided to drop the girls back to their hospital. Traditional

BEST double decker buses took all the four to the Nanavati Hospital.

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The girls walked us to the railway station since we did not know the way. On the way we had

bhel puri shared at the garden which happenned to be on the route.

We walked the girls back to the hospital before returning to the hostel. Thus began a

relationship which lasted a life time.

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The old fashion telephone was the constant method of contact. They were there in the lounges

of the hospital and also at YMCA

We made the dates over the phone and mostly met at the public parks. One favorite was the

Madhu Park of Khar Road.

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The Madhu Park at Khar Road was not gated as now in those days and was close to the main

road for convenient visits. This was our rendezvous for years

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Madhu Park, Khar Road West

Ponnamma had many relatives in Bombay and had to avoid them initially until she became bold

enough to introduce me to them. Here are some whose photos we have.

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Ponnamma moved to another nursing home of Dr. B.D.Patel near the Nanavati Hospital itself.

Church was still the center of all social activities. Church picnics and Youth Leagues were the

time of coming together. Some of our Youth League members made strong relationships.

Among them was Mr. N.V.Zahariah who was one of the managers of the Taj Mahal Hotel. We

remained in contact since we stayed in the Taj enroute to India from Sudan every year. He later

moved to Poona.

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Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

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Occasional treat of the month would be chicken fried thighs at the Sher-e-Punjab. It was Rs 5

per plate a large sum of money in those days.

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In 1957 I completed my Master's degree in Physics and was immediately absorbed in the

Institute of Science staff. As a result I moved from the YMCA Student hostel in Lamington Road

to the Central YMCA hostel for working men. This was close to the Institute of Science within

walking distance. Antony who was closely associated with M.M.Thomas was the General

General Secretary of the Bombay YMCAs. We remained close friends of the family for many

years to come.

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They provided two bed sharing rooms with a canteen for food in the ground floor.

It also was the center for Table Tennis and work outs for its members.

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Ponnamma soon got the job in the Central Railways at Victoria Terminus as a Clerk.

The building once known as the Victoria Terminus, in the city once known as Bombay, is one of

the masterpieces of Victorian architecture. It was designed by British architect Frederick William

Stevens in a style that wildly mixes the Gothic, Italian Renaissance, and Mughal styles.

The building was opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.

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Today it is called Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

New place of work

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She has to move residence to her cousin's house on the first floor of the old quarters of the

army personals in Colaba opposite to the Afghan War Memorial Church with "Mathaichayan and

Family"

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These formed the cousin groups who were close enough to take a photograph of us together

just after our wedding.

Afghan Church was consecrated in 1858 and was built to commemorate the First Afghan War of

1838, in which and estimated 12,000 British and Indian troops were killed fighting Afghani

soldiers

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Soon Ponnamma moved to a working women's hostel in Byculla along the central railway route

close to the Dockyard Station, very close to her work place.

All Saints Home

Hostel for working women

Dockyard Road

Mazgaon

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My cousin sister Ms. K.M. Aleyamma - "Aleyamma Pengal" whom we call Ema; short for

Eliyaama - was living there while working as a private nurse. This began a long term relation

between Ponnamma and Ema. Ema passed away on September 17, 2014.

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Ema remained unmarried and gave herself to the service of nursing due an unforeseen

incidence. While she was yet a teenager, she was presented with a pair of ear studs by her

maternal uncle (my father). She wanted to surprise her family with it and hid it in her mouth

when she went home. By chance it was swallowed and one of them got stuck in the air

passage. It remained there for several months before it was operated out, as such an operation

was considered dangerous in those days.

It also happens that Ema's older sister is married to Ponnamma's mother's paternal uncle,

Which made the nephews and nieces of mine to be uncles and aunties of Ponnamma.

Apparently the normal leisure time in the All Saints Hostel among the women was the chinese

chequer game. Ema and Ponnamma spent together lot of memorable time on this strategy

game.

The Tours

A group Kerala Marthomites who came to Bombay as part of their tour. Since they did not

speak Hindi and since Ponnamma spoke good Hindi, she was asked to join them as an

interpreter. So we joined the group for a tour worth a life time.

Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist

cave monuments. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the

second group of caves built around 400–650 CE.

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The Ajanta site comprises thirty caves cut into the side of a cliff which rises above a meander in

the Waghora River. Today the caves are reached by a road which runs along a terrace mid-way

up the cliff, but each cave was once linked by a stairway to the edge of the water. This is a

Buddhist community, comprising five sanctuaries or Chaitya-grihas (caves 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29)

and monastic complex sangharamas or viharas.

Ellora Caves

Ellora, Aurangabad, Maharastra.

The Ellora Caves not only bear witness to three great religions (Buddhism, Brahminism and

Jainism) but they also illustrate the spirit of tolerance, characteristic of ancient India, which

permitted these three religions to establish their sanctuaries and their communities in a single

place, which thus served to reinforce its universal value. The caves, with their uninterrupted

sequence of from 600 to 1,000 monuments, bring to life again the civilization of ancient India.

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These 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 km, were dug side by side in

the wall of a high basalt cliff, not far from Aurangabad, in Maharashtra. Ellora, with its

uninterrupted sequence of monuments dating from AD 600 to 1000, brings the civilization of

ancient India to life. Not only is the Ellora complex a unique artistic creation and a technological

exploit but, with its sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it illustrates the

spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India.

Progressing from south to north along the cliff, one discovers successively the twelve caves of

the Buddhist group, which appear to be the oldest (between c. 600 and 800) and comprise

monasteries and a single large temple (cave 10); then the caves of the Brahmin group (c. 600 to

900) which are no doubt the best known of Ellora with the 'Cavern of the Ten Avatars' (cave 15)

and especially the Kailasha Temple (cave 16), an enormous complex, most likely undertaken

during the reign of Krishna I (757-83); and, finally, the Jain group (caves 30-34) whose

sanctuaries were created by the sect of the Digambara towards AD 800-1000, The Jain caves,

the last to be excavated, drew their inspiration from the art already existing at Ellora: cave 32

recalls by certain of its dispositions the Kailasha Temple.

The Buddhist Caves were excavated between the 5th and the 7th centuries AD, when the

Mahayana sects were flourishing in the region; among these cave 5 is the largest. Cave 10 is a

chaitya hall and is popularly known as 'Visvakarma'. It has a highly ornamental facade provided

with a gallery and in the chaitya hall there is a beautiful image of Buddha set on a stupa. The

historical value of cave 12 or Tin Tala lies in the fact that human hands built a three-storeyed

building from rock with such painstaking skill that even the floors and the ceiling are smooth and

levelled. Tin Tala cave is a monastery-cum-chapel, with cells. It dates to the Rashtrakuta period

in the mid-8th century.

The Brahmin caves are mostly Saivite. Kailasa (cave 16) is a remarkable example of rock-cut

temples in India on account of its striking proportion; elaborate workmanship architectural

content and sculptural ornamentation. It is said that cave 16 have been started by the

Rashtrakuta king, Krishna I, and it is dedicated to Shiva and named after his mountain home in

the Himalaya, the snow-peak Kailasa. The whole temple consists of a shrine with lingam at the

rear of the hall with Dravidian sikhara, a flat-roofed mandapa supported by sixteen pillars, a

separate porch for Nandi surrounded by an open court entered through a low gopura. The grand

sculpture of Ravana attempting to lift Mount Kailasa, the abode of Siva, with his full might is a

landmark in Indian art.

The Jain Caves are massive, well-proportioned, decorated and mark the last phase of the

activity at Ellora.

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The Fort of Daulatabad

Daulatabad is a 14th century fort city in Maharashtra, India, about 16 kilometers northwest

of Aurangabad. The place, was once as known as Devagiri. It was the capital of Tughlaq

dynasty, under Muhammad bin Tughluq (r. 1325-1351), who also changed its name, and

forcibily moved the entire population of Delhi here, to start a new formidable city. It lasted for

only two years, and was abandoned due to lack of water.

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Parannu parannu parannu chellan pattaatha kaadukalil

koodonnukootti njaan Oru poomarakombil .. aa ..

poomarakombil .. aa poomarakombil

In a forest far away, where no one reach, I made a nest on the tree top.

kilukilunnane raakkilikal Vala kilukkiya kaalam

kununnane kaattupookkal thirikoluthiya Kaalam aa .. aa

The night birds clang their bangles

The wild flowers bloomed up one by one

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jaalakangal nee thurannu, njaan athinte keezhil ninnu,

paattupaadi nee enikkoru koottukaariyaay - Koottukaariyaayi

You openned the window and I stood below it

You sang a song of love to me and you became a friend to me

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maala korthu njaan ninakkoru manthrakodi vaangivachu

panthalittu kaathirunnu chandanakuri pooshi

I made a garland for you and prepared a sacred cloth

I made a wedding tent and waited for you prepared.

Elephanta Caves, Off India Gate

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Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The right half is

usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes.

The earliest Ardhanarishvara images are dated to the Kushan period, starting from the first

century AD

God created man in His own image.

Male and Female created He them.

The name

Ardhanarishvara means "the Lord who is half woman."

Ardhanarishvara is also known by other names like

Ardhanaranari ("the half man-woman"),

Ardhanarisha ("the Lord who is half woman"),

Ardhanarinateshvara ("the Lord of Dance who is half woman"),

Naranari ("man-woman"),

Ammiappan (a Tamil "Mother-Father"),

Ardhayuvatishvara (in Assam, "the Lord whose half is a young woman or girl").

The Gupta-era writer Pushpadanta in his Mahimnastava refers to this form as

dehardhaghatana ("Thou and She art each the half of one body").

Utpala, commenting on the Brihat Samhita, calls this form

Ardha-gaurishvara ("the Lord whose half is the fair one";

the fair one – Gauri – is an attribute of Parvati).

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IV

The order to join has come. I had been interviewed for a teaching job in Ethiopia and

after a brief period the order came. If I have to join the Ministry of Education I had to

make the necessary arrangements. I did not have a passport. Once I join, I will not be

able to return to India for three years. This required that the three year wait for the

wedding has to come to an end, which meant I will have to jump over the still waiting

brother in this matter. So we Ponnamma and I took leave to take leave for two weeks and

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headed for home to get married. Parents were cooperative. Since no dowry was involved

only the expenses for the wedding was to be met. Ponnamma's dad had to get Rs.1000

mortgaging a portion of land from his younger brother. Fortunately one of the relations

of Ponnamma's family who was a close friend of my dad was there in her home when

she reached. It made the meettings and arrangements easy. We went in the train. Spent

a night at my Sisters house in Madras and reached Chengannur Railway Station in the

next day afternoon. At Kozhencheri I got down and Ponnamma took a bus and went to

Elanthoor.

The next day morning my father asked me to go to her home and ask them to come home

to fix the date and other arrangements. By the time I reached her home after inquiring

directions to several people on the way, Ponnamma's Appachen and his relation who was

a friend of my father were already at home. By the time I reached home back, they had

fixed everything for 9th November 1959. Since there was only seven days in all there

were only few guests and the wedding reception was arranged in my home. There were

only around 50 guests.

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According to the records, the earliest church at Kozhencherry was constructed in

Kolla Varsham Malabar Era 775 ME, according to the Malayalam Era ( which

converts to AD 1599). The location of the church, a small thatched building was

at Vennapra, a hilly area on the eastern part of the mulayodil field which is

situated towards the east of the present St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church. The

service in those days was conducted by the ancestors of Maruthur Kadavil

Kathanars and the increase in the number of believers necessitated the

renovation of the church building to accommodate more people.

While the renovation of the church was in progress, the Kovilans the Hindu

aristocracy demolished the church. The prominent Christians of the time

organized themselves and brought their grievance to the attention of the ruling

King Maharaja Thekkenkoor Kulasekhara Perumal. As a result, His Highness the

Maharaja graciously granted the land which belonged to the Chengazhasseri

illom (where the present Kochupalli is situated) and the land was exempted from

giving tax by the authority of the seal of the Maharaja on a Chempola.

Around AD 1774 a new church was established in the name of Virgin Mary in the

location of the present Kochupalli. In those days, Ayroor Thazhamon Easo

Kathanar and Thevarthundiyil Valliathundiyil Moppachan served as priests. After

that Melel Chandy Kathanar, Pallipeedikayil Kurian Kathanar and Thevervelil

Mathai Kathanar served as parish priests. Surrounding it was the cemetery. It

was here my grand mother Mrs. Aleyamma Mammen was interned a few yards

from its right side.

In the wake of Reformation (Naveekaranam), on (Chingam 21, 1012M.E.) AD

1836, a memorandum was submitted to the British Resident of the period Hon.

Coloner Paeser complaining about the undue domination of the Patriarch of

Antioch and about the inaccessibility to the Bible. The vicar of Kozhencherry

Church, Vanchithra Valiya Thundiyil Geevarghese Kathanar was one of the

signatories. (Ittoop, History p.197, Mar Thoma Sabha Directory, 1983.p.71).

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Subsequent to the Reformation in Malankara Church, launched by Abraham

Malpan, in AD 1836 the Syrian Church split into the Mar Thoma Church and the

Jacobite Church, following a court order. As a result, many churches and assets

were lost to our ancestors. The Kochupalli was among the very few churches

allotted to us. Afterwards, the Marthomites and the Jacobites conducted their

worship in the Kochupalli taking turns.

Thomas Kathanar, the grandson of Kurumthottickal Tharakan was ordained as

priest in AD 1871. When Cherukara Philipose Malpan became Malpan (means

Professor in Syriac) in Kottayam Seminary which trained priests for the

Malankara Churches, he was consulted by the priests of Kozhencherry Church,

who were enthusiastic supporters of Naveekaranam. Our Press was named

Cherukara Philipose Malpan Memorial Press (C.P.M.M. Press) in honor of the

reformation leader Professor Philip by my father M.M.Mammen.

As the Malpan left Kottayam and settled in Ayroor in AD 1885 , it became

possible for him to devote more attention to the Kozhencherry Church, assisted

by his disciples Rev. Geevarghese Valiya Thundiyil, Rev. Thomas

Kurumthottickal and Rev. Mathai Poyanil. With the bifurcation that occurred in the

Church in AD 1874 following the Patriarch of Antioch's visit, Rev. Mathai

Thevervelil conducted worship once in five times, taking turns on the basis of the

number of priests on each side. Rev. Geevarghese II Valiathundiyil and Rev.

Philipose Cherukara (Ayroorachen) were ordained priests on the Marthomite

side.

In AD 1893 the Church was renovated. On the northern side of the compound

wall, where the old Church had existed, a piece of land was set apart for use as a

cemetery.The expenses were met by the Marthomites. On finishing the work, the

Jacobites were asked to meet a share of the expenses which was not obliged to

by them. The dissension which grew out of this resulted in a samaricase in

(Medam 1069 M.E) AD1893 . Titus I Mar Thoma Metropolitan and Ayroorachan

appeared as witnesses and gave testimony. The judgement asked the Jacobites

to remit a share of the expenses if they were to conduct the worship once in five

times. But the Jacobites were not prepared to comply with it. They secured a

place of their own and established a Church, which they could use with full

freedom. This left the Kochupalli exclusively to the Marthomites. As the large

majority of Christian families of this area continued to support Naveekaranam,

the number of parishioners increased and the Kozhencherry Church grew

stronger day by day.

In 1889 Kurumthottickal Thomas Kathanar passed away and in AD 1894. His

third son was invested as a deacon. He was ordained priest AD 1898 and

entered the service of the church. As Rev. C. P. Philipose had the charge of

other churches and social commitments also, the other four priests of

Kozhencherry church became the Vicars for one year each in turn. While this

practice was being followed, the parishioners of Kozhencherry felt that it would

be more helpful to appoint Kurumthottickal Thomas Kathanar II (Rev. K. T.

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Thomas) as the Vicar of the church. Accordingly Titus II Mar Thoma Metropolitan

appointed him the Vicar of the Kozhencherry church in AD 1911. He is known

generally in our times as Kurunthottical Kochachen since he was small in stature.

After the appointment of Rev. K. T. Thomas as Vicar, worship and prayer

meetings came to be conducted regularly. The income and expenditure accounts

began to be recorded systematically. He received the unstinting support of the

parishioners in all this. In the church activities, he was assisted by the

evangelists Thanathottathil Mathen Upadesi, Kuriannoor and Koyikalethu Mathai

Upadesi, Keezhukara. The Church which had been in a state of financial

insecurity till then reached a state of total financial self-reliance by the tireless

efforts of Kurumthottickal Achen.

The establishment of the Valia Palli at Kozhencherry

In order to accommodate the increasing number of parishioners, it became

inevitable to enlarge the Kochupalli. Titus II Mar Thoma Metropolitan laid the

foundation stone for the new enlarged church on (8 Vrichikam 1108 M. E) . 23rd

November,1932 AD). On 8th April 1941, the dedication ceremony of the biggest

church in Travancore at that time was led by Abraham Mar Thoma

Metropolitan. According to the church records, it took Rs.46, 000/- .

It was in this church the wedding ceremony was to take place

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The four elements of the Eastern Church's wedding ceremonies in Kerala

includes:

• Blessing of the Rings and placing of the rings on the fingers of bride and

groom by the priest as a covenant before God.

• The crowning ceremony with a cross on chain whereby elevation of the

couple to the status of full image of God - male and female in union.

• Tying of a minnu, a leaf with seven gold balls forming a cross symbolising

fertillity and prosperity for generations

• A manthra kodi, an ornate mystery cloth to cover, indicating bringing the

bride into the tent.

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The priest after putting the rings on the hands of the bride and groom bless the couple as

representative of God and intermediary of the Covenant of Marriage.

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Tying the minnu

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The minnu is tied with seven strands taken from the Mantrakodi the mystery cloth

by a close relative and bound together with rice glue. Seven representing the

completeness of the creation to show full reflection of God in union of Male and

Female.

The seven balls (the seventh one represents the head of Jesus on the cross)

also represent the same on the minnu. These form a cross symbolising the

ultimate sacrifice as the basis of marriage. Leaf indicate life renewed. and new

generations.

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Genesis 24:67

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CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES

and

MARRIAGE IN THE EASTERN CHURCHES

Gen 1:27

So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God created he him;

male and female created he them.

The completed image of God is when man is united with his wife. Woman was

part of Adam before the separation.

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Family reflects the image of God

Marriage is a reflection of the relation between Jesus and his church. Church is

called bride of the lamb and at the end of the age, the marriage of the lamb will

take place when the Kingdom of God starts. The relationship between the

husband and wife is a foretaste of the Kingdom of God and heaven.

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The imagery and symbolism of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of

believers known as the church. These are those who have trusted in Jesus Christ

as their personal savior and have received eternal life.As the two shall become

one in marriage, so shall be for the Church and Christ. Separate but United as

extension.

In the New Testament, Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly

chosen the church to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27). Just as there was a

betrothal period in biblical times during which the bride and groom were

separated until the wedding, so is the bride of Christ separate from her

Bridegroom during the church age. Her responsibility during the betrothal period

is to be faithful to Him (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:24). At the Second

Coming of Christ, the church will be united with the Bridegroom, the official

"wedding ceremony" will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and

His bride will be actualized (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-2).

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The Power of Two

The Power and authority of God is given to the two as they form one

body.

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Matthew 18:19 "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about

anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in

heaven.”

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God did try to bring in the Kingdom on earth. He started with Adam and

mankind. Now we are at the verge of the final mode – the family.

With the fall of Adam, God’s plan of salvation continued. Bible shows that God

experimented with other nations and then chose Israel. When the Israel

theocracy failed God chose the Churches. The Experiment with Church

communes failed and hence today God is experimenting with the Family as the

unit to usher in the Kingdom. That is the smallest molecule of human

community. The Sacrament of matrimony is the call for that purpose.

With the satanic forces trying to destroy the family will it explode from family to

homosexual perverted units in this world?

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The Extented Christian Family

The Nuclear Christian Family

In the Western Churches

In the Western Churches the betrothal is done outside the church by the

individuals or families depending on the culture.

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The wedding itself consists of declaring vows to one another and then confirming

it with an exchange of rings.

It is a contract between the two parties.

The two parties agrees with the “I do”

In the Eastern Churches

In the Eastern Churches the betrothal is part of the Sacrament. In some

churches it is done at the entrance of the Church while in most Kerala Churches,

it is done in front of the Holy of Holies. This part of ceremony is called the

‘Blessing of the Rings.” There is no “I do”

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The betrothal rings are placed on the fingers of bride and of the groom by the

Priest on behalf of the Church. It is the community of saints, the

Worshipping Church - the Mother Church that give the ring as a symbol of

sanctification or separation of the couple for the fulfillment of God's plan on earth.

Three party Covenant

Marriage in the Eastern Churches therefore is considered as a three party

covenant in which the parties are:

1. Jesus and his bride the Church as party of first

2. The man

3. The Woman

Thus marriage is neither an arrangement of convenience nor a contract between

man and wife. An abrogation of the marriage affects the whole church as will as

the cosmos.

After the betrothal ceremony there is a break before the actual wedding part is

done. The wedding part is called “The Crowning Ceremony”. The whole picture

represented here is the marriage of the Church with Jesus. Jesus came down to

the earth and took a bride from among the gentiles. He paid the bride price with

his own blood and bore the sin of the bride on the cross. He has then gone

home to prepare a place for his bride. When he comes there will be crowning –

The Church reigns with her beloved. The liturgy repeats this theme often

forgetting that this is a real down to earth marriage between two people on earth.

The Crowning Ceremony

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In this ceremony most eastern churches use real crowns.

Some times elaborate crowns are used, while others use symbolic crowns.

In the Malankara Churches we use gold chains with a cross and chants the

descent of the crown from heaven to adorn the bride and the groom.

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“Vaanil ninnoru makudam”

The Crown from Heaven descents on the head of the bride and the groom

Then the symbolic expression of the church being set apart for Christ

through the sacrificial blood on the cross and adorned with the glory of

Christ himself is expressed with the tying of the “Minnu” (Shining glory)

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The minnu itself is made of pure gold with the cross as its main picture, The

cross itself is made of seven small globules of gold. Seven obviously denotes

the completion of creation in its pristine state. It is a very small token which will

remain on the neck of the wife to death. Even in the burial it goes with her. It is

hung on seven strands of thread taken from the Wedding “Manthrakodi” (The

Mystic New Cloth) with which the bride will be covered soon after.

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The seven strands are pulled out carefully from the Manthrakodi and made into

one by adding starch from rice. This process is done by a couple (Usually sister

and brother in law) who is a close relative of the groom

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Covering the bride with the manthrakodi is the last part of the sacrament. It is an

expression of the ancient Judeo-Christian tradition where the wedding is

completed under a Chuppa. In Jewish tradition of Chuppa is actually a Prayer

Shawl called Tallit with its four cornered Tzitzit – tassels which are commanded

by God to Moses to remind the wearer of the Laws of God all through the day.

Jewish weddings are done under the Chuppa where the tassels on the four

corners safeguards the couple to walk in the Way. It also acts as a personal

tent. Bringing the bride into the tent was considered as the process of marriage.

Thus

“Gen 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took

Rebekah, and she became his wife”

Covering the bride with the Tallit was considered as a legal wedding. Thus in

Ruth we see

Ruth 3:9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine

handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near

kinsman.

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The New Couple

Wedding Photo

Soon after this M.M.John also got married and the following are the complete family

generations.

All the men of the family MMs

Mammen(Jr), George, Mammen (Sr. Appachen), Thomas, Cherian.

John, Ninan, Abraham.

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Not all the women of the family

Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas (Pennamma), Mrs. Aleyamma Thomas (Sister), Mrs. George,

Mrs. Abraham, Mrs. Mammen, Mrs. Ninan, Mrs. Abraham

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Ammachi (Mrs. Mariamma Mammen)

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The Family in 1960

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George Family

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Thmapu, Suku, Kunju

The Georges

Thampykutty and Sakhi

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Syamala, Kumari and Nimmi

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A.K. Thampy Family

Mammen Family

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Abraham Family

John Family

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Ninan Family

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We took a small room in Bandra waiting for the passport and the ticket to Addis Ababa to

come.

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"Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you." Genesis 12:1

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241

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