There have been several great souls in the Syrian Christian Community who rose to partake in the freedom struggle for India’s Independence. As India enters the 75th year of Independence, Nalloor Library would like our readers to remember a few freedom fighters who represented the Syrian Christian community and share their stories in their Sunday Schools and meetings across the world. This list is no means a complete list and only four have been chosen as representatives. We salute each and every freedom fighter across this great nation who participated in the freedom struggle and those who gave their lives for India’s freedom. Jai Hind!
Shri Thevarthundiyil Titus also known as ‘Titusji’ – Dandi March
The historic Dandi Salt march by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 triggered the wider Civil Disobedience Movement leading to India’s freedom from the British. Among the marchers that would change India’s destiny was just one Christian and a Mar Thomite, Shri Thevarthundiyil Titus also known as ‘Titusji’. A devout Gandhian – he was known by the name Titus in his earlier days. “Titusji” was the name given to him by Mahatma Gandhi as a token of love and honour.
Mr. O. C. Chacko of the Indian National Army (INA)
Mr. O. C. Chacko was part of the Indian National Army (INA) of Subash Chandhra Bose and member of the Kuriannoor Mar Thoma Church, Pathanamthitta, Kerala. We post a link to a write up that was published on his 100th (centenary) birth anniversary.
Rev. C.V.George B.A., B.L
General Secretary of the Mar Thoma Sunday School Samajam. He was the only Mar Thoma Priest who is recognized and awarded as a freedom fighter by the Government. Before his ordination, he was in jail for almost a year for his participation in the Freedom movement of India.
George Joseph, a barrister, fiery nationalist, avant-garde journalist, pioneer trade unionist, and ardent champion of important public causes, has etched an indelible place in the history of India’s war for Independence. He hailed from Kerala and was not just a pioneer in several fields, he was also a staunch supporter of Annie Besant’s Home Rule movement and Gandhiji’s Non-Cooperation movement during India’s freedom struggle.
He was born in Chenganoor (Kerala) in 1887, which at that time was part of the Travancore Kingdom. He completed his Law at the University of Edinburgh and it was during his stay in London that he became acquainted with notable freedom fighters like Madam Cama, S K Verma, S R Rana, and Veer Savarkar. He returned to India after finishing his education and though he established his legal practice initially in Chennai, he eventually shifted it to Madurai. George Joseph went on to become a famous criminal lawyer in Madurai. From the time he started practising there, he championed the cause of Madurai’s tribes, such as the Piramalai Kallars and Maravars. In 1920, following the Perungamanallur firing (also referred to as the Jallianwalla Bagh of the South), the British implemented the Criminal Tribes Act, labelling these groups as criminals. He vehemently opposed the Act by voicing his opinions in newspapers and he also represented these communities in court proceedings. The residents of these settlements gave him the name ‘Rosapoo Durai’ (a Rose amongst Leaders), as a symbol of their gratitude. ~indianculture.gov.in
On 26th June 2022, Hoskote Mission will celebrate 75 years (Platinum Jubilee). The Hoskote Mission Medical Center was established in 1947 in Hoskote, Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka by two missionaries Mr. M. T. Joseph and Mr. A.C. Zachariah along with their wives Mariamma Joseph and Saramma Zachariah. As part of this historic moment, Nalloor Library presents a free Ebook version of – ‘From his majesty’s service to His Majesty’s Service’ (Pioneers of Hoskote Mission) released in December 2003.
Articles in the book are in both English and Malayalam and include recollections from the late Rt. Rev. Dr. Alexander Mar Thoma Valia Metropolitan, late Rt. Rev. Philipose Mar Thoma Valia Metropolitan, late Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas Suffragan Metropolitan, Acharya Rev. K. J. Samuel, late Very. Rev. C. G. Alexander, late Rev. Dr. K. P. Mathai, Rev. E. J. George and more.
- Manon Ousephachen – Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Irenaeus Suffragan Metropolitan
- Builders of the Kingdom of God -Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa
- Speaking Ill of Others ! – Acharya Rev. K. J. Samuel
- A Reflection on the life of Mr. and Mrs. M.T. Joseph – Rev. P. V. Philip
- A Pillar in the Temple of God – Rev. P. Chacko and Mrs. Thankamma Chacko
- Blessing Harper -Miss Blessing
- Consolation Letter -Rev. A.C. Zachariah
- Appachen -Dr. Rajan Koshy
- M.T. Joseph -Very. Rev. C. G. Alexander
- Impressions and Reflections -Mrs. E. V. Mathew
- Early Days of Pennamma (Mrs. M.T. Joseph)
- Memoirs of ‘Hoskote Ashram’, the place where I grew up -Thomas Joseph (Jay)
- A more excellent way – Grace John
- My Beloved Mother – Grace John
- Hoskote Mission – Rev. Dr. K. P. Mathai
- My Memories about Hoskote Mission Field – Rt. Rev. Dr. Alexander Mar Thoma Valia Metropolitan.
- Classmate of my Brother -Rt. Rev. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Metropolitan
- Sweet Memories -Mary and Sally
- Joseph Sar and family -Witnesses of Christ in Hoskote -Mr. K. V. Mathew
- The Torch Bearers of the Gospel in Karnataka -Mr. V. Mathai
- Appachen -Ms. P.T. Mariamma
- Unforgettable Memories -Mr. T. M. Koshy, Evangelist
- Memories, Memories … -Rev. E. J. George
- Joseph Sar and Kochamma still alive in my memory – Ms. Aleyamma Mathew
- Two Brave Martyrs for Christ – Mr. K. V. Varghese
- Appachen and Ammachi in our Memories – Rev. P. E. Mathew and Mrs. Laly Mathew
- Remembrance News Article – Suvisesha Doothan – Magazine of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (MTEA)
- MTEA General Secretary’s Letter – Article – Suvisesha Doothan – Magazine of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (MTEA)
About the Writers
This book is a collection of memories penned down by people who have closely interacted or worked with Mr. and Mrs. M. T. Joseph (Co-founders of Hoskote Mission). This book comes from a need that old memories of the pioneers would encourage and inspire more people to join the ministry and take up from where they left. History repeats itself and the only way people would be inspired to carry on with this great legacy we have been handed down is to read and pass on the memories of yesteryears.
Almost all the people who have contributed to this book are people who have done their part in building up the Kingdom of God. This is not a book to highlight or to downplay any individual’s work but rather an attempt to preserve and record history of the past events. It would be a testimony to show how God uses ordinary people from all walks of life simultaneously to carry out His mission and work of letting the whole world know of His Saving Grace.
We earnestly pray and believe that this book will inspire many of you to pray and support the work of the Hoskote Mission.
On 1st September 2020 – we remember Indian freedom fighter Mr. O. C. Chacko on his 100th (centenary) birth anniversary. Mr. O. C. Chacko was part of the Indian National Army (INA) of Subash Chandhra Bose and member of the Kuriannoor Mar Thoma Church, Pathanamthitta, Kerala. He was born on 1st September 1920 and passed away on 14th April 2014. He is buried at Neelethu Mar Thoma Church, Kuriannoor.
He was 95 years old and resided at Odikandathil-Vadakkemannil, Kuriannoor.
“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”
We carry below an English translation of an article Published in Malayala Manorama newspaper on
14th August 2013, a day before Independence Day.
Even after half a century of independence, Mr. O.C. Chacko observes, it has not lost its sheen. Before the day when the tricolor of India rose up bringing down the British flag on August 15, 1947, the eyes that dreamt such a morning still sparkle. The ears that heard the trumpet call of freedom fighters and their war cry are still kept open to hear it again. Only that the feet that had walked in steady gait braving the enslaving British yoke have become slightly unsteady. But he still jumps up from his wheel chair with the same enthusiasm on hearing the names of Netaji and INA – that is O.C.Chacko of Odikandathil Vadakkemannil, Kuriannoor.
He is one of the few surviving soldiers of INA. Every Independence Day is the birth of a new era for Mr. O.C. Chacko. Coincidentally, his birthday falls on a day following the Independence Day. He enters his 94th birthday on 1st September, 2013. In the ecstasy of witnessing one more Independence Day for Mr. Chacko, even in this freedom celebrations the young generation is eagerly awaiting to hear and record his memories. Son of Mr. Chacko of Odikandathil Vadakkemannil, born in September 1920, Mr. Chacko boarded a ship to Singapore in 1941 in search of a job. After a few years he became a soldier of the Indian National Army organized by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He continued to serve as a soldier in the INA till 1945.
He had his first job in Singapore in the war department of the British Government. Thereafter he worked in several organizations in various capacities. Even then, an independent India was his dream. Later, he recorded all the important events in his life. There in his records is the history of organizing the Indian Independence League under the auspices of civilian leaders and Military captain Mohan Singh soon after the surrender of the British Army in Singapore.
Coming from Germany in 1943 in a submarine, Netaji took charge of the independence struggle in Singapore. Soon after, he constituted Azad Hind Government there. He opened camps for training people to be sent to the Burmese war front. He sent a few volunteers including the local people to the Burma border. It was at this time Mr. O.C. Chacko was recruited to the INA. He cherishes the memory of the occasion when he met Netaji and spoke to him. Out of the 60,000 Indians there, majority had joined the INA. Mr. Chacko remembers about Netaji’s presence in Singapore when Britain surrendered to Japan on August 15, 1945. Chacko believes that he (Netaji) was killed in a plane crash on his way to Japan via Taiwan.
His fighting days were much before his marriage when he was a bachelor. After marriage, he led a peaceful life in SIngapore with his wife and children. Retiring from his job in 1970 he came back to settle down in Kerala. He is still keeps as treasures the INA uniforms and the badges bearing Netaji’s picture and other symbols. He had other connections related to the INA as well. In Kozhencherry and Thottapuzhassery there were a few retired INA soldiers. All of them except Mr. Chacko are no more.
Mr. Chacko is a hero to the new generation of the locality as an enthusiastic old veteran who had participated and witnessed the freedom struggle. He is a regular invitee to the independence Day/Republic Day celebrations held by schools and local organizations. He participates in such functions wholeheartedly and shares the memories of old times. ‘Even when I decline such invitations’, he says, ‘the youngsters would not let go’. They want to hear the history of the struggle. Behind the gentle demeanour, the man of 94 still exudes an aura of heroism.
This historical article (free pdf) written in Malayalam gives hitherto unknown facts about the Maramon Convention held on the banks of the River Pamba organized by the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.
It is the result of more than 10 years of research done by Mr. Sreerenganathan K.P. of Aranmula from sources in the State Archives of Kerala (Archives of the Kingdom of Travancore) in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum).
The article gives clear details of hitherto unknown facts about the Maramon Convention plot in Maramon. It tries to answer questions such as:
- Who is the owner of the convention plot on the banks of the River Pamba?
- What is the right/authority of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (MTEA) over the convention plot?
- Is the MTEA paying any tax or rent for this plot?
- What are the details of the petition dated 13 April 1914 filed by Most Reverend Titus Mar Thoma II against the paddy farmers of Edasserima, Kidagannoor, Poovathoor, Mallapuzhassery Nellikkal and Koipuram?
- What are the details of the first Land Survey done in Travancore in 1816?
…and many other interesting facts about the Maramon Convention. It also gives the details of social life in and around Aranmula and Maramon during the early years of the convention.
The author of the article is Sreerenganathan K. P. an activist, artist, photographer and a keen historian who has published a book in 2018 on the history of Aranmula titled – ‘Aranmula Ithithyavum Charithrasathyangalum’ ISBN: 9729323510942
The Nalloor Library sincerely thanks him for allowing us to publish this article on our website .
It’s that time of the year when we say a big Thank You to all our readers and well wishers! We are encouraged by every message and email we receive from around the world and we pray for your continued support as we turn seven. A dream that started seven years ago has inspired many to take interest and get to know their history and traditions.
Readers and Parishes have reached out from far and wide, telling us how our resources are being used in Parish Bulletins, Sunday School textbooks, VBS, Summer camps, sermons, prayer groups and much more. We have made new friends on the journey and social media has enabled us to take the rich cultural history and tradition of our Church to many more readers. It is ever so important for us now to document and preserve our memories and history for the future generations. We request that you keep us in your prayers.
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” ~ Robert Kennedy
“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” ~ Psalm 106:1
K. K. Kuruvilla spent most of his life teaching and is considered as one of the greatest educationalists of the former Kingdom of Travancore (now part of Kerala). The Mar Thoma Church wanted Kuruvilla to become a bishop along with Abraham Mar Thoma Thirumeni (1880-1947), but God had other plans for him. God Almighty blessed and used him in the field of education at large and social upliftment of the poor and downtrodden in the society.
A freedom fighter, an ecumenist, advisor to the Mar Thoma Metropolitans, host to Mahatma Gandhi, known to all as a simple man yet he left a mark on the Mar Thoma Church that should not be and cannot be forgotten. Do read this free Ebook in pdf format – K. K. Kuruvilla
It’s that time of the year when we say a big Thank You to all our readers and well wishers! We are encouraged by every message and email we receive from around the world and we pray for your continued support as we turn six. A dream that started six years ago has inspired many to take interest and get to know their history and traditions.
Readers and Parishes have reached out from far and wide, telling us how our resources are being used in Parish Bulletins, Sunday School textbooks, VBS, Summer camps, sermons, prayer groups and much more. We have made new friends on the journey and social media has enabled us to take the rich cultural history and tradition of our Church to many more readers. We request that you keep us in your prayers.
“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 106:1
On 25 June, 1975 – nearly forty years years ago, Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi unilaterally had a state of emergency declared across the country. Officially issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352(1) of the Constitution for “internal disturbance”, the Emergency was in effect from 25 June 1975 until its withdrawal on 21 March 1977 (21 months). `
So what did the Emergency imply? Essentially, at the stroke of the President’s pen India ceased being a democracy and was converted into a virtual autocracy. Civil liberties were suspended, media was censored, state and parliamentary elections were postponed, and anyone who wrote or spoke against the Government was put behind bars. In the 21 months of the Emergency, 100,000 people were arrested and detained without trial. ~ www.thelogicalindian.com
Under the Emergency rule, it was not easy to raise voices of critical opposition, in making even a mild-toned protest, one did so at considerable risk. Many kept silent because of the fear which spread among the people. Despite these pressures, some of the Christian groups made courageous attempts to express critical voices. It is significant to recognise that those who made the critical protests were not the representatives of the large institutional churches; rather, they were members of relatively small groups or of a minority group within the institutional church.
Metropolitan Juhanon Mar Thoma was the only Church leader who wrote a letter to her disapproving it. The Metropolitan’s letter stated that he deemed the Emergency rule as a setback to democracy and demanded its speedy withdrawal as well as the release of the politicians arrested in this regard.
His earlier statement was drafted in Malayalam in the fall of 1975. Even though it was not an entirely critical protest, but raised in a modest way a critical question, it was refused publication in Kerala. Metropolitan has written a brief yet pointed letter to Prime Minister Gandhi stating clearly his concern for the political situation.
“A vast number of people, and that growing numbers, feel the price we have to pay is costly. With people like Morarji and others in jail, and a press which has lost its freedom to write news and views, we feel a kind of depression. On behalf of thousands, I request withdrawal of Emergency by gradual stages. Immediate and altogether withdrawal is likely to have very bad repercussions. If the political detenus are released and’ freedom for press is given, it will be a great relief.
“I have one more request: not to have elections and constitutional changes during the time of Emergency. Hoping to be excused for this letter written from a sincere and painful heart.” ~www.daga.org.hk
He wrote that he was writing as a Church leader and a citizen. Mrs Indira Gandhi gave orders to arrest Metropolitan Juhanon Mar Thoma. Mr. C. Achuthamenon was the Chief Minister at that time and with his interference the arrest was avoided. It was the Mar Thoma Church’s fight for independence and national integrity that echoed through Metropolitan Juhanon Mar Thoma, a fearless commitment to the concerns of the people that is hard to find among religious leaders now. On September 9, shortly after he wrote this letter, he fell ill and died on September 27, 1976.
The first edition of the Indian Express after the imposition of emergency consisted of a blank page instead of editorial. The Financial Express had Rabindranath Tagore’s poem, “Where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high”.
Where The Mind Is Without Fear
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
Date of Birth: 02 April 1938
Ordained as Deacon: 08 May 1964
Ordained as Kassesa: 04 July 1964
Appointed as Vicar General: 30 November 1998
Retired from Active Service: 02 April 2003
The death of Very. Rev. A.C. Kurian is unlike the death of any other priest. We feel it differently and deeply. We sense that in losing him, we have lost not only the man but also his unique way of manifesting God. He was a model priest. His memory will live on forever in the hearts of his entire dear and near ones. His parishioners remember him for his gentle presence that extended beyond the altar and into their homes, where “he was a part of our families”. Many will also miss his personal emails, letters and calls remembering people on their birthdays, anniversaries and in times of grief.
Throughout his ministry, achen took special interest for the welfare of the poor, sick and needy. He was the superintendent of many of the destitute homes. After his retirement, he took active part in the Palliative Care Centre unit in Pushpagiri Hospital, Tiruvalla. At the time of his death, he was the Director of the Unit. His services were a source of comfort for the terminally sick patients in the palliative care unit.
Achen used to send birthday/marriage anniversary greetings to more than 15,000 people with the final words being:
“I am not Miles away but a Mail away.”
The Very. Rev. A.C. Kurian was a strong supporter of Nalloor Publications and Nalloor Library (www.nalloorlibray.com). He used to correspond with us and shared valuable information for updating our Library records. Through his death we have lost a true friend.
We express our deepest condolences to his family.
Details of the Very. Rev. A. C. Kurian:
Very. Rev. A.C. Kurian (S/o O.A. Chacko and Mariamma, Arapurayil, Kottarakkara, Mother Parish. Pattamala MTC, Kottarakkara). Present Residence: Arappurayil; Bethel Junction, Kuttapuzha, Tiruvalla-689103
Kochamma: Mrs. Susamma D/o of K.T.Thomas and Chinnamma, Kallodikuzhiyil, Vadasserikkara)
Children and Grandchildren:
- Nirmala – Sanu (husband); Children: Vivek
- Jacob (Vinod)- Susan (wife); Children: Nikhil and Nithara
- Anila – Manoj (husband); Children: Reuben and Benjamin
Shornur, Vadakacherry, Thannipadam, Peechi, Koodal, Athirumkal, Andamans, Kottarakkara, Neeleswaram, Inchakad, Puthur, Anaprampal, Kuwait, Eraviperur, Theverkad, Kizhakenmuthur, Annavattom, Mukkajiram,
Kozhencherry, Tiruvalla St.Thomas, Perurkada, Nellikunnam, Vilangara Salem, Vilangara St.Thomas, Chennamkary St.Pauls, Chennamkary Bethany, Madavupara, Karyavattom, Kazakutam, Kurupuzha Jerusalem, Ponnumangalam, Perurkada Ebenezer.
*Special: Sabha Secretary -2 Terms, Senior Vicar General, Supdt. of Trichur Ravi Varma Mandiram & Kottarakkara Jubilee Mandiram, MTEA Correspondence Secretary, Trivandrum JMM Study Centre Associate Director, Development Fund Collection Convener, Sabha Council Member, Episcopal Nomination Board Member, Tiruvalla Mar Thoma College -Titus College- Governing Board Member, CCI Member, Vaideeka Selection Committee Member.
First Service: 27/5/2018 7pm – At residence. To be presided by Rt. Rev. Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa
Second Service: 28/5/2018 8.am – At Residence. To be presided by Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Theethos Episcopa
Third Service: 28/5/2018 11 Am – At Residence. To be presided by Very Rev. George Zachariah
Fourth Service: 28/5/2018 2:30pm – At Varicad Sehion Mar Thoma Church. To be presided by His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan
The Poet Oliver Goldsmith’s (10 November 1728- 4 April 1774) lines hold true for him:
“Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain by turns dismayed,
The reverend champion stood. At his control
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whispered praise.”
(The Village Preacher)
Pages from History:- 25 December, 1905: Formation of the National Missionary Society of India (NMSI).
On Christmas Day 1905, a meeting of the church leaders held in the historic library of William Carey at Serampore decided to form a National Missionary Society.
The following principles were adopted on that day
1. The work of evangelization shall be done by Indians
2. That its expenses should be met by Indian money.
3. They must choose mission fields in areas where Western Missions were not working
4. The society should not form a church or denomination but entrust the converts they gather to the care of the churches in that area.