Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sculptor P. E. Thomas – a life of dedication and art!

Read the amazing story about sculptor P. E. Thomas (1934-2017), the first student from Kerala at Visva-Bharati University founded by Rabindranath Tagore. Thomas was born in Mallappally, a town in south Kerala, to Poykamannil P M Eppan and Annamma. He completed his basic education at Kottayam CMS School and College. His art work adorn many notable places.

One of them being”Nalla Idayan,” a concrete structure weighing two tonnes erected at the Marthoma House in Kozhikode, was completed by Thomas at the behest of Theodosius Marthoma Metropolitan, who was the then Kozhikode Bishop and alumni of Visva-Bharati University.

“Rhythm” and “Dance of Death”, fashioned out of plaster of Paris in 1966, were kept on (the Lawrence School, Lovedale), Ooty school premises; “The “Family” (1975) told the story of a bold family head who told his family members to emancipate themselves. The statue of Christ at Gethsemane at Kandal Cross Shrine, Ootty, the “Elephant” designed for the Postal Department at Thaipakkad tourist centre, the statues of ‘sage Patanjali and the Snake’ in front of the Madras Regiment Hospital at Wellington and the Little Horse at the needle factory at Ketti in Tamil Nadu are some of his major works.

Click to read more at OnManorama.com – https://www.onmanorama.com/entertainment/art-and-culture/2021/12/20/p-e-thomas-master-malayali-sculptor-visva-bharati-santiniketan.html

A Tribute to The Reverend Canon Dennis Gurney, OBE 1931-2021 (90 years)

The Reverend Canon Dennis Albert John Gurney, who served the Holy Trinity Church and the Chaplaincy of Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates (Anglican Church, Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf) as the Senior Chaplain for 17 years, has died in the UK of age-related ailments. He was 90.

Rev. Canon Dennis Gurney OBE (2002) – Image Credit Gulf News Archive

Rev Gurney, who led the Holy Trinity Church in Dubai from 1984 to 2001, was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to the community in the Middle East. He is survived by three sons and two daughters. His wife, Naomi, died in January 2019.

File photo of Rev Gurney (standing third from left) with family in the UK. Wife Naomi (standing first from right) Image Credit: Supplied

Rev Gurney survived two serious car accidents, rescued refugees and set up desperately needed clinics in Yemen.

He was a close friend of the Mar Thoma Parish in Dubai. The Christian Book Shop managed by him in the Holy Trinity Church compound was a great blessings and resource centre to the Sunday School, and other organizations of the Parish. With his demise, Nalloor Library has lost a real close Christian friend who introduced us to many International Christian Organizations and their activities. He opened before us the wide spectrum of Christian Literature. We thank God Almighty for his dedicated Christian life and activities. The Funeral Service will be at St Peter’s Church, Sidford on Friday, December 17th at 11.30 a.m.

Connection with the Mar Thoma Church Dubai

Before the Mar Thoma Church Dubai was given a place of their own to build their church in Jebel Ali, they worshiped at the Holy Trinity Church. On 25th December 1975, the Mar Thoma Parish Dubai shifted its communion from the Our own School premises to the Holy Trinity Church, after that a worship service was started on Friday evening in the year 1988 for members who were not able to attend the Thursday service. The Trinity Church was also the venue for all the Sunday School classes on Friday mornings, the yearly VBS, New Year, Passion Week, Good Friday, Easter and Christmas services, Harvest Festival, Conventions in the church compound. As the church grew in leaps and bounds, giving way to a second generation of members and newcomers who were not well-versed in Malayalam, an English prayer meeting and Holy Communion was initiated early in 1997 that was held in the Trinity Church compound. This continued until the Mar Thoma Church shifted to their own church on 14th December, 2001.

Rev. Canon Gurney, OBE (2002)

For old photos of Holy Trinity Dubai Church and a short history. Photos used in collage are copyright under Gulf News and John Tidy 1970

Information courtesy: The Telegraph, Gulf News, Newsletter of Diocese of Cyprus, Gulf News and the Newsletter of the Holy Trinity Church Dubai.

Magazine Interview with Rev. Dennis Gurney from 2001

Departing reverend looks back on moments of turbulence
June 07, 2001

http://www.comeandsee.comA Christian Magazine from Nazareth

https://www.comeandsee.com/view.php?sid=108

“All told it’s been an eventful 17 years,” says the Reverend Dennis Gurney speculatively, as he settles back in a large office chair amidst the chaos of nearly two decades worth of packing.

“Eventful” would not be the word springing to most people’s minds when considering the extraordinary experiences of this calm preacher’s life in the UAE. Turbulent, smattered with danger, the odd brush with the after-life and incredibly hard work, would actually seem more appropriate when “all” is told.

For Gurney – who will resume the mundane life of a British vicar in the UK when he leaves the Gulf for good in 10 days’ time – has not only survived two serious car accidents ? one of which caused doctors to fear he would never walk again ? but has rescued refugees, wrested fire-arms from a distraught wife, set up desperately needed clinics in Yemen and even killed a camel.

All this has happened alongside catering to the UAE’s Christian community which has grown from one tiny church in 1984 to serving a Friday turnout of 20,000 from 86 congregations who worship in 32 languages.

The 75-year-old father of five still takes it all in stride. Describing his first impression of Dubai, he said: “When I came here in 1984, I had no idea what to expect because I’d never been to the Gulf – but I do remember being surprised at just how green and tidy the emirates were.

“At that time the church complex was very small, housing one chapel, a prefabricated bungalow for my wife and I and a tiny church hall. We’ve since managed to expand through a lot of hard work to provide places of worship in all the emirates.”

But the road to righteousness has been more than a little rocky – the past 13 years having had their fair share of trauma. “One of my clearest memories was in 1989 when I opened the chaplaincy door to find 28 Iranian refugees standing there.

“They’d fled the war in Iran on dhows to Dubai with nothing more than the clothes they stood up in. None of them had papers and all were frightened, hungry, sick and desperate. Over a period of three years we managed to house them, cover their medical expenses, find them jobs and visas – but it wasn’t an easy task.

“Then in 1990 I was almost killed when a car swerved off the road and hit me outside the British Embassy. I can’t remember feeling much pain even though both my legs were smashed and one was skinned completely from the knee down. The most terrifying part was flying through the air and having absolutely no control over where I’d land.

“The doctors at the Rashid Hospital did a marvellous job in patching me up but warned me I might never walk again. Amazingly I spent just three months on crutches and was soon back at work.

“In 1993 I had another accident when driving back from Fujairah at night along the Dhaid road. “A large camel stepped out of nowhere right in front of the car and although I braked as hard, we collided with tremendous force. The camel was killed instantly and it really was by the grace of God that I escaped with my life.”

An even more bizarre incident the following year was only brought back to Gurney as he began to pack his belongings just days ago. “I was clearing out my filing cabinet when I discovered a heavy object covered in cloth. When I unwrapped it, I realised it was a gun I’d managed to take away from a lady in Ras Al Khaimah who was planning to murder her husband.

“She’d suffered terrible violence from her husband who frequently beat her and smashed her head against walls. On previous visits she’d even asked me if I could get hold of a firearm for her ? but I’d always laughed and told her it would be impossible in the UAE.

“Then, on another visit, she showed me a gun she’d managed to acquire and told me of her plan to shoot her husband. “I was shocked, but managed to persuade her to hand it over. I took it back to the chaplaincy, put it away and didn’t think of the incident again.

I don’t know if it’s been loaded all these years – or even if it has a safety catch – because I won’t be pulling the trigger. I’ve decided it will be buried in the foundations of the new church being built in Jebel Ali. That way it can’t cause any harm to anyone!”

Accomplishments and benefits to the community have been many during Gurney’s term. “I am delighted with the news that two medical clinics we set up in Yemen have treated over 30,000 mothers and babies in the past year which is a real achievement,” he said, adding: “The church is also currently supporting three refugee families from Somalia who came here after fleeing the war.

We are doing our best to house, feed, clothe and legalise them because life here for the poverty-stricken is much harder than it used to be.” Is he sad to be leaving? The answer is a definite “yes”.

“I was asked by one of the Rulers recently why I was leaving when I could easily go to heaven from Dubai. “I told him that although this was possible and I could happily stay another 17 years, my wife thinks the UK is heaven which is why we’re going home.”

And who will succeed a man with such a hard act to follow? “The answer is we don’t know,” he says. “But anyone taking on this job will need flexibility, patience and a big sense of humour.”

Taken from https://www.comeandsee.com/view.php?sid=108

Malankara Sabha Tharaka feature- Oct 2021

Nalloor Library content was featured in the Mar Thoma Church’s official magazine – Sabha Tharaka October 2021 edition (p 20-21).

It features two important individuals and their stories. You can read about it in detail using the links below:

Rev. Advocate C.V.George B.A.,B.L

Rt. Rev. Dr. Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan

Rare Historical Recording to celebrate anniversary of Hoskote Mission Field on 27 June

Listen to a rare 37 year old recording to commemorate the Anniversary of the Hoskote Mission Field on 27 June 2021.

The recording was done in June 1984 during Mrs Mariamma Joseph’s (co-founder of the mission) address to the Dubai Mar Thoma Parish. She spoke about the beginning of Hoskote Mission and the challenges faced by the pioneering missionaries.

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.

Read more about this incredible story (Free PDF)

To read a more detailed biography of Mr. & Mrs. M.T.Joseph (Free PDF)

To read a more detailed biography of Rev. A. C. Zachariah (Free PDF)

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50 Glorious Years: 29 November, 1970: Formation of Church of North India (CNI).

CNI

29 November, 1970: Formation of Church of North India (CNI). The inaugural meeting of the CNI was held in the Unity Hall opposite the Anglican Cathedral in Nagpur. The metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church Dr. Juhanon Mar Thoma attended this meeting.

The Church of North India was established in 1970 after a series of consultations that began in 1929. The fourth and final edition of the plan was complied in 1965, and on that basis Church Union in North India was inaugurated on the 29th of November, 1970 in Nagpur.

Churches that formed the new Church of North India, included:

  • The Church of Northern India
  • The Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon
  • The Methodist Church in Southern Asia
  • Council of the Baptist Churches in Northern India
  • The Church of the Brethren and the Disciples of Christ (1957)
CNI Commemoration Stone – Nagpur All Saints Cathedral grounds Photo Credits – Shona Thagavel
All Saints Cathedral Nagpur – Photo credit Shona Thangavel

The concern for a unified Church grew out of a zeal for the mission of the Church. A divided Church could not bear witness to the one Gospel and the one Lord in a country like India with its diverse religions, languages, races and cultures. Through the process of negotiations and prayerful seeking of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, unity was achieved in the understanding and practice of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the three-fold ministry of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons and in the organizational structures of Pastorates, Dioceses and the Synod. Episcopacy was received and accepted as both constitutional and historic. The Church of North India was created as a unifying body to reach out to those in need and provide spiritual guidance and support. ~ http://cnisbss.org/cni/

Golden Jubilee Of Church of North India CNI at Nagpur 2019
Photo credits Shona Thangavel and Richard Masih

Hear Barbara Beach Alter speak about the auspicious day. She and her husband James were present for the event. They spent 35 years in Northern India serving the American Presbyterian Church as missionaries. Her theology evolved by interacting with and reading the books of Indian nationalist Mahatma Gandhi and the French Benedictine priest Abhishiktananda.

CNI All Saints Cathedral Nagpur, Maharashtra

Unknown Facts of the Maramon Convention from the State Archives of Kerala

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:

  1. Who is the owner of the convention plot on the banks of the River Pamba?
  2. What is the right/authority of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association (MTEA) over the convention plot?
  3. Is the MTEA paying any tax or rent for this plot?
  4. 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?
  5. 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 [2020].

We are Six! Thank you readers!

nalloor-06
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

History of the Maramon Convention – English and Malayalam (Free PDF download)

maramon_old-02.jpeg

A free Malayalam PDF resource sheet for Parents / Sunday School Teachers to explain facts and events chosen from the history of the Maramon Convention.

download-ebook-icon Malayalam 

 

A free English PDF resource sheet for Non- Malayalam Speaking Christians to explain facts and events chosen from the history of the Maramon Convention.

We want to thank all our readers for your continuous support and prayers.

Explaining the Maramon Convention 2019 to Children (Free pdf)

This day in history

124th Maramon Convention for Kids

A free pdf resource sheet for Parents / Sunday School Teachers to explain to their children facts and events chosen from the history of the Maramon Convention.

download-ebook-icon

Maramon Convention for kids 2019

Prime Minister Modi dedicates ‘Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial’ – It features the only Indian Christian Marcher Titusji (Rare Photos & Video)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial at Dandi in Gujarat on Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary, 30th January 2019. The memorial is a tribute to the 80 marchers who accompanied Mahatma Gandhi from Sabarmati to Dandi in 1930. The year also marks the 150th Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi revered as the Father of the Nation. 

The memorial in Navsari district “has statues of Mahatma Gandhi and 80 Satyagrahis who had marched with him during the historic Dandi Salt March. It also has 24-narrative murals depicting various events and stories from the historic 1930 Salt March.”

The Salt March initially began with around 80 people, but as more and more people joined in for the 390 km-long journey, it grew into a strong force of 50,000 people which then led to collective Freedom Movement. 

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The sculptures of the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial from Twitter @NarendraModi

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The sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi leading the 80 marchers. Photo by Doordarshan News

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The statue of Shri Thevarthundiyil Titus ji. Photo from http://www.dandimemorial.in 

In a unique tribute to commemorate the historic Dandi Salt march by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930, India’s Ministry of Culture set up a National Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial. IIT Bombay was given the responsibility to design, coordinate and implement the memorial project. The main memorial includes a statue of Gandhi inside a pyramid of light, followed by the life-size sculptures of the 80 marchers who participated in the Salt March. www.dandimemorial.in

Thomas Titus - Titusji

Shri Thomas Titus, son of Shri Thevarthundiyil Titus ji, one of the 1930 Salt Marchers in conversation with one of the Dandi Sculptors inside the Dandi Sculpture Workshop at IIT Bombay. (2013) (Photo copyright http://dandimemorialproject.blogspot.com)

To read more about the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial visit –  http://www.dandimemorial.in/

To see an older video of the memorial click on

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From the archives of Doordarshan, India’s National Broadcaster, a presentation on India’s struggle for freedom – The Great Sal March of Mahatma Gandhi

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Who was Shri Thevarthundiyil Titus also known as ‘Titusji’?

Almost all Indians are familiar with the image of the historic Dandi Salt march by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 that 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’. However he was sidelined and never received a pension from the Central Government, State Government or Freedom Fighter’s Associations. His own Church, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church seems to have no recollection of him or given him due recognition. Tituji’s home Parish, Maramon Mar Thoma Church or the Bhopal Parish St.Peter’s Mar Thoma Church which began in his residence have all but forgotten their illustrious son and his contribution to the nation’s freedom.

He was represented on the old Indian Rs. 500 note as a “Christian Priest”. The image on the now discontinued Indian 500 Rupee note was that of a sculpture made in tribute of the march now in the heart of Delhi city, on the Sardar Patel Marg. The sculpture shows ten Indian people following Gandhi on his path-breaking civil disobedience protest, hence the name “Gyarah Murti” (Eleven Statues). The Christian priest was included to represent the only Christian in the march – 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.

"Gyarah Murti” or "Eleven Statues with the priest highlighted in Red.

“Gyarah Murti” or “Eleven Statues with the priest highlighted in Red to represent Titusji who the lone Christian in the Dandi Salt March.

“Gandhi’s iconic retinue in the sculpture includes a woman with her head covered following close after him; a cluster of three men including a turbaned Sikh visibly of high pedigree, a Hindu scholar with a topi and an emaciated Muslim peasant; a Hindu man wearing a turban as a mark of intellectual distinction, with a religious mark etched on his forehead; an impoverished peasant looking far ahead, bearing no marks of class, caste or religion on his body; a Christian priest; another woman in a skirt and a young boy egging on a weary old man to travel farther.” ~ www.sodelhi.com

Titusji Potrait

About Titusji

Titusji (b.18 Feb, 1905) hailed from a farming family, (Theverthundiyil, Maramon) in Kerala. He was a member of the Maramon Mar Thoma Parish. After his high school graduation, he taught in a school in Vadasserikkara (a village about 20 km away from Maramon), for a few years and then joined the Allahabad Agriculture University and cleared an Indian Dairy Diploma course with distinction.

Titusji-The Freedom Fighter
Gandhiji’s way of life, his principles and his simplicity greatly influenced Titusji that he decided to join Gandhiji’s Ashram named” Goshala “in Sabarmati. The lifestyle there was simple and austere, to say the least. All the inmates in the Ashram were allowed only two pairs of clothing and every one had to do his own chores. Early morning after prayers and two hours of charkha, each one was assigned his or her duties.He was selected by Mahatma Gandhi as a secretary for his milk project in the Sabarmati Ashram near Ahmedabad. Mr. Gulzarilal Nanda (who later became acting prime mister of India) was the secretary of another unit. Both of them were trusted friends of Gandhiji. Titus got married in 1933, to Annamma (Ikarethu House, Kozhencherry). Annamma, after her marriage, joined the Sabarmati Ashram and she donated her wedding ornaments to the Ashram. Gandhiji was very keenly interested in the activities of the dairy at the Ashram .It was in these formative years that Titusji got to know Gandhiji personally and his commitment to the freedom struggle was made stronger.

Titusji at the Dandi Salt March (4th from right) 1930

Titusji at the Dandi Salt March (4th from right) 1930

The Dandi March
.In 1930, when Mahatma Gandhi decided to break the salt law, he chose trusted Titus to be one of the selected 80 men. On March 12, 1930, Gandhi and 78 male satyagrahis set out, on foot, for the coastal village of Dandi, Gujarat, some 240 miles from their starting point in Sabarmati. Titusji was one of the satyagrahis who accompanied Gandhi in this historic event known as “Dandi March” or “The Salt Satyagraha.” Titusji was the only Christian in that group. They were beaten up and arrested by the British Police. Titusji was arrested during the march to the Dharasana Salt depot. He was initially imprisoned in the Jalalpur jail and subsequently shifted to the Nasik jail.

An interesting observation about Titusji’s participation in the Dandi march was that he was not wearing the Gandhi cap during the march. Apart from him, Gandhiji was the only other person who did not wear a cap. When some of the other marchers complained to Gandhiji about it, Gandhiji took the stand that no one should be compelled to wear one.

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Shri Titusji was one of the four from Kerala in the March. Click to view full list of marchers. 

On being released from the prison, Titusji went back to the Sabarmati Ashram. In 1932 Gandhiji asked him to take charge of the ‘Goshala’ (Dairy farm) at the Ashram again. It was while he was here in 1933 that his marriage took place to Annamma, a caring, warm person who supported Titusji in all his difficult times.

Titusji and his wife Annama with daughter Aleyamma at Sabarmati Ashram 1935

Titusji and his wife Annama with daughter Aleyamma at Sabarmati Ashram 1935.

Titusji’s eldest daughter Aleyamma was born when he was at Sabarmati Ashram. In 1933, Gandhiji suddenly decided to disband the Ashram .Gandhiji’s instructions to Titusji was that he take the entire cattle out of the Ashram and protect the cattle. Following Gandhiji’s orders, Titusji shifted all the cattle and staff members out of the ashram and took shelter in a Panjrapole (animal shelter). Titusji slept in the stables beside the cattle through out the monsoon He worked hard to keep up the various activities of the Goshala. It was a tough life but since hardships were a way of life, Titusji did not have any problem obeying such orders.

Mahatma Gandhi’s Visit to Kerala – 1934 

During one of his visits to Travancore (Kerala) Titusji burnt British-made clothes (foreign clothes) in Kottayam and gave a fiery speech to thousands of Malayalees to join the freedom movement.

Mahatma Gandhi visited Titusji’s house in Maramon (Theverthundiyil) in 1934 on his way to the famous Hindu temple in Aranmula near Chengannur. He assured Titusji’s father that his son is safe and sound. This was considered one of the greatest events in Central Travancore. In and around Maramon, thousands witnessed his visit.

Involvement in Dairy  

Gandhiji by this time was totally busy travelling the length and breadth of the country in mobilizing the masses for the cause of independence. In-spite of his hectic schedules he still took interest in the activities of the ‘Goshala’ (Dairy farm) and was in touch with Titusji. Gandhiji in one of his letters to Titusji in 1933 wrote “I wanted to come and see the ‘Goshala’ (Dairy farm), but it was impossible for me to spare the time during the few hours that I was in Ahmedabad….I knew however that you were working very hard to make the ‘Goshala’ (Dairy farm) a success and to keep it in a clean condition….. I want you to write to me from time to time telling me all about the progress of the ‘Goshala’ (Dairy farm).”

Then in the middle of 1935, Gandhiji decided to handover the entire ashram property including ‘Goshala’ (Dairy farm) to the Harijan Sevak Sangh and then the Sabarmati Ashram thereafter ceased to be the hub of activities as far as the freedom movement was concerned. Titusji then worked in various Dairy farms as Manager in different parts of India. Due to the frequent change of places, his elder children Aleyamma, Titus and Easow stayed with relatives in Travancore .Then during the time of independence he was in Delhi as Manager with Keventers Diary.

In the early 50’s, Titusji moved to Jabalpur and then to Bhopal. His family now included the addition of four more sons Joseph, George, John and Thomas. He had one daughter and six sons. He then took a job as a Manager in Bairagarh Dairy, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

A couple of years later the Bairagarh Dairy closed down and the family had to go through a lot of hardships. Titusji had to sell off the family car and even his property in Maramon, Kerala. But he refused to ask for any special privileges as a freedom fighter. He then got a break by getting a Government job in Obaidullaganj as instructor in an Institute training Village Level Workers. It was a job of his liking. He stayed alone in Obaidullaganj and would return to Bhopal on Saturdays for the weekend and go back on Mondays. In those days a song sung by Mohammed Rafi ‘Suno suno ye Bapuji ki Amar Kahani ’was a favourite of his and used to be played in the Institute regularly.

The family kept shifting their residences in Bhopal from one rented house to another. After many ups and downs, Titusji managed to get a loan of Rs.16,000 and bought a piece of land in the Noor-Mahal area of Bhopal. The entire family worked hard to build the house which was promptly named ‘Lake View Cottage’ since it afforded a clear view of the Bhopal Lake. At that time, there were no other houses in the neighbourhood. The family shifted to this house in 1956.

In 1962, Titusji got a job in Bhilai Steel Plant establishing the dairy unit in the Bhilai Steel Plant Township. He arranged for the collection of milk from nearby villages and introduced for the first time pasteurization and bottling of milk with pilfer-proof aluminium foil using imported machines. This was then distributed to all the sectors of the township.

After retiring from Bhilai Steel Plant, Titusji worked with a Christian NGO in Siliguri, West Bengal. Later he shifted to Sodpur in 24 Parganas, West Bengal. Thereafter he served the World Council of Churches (Bengal Refugee Services) in Calcutta.

At this point of time he had to face personal loss. On 2nd of December 1964, his second son, 24 year old Joy suddenly had a heart attack in his office and died. The funeral was attended by thousands. But cruel fate had more in store for him. On 12th April 1965, barely two months after the sixtieth birthday of Titusji, his beloved wife Annamma passed away. She died of post operative complications after having undergone an operation for appendicitis.

Inspite of all the setbacks Titusji remained active in his work. He was selected by the Birla group for setting up a dairy in the township of Hindustan Motors in Uttarpara, near Calcutta. He did this successfully and then re-settled in Bhopal in 1972 for a quiet life with his children and grand children.

Titusji in his later years

Titusji in his later years

Titusji- A man of faith

Titusji had immense faith in God. This helped him to overcome the trials and tribulations in his life. His honest and simple way of life made it easier for him to lead the life of a true Christian. He believed in the dignity of the individual, irrespective of his or her origin or status. He strived to help the fellow human beings in which ever way he could. Titusji being one of the few Malayali gazetted officers in Bhopal in the early 50’s, helped many Keralites who used to come to him to get their certificates attested and also in case of other difficulties .His was one home to which people could turn to without hesitation and ask for any help. Annamma, his wife had this habit of visiting the nearby Government Hospital and offering food or any possible help to anyone needy. Having experienced tough days themselves, they knew the importance of helping out the unfortunate,the lesser privileged.

In Bhopal Titusji initiated the forming of a Christian Congregation. A few Marthomites who were in Bhopal in the fifties started the Sunday worship in October 1954 at the residence of Titusji. That was the beginning of the Bhopal parish and was a congregation of all Christian denominations except the Roman Catholics. As the number of members grew, the space became inadequate and the Sunday service was shifted to other spacious halls and later to local church buildings. He was an active and a well-known member of the St.Peter’s Mar Thoma Church, Bhopal. Titusji was the driving force behind the establishment of Christa Prema Kulam Mission Field at Sehatganj, which is on the Bhopal-Sagar National Highway, about 25 kms from Bhopal City. The land for the Ashram was given by him at a nominal cost.This mission field is currently doing commendable work in uplifting the condition of the rural people living in the area.

In 1970, he published the book “The Bharat of my Dreams” in which he revealed his hope for the nation,and for its teeming millions. He firmly believed that all are equal and hence there should not be any disparity.

He had one daughter and six sons. He passed away on 8 August, 1980, at the Kasturba Hospital in Bhopal and was buried in the Christian Cemetery there. He never got any medals or pension for his participation in the freedom struggle. We salute his humbleness, patriotism, and dedication to the nation.

It is a matter of great pride to the Mar Thoma Syrian Church that it had men of such vision like Titusji, who worked untiringly for the freedom of the country. We praise and thank God for such leaders like Mr. and Mrs. Titus of Bhopal.

How can you not share this story with others. We hope that it will inspire more youth from our Church to be involved in nation building with selflessness and pure thoughts. 

*With inputs and photos from Ms. Renu Thomas, granddaughter of Titusji and Mr. & Mrs. John Titus (son and daughter in law of Titusji). 

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