There are Christians still
living now in the Melarkodu
During the Muslim reign, several ardent Christian believers from Chittoor migrated to the Western region and then toward Thiruvithamcore for fear of torture and forceful conversion. The history of this migration has been clearly recorded in the Kerala History. One of these people who migrated from Chittoor at that time was Mr. Kunjumman Tharakan, who settled down in Chengannur, Thiruvithamcore. The Chittoor family members are the descendants of Mr. Kunjumman Tharakan.
Kunjumman Tharakan’s migration from Chittoor to Chengannur
Kunjumman Tharakan (#1) was born in 1757 in
Kunjumman starting a small business for living
As Kunjumman ran away from his native place and could not inherit any assets from his parents, and as all his folks migrated and got spread around in different places, he was all alone and financially in great difficulty, and therefore he had to build up everything from the scratch. To meet his daily needs, he started a small grocery business in his house. As he was known to be a Brahmin descendant and was a very honest and righteous gentleman, the neighbors treated him with utmost respect and supported his business in different ways.
The myth behind the virtue of having a Christian family near a temple
At the time of Kunjumman, there
existed the custom of untouchability in Kerala (an
‘untouchable’ is a person belonging to the lowest castes such as ‘Pulayar’, ‘Parayar’ etc). Although it may sound weird now, at that
time, there existed many myths based on caste and religion. There was this one belief among the Hindus
that if an untouchable happens to touch or even come close to an offering being
taken to the temple, that offering would become impure and unholy. One could then sanctify the offering defiled
by the untouchable by having a Christian touch it. The existence of this myth is supported by an
ancient Kerala proverb saying “sacred belongings if becomes unholy, a touch by Poulose (
Kunjumman’s membership in the local Syrian Christian Church
Kunjumman joined the local Syrian Christian church in Chengannur. However, among the church members, he considered himself as an ‘Inangar’ or ‘Murikar’ in order to make a distinction from the other members of the church. The reason or advantage of choosing this distinction is not evident, but it is possible that he wanted to be considered as intellectually and morally superior. Even now the ‘Inangars’ or ‘Murikars’ are considered independent entities of the church, just as the people belonging to the ‘Knanaya’group who consider themselves as an independent body of the Catholic Church. Because Kunjumman was an ‘Inangar’ with lots of demonstrated virtues such as his admirable humility and courteousness, his intelligence and hardworking nature, a man of only a few words, he had received ample respect as well as great appreciation from the church members.
Kunjumman fathered five male children, who were all born in Chengannur. He went to be with the Lord in 1833 at the age of 76 and was buried in the Syrian Orthodox Church, Chengannur, Kerala.
The descendants of Kunjumman and their Church membership
The descendants of the five children of Kunjumman are now hundreds of families spread all around the world. It can be said with great pride that a majority of these people have excelled in many fields such as business, agriculture, science, medicine, law, education, politics, athletics, national defense, industry, and in multiple other fields. At present there are probably over a 1000 members belonging to the Chittoor family spanning 8 generations, and many of these people hold envious and commendable positions. Majority of these people are doing extremely well financially.
Until 1940, all the members of
this firmly followed the Syrian Orthodox belief. Then, for unknown reasons, a few joined the
Catholic Church. In addition, although
until 1980 most of the members attended service at the Old Syrian Orthodox
Church, due to the convenience and proximity to their residences, several
families became members of local churches, such as the
The different family names of the descendants
The five children of Kunjumman Tharakan took up their family names as Chengazhath (#11), Panavelil, (#12), Kailath (#13), Kottapuzhakal (#14), and Chitoor (#15). The descendants of these people chose additional family names and tags at different downstream branches, as shown below:
Amruthurpadinjareth (#11211); Patterumadathil (#11212); Vadakeparampil (#11213); Kacheriparampil (#11214).
Chengazhath Puthenpurayil (#112111); Chempakasseril (#112122); Kalakat (#112152); Sathyanil (#112153).
Gamaliyath (#112,112,1); Patterumadathil Thundiyil (#112,121,5); Grace Cottage (#112,131,1).
Panavelil Malayil (#12311); Panavelil Modiyil (#12314)
Altharamoottil (#132); Muttathu (#133).
Poovanneth (#1311); Parayaruparampil (#1312); Kalathrayil (#1321); Idiyanath (#1331); Poongottumadathil (#1333); Kadavilemadathil (#1334).
Powaleth (#13111); Kailath Punthen Banglavu (#13112); Kulangarakal (#13121); Kailath Malayil (#13132); Kailath Banglavil (#13133); Mary Villa (#13233); Mullelil (#13312).
Kailath Hill View (#131122); Kalathra Padinjarethil (#132111); Kalathra Puthenpurayil (#132213).
Palavilayil (#1411); Maniparampil Puthenveettil (#1412).
Marottivilayil (#14111); Palavilayil Valuparampil (#14112); Palavila Puthenveettil (#14113); Palavilatharayil (#14114).
Kadanthottil (#151); Vazhooreth (#152); Vadakedath (#153).
Padinjare Vadakedath (#1532); Mavilithara (#1533); Kadakethuparampil (#1534); Idatharayil (#1535).