Centenary Celebrations of Kandathil Kudumbayogam

Kandathil Kudumbayogam was established by Late Sri. Kandathil Varghese Mapillai in the year 1892. It was started as a Joint Stock Company – the 3rd Joint Stock Company and 1st Kudumbayogam Company in Travancore. The two other companies are The Punalur Paper Mills and then The Malayala Manorama. Kudumbayogam Company under the leadership of Kandathil Varghese Mapillai flourished well and there were Board of Director to administrator the affairs of the company. Though the company was registered in 1892 activities commenced in 1890. When Land Reforms Act came into being the company opted for voluntary liquidation and started Kudumbayogam Association in 1965.

Kudumbayogam and other activities continued and 1990 Kudumbayogam with all the pompness celebrated the Centenary. It was a two day function 27th and 28th of September 1990. The first day celebration was at Kandathil Tharavad Vallankulam and the second day at The Malayala Manorama , Kottayam.

As it is customery and traditional the function started with Holy Encharist (Qurbaene) at Kaviyoor Sleeba Church where many of our forefathers are laid to rest. Qurbaene was attended by a large number of members.

Kandathil Tharavad was beautified and decorated for the unique function. Arches were built.The entire activities were organised by the Governing Council with Sri. K.M.Mathew (Mathukuttichayan) as President , Sri. K.C. Mathew (Mathukunjachayan) as Secretary, Sri.K.C.Varghese Mapillai (Kunju) as Convenor and Mr. Eapen Mathai (Mon – Nedumbroth) as Joint Convenor.

Big Pandals were erected on the Northern and Southern side of Tharavadu. Family tree was depicted with seven lamps at the entrance decorated with tender coconut leaves. A decoratedPhotograph of Kandathil Varghese Mapillai was placed on the stage. Mathulla Mapillai, Mariamma and Varghese Mapillai would have been enjoying this from the other world.

Ladies who were married out of the family gave a pleasant surprise. They dressed in typical Syrian Christian style with Chatta , Mundu , Kavani and Vilikka brought varieties of home made ‘ Palaharams’ in Bamboo Container. Elders of the family and the ladies married into the family received them in the traditional style. A symbolic demonstration of unity in the family . Lighting of the lamp – A big Nilavilakku with six branches – decorated – were lighted by senior members of each branch. The big decorated lamp at the centre was lighted by President and Secretary.What a wonderful sight it was !!

Distinguished guests Sri. K.M. Chandy former Governer of Madhya Pradesh , Mahakavi Sri.Puthenkavu Mathen Tharakan , Prof. S.Guptan Nair were received at the entrance and escorted to the dias by Kudumbayogam President Sri. K.M. Mathew , Secretary Sri.K.C.Mathew , Convenor Sri. K.C. Varghese Mapillai and Joint Convenor Sri. Eapen Mathai.Prayer song highlighting the charity service of Varghese Mapillai ‘’ Valamerum Vayalininnu Vilakoyyon Vithitte Karshakanaro Varghese Mapillai ’’ was sung by famous playback singer Ambilikuttan. This was followed by the symposition ‘Kandathil Varghese Mapillai and the Cultural field ’’. Sri. K.M. Chandy inaugurated the symposition in the absence of Sri. T.K.Ramakrishnan , Minister for cultural affairs and his message was read out.

Sri K.M. Chandy in his inaugural speech highlighted Varghese Mappillai stating that he was the one who brought the Christians out of the situation of singling out from the cultural field with no exposure to literature by the Portugese Metropolitan Menesis in Udayamperoor Synod in 1950.

In his talk, Prof S. Guptan Nair exalted Varghese Mappillai, founder of our Kudumbayogam that his birth, which, in 1857 had much coincidence with the ‘Great Indian Mutiny’ which was also in the same year and the establishment of three major Universities. He added that Varghese Mappillai was the one who brought honour to prose writers also of that era because of which Kottarathil Sankunni is remembered now for his prose (Ithihya mala). In fact the Sahitya Parishad in 1927 is a mere continuation of the ‘Bhashaposhini’ established in 1891.

The great poet Puthencavu Mathen Tharakan in his speech assessed Varghese Mappillai in another angle. What Varghese Mappillai did through journalism is the task of a University,(when Christians were not allowed to study in Hindu tradition, Varghese Mappillai’s father sent him to Kunjanassan, a Hindu guru, to study). He did a great service to Malayalees by familiarising them with western books. Varghese Mappillai translated many of Shakespeare’s Dramas (eg. Kalahani Damanakam – Taming of the Shrew) prior to which only Kalloor Oommen Philipose tried a translation.

Among many prominent Nair families who were invited for the Celebration was the Kunnathettu Family who gave the plot for establishing the Kandathil Family. Kandathil Kudumbayogam President Sri K.M. Mathew honoured Kunnathettu Sri Thankappan Pillai representing Kunnathettu family by presenting him with a Nilavilakku.

The present heir of Kandathil Tharavadu Sri V. M Thomas (Babu) and the mother of the Tharavadu Kochumariamma Kochamma also were honoured. The formal function came to a close with the Vote of Thanks by the Committee Convenor Sri K.C. Varghese Mappillai. The family members and the guests of honour had a sumptuous lunch delighting the original Kerala Vegetarian dishes by the famous Culinary Specialist Hari Thampan from Tripunithura. Ofcourse the family members must have reminisced the nostalgic moments of a father and mother with eight children having food inside the house, 180 years back.

The family members assembled in the main pandal after lunch and had business meeting, the main agenda of which was the venue of 101th Kandathil Kudumbayogam and to pass the Income and expenditure Account and to give away the prizes for those who had scored highest marks in various public examinations followed by entertainment programmes (Mimics Parade by Cochin Harisree).

The Second Days’ Celebrations were at ‘Malayala Manorama’, Kottayam, the name which carries the family name ‘Kandathil’ worldwide. The magnanimous venue decorated and named as that of Vallamkulam itself, Kandathil Varghese Mappillai Nagar.

The main entrance of the ‘Malayala Manorama’ was made the main entrance to Kandathil Varghese Mappillai Nagar too. Varghese Mappillai’s garlanded photograph was placed at the entrance arch near K.C. Mammen Mappillai’s bust statue.

From the very early morning family members started flowing into the ‘Manorama’ from Vallamkulam, Tiruvalla, Kuttoor and Niranam by video coaches and cars. Those who came by rail were also directed to the venue by special transportation arrangement.

Separate badges were arranged for each branch and detailed programme cassettes were also supplied in order and in different counters.

The Kudumbayogam President and the Chief Editor of Malayala Manorama Sri K.M.Mathew (Mathukuttychayan) was at the entrance, receiving family members with his wholehearted smile.

The chief guests – Sreeramakrishna Mission Chief Swami Ranganadhananda. His Grace Mar Coorilose The Catholicos designate, the former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister and Tamil Nadu Governor Dr. P.C. Alexander, Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University Dr. U.R. Anandamurthy were received and led to the dias with the accompaniment of our traditional percussion instruments – Chenda. “Ulakinnadeesanam Udyana Palakante – Malarvadiyanee Maha Prabanjam….. beautiful lyrics by P. Bhaskaran was the Prayer Song sung by Rev. Fr. M.P. George and his team. In the Necrology conducted by Sri K.C. Varghese Mappillai, Mathulla Mappillai founder of Kandathil Kudumbam and Varghese Mappillai founder of Kandathil Kudumbayogam were fondly and reverently remembered.

In the proud welcome speech delivered by Kudumbayogam President Sri K.M. Mathew, he said that the respected guests had given a new meaning, fame and pride, to such a meeting of the family. He added that 28 September 1990 is to be recorded in golden letters in the family history. Head of the Sreeramakrishna Mission of Hyderabad and chief Leader of Sreeramakrishna Mission Centres all over the world, the Great Acharaya who is a shining star in the line of generations of Sreeramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, and who was the only one keen to be heard by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru even at the age of 82 years, came to bless the family with his presence.

He said that spiritually, he is bonded to Kandathil Family, as the whole world is to be like a bird’s nest where familyhood is the best ashram. “Nithyolsavam bhava thwaesham Nithyashree, nithyamangalam”

In the Presidential Address His Grace Mar Coorilose The Catholicos designate, described K.C. Mammen Mappillai as a man who had ardent faith in God, even when National and Quilon Bank was wound up and Malayala Manorama was sealed and that the famous traditional Kandathil family comprising of such eminent personalities is an asset to the Orthodox Church.

The Catholicos designate released the Kudumbayogam cassette go ahead, march ahead by giving a copy to Sri K.K. Abrahan, Maniyanettu Kandathil.

The programme was formally inaugurated by lighting the lamp placed in front of the photograph of Kandathil Varghese Mappillai by Dr. P.C. Alexander and other Chief Guests.

Dr. P.C. Alexander, in his inaugural speech remembered his closeness with Mammen Mappillai and said that if Mammen Mappillai were not born in a small town like Kottayam,he would have become a Tata or a Birla.

Dr. U.R. Anandamurthy, in his felicitation speech said that modern city culture has become a threat to family as an institution.

Kudumbayogam Secretary Sri K.C. Mathew ,Koickal delivered the vote of thanks. Later based on the family history Sri K. Ubaidulla conducted a quiz competition which was very interesting and knowledge oriented. Finally everybody dispersed for lunch.

After the lunch the first programme was a Kathaprasangam by V. Sambasivan. May be because, this is a family get-together, he selected the family story ‘Anna Kareena’ by world famous Tolstoy. When this was over, it was time for a tea break.

Family members presented some simple programmes connected with the family greatness. As inscribed on the logo of the Centenary Celebrations, ‘Faith, Hope and Love,’ the Kandathil Family members when celebrated the Centenary, proclaimed to the world that they would ever be the Ambassadors to spread these values.

Even today we the member of Kandathil family cherish the love , affection and unity demonstrated. Let us take the family torch forward. We have one blood one voice. As extract from the speech of Swami Ranganadhananda.

The Kandathil Kudumbayogam is certainly a unique institution which , unlike some others in Kerala which got started and later disappeared , has continued to flourish as a growing family unit in spite of two or three minor changes in its legal status. During the past one hundred years. it has grown from a nuclear family of a few members to a vastly extended family of about a thousand now. This family has thrown up two outstanding personalities in Sri. Varghese Mappillai and Sri. Mammen Mappillai, besides a number of distinguished members, both men and women, who have held, and are still holding, responsible postions in various fields of human endeavour in India and abroad.

The Two Kandathil Pioneers

The two pioneers of your Kudumbayogam and of the Malayala Manorama were upholders of Christian spirituality. They had the blessings of such a religion in the love of God in Jesus Christ. That love being universal, it made them the friends and servants of all communities and groups in this beautiful State of ours. They achieved greatness by yoking efficiency to service. The beauty of the Kerala landscape found its complement in the beauty of their hearts and minds;and that made them draw the hearts and minds of the people of Kerala.