Founder Of Kandathil Kudumbayogam:

Kandathil Varghese
Attempts are being made all over the world for tracing family roots. History recreates history. So one must dwell into past history to create a family history.

It is believed that St. Thomas, the disciple of Jesus Christ who came to India in 52 AD, landed in the port town of Kodungalloor and established a Christian community there. Thus, the Kandathil family had its beginnings in Kodungalloor.

The then Christians were hard working and prosperous and hence they were victims of jealousy among the locals and had to face many problems. As a result, some of them left Kodungalloor, in the early part of the 9th Century.

The Paruthimoottil family, which is the root of the Kandathil family and the Killilethu family, were the two rich Christian families who left Kodungalloor.

Establishment at Kayamkulam

These two families – Paruthimoottil and Killilethu came to Kayamkulam, which was the biggest commercial center of South Kerala then. It was believed that these two families took initiative in the construction of a church there, led by two Kadissas- Mar Sapore and Mar Afrod- with the permission of the then local King Sankaravisree, thus the name ‘Kadissa Palli’. The Church records say that these two families held the trusteeship of the church.

These two families with their commercial ventures gained the goodwill of the then King and the local populace. The King helped them in the trading of pepper and bestowed them with land to construct the church. Both these families settled in the Kambolam (Big Bazaar) there.

Establishment at Kalloopara

Being married to Aleyamma, the only daughter of Valiaveettil Potha, a rich landlord and agriculturist of Kalloopara, Paruthimoottil Eapen settled there. His third son Eapen, a smart young man, established Moothedathu family at Kalloopara. Eapen was bestowed with the title “THARAKAN” by the Raja of Edappally and came to be known as “Kocheeappen Tharakan” (Kocheeappen Tharakan expired at the age of 37 in 1798 AD).

Establishment at Vallamkulam
Kocheeapen Tharakan had four sons. His third son Mathulla was the founder of Kandathil Kudumbam. Mathulla converted a paddy field into a residential plot at Vallamkulam to build a house; hence the family name “KANDATHIL”.

The nearly two century old Kandathil Tharavadu is still preserved in its original form at Vallamkulam.

Kandathil – a 200 years old family made a mark upon the Malayalam speaking Southern India State — mainly through the achievements of the family’s foremost son – K.C. Varghese Mappillai or Kandathil Verghese Mappillai. His genius left an everlasting imprint across various fields like the Malayalam language, Malayalam Newspaper (Malayala Manorama) and Education (school exclusively for education of girls). Kandathil Varghese Mappillai was the grand son of the founder of the Kandathil Family Mathulla.

The First Public Limited Company to be started by a native in the erstwhile Princely State of Travancore was the “Malayala, Manorama Ltd” founded by Kandathil Verghese Mappillai in 1888. His nephew K.C.Mammen Mappillai raised the paper even to much greater heights. The second Public Limited Company to be started in 1892 was the “Kandathil Kudumbayogam Ltd” (Kandathil Family Conference Ltd)

Inauguration of Centenary Celebration
at Malayala Manorama,

Inauguration Seminar on the contributions
of Kandathil Varghese Mappillai at

Founder Of Kandathil Kudumbam
Kandathil Mathulla (1794 – 1855)

Mathulla was a sincere, god fearing and hard working man. Pleasing, easily approachable, yet intelligent and shrewd, his humble and gentle nature impressed people like ‘Thahsildar’ (the local town administrator) and others of high rank in the then society. Mathulla’s handwriting is also worth mentioning for its neatness and legibility. He had a guided destiny and fortune bestowed upon him the best things in life.

Impressed by the pleasing manners of Mathulla, Kanjirakkattu (Kodiyattu) Kuriachen got his daughter Mariamma married to Mathulla. The saying “Behind every successful man there is a woman” was true in his case too. Mathulla and Mariamma were respected and loved by all. They had six sons and two daughters. These six sons established the six branches of Kandathil Kudumbam.

Like the Wang Lung in “Good Earth”, Eapen Mathulla drew vigour from soil; the soil on the banks of river Manimala. He cultivated paddy, coconut and sugar cane. The rich harvest brought fame and wealth. He concentrated on other sectors like commerce and industry too. He was a good trader in jaggery, tobacco and opium, which was considered as a medicine for the old. He also imported tobacco from Ceylon.

Mathulla was very honest and straight forward in his business dealings. There are a number of interesting anecdotes about this. During one monsoon, he sold a boat full of jaggery to a Chettiyar (Merchant). The boat sank in the flooded river. The distraught Chettiyar returned to Mathulla (Mappillai), who listened to his story patiently, consoled the man and returned the full amount. After two days when the water level in the river subsided, the sunken boat was brought to the shore with the neatly packed jaggery intact. Mathulla could sell the reclaimed commodity at a very high price later.

Once a person from a distant land bought a cow from the famous Kandathil herd by cash. On the way home he lost the cow and the poor man approached Mathulla and told him the loss of his treasured possession. Mathulla with no hesitation at all, fell pity on the man and returned the money immediately. Three months after the incident, the cow returned and joined the Kandathil cattle herd.

Originally an agriculturist, Mathulla became a leading trader of tobacco in that area. Once, Mathulla went to Purakkad to buy tobacco. Finding that the other traders were forced to clear stock, Mathulla approached the officer concerned and told him that he would clear the entire stock, provided the other traders are not punished or humiliated. The officer was pleased to finish off the deal in one go. Before Mathulla’s departure news arrived that the next shipment was lost in the high seas and fresh supplied will not be possible for some time. As a result Mathulla could sell all his stock at a very good profit till the arrival of the next supply.

Love is a gift that God had showered in abundance on Mathulla Appen and Mariamma Ammachi and they shared it with everybody. We, the members of Kandathil Kudumbam still share this inherited gift of love.

The women who are married into the Kandathil family from equally good families of traditional heritage and women who are married into other families prove this by earning reputation, as well adapted daughters, wives or mothers. (these marriage alliances links other good families in the Kerala Syrian Christian community). We now believe what Mathulla Mappillai believed then. “Tough time never lasts but tough people do”, the title of a book by Roberty Schuller. The two and a half century old prestigious existance of our family is a living truth of this fact.

Award Winners
1. Sri.Kandathil Varghese Mapilla – Veerasringala from Sree Moolam Thirunal Maharaja – 1900
2. Sri.M.K.Mathulla – Padmashree – 1959
3. Sri.K.M. Cheriyan – Padmashree – 1965
4. Sri.K.M. Cheriyan – Padmabhushan – 1971
5. Sri.K.M. Mammen Mapillai – Padmashree – 1992
6. Sri.K.M.Mathew – Padmabhushan – 1998
7. Sri.K.M.Philip – Padmashree – 2001
8. Sri.Mammen Mathew – Padmashree – 2005
9. Sri.K.E.Mammen – Thamarapathra – 2010