A Historical Perspective
There is a wealth of corroborative evidence
to support, and no good reason to doubt the tradition that the
Apostle Saint Thomas arrived in Kodungalloor (Muziris) in Kerala
in 52 AD, preached the gospel, established seven churches, and
moved on to other kingdom, returning to Madras (Mylapore) in
72 AD where he was martyred that year. Writers of the 4th century,
St. Ephrem and St. John Chrysostom knew also about the relics
of St. Thomas resting at that time in Edessa, having been brought
there from India by West Asian merchants.
St.Thomas the Apostle of Jesus Christ
established seven churches. The seven original churches were
located at Malankara (Malayattor?), Palayur (near Chavakkad),
Koovakayal (near North Paravur), Kokkamangalam (South Pallipuram?),
Kollam, Niranam and Nilackel (Chayal). The early Christians
(also known as Nazranikal, St.Thomas Christians, Syrian Christians)
looking for pastures green spread out to interior villages from
Kollam (Quilon) and Kodungalloor.
One such nazrani family in Ayroor village
was known as 'tharayilethu' (thaayillum) family. This
ancestral place is situated about one kilometre west of Cherukolpuzha
by the side of the main Thiruvella-Cherkolpuzha road. Today
there is a marble tower
erected by the ' thayillam kudumbayogam'
as a landmark cherishing the root family of so many well-known
branches. There are dark pages in the history of Kerala, however
there are documentation dating back to AD 974 ('mambilly sasanm'
) where Ayroor village is decreed to establish a Hindu temple.
Five families are mentioned in the historical records where
Tharayilleth is one of the five ancient. The sixth generation
from 'thaayillam' was the 'thengumthottathil 'family.
The eldest of the two sons of Thengumthottathil Soman Tharakan
(1748-1830), called Iripootty founded the glorious Kurudamannil
dynasty. Iripootty married Elayacharamma, from Mallapally Kaiyalathu
family and settled in "Kurud-mon"(small farm) around
AD1800. The 'kurud mon' skirted by the 'kaduva thod'
(tigers brook) and Pamba River, set amidst scenic splendour
about one km. east of Cherukolpuzha, later became the famous
A picture of the majestic ancestral
home, built nearly two centuries ago stands like a beacon,
solid and serene reminding of our past, for the hundreds
of descendants all over the world.
Kurdamannil Iripootty had six sons-
In the after math of their father's premature
death, inspired by their magnanimous mother, these magnificent
six, sprung back resiliently, ventured on the most incredible
enviable foundation. The wisdom and understanding, that the
riches you get by dishonesty will soon disappear, made these
six dynamic, hardworking brothers so earnest and enthusiastic
and amassed all prosperity, with out any sophistication, by
mere physical strength and sheer determination, which the present
day (eighth) generation enjoys. Their dealings were just and
righteous. The hard work of the brotherhood spread out their
"small farm" from Ayroor up to Ranny, most of which was forests
with dangerous wild life. They were not only wealthy farmers,
but also very God fearing and kind men, who stood up against
all the social injustices and their fame spread far and near.
The 'magnificent' six brothers established
their families and two dozen sons and two score daughters. ie:third
generation. Most of this generation chose to follow their parents'
footsteps as they were in an era where there were limited choices;
nazranis had no opportunities in government jobs. Expansion
and diversification started by these 2 dozen entrepreneurs spared
no effort to enhance fame and fortune, embarked on new venture,
trading, business etc. They were educated and intelligent as
well as illustrious and took advantage of the opportunity in
socio- political environment prevailed in the state. The ethos
of being kind and caring echoes their efforts in establishing
schools churches. The life expectancy was very short in their
days, and due to the very nature of their adventurous and hard
life style, many demised prematurely in life.
They had a very strong religious upbringing.
The heated passions involved deep split within the church and
found embroiled in the fraught politics of Malankara church
in crisis. Ayroor and Maramon, the heartlands of reformation
pioneered by Rev. Abraham Malpan and his nephew Palakunnathu
Mathews Mar Athanasios, there was great upheaval in the church
history. Two sisters from Kurdamannil family were married to
Palakunnathu and hence the geopolitical hot spot of reformation
painfully were at odds. Unfortunately, there was a great acrimonious
incident, ending in violence in Kozhencherry church, (AD1862)
the aftermath being criminal court cases, prison sentences for
some close relatives, nonetheless a pivotal turning point in
the establishment of Mar Thoma Church. Unclouded by doubt, scepticism
or blood relationship utterly convinced by their conscious stood
by their conviction. All except four families were now active
members of Marthoma church and both the Orthodox Church and
Marthomma church in Ayroor came up side by side with the help
of Kurdamannils. One can only be proud of the late H.G. Dr.
Mathews Mar Athanasios, a stalwart in the Marthoma church, was
one of the fourth generation fathers, who reached the high echelons
in the church. The schools and institutions he built all over
the state stands to cherish the contributions made by him envious.
The attitude of our forefathers no doubt
contributed to the uniform well being and social status of our
present day generations. Another contributory factor to the
sustained growth and prosperity has been the marriage alliances
our forefathers forged with the best elite families of the land,
which brought in its wake the qualities of up-rightness, honesty,
truthfulness, intelligence and Godliness in their progeny. The
greatest in our well being however is the faith of our fathers
in God almighty, whose grace has led us hitherto.
Despite minor skirmishes they all lived
in harmony, a special family gathering (kudunba yogam) was started
and the first meeting was in 1896 at the residence of Kaiplakel
Peter Mathew and declared the family motto "dwell together in
peace". Celebrating the centenary, the Kurudamannil family,
adopted an emblem as shown - the six pillars (second generation)
and the 24 radiant to the globe, depicting the third generation
families and incorporated the motto "dwell together in peace".
a scenic splendour!