Vayalil Family 1926 Group Photo (E.C. Samkutty's Father's Family)

VFA, 46 people May 24.jpg

Posted on 23 May 2018
My father(at the age of 8), my grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents---all in the same photo with their spouses, children, and in-laws (FOUR GENERATIONS TOGETHER). Number 9, Number 12, and Number 33 are unidentified friends of the family who lived in the neighborhood. Number 33 may be a Mr. Chacko who was a close associate of Number 32(N.C. Kunjachan). 
This rare picture was taken about ninety-two years ago(in 1926).
Four generations: My father, my grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great grandparents together.

Picture taken in front of the house of our patriarch Mr. Vayalil Nallamannil Cherian Varkey's, near the Hindu Temple, Kamukumchery (Piravanthur), ten kilometers Northwest of Punalur town.

Number 2 from left (Seated on the floor): My father Nallamannil Vayalil Mathai Chacko(N.M. Chacko, 1918—1992.

Number 39: N. M. Chacko's father P. K. Mathai 1896-1971(my grandfather). 

Number 32: P. K. Mathai's father Nallamannil Vayalil Cheriyan Kunjachan,1874-1941( my great-grandfather)

Number 20: M. C. Kunjachan's father Cheriyan Varkey, 1851-1929 (my great-great grandfather). 

Cheriyan Varkey's father Thomman Varkey who came to Punalur in 1851 from Kurizummoottil family (Changanasery) was not alive when this photo was taken. He died in 1905, about 21 years before this photo. 
The people in the photo are Cheriyan Varkey's children N.C. Kunjachan, N. C. Annamma, N.C. Aleyamma, their spouses & children. 

Everyone in this photo has passed away to their Eternal Home.

In eight years(by 2026), this photo will reach 100 years. Not a single person out of 46 people in the picture is alive today. This photo should make every one of my Facebook readers think about the brevity of life. 
Especially atheists, rationalists, and sinners need to come to God before they face eternity at the moment of their death. 

My father's brother Mr. M. Kunchandy seated on the floor (Photo, Number 3 from left ) accepted the Pentecostal faith in 1932 and got baptized in water the same year. 
His uncle K. John (Seated Number 6) was very angry that Kunchandy canceled out the Infant Baptism and took the Believer's Baptism. K. John placed his hands on Kunchandy's neck and said. "I will strangle you to death if you leave the Mar Thoma Church. Your re-baptism is causing us much shame." 
Ironically, within a few years(in 1940), K. John joined the Ceylon Pentecostal Church. Mr. K. John(photo # 6) started preaching in all the junctions and bus stops around Punalur--- his voice amplified by an old manual hand-mike. He was known in the area by the name "Mike-Appachan." 
Later in 1972, his children in Canada gave him a new and expensive battery-operated modernized hand-mike which also he used to spread the gospel. 

On the day of K. John's adult-baptism in Kallada River in 1940, his elder brother K. George (Photo Number 5) gathered a few bullies from the Mar Thoma church as well as two dozen paid Hindu Eezhava rowdies from the area. His aim was to stop the baptism from taking place near the river ghat (stone-made steps leading down to the jetty).
K. John and half a dozen new believers came marching down the village to take the baptism. They were followed by a group of singing people accompanied by a few who were sounding drums and tambourines. 

A large crowd was at the banks being curious about the new form of adult baptism by immersion in water. They knew only about the sprinkling of water on infants in traditional churches. Traditional Christians sarcastically called adult baptism "dipping in muddy water."
Kallada river was very close to K. John's house. The Hindu rowdies brought two open-boats (canoes) and paddled them close to the ghat and blocked the way to the spot where the baptism service was about to take place. Many Hindus and about one hundred Pentecostals were watching the drama unfold standing along the banks of the river. 
The Ceylon Pentecost District Pastor got ready to challenge the rowdies led by K. George-uncle (photo Number 5).

The pure white juba-wearing pot-bellied pastor raised both his hands and shouted: "My beloved Hindu brothers---I declare this command in the name of the Almighty God who created the heavens and the earth and in the name of his son Jesus Christ who rose from the dead and rules the world enthroned at the right hand of God---- I say to you to remove both of your boats... Do not block this Holy Baptism thus create any hindrance to this holy ritual... This I say in the power of the Holy Spirit who can strike you dead & bring curses to you and your children and your children's children, up to seven future generations."

The rowdies paused for a minute and looked at each other's eyes. Then they paddled the boats away with a defeated look but opened not their mouths. Their leader K. George-uncle (photo Number 5), totally defeated, left the scene -----his head down, his face pale.
After the baptism, lunch was served at K. John's house for a large crowd of believers, well-wishers, and pastors. The pastors first sat down with hungry bellies to enjoy the meal served in extra-large flat banana leaves. 

Then, out of nowhere, Mr. K. George-uncle and a handful of Hindu rowdies resurfaced and began snatching and pulling out the banana leaves, then jerking the food away from them. 
To beloved George-uncle's unpleasant surprise, the pastors sat motionless singing the victory song: "Jayam, Jayam Hallelujah..." or some other victory song. I am not sure of which song they sang. 
Suffering two major defeats on the same day, K. George left the scene without looking left or right. But he did not forget to throw in a heap of sand and mud into the copper boilers in the yard in which rice was being cooked for the crowd. 

Again, humming joyful hallelujahs, the elders patiently started boiling fresh rice hoping that the offender would not return a third time to intimidate them. Thank God, K. George-uncle never came back to bother them.
But George-uncle later wrote a book attacking Immersion Baptism and defending Infant Baptism. He gave out a lot of copies free of any charges to people in Punalur and nearby areas. 
All his life, George-uncle held some prejudice against Pentecostals and kept a distance from all Pentecostals. However, I was so excited when he came and stayed in our house a whole afternoon and night in 1964.

He was an active Elder in the Piravanthur Mar Thoma church serving as the local treasurer. 
M.Kunchandy (photo # 3) in later years served as Robert Cook Sayip's occasional translator and also as the Managing Editor of GOSPEL ECHOES magazine. 

Cook Sayip gave Kunchandy-uncle a lot of English books and magazines when he left India in 1950. In my college days, Kunchandy-uncle used to give me a lot of his magazines and a few books which helped develop my reading habit. 

I have been told that M. Kunchandy and Pastor A.R.T. Athizayam fasted for 41 days in 1945 in the Vellimala Estate Quarters. Kunchandy was the chief accountant and book-keeper of the 700-acre British Rubber Estate called Vellimala Estate. This position was titled "Writer " in those days which is another name for "office secretary." The present IPC Vice-President Pastor Wilson Joseph's father Pastor V.T. Joseph Omalloor also joined the fasting & prayer for a few days. 

This photo was taken a few months or a couple of years before the death of Cheriyan Varkey(Number 20). He was very sick and was unable to sit straight on a chair. His neck also was half-paralyzed during his final months on earth. It was painful for him to put on a shirt due to the weakness of his shoulders and neck.

Number 35: N.C. Annamma(Cheriyan Varkey's daughter). Her husband K. Kurikesu (Pandakasalayil House) donated the land to build the first Mar Thoma church at Piravanthur, as well as the land for the first cemetery. 
Number 38: P. K. Oommen Vakkeel(1905--1968), my grandpa's younger brother who was one of the first advocates (attorney) in Kottarakkara-Punalur areas.

Number 18: My grandma's brother Vicar Rev. K. Chacko, Mar Thoma priest & founder of the first Lower Primary School at Valakom(Kottarakkara). This school in his own lifetime developed into the Mar Thoma Middle School and High School. 
#35: N.C. Annamma Pandakazalayil ((retired Mar Thoma priest P. M. Kurikezu's grandmother and also the grandmother of Orthodox Metropolitan Zacharias Mar Antonios)).

# 17: Idupadickal Kochachiamma Kunjachan ( my father's grandmother). Her sister's husband was a medical doctor(apothecary) and evangelist apothecary named Dr. Oommen Mammen. 
It was from Dr. Oommen Mammen and his wife that Indian Pentecost Church founder Pastor K.E. Abraham first heard in1922 the gift of speaking in tongues(glossolalia). This influenced Pastor K.E. Abraham to seek the power of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in unknown syllables and words. This incident is narrated in Pr. K.E. Abraham's autobiography) titled A HUMBLE SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST (pages 89--97.

One year later in 1923, Pastor K.E. Abraham was filled with the Holy Spirit and instantly he began to speak in unknown tongues as the Spirit gave him utterances as experienced by the followers of Jesus( Bible, Acts 2: 1--10). 

#21: Mrs. Kochannamma Cherian Varkey, the wife of Number 20 in the photo. 
It took me 20 years of research and inquiries to find out who Number 21 is---her family connections. 
Finally, I traced her identity to Vadakkadath Chrukara family, Kottarakkara. It was a miraculous discovery. I confirmed by talking to a few old people that my grandfather and his brothers from Punalur area in the 1920s used to visit Vadakkadeth Cherukara family homes to go together to hunt foxes, deer, wolves, and other wild animals from the forest areas of Kottarakkara and nearby firest areas. 

I Thank God for the energy and resources that the Almighty gave me to trace my genealogy. I made 6,300 (six thousand three hundred) overseas telephone calls to complete the family history. It was made possible because I had 3, 000 free minutes per month through the Vonage Telephone Company. So, I used these free minutes to trace my family background(genealogy) in 2007, 2009, and 2010. 

My father's two brothers, P.M. Benjamin Punalur, M. Yohannan Edamon, and many others assisted me in my research. I have with me now the mailing addresses of 640 homes within my father’s family. I plan to reach all of them with the full-gospel message of the NEW TESTAMENT in the near future. 
Most in my father's family are dedicated born-again CSI & Mar Thoma believers. There are a few Catholic, Orthodox, and Jacobite Christians who bow before the statues of Mother Mary and canonized saints. My desire is to lead them to the true and only MEDIATOR Jesus Christ. I also wish to lead them away from statue-adoration. 

There are also alcoholics, chain smokers, and all kinds of sinners in my family. 
Thank God, I do not know of a single atheist in any of the 640 homes. I sincerely pray that God will provide me soon the means to reach all 640 homes with the full-gospel gospel of the NEW TESTAMENT ---mainly by sending salvation-oriented books.
My locating 640 families also helped us to identify a few financially struggling families. We were able to provide scholarships and financial aids for a few financially struggling students in our family. 
The Nallamannil Vayalil Family Association is now building a modest 20-lakh house free for a blood relative who in the past suffered some financial loss.

I am suggesting the family president to start helping a few people outside of our family also---even outside our religion. I do not desire to limit financial help just to the relatives. The love of Jesus transcends all family and religious borderlines.
Professor Ezhamkulam Chacko Samkutty, Louisiana, USA (21 May 2018)

E. C. Samkutty