Wednesday, 23 October 2013

C.M.Agur, Rev.C.Masillamani and Rev.Charles Mead or Son, Father, and Father-in-law:

The legendary church historian Mr. C.M.Agur,  his illustrious father Rev.C.Masillamani  and his father-in-law  Revd.  Charles  Mead  of  England,  had made lasting  contribution  in their respective fields  for the cause of  the  cultural,  social , educational , religious and intellectual  renaissance  in Kanyakumari district and India . They laid the foundation for the silent but steady social and educational and intellectual  revolution in this part of India.

Revd . C. Masillamanri:

     It is said  that  only such  those great people who know the history of their family , district , and their country alone could become a permanent  part of the history of their country. There  are so many unsung stalwarts in Kanyakumari district , and  Revd. C. Masillamani was one the unsung heroes of our district.  and it is our moral duty to remember  such  those great souls in order  to  cherish and continue their unfinished tasks.

Revd. C .Masillamani,  the father of the  great  Church  historian C.M.Agur, was born at the historical village Mylaudy in October 1833, as the grand-son of the first Protestant Fruit of   South Travancore,   Maharasan Vethamanickam. He had the rare privilege of  to be baptized by the legendary Revd. Charles Mault , the father in law of  Bishop. Revd. Dr. Robert Caldwell, on the 25th May 1851. He had his higher education at the  LMS  Seminary at Nagercoil,  during the period 1844-1852.  He was one of the first four native Pastors ordained by the Revd. Dr. Mullens  on the 13 February, 1866.

Revd . C. Masillamani  and his married life  and children : Rev. C. Masillamani married Esther  Fanny Paramanadam , the daughter of Mr. Daniel Paramanadam [The first Indian Deacon of the Nagercoil Home Church] on 29th March 1855 and  as Esther Fanny  Masillamani died in 1870 , Rev. C. Masillamani married Esther's sister, Jocabed  Fanny  Paramanadam in 1872. Rev . C. Masillamani  was blessed with 10 children  ; namely : [1] Mr. C. M Agur, B.A,[The Author of Church History of Travancore , pages 1183+, Madras, 1903 in English] ,[2]Annie, [3]Ayi,   [4]Mr . Ezra Masillamani, B.Sc[Geology, London], [5] Nanny, [6] Fanny, [7] Ratnam ,[8]] Apollos  Masillamani , and [9] RaoSahib. Dr. Samuel George Masillamani, and [10]] Mrs. Leela Edwin[Papa,  Her son and family moved  to Canada ].

Revd. C  Masillasmani served as  the pastor of Dennispuram, near Boothapandi village , Thovala taluk, in a dynamic and fruitful way  for two decades from 1866-1886.  Her was a multifaceted personality.  He was an  erudite scholar  and  a creative thinker. He had written numerous number of  lasting books. He was a versatile writer of poetry and prose.  He wrote 316 tracts on various subjects ranging  from Christianity, Hinduism, Brahminism, Caste, Romanism and general topics. He has written 59 original poetical works in Tamil.   Siluvaithiynam[Thoughts on Calvary], Thevarapetti[Casket of Praise],  ,Atmanivethanam[dedication of the soul to Christ],  Christhuva Samasthamum[Christ all in all],  Jeevamirthagaram[The Mine of Nectar of life],   Thiruchiluvai Yanthathi[Thoughts on Calvary],  Gnanamirtha chunai[The Fountain of Scriptural Nectar ] and so many other compelling poetical works.  He  has also written a theological disquisition  of highest order and elegance  on creation in poetry, the  Part I of this work describes the origin of the Universe,  Part II  the creation of man , Part III  the origin of life and Part IV   how man became a living soul. As a fearless thinker he has written some thought provoking controversial poems also  like  Bramanathwa  Nirakaram [Metrical adress to Brahmins].

Mr. Masillamani  was the  Editor  of  some Monthly and Quartely Journals  in Tamil .  He was a prolific prose writer also. , His main prose work in Tamilis  Sattya Prakasika or the Light of Truth[Demy 12mo 622 pages, published in1892] .  He had a good command over English Language.  He  wrote profusely  and profoundly. No doubt he is one the greatest Christian  writers  of his time.

Last days of C. Masillamani:
Due to some strong misunderstanding with the LMS Mission, he resigned from  the Mission in June 1886 and settled at Madras  as the Agent of the Scriptural Publication Society, Yarmouth, Maine, U.S.A.  After 12 years of active and tireless life , due to  ill health he paid a visit to his native  Travancore, and  and after preaching  on The Second Coming of Christ, his fascinating subject ,  in the LMS Church  at Trivandrum , he again  started to proceed to Madras via Nagercoil;, but due a sudden attack of apoplexy  he passed away at Nagercoil on Wednesday the 10th of August 1898 and his  dead body was interred in the LMS Home Church, [Nagercoil ]  cemetery on the next day . A great poem is sleeping in a grave, expecting the second coming of his Lord Jesus Christ.  A Tamil  Poem written by him is written on his historical tomb.

Concise estimate about Revd C. Masillamani:  He was indeed a towering and many-faceted personality. In the original words of his worthy son C. M. Agur, "From the beginning of his ecclesiastical career, Mr. Masillamani never confined his knowledge and belief to the narrow limits  of popular and dogmatic theology. He was an ardent student of the Bible and searched it's treasures for himself,  which led him to accept many truths which his brethren in the Mission were unwilling to examine  or accept"[Church history of Travancore by CM Agur  Page 1113] . For the development and amelioration of the condition of the poor people under his  spiritual supervision  he designed many means and tirelessly worked for them in a successful manner.  He was a champion for the cause of social justice.  His sympathy for the poor was boundless..He left his worthy son C.M. Agur as his legacy along with his good deeds and  voluminous  and valuable writings.

Revd. Charles Mead , the Father-in law of the historian  C.M.Agur:
Charles Mead the  Father  of South Travancore LMS Mission was born on the 1st October 1792  at Bristol, Gloucestershire in England.  While  studying in a Grammar School in London  , he received an invitation from the London Missionary Society and he accepted the invitation.  He completed a theological course in a Seminary in England.  He was ordained  in 1816 at the chapel at Chicheter,  England.   Mr. Mead was sent as a missionary to India by the  London Missionary Society . As a LMS Missionary  Mr. Mead and his companion  .landed on the shores  of India on 28th Agust 1816 and landed at Colachel  in South  Travancore in December 1817.   Vedamanickam  and his friends gave a touching welcome to  Mr. Mead  at Colachel    But unfortunately Mead's first wife died on  the 26th October , 1817 on her way to South  Travancore.  Mr. Mead  stayed at the  house used by Ringletaube at Mylaudy and  started his missionary work  with  great missionary zeal.

Mr. Mead shifted  the Mission head-quarters from Mulaudy to Nagercoil in April, 1818 and expanded the missionary field to the other parts of  kanyakumari district. Mr. Mead tirelessly  continued his  varied missionary  work , but he was in need of a life -partner to share his joy and sorrows ; so he married Miss. Johanna Coelestina  ,the third daughter of a German missionary,  the Revd. Christopher Henry Horst of Tanjore and sister -in-law of the Revd. J.C. kohlhof on the 13th of January , 1819.   This marriage helped Mead in many meaningful ways.

In order to give a helping hand to  Mead in his missionary work the LMS   in London sent Mr  Charles Mault from England to south Travancore , and accordingly Mr. and Mrs  Mault  reached SouthTravancore in December 1819.  The LMS churches  were growing  in number day  by day in  South Travancore[Kanyakumari district ].  In 1818 Mr. Mead established  a Seminary at Nagercoil, which later produced great Tamil poets and  writer like  Mr. Devavaram, Moses, John Palmer, C, Masillamani  and others.

For some  administrative reasons  the LMS  Mission field in kanyakumari district was divided into two parts as Eastern division and Western division  in1828, and for the eastern division,  Nagercoil was the Head quarters and for the western  division  Neyoor was the Head quarters. Leaving the eastern division to the care  of  Mr. Charles Mault ;  Revd Charles Mead moved  to  Neyoor in 1828   with his family along with   his native Assistant Devavaram's family.  Charles Mead  established many  churches and schools and also accomplished  many   remarkable  things in the social and educational  map  of theWestern division . Mead championed the cause of social justice in Kayakumari district  with the help of his fellow mission workers and Mrs. Mead.   Mrs. Mead    laboured for about 29 long years  with her husband tirelessly and she died at Neyoor on the 6th February 1848 aged 45 years.  The Christians  of  Kanyakumari district  abd  South India  are  indebted to her very much for her charity, liberality and motherly affection .

Revd. Charles Mead's controversial  and historical third marriage:  Following the death of his  wife Johanna , Mead  continued his missionary work as a widower for about five years,  and  due some reasons he decided to marry Miss Lois Biddulph , the daughter of Mr. Devavaram Biddulph the learned Christian Poet and the nephew of Mylaudy Maharaqsan Vedamanickam.  This marriage proposal was opposed by the local christians ,  fellow  pastors , and by the Directors of the LMS, London.  However sidelining and sidetracking all hurdles and opposition Charles Mead boldly married   Miss Lois Biddulph  in   September 1852 and resinged from the  Travancore Mission and went to Trivandrum and settled there.

Revd,Charles Mead's marrriage with Lois Buddulph  needs a careful re-reading  and critical review and perusal.  Probably   Mead's marriage with Lois , was the most revolutionary christian marriage in the annals of the  history of Christan marriages..   Actually such type intercaste and inter continental  marriages should have been encouraged among the Indian Christians by the foreign and local missionaries and Christians . Even today physical affinity wields  more influence than the spiritual affinity .  Mead's mental courage  to rise above racial barriers , colour confrontations, caste  and other man made petty differences,   deserve great appreciation and social appraisals and review. Had the Indian Christians Missionaries  and Church Leaders established a Casteless Christian community, the Indian Christians and Church   could have been  cited as the living and witnessing  example for communal harmony, fraternity , equality   and  peace.

C.M. Agur married Charles Mead's daughter:  Charles Mead and his wife Lois Mead were blessed with four children.  Mrs Lois Mead led a happy life with Mead and consoled and comforted  him  in his old age as compassionate wife.  The great Church  historian C.M. Agur married Ms. Joanna Carolata Mead, a daughter of Mr.Charles Mead and Lois  Biddulph Mead of Mylaudy.. This marriage helped C.M. Agur in so many ways to write the epoch making historical book , "The Church History  of Travancore". ; this book has  IV parts and  deals with the history of  Syrian Christian Church,  Roman Catholic Church, The London Missionary Church and The Christian Literature . C.M. Agur. B.A.,  worked as the  Office Manager of  The British Residents' office, at Trivandrum,   for nearly 20 years.


Following the publication of his historical book , The Church History of  Travancore in 1903 ,  he suddenly passed away  from this  world in 1904 and his his body was interred in  The Christ Church Cemetery at Trivandrum.  He lives invisibly  in his master-piece  " The  Church History Of Travancore" as a part of Church History . Probably Agur's book  is  one   the most quoted  book as reference by the Researchers. Historians and Writers .

P.BABU MANOHARAN, M.A,  [Rights reserved]{This article will be altered or modified if needed later]

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