George Thomas Kottukapally

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George Thomas Kottukapally
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
1953–1957
Constituency [Muvattupuzha_(Lok_Sabha_constituency)]
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
1957–1962
Personal details
Born (1901-10-29)October 29, 1901
[Palai], [Kottayam]
Died (1970-10-11)October 11, 1970
Cause of death Heart attack
Political party Indian National Congress
Spouse(s) Chechamma
Mother Kunjely Kottukapally
Father George Menamparambil
Residence Palai
Alma mater Collin's Institute, Calcutta
Occupation Member of Parliament, Public intellectual, Planter, Philanthropist, Social Activist, former United Nations representative

George Thomas Kottukapally of Palai, Kerala, India (29 October 1901 – 11 October 1970), was a Member of Parliament[1], philanthropist, one of South India's largest plantation owners, public intellectual, an Indian independence activist and a member of the Indian National Congress including having taken part in the Indian Independence Movement through the Non co-operation movement in 1921.[2] Post India's Independence in 1947, Kottukapally was elected as the Municipal Chairman, a position equivalent to that of a Mayor for the municipal township of Palai, Kottayam, Kerala which he held between 1948 and 1953.[3] Further, he was elected as an Indian Member of Parliament representing the Indian National Congress party in the 1st Lok Sabha and the 2nd Lok Sabha from 1953 till 1962[4] for the erst-while constituency of Muvattupuzha (Lok Sabha constituency) which consisted of the whole of Idukki, parts of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Chalakudy. He was also India's representative to the United Nations in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's Delegation in 1958.[5]

Family History[edit]

According to the local church's records and the family privately held manuscripts, the Kottukapally family's origin lies in the traditionally held belief in which their ancestry is traced to a Brahmin family "Kottakkavu" from 52 AD, wherein members of the family converted and become members of the Kottakkavu Mar Thoma Syro-Malabar Pilgrim Church, North Paravur, one among the seven Churches acknowledged as to be founded Thomas the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.[6] The family name "Kottukapally" is traced as a derivative from the Brahmin family name "Kottakkavu" given that members from the Kottakkavu Illam converted to Christianity from the evangelical activity undertaken by Thomas the Apostle.[7] The Kottukapally family ties with the township of Palai started in the 18th century, with the family having moved to Palai to start the trading market in pepper under the invitation of the Kartha, a local chieftain equivalent to that of a Duke, of Meenachil.[8] As historical evidence, the family still has a part of their 280-year-old famed ancestral home or known as the Kottukapally Tharavad currently under the custodianship of George Thomas Kottukapally's youngest son John Thomas Kottukapally located in the heartland of Palai.[9] Thereby, in founding a pepper trading market, the Kottukapally family is considered as one of the founding families of modern Palai, of what is known as 'Angadi' Palai.[10] With this lineage, George Thomas Kottukapally's past, present and future were both inextricably linked such that his political, social and economic vision for Palai led him to be elected as the Chairman, a position equivalent to that of a Mayor, for the Municipality of Palai which he held between 1948 and 1953.[11].

The Kottukapally family of Palai held a strong-hold in the political landscape of Palai wherein George Thomas Kottukapally's elder brother George Joseph Kottukapally was also an Indian independence activist and was twice elected as a Member of the Sree Moolam Popular Assembly, the equivalent of being a Member of Parliament in the erst-while Kingdom of Travancore under the Maharaja of Travancore.[12] Post George Thomas Kottukapally's demise, the next generation continued with his eldest son Joseph Thomas Kottukapally having stepped into providing leadership to the township of Palai by being the Municipal Chairman of Palai, an elected position which he held onto for 16-years.[13]

Social Contributions[edit]

George Thomas Kottukapally's contributions as one of Kerala's earliest and leading philanthropist, educationalist and a social contributor was highlighted by the former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in his speech while inaugurating the 62nd foundation day celebrations of St. Thomas College, Pala as well as to mark the 111th birth anniversary. . y of George Thomas Kottukappally in 2012 by stating "People of Kottayam are grateful to the gesture of 'Father' (being the financial sponsor and a co-founder) George Thomas Kottukapally in providing acres of land for the creation of this college in 1950s".[14][15] George Thomas Kottukapally's family ancestry and lineage, being a son of an ancient and prominent Syro-Malabar Saint Thomas Christian aristocratic Kottukapally family of Palai had deeply influenced his life, leading him to be a prominent supporter and as a key financial benefactor of the Saint Thomas Christian Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Palai and the State of Kerala.[16][17][18] George Thomas Kottukapally's contributions in a personal capacity include having financially supported as well as in having provided the land for the establishment of the Bishop's House, Palai, later leading to the formal establishment of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Palai. He also provided his personal land as well as the financing for the establishment of a set of Kerala's well-known university-level colleges which include St. Thomas College, Palai founded in 1950, Alphonsa College, Palai founded in 1964 and St. Thomas Teacher's Training College, Palai founded in 1957.[19]

According to K. P. S. Menon (senior), India's first foreign secretary under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in a public foreword about Kottukapally's contributions, he acknowledged that Kottukapally as the Municipal Chairman from 1948 till 1953 was a 'key architect' and was one of the 'founding fathers' of the post-Independent Indian township of Palai stating that, "Not only Palai but all Kerala is indebted to Mr. Kottukapally for his services in the agricultural, industrial and banking fields. It was largely due to him and his tirelessly advocacy and his intercession with men at the top that the magnificent hydro-electric project in Idukki materialised".[20] Currently, economic-wise, the township and the region of Palai is ranked as one of the richest and most prosperous Syro-Malabar Saint Thomas Christian belt in the State of Kerala.

Field of Banking[edit]

In the field of banking, George Thomas Kottukapally held the position of being the President of the important and powerful lobby group Travancore-Cochin Bankers Association and was one of the key promoters and a director of Palai Central Bank founded in 1927, then the 17th largest among the 94 scheduled banks in India at its peak in 1960.[21] Palai Central Bank was also Kerala's largest and most important private enterprise after the State Government of Kerala.[22] But, in 1960, the Kerala High Court ordered the liquidation of Palai Central Bank on a petition from the Reserve Bank of India.[23] That having said, in Volume II of the History of Reserve Bank of India covering the years 1951–1967, a 27-page appendix viz. "Appendix C: The Palai Central Bank" extensively covers the history of the Bank. The following is an extract: "While defending the Reserve Bank as 'one of the best central banks in the world' maintaining a 'high level of efficiency', the Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, was reported to have acknowledged that it may have made a 'mistake' in closing down the Palai Central Bank."[24] In the field of commerce, industry and trade, George

Planter and Agriculturist[edit]

Thomas Kottukapally was one of South India's leading agriculture plantation owner-cum-investor-cum-industrialist having been the Managing Director and director of several cross-holding businesses, planting and banking companies such as Teekoy Rubbers (India) Ltd, Karikode Rubbers (1945) Ltd, Periyar & and Pareekanni Rubber Limited.[25]

Historically, the Kottukapally family is recorded as one of the largest land-holding families in the State of Kerala[26] while, currently, George Thomas Kottukapally though deceased, still continues to be ranked historically as one of the largest Christian landowners in the Indian sub-continent.[27] Post his demise, the State Government of Kerala, India had appropriated a large part of his estates and land bank on the basis of surplus land of which included the Cheemeni Village in the district of Kasargod, Kerala, India.[28]


References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.elections.in/parliamentary-constituencies/1957-election-results.html
  2. ^ Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally
  3. ^ Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally
  4. ^ Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally
  5. ^ http://164.100.47.194/loksabha/writereaddata/biodata_1_12/802.htm
  6. ^ Feature on George Thomas Kottukapally on his demise, Malayalam Manorama Newspaper, 1970
  7. ^ Feature on George Thomas Kottukapally on his demise, Malayalam Manorama Newspaper, 1970
  8. ^ Feature on George Thomas Kottukapally on his demise, Malayalam Manorama Newspaper, 1970
  9. ^ Kottukapally Tharavad as covered by the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine
  10. ^ Kottukapally Tharavad as covered by the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine
  11. ^ Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally
  12. ^ Feature on George Thomas Kottukapally on his demise, Malayalam Manorama Newspaper, 1970
  13. ^ Feature on George Thomas Kottukapally in his Memory, Malayalam Manorama Newspaper, 2012
  14. ^ President of India Abdul Kalam's reflection on the contribution of George Thomas Kottukapally
  15. ^ President APJ Kalam to inaugurate St. Thomas College, Palai's foundation day celebrations, The Hindu
  16. ^ Kottukapally Tharavad as covered by the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine
  17. ^ Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally
  18. ^ Feature on George Thomas Kottukapally on his demise, Malayalam Manorama Newspaper, 1970
  19. ^ President of India Abdul Kalam's reflection on the contribution of George Thomas Kottukapally
  20. ^ Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally
  21. ^ [http://www.refocusindia.com/member-of-parliament-lok-sabha-profile-1526-Kottukapally,%2 0Shri%20George%C2%A0Thomas Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally]
  22. ^ Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally
  23. ^ History of the Reserve Bank of India - Volumes I & II - Oxford University Press
  24. ^ [1] The Palai Central Bank Appendix C
  25. ^ Bio-Data of George Thomas Kottukapally
  26. ^ State Government Kerala Record on George Thomas Kottukpally's holding in the village of Cheemeni Village, Kasargod, Kerala, India
  27. ^ State Government Kerala Record on George Thomas Kottukpally's holding in the village of Cheemeni Village, Kasargod, Kerala, India
  28. ^ State Government Kerala Record on George Thomas Kottukpally's holding in the village of Cheemeni Village, Kasargod, Kerala, India