The Mekkattukulam family referred in this narration is that family rooted at Puttekkara and Mundur areas in Thrissur district. The history of this family at Mundur starts from around A.D.1725. This family is believed to have migrated to Mundur from Porkkalam near Kunnamkulam at about that year. The family that migrated from Porkkalam had to choose such an option owing to the segregation of Christian groups around Porkkalam and Kunnamkulam areas in 18th century as an after effect of the'Koonan Kurisu Sathyam' which was a vow made by some traditional Chaldean Syrian Catholic Christians not to submit to the many changes implemented by Portuguese Catholic missionaries in Kerala in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many of the the ancient Malankara Catholic Church followers chose to be governed by the Patriarch of Antioch alone, severing the Papal authority. They became known as Puthenkoott Jacobite Christians. Some other groups did not want to be separated from the Papal authority, but wanted to continue the traditional Syrian Christian Catholic traditions. Majority around Kunnamkulam became Jacobites. The forefathers of the Mundur Mekkattukulam Family belonged to the traditional Syrian Catholics owing allegiance to the Pope. But they were small in numbers and that created many problems for them in church and social matters. As a result of that situation our forefathers decided to move away from Porkkalam and settle down at a more convenient place. They chose Puttekkara for that.
There were a few families who migrated together to areas around Mundur like Arampilly, Andaparamb. Some families went and settled at Kundannur near Erumapetty. This narration is concentrated on the history of the first forefather Varu, son of Lona who is the oldest Kaaranavar of this ancient family group making the shift of residence from Porkkalam to Mundur.
Varu Kaaranavar first started residing at Pazhamuck, an area near the present Catholic Church of Mundur. He had some connection with the Tharayil family of Pazhamuck and hence made purchase of land there. After a short period he changed residence to a locality near the Mundur Pazhaya Angadi and near to the Vazhappilly family grounds. After changing residences over short periods, Varu Kaaranavar finally settled at Puttekkara, which became the center of activity of the 'tharavaad' members for many generations to come.
Agriculture was the main occupation of our Kaaranavar. Rearing of cattle was also the occupation of many people during those times. Varu Karanavar was a religious person and very hard working in all the farming activities. The house he built was around the present day late M.J.David master house as well as Mr.M.J.Vincent house at Puttekkara, Mundur near the Thrissur-Kunnamkulam State high way. The well of the kitchen of his times is still in tact and usage.
Catholics of those times had to go to any of the churches at Parappur, Velur or Kottekkad as there was no church at Mundur or Puttekkara. Our Varu Kaaranavar was very particular that family members attend Sunday mass at one of these churches. There was the practice of preparing the ' Pessaha Oottu'( lunch on Maundy Thursday) for the priests and assistants at parish church as well as the 'disciples' selected for the'washing of the feet' on that day and this was served at the church. This had been done from the times of our Kaaranavar and continues till this time by our family members every year.
A very interesting thing about first three generations is that there was only one son in each. So the first century duration after the migration, there was no much of an expansion of the family. Varu Kaaranavar had one son named Lonappan. There were two daughters also. One daughter was married to Chittilapilly family of Aloor near Mattom and the other daughter was married to Muringatheri family of Erumapetty.
First generation Kaaranavar : Varu
Second generation son : Lonappan
The daughter married to Chittilappilly family had to come back to her father Varu Kaaranavar after the untimely death of her husband and unfavorable situations there. She had four sons. That family expanded further and prospered at Puttekkara .
By the capability,hard work and perseverance of Varu Kaaranavar and son Lonappn, the Mekkattukulam family prospered well. Lonappan had one son named Thoma and two daughters. One daughter was married to Muringathery family of Kundannoor and the other daughter was married to Njalil Chittilappilly family of Parappur.
A very significant era in Kerala history had occurred during the life time of Lonappan. The then King of the Mysore kingdom Tippu Sultan, known as the Mysore Tiger had invaded Kerala from the north and subdued the Kozhikode King Zamorin and proceeded to Kochi kingdom. The Army of the Sultan marched through Puttekkara, Mundur and built a mud fortress at Mundur in preparation for attacking Thrissur, the capital of Kochi kings. This was in the year 1789. Hearing about the arrival of the Mysore army, our Kaaranavar Lonappan along with many others of the locality went away from the path of the marching army and took refuge at houses of relatives far away from the army's route. Lonappan took refuge at Kundannoor where there were Mekkattukulam family groups settled there during the migration from Porkkalam and also the Muringathery house of his daughter married to that family.Also Lonappan had married from the Muringathery family of Erumapetty , a locality close to Kundnnoor. Lonappan's son Thoma was only 10 years old at that time.
There was a very hasty preparation for the sudden departure to Kundannoor fearing the Mysore army. The essentials for the travel and further stay were collected together to carry with the run away family. But precious items like gold ornaments, jewels etc were risky to be carried in such a journey. So our Karanavar Lonappan decided to keep all such valuables secretly underground in some strong vessels. Thereafter he and family left Puttekkara to Kundannoor.
The winning streak of the Sultan did not last long. Soon after defeating Kochi King , when he was preparing to attack Travancore, the news of an attack by the British army on his capital at Srirangapatanam, reached him. The Sultan went back immediately to his capital and started fighting the British. But he was defeated and killed by the British army.
Since fear of the Sultan had vanished, Lonappan returned to Puttekkara after about 6 years stay at Kundannoor in the year 1795. He had gone through a period of much difficulties during his refugee life and financial problems were there. He was unable to correctly locate the spot where he had secretly hidden the valuables. The secret became publicly known after some time. It became a talking matter and officials of the Kochi king's administration interfered and termed the valuables Lonappan was searching as a treasure whose rights are with the government. After some more search, Lonappan could trace out the valuables. But authorities took it away from him to the government treasury. But our Kaaranavar pleaded with Kochi King showing all proof and evidences available with him to prove his rightful ownership of the same. The King finally got convinced, but ordered that since the kingdom is in a bad financial situation after the war with Tippu, the same cannot be returned. Instead the King was generous to hand over a large extent of waste lands and some paddy fields belonging to Kollannoor temple as compensation to our Kaaranavar . Being a war torn country , the land taxes were high and possession of a waste or semi arable land may not give any worthwhile return for the efforts to be made for cultivation. So our forefather decided not to take it saying, so far we have lost some fat, but if we take up this land, our muscles also will be lost. He also stated that it is God's will that we will not get our valuables which he considered as the fat. This happened at around the year 1800.
Son Thoma had grown into a fine young man by this time and he along with his father Lonappn worked together for bringing up the weakened family after Kundannoor life. Lonappan died by 1815.
Thoma was a very capable man. His efforts made him progress very well financially. Thoma married from Puthussery Thekkekara family.
Second generation : Lonappan
Third generation : Thoma
Thoma had three sons Lona, Varu and Porinchu. He also had four daughters. One daughter was married to Chirayath Chakola family of Aranattukara, another daughter was married to Chirayath Manjiyil family of Mukkattukara, another one to Parappilly family of Thrissur and the fourth one was married to Arangassery family of Parappur.
Fourth generation: 1. Lona. 2. Varu. 3. Porinchu
The marriages of Lona and Varu were conducted simultaneously in a single function.
Lona married from Parakkal Kuttikkat family of Thalakkottukara. Varu married from Puthur family of Parappur.
The third son Porinchu became a priest. He is known as the first priest from the family in the known family history. He had served as vicar in many parishes. He was a capable person and very popular. He served as mediator in many family feuds on several matters including quarrels over water distribution in summer time irrigations.
The eldest of the 4th generation Lona had a premature death when he had a son just 11/2 years old. This was a big blow to the family. Thoma his father became weaker day by day. The son of Lona, named Varappan had been born (1838)after about one and a half years a son was born to his younger brother Varu in 1836. Son of Varu was named Thoma. Lona and Varu had no other children.
Varappan, the baby son of Lona was taken to his young mother's house at Thalakkottukara and stayed there almost up to 7 years of age. His mother got remarried at that stage to Puthur Kaithakodan Ouseph of Kadangode. Boy Varappan went with his mother to the new house where he grew up well under the special care of his step father. The Kaaranavar of that family knew ' Kalari abhyasam' ( martial arts) and taught young Varappan many of the martial arts. In his teen age Varappan used to come and stay at Puttekkara occasionally.
The death of Lona and illness Thoma, the kaaranavar of the family, created a difficult situation for the entire family. Thoma expired after a few years. At one stage Varu the second son of Thoma and his family constituted the Mekkattukulam clan. The elder brother Lona had expired and his only son had gone with his mother to Thalakkottukara and thereafter to Kadangode after mother's remarriage.
Varappan finally came to stay permanently at Puttekkara before he reached the age of 18. Varu decided to conduct the marriage of his son Thoma and that of his elder brother Lona's son Varappan in a single joint ceremony. Varappan married from Thekkudan family of Ammadam Pallippuram. Thoma had 4 marriages. The first was from Chirayath Manjiyil family Mukkattukara . In this marriage he had three sons and one daughter. Sons were Lonappan, Porinchu, Uthuppu. Daughter was Mariam. The first wife died. Thoma remarried from Anatty Olakkengil family of Velur. That wife died in child birth. He married a third time Thekkekara family of Puthussery. She also died before a child was born. The fourth marriage was from Kakkrat Pulikkottil family of Pavaratty. There was one son in this marriage. His name was Varu.
The Mekkattukulangare family had made tremendous progress during the times of Varappan and Thoma. An increase in the number of male members occurred during these times. This period can be termed as a golden period in the family's history.
Fifth generation: 1. Varappan son wof Lona. 2. Thoma son of Varu.
Lona had died when Varappan was a baby. Thoma was the only child in the 'tharavaad' until Varappan returned to Puttekkara. Varappan was well cared for by his 'Eleppan'(uncle) Varu. The marriage function of Varappan and Thoma was conducted by Varu Kaaranavar . Varu Kaaranavar died unexpectedly within two years of the marriages of the children in the year 1858.
Afterwards Varappan and Thoma, the brothers' sons, decided to partition properties and live in separate houses as per the advice of their Eleppan Porinchu kathanaar( Rev. Fr. Porinchu ). A good portion of land where the ancient 'tharavad' house was situated was given to Varappan where he built a new house which is still existing and owned by M.L.Poly. This was the first separated living in the family after family partition. The house built by Varappan was to the east of the ancient tharavad. Hence that branch came to be known as 'kizhakkekar' meaning those on the east side.
The family of Thoma continued to stay in the ancient tharavad and they used to be called as 'padinjarekkar' meaning those on the west side.
Varappan built his house according to his own plan and some illnesses that occurred in the new house were attributed by some critics as due lack of correct house orientation . But Varappan was not affected by these but depended on God's protection. Varappan prospered very well in agriculture, trading and sales business and financial activities. He had thousands of acres of land property.He started a primary school at Puttekkara named St Mary's primary school. This was upgraded to lower secondary in 1927. Varappan was desirous of having church facility at Puttekkara and for that he decided to donate the St Mary's school and it's compound to the Clarist sisters who were invited to accept. He knew that with the convent there would be a chapel where Holy Mass would be offered. But this materialized only after his death in 1930. The convent was established in 1935. The school and compound was given to them freely. The lower secondary section was continued to be managed by the sons of Varappan. This school was upgraded to high school in 1957.
Varappan had four sons and four daughters. The children are 1. Kunjila, married to Akkarapatty Lonappn, Ollur 2. Lonappan 3. Kunjannam, married to Thanikkal Kodankandath Ouseph, Manalur 4. Mathiri, married to Olakkengil Lonappan, Pavaratty. 5. Chummar. 6. Thomunny. 7. Kunjayi, married to Thaikkattil Attokkaran Devassy, Thrissur. 8. Porichukutty.
The Mundur Mount Carmel Church was founded in the year 1870. There was the good leadership and sacrifice from Varappan in the building of the church. In recognition of his meritorious services, the Bishop of Thrissur granted permission to bury Varappan and his wife Mariam inside the church when they slept in our Lord.
In further testimony of the vision and far sightedness the small booklet he got printed with the name ' Sanmarganadapatikramam' ( meaning course of action for living in the right path) as an advice to his children stands out in its uniqueness and novelty.
Varappan expired in 1930. His wife Mariam had expired in1919.
Thoma also had prospered very well and was a very well known personality. Thoma had four marriages and had five children. They are 1. Lonappan. 2. Porinchu. 3. Uthuppu. 4. Mariam, married to Edakkalathur Vettikkal family of Pavaratty. 5. Varu.
The children of Varappan and Thoma prospered well . The descendants expanded into large number of families in and around Mundur. Almost all of them are making good progress in various fields of activities in all spheres of life. Priests like Late Rev Fr Jos Mekkat S J, Rev Fr Dr. Jiphy Mekkattukulam had been leading in the spiritual spheres along with many Reverend nuns Sisters serving in various congregations. Many family members are thriving well in business in Kerala and outside and abroad. Doctors, engineers, lawyers, IT professionals and many other professionals of other disciplines are in quite a good number in the families of Mekkattukulangare tharavad. We believe the blessings of God almighty will make us wiser, saner, gentler to make our family more united, loving, caring and devoted for good creative causes.
First generation : Varu
Second generation : Lonappan
Third generation : Thoma
Fourth generation : Lona, Varu, Princhu(Rev.Fr)
Fifth generation : Son of Lona- Varappan.
Son of Varu- Thoma
Sixth generation : Sons of Varappan - Lonappan, Chummar, Thomunny, Porinchukutty.
Sons of Thoma-Lonappan, Porinchu, Uthuppu , Varu.