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Some Interesting Facts / Stories
The Ponnattu Family Tree

In the 6th Century of the Malayalam Era, Ittyavira Panicker of the Mylokkombil family settled down in the Parayil property of Aymanam. His oldest son founded the Muttathupadam family of Arppukkara (Alphonsamma belonged to this family). The second son (name not known) founded the Vattakkattil family of Aymanam. The third son Ittyavira Panicker continued the Parayil family.

Four of the five sons of Ittyavira Panicker founded the following four families.

(i) Erikattu – Thazhathangadi

Erikattu Kunjappan was the famous member of this family. He was a very prominent merchant, and known to have had horses and carriages. He later lost his business, and some people have blamed it on the fact that he hosted the king of Travancore to see the Vallomkali!

(ii) Thondukuzhy – Aymanam

The Matteethra family of Aymanam is a branch of this family. The most famous members of this family are Bishop M.M.John and Neurosurgeon Velloor Chandy. In addition, a matter of some interest to us, Nellicheril (of the Thomasar persuation) is a branch of this family.

(iii) Madasserri – Arpukkara

Ittyavira Kurian Panicker (of a later generation of this family) founded the Pokkathil family on the property where the Kaduthodil church is situated now. Later they sold this property and settled down in Kallumada, but maintained the Pokkathil family name. Pokkathil Kurian Vakkil, well known, but thought to be a dubious character by some, was a member of this family.

The most famous branch of this family is Pathil, Aymanam. One member of the madassery family with the name, Varkey married the only daughter(dattu) of a Palikkaparambil man. Later his mother in lad had a male child, and the father-in-law bought the Pathil property, thus the pathil family was founded. A priest (or minister) known as George Kurian pathiri was his son. (It appears that the “Punyan Achan” character in Arundhati Roys famous novel, “God of small things” is based upon his life.) It is known that he wrote and published a family history and efforts are underway to locate a copy of this. The famous ( I believe, Civil service) Oommen Philipose of Kallor, Kalluppara was his son in law. Punyan Achan’s oldest son was Rao Bahadoor John Kurian (Engineer), also known as John Kurian Achan. He became an Achan after retiring from service and was very active in Olassa Church. He also built a family chapel. His oldest son Havlly Kurian (Havllykutty) was a senior official of the league Nations, and was married to a madamma (Swiss I think). Engineer Achan’s oldest daughter Suzy (still living) was married to Palathinkal.P.V.Issac, who was chief entomologist in the Government of India. P.V.Issac had two sons and a daughter. The oldest is George Issac, Rhode scholar and the Palaat achar fame. The youngest, a son (I do not remember his name) was an engineer married to a German woman, eventually settled down in Canada. He died a couple of years ago. The daughter Mary Roy (married to a Bengali man and later divorced.) runs a highly rated English School at Kottayam. Arundhathi Roy is her daughter. It seems to me that she might have visited and spend a lot of time in the Puliyampallil family house in Aymanam, with her cousins. Engineer achan’s second daughter was a college professor in Srilanka. She was not married and lived at puliampallil after retiring. A person representing her is a central character in Arundhathi’s novel. Engineer achan’s younger daughter was married to Muthachan (family name) of Punaloor. He retired as chief engineer from the central government. (when I was in Durgapur [1966] I once visited him and his family in Calcutta.) Engineer achan’s second son Kunjupappan (of a paliputhra persuasion) retired as electricity Chief engineer from Bihar. Engineer achan’s third and youngest son was Pappy, George Vijayan Kurian’s father. He was a physics professor in Kollam. He died under very tragic circumstances, supposedly committed suicide in the same Changanacherry hotel room on the first anniversary of the suicide his illegitimate son.

(A good part of the reason why I know a lot about this family is as follows: In the mid fifties Suzy Issac filed for divorce from P.V.Issac, and Appachayan (my father the late P.K.Kurian) was his lawer. It was during this period that Appachayan had his first heart attack.When he was recuperating, , both Suzy and George Issac visited our house in Kummanam to discuss the case and being a nosy busy body I got to know a lot about these people. Appachayan got a huge settlement for Suzy in this divorce. Later during the two or three months between Kothamangalam and Durgapur I stayed at home in Kummanam and visited Appachayan’s office a lot. George Issac has just set up his Achar company a few months before that, and he and Suzy continued to get legal advice from Appachayan. I became a good friend with George at this time, and he tried to persuaded me to talk Appachayan in to becoming a partner in his company. Appachayan having failed on a few previous business ventures of his own., exept the orient Central Bank which he cofounded (and was the Chairman) with his friend Kaduthodil.P.Mathew (who was the Managing Director decided not to. But he agreed to lend George some money so I would quit bothering him. In fact I personally took the money to George. The only record of the transaction was a statement on plain paper from George that he received such and such amount from Mr.P.K.Kurian as a Loan. Appachayan did not think that the Achar business would become successful, and did not seriously expect that George would be in a position to repay the loan. Ammachy told me that George promptly returned the money, soon after Appachayan died. George is a good fellow and he insisted on giving three or four letters of introduction for me to people in Calcutta., including the MD of Metal box, before I left for Durgapur.)

(iv)Ponnattu Kummanam

It is known that one of nthe four sons of Parayil Ittiavira Panicker founded the Ponnattu family, and his name was probably Varkey. At this point It is not clear whether Appachayan’s (the late Ponnattu Kurian Kurian) Grandfather Varkey had no brothers. It also appears that for some unknown reason, almost all these branches of the Parayil family dropped this Panicker title. I’ll simply start the Ponnattu family tree with Varkey (I was named after him). Mathai was probably his fathers name, and I will call him Mathai Varkey.