The Joseph Family Website
Joseph Panicker's Writings
About fifteen years before his death, Joseph Panicker began an activity that was to absorb an increasing amount of his time and effort during the last phase of his life. He loved history and in his M.A. has majored in that subject. He regretted the fact that the history he learnt at that time was the standard diet of British and European history. However, his considerable knowledge of local history, partly garnered from his extensive reading and partly from oral accounts he has heard for various sources since his childhood, were combined with his fascination with the history of his own family and locality to lead him to three major writing projects: A History of Adangapuram Family, A History of the Kalloopara Church and an Account of Local Legends and Notable Happenings.

He had been prevailed upon by some members of the Adangapuram family to take up the first project, soon after the setting up of a Family (Kudumum) Association. The project was undertaken within the constraints (stylistic and otherwise) imposed by publications of this nature which often involves, within a loose historical chronology, a listing of the various branches and members of an extended family padded up with uncritical and often eulogistic accounts of the activities and achievements of individual members. His intellectual fastidiousness made him somewhat uncomfortable with this form of writing; acting more as a collector of items and photographs of varying quality from interested parties rather than as a creative presence. Only in the first few chapters, when he was dealing with the early history of the family, could he give full rein to his careful and well-sourced approach combined by his fine critical intelligence. The production of this first book that was published for private circulation spurred him on to further creative efforts. He was no longer constrained by the need to pander to other people's predilections. In the next two works, he was able to merge two of his intellectual passions: interest in the early history of the Syrian Christian Church and in local history. The book on the 'Kalloopara Church' has now been published and has attracted some academic interest. The book on the 'Local Legends' will hopefully come out in a year or two.

He worked in a systematic fashion, waking up early in the morning and writing for about two hours a day before going for his morning constitutional. He wrote only for private circulation among interested people. He rarely had to make any substantial changes since he had reflected on what he was going to write before he wrote it down. He wrote with a legible hand, and his teaching style was often unmistakably present in the clarity, preciseness and tendency towards repetitiveness.

Ideas of possible publication of his work were initially far from his mind since he wrote for his own pleasure. Gradually and with some reluctance, he was prevailed upon to have it published for a wider audience. His limited access and experience of the publishing world made it difficult for him. And on at least one occasion, although money changed hands, the project was aborted at the last minute. It is both in his memory and in the hope that his writing would be of interest to a wider public, that the project was resurrected at his death and with some degree of success subsequent to his death.

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