The Kudakkachira family name is well known in Malabar. Our ancestors initially migrated from Erattupetta (near Pala) to Pala in Kottayam District. The migration to Pala was to support and protect Christians from the attack of the Chettis (caste of weavers). Church appreciated the service rendered by the families during this period by constructing rooms in their names attached to the main church. Out of four families, Kudakkachira family was one among them, fortunate to receive this reward. In 1920, our kin migrated to Arakkullam, Travancore, and later moved to Peravoor, Malabar in 1928.
Kudakkachira Joseph (Kunjappan) was born in 1882 and married Annamma Peediyakkal from Athirampuzha. Annamma passed away in 1925 and was buried in Arakulam old church. They had five sons and three daughters, out of them two daughters passed away as infants. This family tree will, therefore, refer to the five surviving brothers and one sister in this book.
The Kudakkachira family is one of the seven families that migrated to Peravoor, Malabar during the 1920s. The economic recession followed by the First World War forced many families in the Central Travancore to migrate to Malabar to seek new hearths and homes in uninhabited forest lands. They went into deep forests and fought adverse terrain, wild animals, and climate, and transformed these bare lands into productive, fruitful farms and plantations.
After the death of Kudakkachira Joseph’s (Kunjappan) wife, he along with two of his four brothers and their families migrated to Malabar in 1928. They settled at Thondiyil near Peravoor. Of the two brothers who stayed back, one settled in Pala (Kurunthottam Elayamma’s family) and the other brother at Arakkulam. Among the brothers who migrated, one brother and his family moved to Kolakkad and the other brother and family settled at Kudiyamala. The only sister of late Kudakkachira Joseph was married into the Peediyakkal family. Her current generation is settled at Athirampuzha.
In 1928 when they migrated, there were no churches, schools, hospitals, roads or a post office in Peravoor. The migrants walked eight miles through the forest to participate in the Holy Eucharist at Kolayad. At their request, Fr. Fernandez volunteered to serve mass at Peravoor. The first Eucharistic celebration at Peravoor was held at Kudakkachira Josephkutty’s house, the eldest son of Joseph Kudakkachira. This motivated our ancestors to donate 2.4 acres of land near the bank of river Kanjhirapuza to establish a church and cemetery. All the migrants contributed and helped to complete the church shed in a short span of time. In 1931, the first church at Thondiyil, named St.Joseph’s Church was established, known today as the St. Joseph’s Forane Church. Later, they took the initiative to construct roads, a school, a convent, shops and a hospital. The Kudakkachira brothers gave acres of land (partially donated and partially for a price) to establish a high school in 1952. In a nutshell, the entire area of Thondiyil was developed on the property that belonged to the Kudakkachira family.
The Kudakkachira family migrated along with seven other families from Travancore to Malabar and with them brought the culture, tradition, and lifestyle that changed the face of Peravoor in terms of farming, education, and sports and also gave a lift to the village in cultural activities. The comforts we enjoy today are the fruits of their hard work, forethought, heritage and hardships, facing challenges of climate, wildlife threats, and tropical diseases.
A big salute to our forefathers!