Monday, 1 July 2013

A Travel into the Ancestral Past

Ramachandra Avadhani
Alathoor Kuppusamy Iyer

Most children of the present day, who cannot overcome their addiction to visual entertainments like watching television and playing video games, hardly know anything about the lives of their grandparents. Nor do the parents of the present day have time to narrate the story of their ancestors to their children. But, here is a 75 year old grandson, who has enjoyed the story of his lawyer grandfather from a voluminous English manuscript, which had been penned by his father. 

A page from the manuscript
“The biography of my grandfather Alathoor S Kuppusamy Iyer, who was a famous lawyer in Thiruchirapalli in the 19th century, has been with me in manuscript form for over five decades. My father, K. Ramachandra Avadhani, who was also a lawyer, penned the work from his father’s memoirs and various other sources” says Venkatasubramaniam, a retired bank employee, residing at Kovaipudur in the city.

The hard-bound manuscript with papers turning yellow over time contains matters typed in a conventional type writer and has been awaiting a publisher for several decades.

“When I found the manuscript after the death of my father Avadhani in 1968, I thought of getting it published into a book but to no avail. However, in 1972, the Tamil periodical Kumudham published a few excerpts from the manuscript on the title Thiruchy Courtil 50 Varudam (Fifty years in Trichy court) “points out Venkatasubramaniam.

He says that his father Avadhani’s objective of writing the biography of his father Kuppusamy Iyer was to introduce an accomplished ancestor to his future descendants. However, the manuscript, which crossed past several decades from the demise of Avadhani in 1968, has turned out to be a social document reflecting the culture, education and lifestyle in a yesteryear Trichy.

“It was surprising when I read from my father’s manuscript that my grandpa Kuppusamy Iyer passed a second grade law course and became a lawyer, as just his first class middle school education was eligible to the admission of legal studies” says Venkatasubramaniam.

Nevertheless, the biography has recorded how Kuppusamy Iyer, in his 50 year legal profession, defeated his opponent lawyers by his wit and wisdom in plenty of civil and criminal cases. Known for his present wit and clear interpretation of legal terms, Kuppusamy once inspired the English judge Young, when he was asked to interpret the term ‘Recognition’ during a trial.

“My Lord, I haven’t gone through your appointment order as a judge, nor have you gone through my credentials as a lawyer. Still, I ‘recognize’ you as the judge and you ‘recognize’ me as a lawyer’ This is the connotation of the word ‘recognition” said Kuppusamy Iyer to the judge.

Link to my article in The New Indian Express:


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