The ‘Land of Letters' bid adieu to one of the tallest of its sons.
The mortal remains of K.M. Mathew, Chief Editor, Malayala Manorama, were interred in the family vault at the Puthenpally cemetery on the outskirts of the town on Monday evening with full State honours.
Ever since Mathew breathed his last on Sunday morning, there has been a steady flow of mourners to the town. Leaders from all walks of life reached his house, ‘Roop Kala' at Mount Vardha, where the body was kept. Thousands from all sections of society paid their last respects to the man who touched their life in various ways during his long public life.
The last journey from home began by 12 noon when the body was taken to the headquarters of the Malayala Manorama. By 12.30, when the body reached the office, there were long queues of mourners who poured in in large numbers. The final leg of the last journey began by 4 p.m. when his body was taken in a procession, accompanied by thousands of mourners, to his last resting place at Puthenpally.
The special prayers at Puthenpally were led by Catholicos of the East and head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Baselius Mar Thoma Didymos I, assisted by Catholicos-designate Paulos Mar Milithios and nearly 30 other metropolitans. Prominent personalities who participated in the funeral service include Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala, MLAs, and leaders from across the State.
Among those who paid their last respects to Mathew on Monday include Congress general secretary Oscar Fernandes, who laid a wreath on behalf of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Nair Service Society general secretary P.K. Narayana Panicker, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan, critic Sukumar Azhikode, Ministers P.K. Sreemathy, P.K. Gurudasan, N.K. Premachandran, S. Sarma and K.P. Rajendran.
Schools in the town remained closed in the afternoon as the municipal authorities had declared a holiday. Shops too remained closed in the municipal area as the trading community had decided to keep their shutters down as a mark of respect to the departed soul. The Orthodox Church had declared a holiday for the educational institutions under its corporate management on Monday.
A public condolence meeting was held at Thirunakkara after the funeral in the evening. V.N. Vasavan, MLA, presided. Mr. Chandy, Mr. Chennithala, Jose K. Mani MP and Anto Antony, MPs, K.M. Mani, MLA, and others spoke on the occasion. Municipal chairperson Bindu Santhosh Kumar piloted a condolence resolution.