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Descendant demands recognition for Asia's first indigenous Protestant pastor

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Rev. Aaron... Ziegenbalg's disciple
Rev. Aaron... Ziegenbalg's disciple

K. Lakshmi

Requests release of stamp in Rev. Aaron's honour

CHENNAI: With the 300th year celebration of the arrival of German missionary Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg to Tranquebar round the corner, a descendant of Aaron, the first indigenous Protestant pastor in Asia who assisted the missionary, is demanding recognition for Aaron's services to society through the release of a stamp.

Aaron Thangaraj Samuel, who claims to be an eighth generation descendant of Aaron, said Rev. Aaron helped underprivileged people and the sick. His contribution to education included teaching arithmetic and language.

Able aide

He was an able aide to Ziegenbalg. Rev. Aaron also fought for the rights of workers belonging to the lower strata of society, Mr. Samuel added.

Rev. Aaron holds the credit of being one of the first students to learn from Tamil books, which Ziegenbalg had printed in the early 18th century.

Rev. Aaron was also known for his wide knowledge in fields such as theology, geography and medicine.

Mr. Samuel, aged 32, who is a music teacher in Anita Methodist Matriculation Higher Secondary School, has been collecting evidence of Rev. Aaron's service to society and piecing together the family history.

Besides the genealogy, Mr. Samuel has also collected information about Aaron from the Tamil Nadu Archives Department and research works of Halle University, Germany. He also highlighted the family genealogy quoted in the book `Ordination of the First Protestant Indian Pastor Aaron' by Daniel Jeyaraj, a scholar on Ziegenbalg.

Mr. Samuel is also researching Indian church history and the Tranquebar mission to trace the family history of Rev. Aaron.

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