Bishop Caldwell’s house to be converted into memorial

Special Correspondent

Caldwell was a missionary of the London Missionary Society

He later joined the Society for Propagation

of the Gospel Mission

CHENNAI: The Church of South India (CSI) has agreed to hand over the house of Bishop Robert Caldwell in Idayankudi, Tirunelveli district, to the State government to convert it into a memorial, Information Minister Parithi Illhamvazhuthi informed the Assembly on Thursday.

The CSI has placed a few conditions. The government has sought the opinion of the Tirunelveli Collector.

Caldwell (1814-1891) was a missionary of the London Missionary Society. He later joined the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Mission. He worked in Tirunelveli district and went on to become the Bishop of the diocese. He learnt Tamil after realising that he could not preach to the masses without mastering the language. The result was the path breaking book, The Comparative Grammar of Dravidian languages or South Indian Family of Languages.

He pointed out that Tamil and a few other languages in the south formed a separate language family.

While in Tirunelveli, he lived in a house at Idayankudi. After his death he was buried beneath the altar of the church he had built there.

DMK member M. Appavu, representing Radhapuram, had requested the government to declare the house a memorial. The DMK government has erected a statue of Caldwell on the Marina.

Mr. Parithi Illamvazhuthi also announced that an analyser would be purchased at a cost of Rs.90 lakh for the MGR Government Film Institute. The government would also buy a web-printer costing Rs.97 lakh.

He said Aircel had come forward to beautify areas around the Gandhi Memorial in Guindy by planting saplings and constructing arches and water fountains.

Earlier, AIADMK member S.Ve.Sekar wanted the Tilak Ghat on the Marina to be made a heritage monument. Leaders of the freedom movement had addressed numerous meetings at the venue, he said.

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