John Joseph Murphy
Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice
(1872 - 1957)
The celebrations started earlier in the year with a public meeting presided over by AT Devasia, the former Vice Chancellor of the
Murphy had come 103 years ago to the place which was a thick forest and had no name or people then. He had traveled a long way to reach there. He left
According to local tradition, Murphy named the place that was to be his home till death in 1957, after his mother and the local river. Yendayar is a combination of ‘yen’ (my) ‘thai’ (mother) and ‘ar’ (river). There he established
And he looked after them like no other planter had ever done before. He paid them high and provided amenities that were unheard of those days. It is said that a good portion of his fortune went to them. And they loved him. For several generations of the local population, he has been and continues to be their ‘Murphy Sayippu’ (Malayalam for sahib).
When Michael Kallivayalil, the present owner of Yendayar Estate decided to build a school in Murphy’s name, the local people wholeheartedly joined him in the endeavor. The school was opened in 1982, the 25th Death Anniversary of Murphy.
Padmabhshan Justice KT Thomas, retired judge of the Supreme Court of India who presided over the valedictory function was touched by the respect and affection of the people for the Irishman. It was unusual he said, that those who had fought for freedom from British, showed such reverence to Murphy (known as JJ to his friends and Murphy Sayippu to the people).
Earlier in the year the local population had held a remembrance march from Murphy’s tomb at a lovely location in the estate (a spot which he himself had selected) to his bungalow and to the school.
About seventy of those who had worked for Murphy are still alive. The oldest among them is Bhayalakshmi, 97 (see photo below). Later there was a meeting of the former employees of Murphy at Yendayar Estate. Michael and his wife Mary (see photos above) hosted a party for them. It was a poignant get-together brimming with nostalgia.
In 2002 the then Irish Ambassador to
at the School's Silver Jubilee celebrations.
Others in the photo, Left to Right:
Michael A. Kallivayalil, Manager, Chandran, PTA President
and Joseph M. Kallivayalil.
Photos copyright reserved. Credits: Top – Claire Hill. Others: Glenrock Office
Click on photos for enlarged view.
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