Monday, August 26, 2013

M.D. Naryana Iyer: Chapter 7

(Most of the material for this chapter is taken from Manikutty's book, A Testament of Faith, by N.K. Krishnan).

Sesha Iyer had predeceased his son by a year, leaving a large estate. He had four married daughters and two sons, one of which was Ambi. When Ambi died, his brother refused to give his widow (Ankichi) her rightful share of the ancestral property. Ambi's earnings had also been added to the family coffers. His brother offered a pittance for this sister-in-law and her daughter. "Go to court", was the general voice of friends and well-wishers. "No - not against my sister's son", was Appa's response. "If my nephew is mean enough to deny a widow and her child their rightful share, I will match his meanness with my magnanimity. Obviously, he does not have enough faith in his ability to earn a livelihood, which is why he is clinging to his father's money. My daughter is made of different material. She is capable of earning a livelihood for herself." To a Christian friend, who urged him to sue his nephew, his reply was, "Forgive him, Father, for he knows not what he does". It is a tribute to Appa's magnanimity that he maintained good relations with his nephew until his death. "If the great God forgave sinners, then what right have I to withhold forgiveness?" was his refrain. So Appa, in addition to having to cope with the emotional turmoil caused by his son-in-law's death, had to worry about his daughter's financial future also, despite getting her married into a very rich family.

Ankichi, who rejoined college after ten tumultuous years, passed her intermediate examination with flying colours, standing first in her college, getting a university rank, and winning a gold medal - a fantastic performance by any standard. She passed her M.Sc. with first class and joined Maharaja's College, Ernakulam, as a lecturer. She eventually rose up to the position of principal of a college. SOme of the very same people who criticized Appa for sending his daughter to college later approached him for Ankichi's help with their children' college admissions.

Appa's unshakeable faith in himself and his daughter had been fully justified and his stand, vindicated.

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