Academy to translate Arnos Pathiri’s works to English
Thrissur: The linguistic achievements of Arnos Padre (Arnos Pathiri), a German-born missionary worker in 18th century Kerala, is set to get a major facelift so it can be disseminated far and wide.
In a unique initiative, the Thrissur based Arnos Pathiri Academy is joining hands with a team of scholars from Belgium and Luxemburg to bring out the English version of the letters and Malayalam poems written by the Padre.
His works that will be translated include Puthan Pana (the ‘New Hymn’), ‘Devamathavinte Vyakulaprabandham (poem on the ‘Distress of the Divine Mother’), ‘Ummaaparvam’ (song on the Divine Mother).
“It is surprising that the Padre was so conversant with Sanskrit and Malayalam that he even wrote books in these languages. His writings enabled the outer world to understand the culture, history and customs of the places where languages developed from Sanskrit are used’’, observed Prof. Christophe Vielle, one of the scholars.
With the initiative, the team also hopes to reintroduce some of the Malayalam words that are now non-existent. Arnos Padre, whose original name was John Ernest Hanxleden, was the vicar of St. Francis Forane Church in Velur and he had played an important role in portraying the culture of Kerala and India to the Western world.
He had also mastered German, Malayalam, Latin, Syriac, Portuguese and Tamil along with Sanskrit at a time when learning Sanskrit was a taboo even for non-Brahmin Indians. He also compiled Malayalam-Portuguese and Sanskrit-Portuguese dictionaries.