Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi

Kerala India

Nov 29, 1883 - Nov 30, 1945

Sadhu Kochoonju Upadesi (Malayalam: സാധു കൊച്ചൂഞ്ഞ് ഉപദേശി; 1883 – 30 November 1945) was a famous Malayali Christian preacher, poet and composer. Kochoonju was a very distinctive person in appearance. He always wore a white shirt and white dothi. He was about 175 cm tall and had very thin and frail body. His eyes appeared to be piercing and his forehead was frowned as if brooding yet with a childlike impression. He always carried an umbrella and his Bible wherever he went. His saintly life, self-control, self-denial, and commitment towards social issues made him a unique person. He liked to spend time alone with Bible, to him the Bible was not a book to be read but an instruction book which should be followed in day-to-day life. Much of his time he spent in reading.[1]

During his lifetime he was known as Kochoonju which was a contraction of the two Malayalam words Kochu and Kunju. Malayalam equivalent of a preacher is upadesi. During his missionary work in Tamil Nadu, India, they called him Sadhu meaning, holy man. Thus he came to be known as Sadhu Kochoonju upadesi.

Edayaranmula is a small village near Aranmula in Pathanamthitta District, Kerala. It was here he was born on 29 November 1883. His father was Moothampackal Itty and his mother was Mariamma of Perengattu Padickal. His pet name was Kochoonju and his real name was M.I Varughese (Muthampackal Itty Varughese). He was a member of a large family of six sisters. He had a brother, who died at the age of two.

As Sadhu Kochu Kunchju Upadeshi lived at a time when child marriage was an accepted custom, Kochu Kunchju was married at 12 years of age. His wife's name was Aleyamma. She provided the support that Kochu Kunchju needed. He made ends meet by working as a farmer and selling the products of the field.