Vathakunu Deresegayam David (Tamil David)

Tirunelveli Tamil Nadu India

1853 - 1923

V. D. David or “Tamil David” (1853-1923) was involved in evangelistic work in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), India, Australia, Great Britain (England, Scotland, Ireland) and the United States where he was associated with Dwight Moody, one of America’s greatest evangelists.

Tamil David was born in Tirunelveli1 District of Tamil Nadu state into an Anglican (Episcopal) family. His father, a mission worker, died when he was two and he moved to Sri Lanka at the age of sixteen where he learned Sinhalese2 and worked as a self-employed (and totally untrained) English teacher and later an “accountant” in a liquor business. By his own account he was a thoroughly bad young man until his mother, a mission schoolteacher, arrived in Ceylon and persuaded him to return home.3 He was multi-skilled at a very basic level, learning bookkeeping, photography, the accordion and violin.4 After his conversion, through the influence of his wife, Mary, he became a catechist associated with the Anglican Church Missionary Society.