(Dr. KM George, Former UN Advisor and currently President of Sustainable Development Forum; email firstname.lastname@example.org)
I came to know Mr. George Paul in 1992 and he became my friend, philosopher and guide eventually. It was during my annual leave to Kerala from Papua New Guinea, where I was working as Advisor to the national government in PNG that we met for the first time. He was then a young man bubbling with energy, zeal, enthusiasm and warmth alike. In the first sight I was impressed with his manners and style of managing people and material meticulously.
I went back to my job after six weeks stay in India and we continued our friendship and fellow ship ever since. During 2000 when we formed the Sustainable Development Forum—SDF- he was our guiding spirit not only as a resource person, but as a major advisor. He did participate in many a seminar as keynote speaker and once we had the honor to decorate him as the one who achieved excellence in innovations.
He was GP to very close friends. I found him very informal and polite to the core as well as punctual with precision in his words and deeds. He was a go getter and he could get things done at any cost. He was the person of near impossibles!
GP was a great humanist and his love for helping the needy and voice less was very remarkable. He used to take quick decisions and he was proved inevitably right in his decision-making acumen. He had the capacity to discern the right and the wrong. He fought for the right issues without compromises. He did not trade off of his integrity even at the best of temptations. Winner he thought, and winner he became himself.
It is only history to recall that the MOSC Medical College came into being mostly on his tireless efforts and connections both within the state and outside . Admittedly he had the solid support and blessings of many stalwarts like Mr. Joy P Jacob Mr. CV Jacob , Mr. Paily Pillai and a host of dedicated well-wishers of Kolenchery and even the support of very many healing ministry enthusiasts both secular and political . He used to mention about the visionary who kick started the medical college idea in Kolenchery namely late Mr. M. Chacko Pillai, a father figure of modern Kolenchery.
As the official spokesperson of the Christian Medical Colleges, his timely interventions were admirable to keep these colleges in good stead with excellent reputation both in results and conduct. The legal issues of the colleges were managed in the Supreme Court of India very professionally by GP and the end result was a winning saga for truth and triumph of values.
I recall his gesture of goodwill for a teenage girl who was admitted to CMC Vellore for bone marrow cancer. He was informed about the huge financial burden on the parents of the child. After ascertaining the veracity of the case independently from Vellore, he sent a neat sum of Rs one lakh to the treatment of BMT at the CMC Vellore. He subsequently talked to me that out of nearly Rs 50 lakhs expenses his was only a drop in the ocean. He was further willing to help them. But the family had arranged for funds form relatives and friends including bank loans. That child is now healthy and hail. This is one of the standing testimonies of his love for suffering fellow human beings.
GP at times used to become a cauldron of moral indignation. One classic case was the humble request made to him by a very senior Orthodox priest. This priest was known to him from his early childhood and was a widely respected man in the whole of the Malankara Orthodox Church and was nearing the age of 84 as well.
GP was then the Trusty of the whole Church elected by the Association and was very influential with in the Church hierarchy. He had very personal influence over the Malankara Metropolitan and the Catholicose as GP knew him as own parish priest in Ernakulam long ago.
As per the promise to the priest, GP once took up the matter of ordaining or decorating this very senior priest—achen- as Cor-Episcopa of the Church with HH Catholcose—Bawa. The Catholcose said it is not a big deal and we can do it as early as possible.
The Catholicose added one rider to the decoration by saying that let our bishop come back form his tour of America to make it a grand occasion. Incidentally this priest was working under that bishop for many years as the vicar of the famous Kolenchery church.
GP came back happily and conveyed the good news to the achen that Bawa has readily agreed to make it a solemn occasion.
During a meeting of the Working Committee after the lunch, GP stayed back for the bishop concerned to finish his lunch and to discuss the pet project of decorating the achen with the title of Cor -Episcopa.
The bishop reportedly said, “surely yes , we can do it”. But the cynical bishop added one ridder. “We may decorate him Cor-Episcopa posthumously”! Alas Alas!!
GP was taken aback. He was shattered beyond words to hear this response form a very senior bishop. He confessed to me in person that such a bishop is a curse to the Church and humanity, not even worthy to celebrate any Eucharist.
George Paul was known for his inherent intolerance to incompetency in people and institutions alike. But at the same he had malice to none and goodwill to all. He enjoyed the challenges of walking innovations.
That priest under discussion has recently entered his heavenly abode, and the word given by that bishop is yet to be fulfilled. After all who wants it anymore!! Promises made by any cynical one is at best as good as rubbish in the waste basket only.
After the 3rd July verdict of the Supreme Court of India, GP was making his diplomatic moves to bring unity and reunification in the Church. He was even willing to go with the team of bishops to visit HH the Patriarch. Evil forces sabotaged such initiatives by their sinister designs.
It is sad to see the double standard played by the Church leaders many times. GP must have been very uncomfortable within his coffin when some Church leaders were making tributes to his memory in the funeral eulogy. They were outsmarting one another in their hypocrisy. In a eulogy you are expected to speak from your heart and truthfully say how you feel about the departed person. Here the bishops most of them were only playing to the gallery without any semblance of honesty or Christian values. Hypocrisy was seen at its highest form !!
I salute the fond memories of this great soul. He was a true son of the Indian Orthodox Church. I hope and pray that his legacy will be our guiding spirt for the Church for years to come—both for laity and clergy.
My pranam to GP, at his first death anniversary. He was the personification of sanity and sagacity; wisdom, politeness and meticulousness. He was my North Star. I salute the fond memories of GP!
I do acknowledge with thanks the inputs and interactions I had with Rev Dr. Abraham Mulamoottil –former CEO of Pushpagiri Medical College, Tiruvalla; late Rev Abraham Poovathuveetil, Head of Chaplaincy and Vice President of MOSC Medical College, Kolenchery; late George Paul; Rev Gheevarghese Ramban and Er PJ Varghese -Kadamattom to mention a few who knew both GP and the MOSC intimately.