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A Journey to Jerusalem by Parumala Thirumeni  

In the new edition of Malayalam literature and Christians (1989), Scariah Zachariah, lits editor, wrote that the language, style and literary beauty of Oorslem Yathra Vivaranam are not very commendable. He wrote in this vein mainly because Malayalam prose had at that time almost attained its full development. It is not possible to agree with the opinion of Scariah Zachariah. 

            Prose in Malayalam language developed as a result of lits contact with the English language and literature. Earlier Malayalam had depended on Sanskrit. There was no prose style in Sanskrit which Malayalam could emulate. The first prose work in Malayalam, the style of which could be imitated late, appeared during the early part ;of the 19th century and that was the Malayalam translation of the Bible. 

            When Parumala thirumeni was writing his prose works, there was only one prose work in Malayalam; i.e. Varthamanapusthakam. But Varthamanapusthakam had not been printed at that time.  The other book Oorslem Thiruyathra was not a work which priced imitation of its style.

When Mar Gregorios wrote his travelogue he had before him only a few ‘travel versifications’. From the 18th century onwards about 40 ‘Travel Poems’ were popular in book form land otherwise. Kasi Yathra Varnanam by Vaikkom Pachumootjhatu (1854), Rameswara Yathra by Venmony Achan Namboothiri (1880), Samgamesa Yathra (1891) by Venmony Mahan Namboothire, Madisasi Yathra (1891) by Kunjikkuttan lthampuran and Sreekavi Samaja Yathrasathakam and Vaikkam Yathra Sathakam by K.C.Kesava Pillai are a few cases in point, which were popular travel-poems in malayalam.

            The Malayalam prose used in Oorslem yathra Vivaranam is the developed form of prose which belonged to the age of the travel poems. During the early decades of 19th century Father Chavara Kuriakose Elias, Bishop Dr. Marsaleenos and others adopted the Malayalam prose of the common masses. 

            Those scholars who had proficiency in the English language like Dr. Gundert, Rev.George Mathan, Archadeacon Koshy, Kandathil Varghese Mappilai, Aymanam P.John, Kalloor Oommen Philipose and the like, reformed the spoken Malayalam of the times and thus opened a new style of Malayalam prose. 

            The Malayalam prose, which developed through this process, is certainly available in Oorslem Yathra Vivaranam. It has the linguistic beauty and the quality of the literature of the day. It is most likely that some of the publications in Malayalam during these days were familiar to Parumala Thirumeni.  Kandathil Varghese Mappilai, who came to know about Thirumeni’s interest i in literature, sent to him a copy of one of his works-Keerthanamala. Thirumeni read it and in July 1901 sent a reply to Varghese Mappilai. It reads thus: 

            “I received the copy of Keerthanamala which you had sent me. I feel happy about it, land I showed it to people who came here and they too have expressed their satisfaction about it. May god reward you with his blessings, since your work is much useful for the welfare of all.  I must sincerely pray god to perfect your endeavors in this direction and make it for the glory of god, the welfare of all and for your good remembrance. May God grant you peace, protect you and your family land give salvation unto you”. 

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