Late. Padma Bushan
Dr. Jacob Cherian



              Late Padma Bushan Dr. Jacob Cherian B. Sc, MBBS, FRCS ( ED) FRCS )GI), FICS, FAACS, FAIS was simple and humble servant of God Almighty serving to poor and sick of rural humanity for a period 50 years. He was a pioneer in the field of Community Health, Education and Socio- Economic development

               Dr.Cherian was born at Kottara on July 14th, 1923 as the son of Rev. K.M. Jacob popularly known as Kottara Achen. In the Gunnies book of World Records Kottara Achen founded place for his longest service as Pastor of the Marthoma Church.

               After completing his graduation from the University of Kerala, he joined the Miraj Medical School in Maharashtra and then he got a place in R.G. Kar, Medical College in Calcutta and passed MBBS in 1956. During the year 1961 itself he was conferred upon FRCS from Royal college of Surgeons Glasgow. With these highly professional degrees he decided to go to the rural people who needed his service more than anybody else landed up Oddanchatram a drought hit very backward village in Tamil Nadu, with a small group of Doctors and Nurses and started a small health center for the poor villages of Oddanchatram with his wife and Dr. A.K. Tharian .

               Later in 1965 he moved to Ambilikkai another still more remote village in Dindigul District to establish a Community Health Centre. The services were given to the people irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Thus Ambilikkai become the centre of his mission. The early days of his life were very hard but through contribution and cooperation of people he could establish 18 institutions in the field of Medical, health, education and social work with emphasis on community health services to the rural folk of the area around covering nearly 100 villages. His biography is written by Mr. Nachimuthu a Tamil Pandit containing about 200 pages. His wife was a highly qualified Physician cum Pediatrician stood with him and supported him in his activities wholeheartedly.

              Dr. Cherian had established 18 institutions in Medicine, Health, Education, Social work besides two homes for poor children and one home for Senior citizens. H e had established 24 Mini Health Centers in several villages o control communicable diseases and infectious diseases. Both in his Administrative Office s well as in his OPD people had an easy accessibility. He never separate people based on richness or poorness. Through his life he taught us the real Christian love and life.


               Education is another area where his attention was drawn next to Medical mission. Literacy rate during that time was very low due to lack of educational and training centers, he started an English Medium Higher Secondary School and Tamil Medium Higher Secondary School and Professional Colleges like Nursing College, Polytechnic College, ITI, RTS AND Science College and Engineering College. A training Institute was also established to provide health related courses to the youth. Due to the pioneering efforts literacy rate in the area has been considerable improved. Besides he also has helped to establish many primary, higher, elementary and high schools in the area. H believed very firmly education (enlightens ) is the foundation of all development and the down trodden people of this area gained easy access to education and get empowerment in all aspects.

Boarding Home for Poor Children

               Many parents find it very difficult to bring up their children for various reasons due to utter poverty and unemployment. He has taken upon himself the responsibility of providing them food, shelter and education and bring them up to become good citizens. He has established 2 Residential Homes for poor children with the funds received from Kindernothilfe Germany and World Vision USA and his own funds. Warden and care takers of the hoes have been trained in the concerned fields. Seven thousands of children have been benefitted through this endeavor.


               In these days of urbanization and modernization, traditional family norms and peace have been uprooted. Poverty and loneliness make the life of a lot of old people intolerable. Life becomes burden for those unfortunates who are deprived of love and affection and are neglected. So he opened a Mercy Home for the destitute old people where they get peace, love, affection, shelter and comfort till their death.

Hospital Service

               Apart from all these he was admired and loved by all for his skills in surgery. After establishing a good reputed general hospital at Oddanchatram along with his wife and Dr. A.K. Tharain, he moved to Ambilikkai where all sorts of surgeries were done for the poor people at a very nominal cost. He is not only a surgeon but also a Physician and half his patients are medical cases. It is highly commendable that in a remote area like Ambilikkai , he established a very good 330 bedded hospital with necessary modern facilities and super specialties in such a short time. It is very great blessing to the people in this remote area so that he could get cheap and best treatment at their doors otherwise they have to spend a lot of money by going to urban medical centers. He has earned a name for his hospital in whole of central Tamil Nadu. There are days he had finished consultation of 200 patients and stretched on to a dozen surgeries


               Dr. Jacob Cherian was a good orator and is life style was very simple in every way. His language was plain and simple. His speeches were plain and simple. His speech was appealing even to illiterate rural audience. There was no exaggeration in saying that he spent all his time for the total improvement of a rural region. In other words he gave a face lifting to Ambilikkai by converting a remote backward village into a semi urban area.


               He was a champion of untouchability. H e used to lead the campaign against untouchability. He wanted to eradicate the social evils like untouchability and castes from our land, which obstructs the progress of any nation. Not only he works for the uplift of the suppressed and oppressed Harijan community, but he attends their marriages and social functions and chats with them, but he often uses to advise them to avoid celebrations of so many festivals based on superstitions and old custom and social practices. That too taking loan they celebrate them or the misuse of Government loan for this purpose.

               He had helped thousands of families in his project area with many cottage industries like brick making, spinning and weaving, domestic diaries and sheep rearing and poultry so much so Oddanchatram is one of the best milk and milk products producing area in South India. He used to help the poor especially Harijan hill tribes to get house sites and agricultural land and also to dig wells for drinking and irrigation purposes after reclamation of the land. Every year he used to distribute seeds and seedlings to the poor people. On many occasions he had distributed blankets, quilts, dresses to the poor which he received from abroad affluent countries through CASA. His team of social and development workers and the workers of his associate foreign agencies are much interested in getting loans and mild financial aid to the poor and the aged, under so many welfare schemes of the Government and international agencies to make comfortable living.


               He belonged to the old school of surgeons who used to operate from head to foot. There was no organ which has not touched and operated. On the record he had performed more than 25000 of surgical proceedings so far. No wonder he was conferred upon fellowship by world famous 5 Colleges of Surgeons

  • Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh U.K
  • Royal College of Surgeons , Glasgow U.K
  • International College of Surgeons U.S.A
  • American College of Surgeons USA
  • Indian Association of Surgeons( First batch of Fellow) India


                   Dr. Cherian was a Gandhian in his outlook and believes in non violence and uplift of the poor in whatever way possible. His single mined devotion in this direction for the past 50 years had paid rich dividends in the improvement of the educational and health aspects of the poor people of this area. Development of the people in this entire rural area was in a holistic manner and was a herculean task and role model for adoption in any part of our country.




      National Award


    Employment of the Highest number of cured Leprosy patients in the Institution (1993)




      State Award


    From Nehru Peace Foundation of Tamil Nadu 1994




      District Award


    Employment of the Highest number of cured Leprosy patients in the Institution (1993)




      National Award


    For liberation of the oppressed, suppressed community of Hill Tribes and Harijans and championing the causes of Untouchability and literacy




      National Awardees


    President of India has awarded Padmabushan in January 1999

                   Dr. Cherian was a dedicated Medical Missionary and a charismatic leader. He was a great role model with an inspiring personality. He fought to the last for the poor and deprived sections of the society. He was a true Christian by word and deed.

                   Dr. Cherian’s adventuress spirit and the boldness to face challenges with Christian faith was admirable. With a pleasant smile on his face, he overcomes all the tensions and problems in life and work.


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