Tuesday, November 23, 2010
‘It is God’s grace which protected me’
COLUMN: SPIRITUAL MATTERS
Hormis Tharakan, the former director-general of the Kerala Police says that in times of extreme danger, the divine force has saved him
By Shevlin Sebastian
It was March, 1983. Hormis Tharakan was in Rome. Suddenly he received a call from his Brussels-based brother, Mathew, who gave him grim news. Their youngest brother, Michael, 32, was in the Intensive Care Unit of the Sree Chitra Medical Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. Michael had two successive heart attacks.
“The odds of survival were low,” says Tharakan. Devastated, he got into his car and went to the house of the Sisters of Charity. “I had heard that Mother Teresa had come on a brief visit,” he says.
He met Mother Teresa in the garden and told her about Michael’s illness. She led him to a small chapel nearby. They both knelt down and prayed. “God listened to our pleas,” says Tharakan, the former director-general of the Kerala police. Michael survived, and in later years, became the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University.
Tharakan prays to God every morning when he gets up. He uses a prayer which his mother gave him when he was DIG of Police, Central Range, Ernakulam. It goes like this: ‘Please help me to serve our people, not to be impatient under any circumstance, to carry out every task to the best of my skills and to use my abilities to do good. Lord, guide me in my thoughts and let my conscience shine before You.” He also prays that his children are protected by God at all times.
Tharakan says that he has a few favourite places of worship. One of them is the Basilica at Sardana, 21 kms from Meerut. “It has an unusual history,” he says. The church was constructed by a Muslim woman, Begum Sumru, a nautch girl, who had been married to Walter Reinhardt, a German mercenary in India. When he died on May 4, 1778, she inherited his fiefdom. Thereafter, Begum Sumru became a Catholic.
In 1822, the Begum built a church at Sardana. “When I pray in this church, in the midst of a mangrove orchard, I feel peaceful,” says Tharakan.
He also likes the Eremo delle Carceri (the Hermitage of the Cells), located in a wooded area on Mount Subasio in Assisi, Italy. It was here that St. Francis lived in a cave and wrote the beautiful prayer, ‘Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace’. “It should be the prayer of every policeman,” he says.
Tharakan has, in his travels all over the world, prayed at temples and mosques, as well as churches. Some of the places include the St. Antony’s Church at Thycattussery, near Chertala, built by his forefathers, the Sabarimala temple, the Wailing Wall at Jerusalem, the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy, and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. “I feel comfortable praying anywhere, because God is present wherever good things are being done,” he says.
Despite being a tough cop, who took on the Naxalites in the 1970s, Tharakan says that there were many instances when he escaped despite being in grave danger. “It is God’s grace that saved me during those times,” he says.
When asked whether man needs God, he says,” I know of people who did not have a belief in God, but still behaved in an ethical manner. But for most people, a faith in God helps them to distinguish between right and wrong. It prevents them from behaving in whatever way they like.”
(The New Indian Express, Kerala)