Fr Gabriel Chiramel CMI, Padma Bhushan Award winner dies
Kochi: Gabriel Chiramel CMI, an Indian priest, and the award winner of Padma Bhushan in 2007 by the Government of India for his contribution to education and literature dies, at the age of 103, on 11 May 2017 at Amala Institute of Medical Sciences campus where he was staying towards the later part of his life.
The Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, given for distinguished service of a high order, service in any field including service rendered by Government servants as well as public sector undertakings. The President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presented Padma Bhushan to Fr Gabriel Chiramel CMI, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on March 23, 2007.
Chiramel was a member of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate Congregation (CMI). He was an educationist, zoologist, author and social reformer, known for his services in the fields of education, health and human welfare. Chiramel served as the founder principal of Christ College in Irinjalakuda in Kerala from 1956 to 1975. He built up the institution as a place of excellence with the integration of academics, literature, arts, sports and games. After his retirement from Christ College, he served as the provincial of Devamatha Province, Thrissur. It was during this time he initiated the establishment of Amala Cancer Hospital in 1978 which has now grown into Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, a Medical College offering the courses such as MBBS, MD, MS, DM, BSc Nursing, General Nursing, other paramedical courses, Diploma courses in pharmacy, nursing and therapy in Ayurveda.
Chiramel also established number of other institutions such as St. Joseph’s College, Irinjalakuda, Carmel Higher Secondary School, Chalakudy, Bharathamatha School, Palakkad, Catholic Centre, Irinjalakuda, Deepthi Cultural Centre, Calicut, Sneha Bhavan for training physically challenged children and parallel colleges at Ambazhakad and Varantharapilly. He also established the Zoology Department of Sacred Heart College, Thevara.
Gabriel Chiramel was born with the Christian name, Antony, on 11 December 1914 in Manalur in the south Indian state of Kerala. He made his first profession on 24 November 1933 and was ordained as a priest on 30 May 1942. He entered the field of teaching in the Upper Primary School in Champakkulam. In 1943 he moved to teach the Aspirants in Mannanam. After passing Intermediate with First Rank in St. Berchmans College, Changanassery and B.A Honours with 2nd Rank from Presidency College, Madras, he started teaching in Sacred Hearts College, Thevara.
Father Gabriel was a member of the Senate and Syndicate of the Calicut University.During his 74 years of priestly life, he is credited to have said mass for more 25, 000 times.
His funeral will be held on May 13 at the Christ Ashram Church in Irinjalakuda.
By: Shyju Chacko