May 2018
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Here is a Good Samaritan !
Author-Reji Joseph

A business man with a difference. Defying the very concept of commerce, Padmashri Mr. Kurian John lives with a vision of offering comfort and service to the many suffering.

Mr. Kurian John hails from the ancient Melamparambil family in Tiruvalla. He is the son of Late M V John and Mrs. Leelamma John. He procured his education from MGM School and Marthoma College, Tiruvalla and later his undergraduate studies from Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. He did his Masters from The Indore School of Social work.

The real reason behind Mr. Kurian John adorning the robe of an entrepreneur was to find a capital investment for humanitarian activities. Mr. Kurian is not a typical business man whose philanthropic interests were ignited when his business flourished. On the contrary, he started the business in order to find enough capital to start his charity work. With the passing of his father Mr. Kurian John took upon himself the onus of providing respite to those financially deprived patients.

On September 10th 1986 he formed the MVJM Charitable society and took a leap into this noble service. When he found that the salary he was making while working for a prominent newspaper was insufficient for his humanitarian service, he was impelled to give that job up and start his own business. That was the birth of what we know today as the Melam Group the name synonym with tantalizing spices, masalas and pickles.

For the last 3 decades, he has been setting aside the profit that he makes out of this Mega brand Melam for the suffering and the hungry. The Melam family has made it their mission to spread hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. The satisfaction and joy that they receive through these services are the real profits of this business. "This is the real asset", claims Mr. Kurian John.

At the end of 30 years, as we take a look at the balance sheet of Mr Kurian John's life, it reads like this: 1.54 lakhs of poor people have been helped through 1025 hospitals, 15 lakhs poor patients have been given free food. Thus, goes the timeline on this good Samaritan's history of Charity.

His father who was an embodiment of ideals and strong principles was his role model. The untimely passing away of his father and the inconsolable sorrow that he felt, motivated him to dedicate his life into humanitarian service.

Despite being financially secure, he could not save his father because timely medical assistance could not be provided. This left an indelible mark on his heart. For the appeasement of his father's soul and in his memory, Mr. Kurian John decided to open his heart and hands generously to help those in need. He was determined to keep it both selfless and sincere.

Mr. Kurian John had often witnessed the agony and heartache of family members who had to watch helplessly as their loved ones move on because they could not afford treatment. The aim of the Melamparambil Varghese John Memorial (MVJM) Charities founded on September 10th 1986 was to provide generous help to those seeking medical aid. Irrespective of caste or religion, Mr. Kurian John helps those who approach him.

In some special cases, during the treatment period, he even provides meals and clothes to the caretakers and financial assistance for the education of their children. For the last 25 years, he has been providing lunch to the patients of the Tiruvalla Government hospital. This is done under the supervision of the Red Cross Society Tiruvalla center.

Purity of heart is the quintessential quality that finds favor with God when it comes to Charity. Your motives and actions when from a pure heart become worthy to be called a Godly service.

Mr. Kurian John believes that if your intentions and actions are good, God will consistently intervene and lead the effort. He also believes that his business enterprises were blessed with growth without failures or losses only by the protection of the Almighty. If the wealth is a blessing of God, then we are obligated to give a portion of it to our fellow beings who deserve God's compassion. This insight is what enabled this business monarch to build up his business empire.

As he puts behind him six decades of life on Earth this is his message: "It's in giving that you receive, in sharing that your wealth is doubled, it's when you gift that your heart fills with joy."

The Melam Group has now grown internationally into a great enterprise. The bigger the business grew, the greater the expansion of Mr. Kurian's charitable services and meal services. Realizing the need for more dedication and time, he has now handed over the Melam group to another business giant and has now devoted his entire life towards this ministry.

Every second Saturday of the month has been set aside for meeting people and listening to them. This helps him to wisely choose the deserving patients. Once the beneficiaries are chosen, the financial help to these people is expended through 2 points in Kerala: The Melamparambil building, at the Melam junction in Tiruvalla and the office building at Panampilly Nagar in Ernakulam.

An application form is issued every second Saturday at the Melamparampil building at the Melam Junction. The help is offered only to those whose income is below the poverty line. Money alone isn't the answer to people's pain. Words of comfort and messages of hope are also part of the healing missionrendered by Mr. Kurian John and family. People who come from various districts and faraway places are attended to and heard by Mr. Kurian John and family.

Although these services are initiated by Mr. Kurian, there are many who join hands with him to make the services effective. One such group would be the specialists from various hospitals who take time to help in the treatment of deserving patients. About 1500 doctors have come forward to walk alongside Mr. Kurian John in this journey of compassion and Love.

Mr. Kurian John believes that health is the most important thing, even more than food, clothing, and shelter. If a man has health, then he can work and earn the other 3 necessities. If there is no health, then a man cannot be happy or become selfsufficient.

Mr. Kurian John who has devoted his life to service and ministry is also the Author of the book 'Melam Ente Jeevante Thalam" (when translated means 'Melam the Rhythm of My Life') has been a source of inspiration to many of its readers. This book is a chronicle of his experiences helpful in providing guidance for success and happiness for those living in disappointment, sorrow and brokenness. This incredible devotee of service has been recognized by the Government of India by honouring him with the fourth highest civilian award Padmashri.

Melam Group of companies have been the recipient of the award from the Indian Government four years in a row (19941997) for being the largest exporting brand in the country. In 1997, Mr. Kurian John also had the honor of receiving the award for the Best Entrepreneur bestowed on him by the Ministry of Commerce & Industries from the Vice President of India.

As he completes 3 decades of humanitarian service, he has stepped up his mission with the slogan 'The nation's health, our responsibility". As a part of this, Mr. Kurian John has targeted 500 schools where Cancer awareness programs and seminars are conducted in collaboration with Sargakshetra and Deepika Daily.

The success of Mr. Kurian John's life is also because of his wife Sujatha ,the daughter of Mr. J C Baven . The couple works singlemindedly for this noble service. They have two daughters Divya and Dhanya who are also involved in this philanthropic work.

Divya is married to Ratheeesh Mathew who is the Director at Uniliver Ltd, Dubai. His second daughter Dhanya is a Professor at Symbiosis University and is married to Adv. Varghese Cheeran Mathews who practices Intellectual Property Law in Delhi.

With the support and encouragement from his wife and children he has been able to gather a number of awards and accolades. A few of which are as below:

Padmashri award by Government of India
Rotary International For the Sake of Honour Award,
Times of India Business Excellence Award,
Bank of Baroda Sun Lifetime Achievement award
Lion's Club International Excellence award,
Sri Gokulam Excellence award,
Sri Sankara Trust Social Work Award,
Mahatma Gandhi Jana Seva Award,
JCA Junior Chamber award,
Mammen Mathai MLA Memorial award,
Rhema Foundation International Award
Cherian Palathara memorial award,
Trivandrum Kalanidhi Karma Kshetra award
Bharat Matha Institute of Management CSR award

"Each award is a reward from God motivating me to keep on keeping on doing good to humanity", ponders Mr. Kurian John.

His creed is: Become more duty conscious each day, the life that God gives us use it to do good. Let your life be an open book of goodness.

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