ഡോ. മാത്യു ഇല്ലിക്കല് അപൂര്വ്വ വ്യക്തിത്വം
Legacy of Dr.Mathew Illickal
(Eulogy at the Memorial Service-- New York June 15, 2011 by George Abraham)
My son has already spoken, more poignantly than I could, on our family ties to Dr. Mathew Illickal and his family. I have myself spoken yesterday how indebted we are to the Illickal family for enriching our lives in the last 31 years. Today, I shall speak more broadly, not just from the perspective of our family, about the legacy of Dr.Illickal, a legacy that makes us all feel proud.
First and foremost, his legacy is the family he has left behind. Lilykutty herself is his creation. She is not the same bride he brought along to these shores: she is today an accomplished lady, who is an asset to the community and to the society at large. His children, Mohan, Manoj and Maya and his grandchildren are the greatest gifts he has bequesthed to us. He will live on in them and remind us of him. His values will remain immortal.
Dr. Mathew’s professional legacy shall also last very long. I am sure his motivation to come to the US was to gain professional skills in this land of technology and research. He became one of the best in his profession as a surgeon, but he retained the traditional vakues of his Indian training. He relied on his touch, his instinctive understanding of the human body to heal, not merely on machines. I have never heard him speak of his accomplishments, which celebrities he has operated upon etc. But we knew his professional skills. We called him whether it was a cold or broken bones and he gave us the cure with his thoughtfulness and sympathy. He healed us in a way only God could, by giving us trength and confidence.
His legacy as an Indian immigrant to the United States is also a noble one. He did not leave India because he had a grievance or because he could not make a living there. And having come here, he did not ever denounce India or Indian medicine. He gave his life of service to his country of adoption and earned the respect and confidence of his patients at a time when Indian doctors were few and far between. If Indian Americans have won a place for themselves here and enhanced India’s prestige and influence, it is because of the hard work and talents of people like Dr. Illickal. He has done more to India-US relations than any ambassadorcould. Like other Indian Americans, he was a true ambassador of his country here. He did not speak nostalgically about returning home, but his wish to have his ashes sent home has revealed his passion for his motherland.
And more than anything else, his is the legacy of a perfect human being. He had no malice, no ill will. He had a beatific smile for everyone, a word of encouragement and comfort to everyone. He will be remembered for his aristocratic upbringing and unfailing humanity and humility. We are the poorer for his parting, but richer for his legacy. May his soul rest in peace.
Dr. Mathew Illickal
I am saddened by the passing of this great individual who truly symbolized an early Malayalee immigrant.
Like many of us, he came to a new world crossing the oceans and braving the frontiers to a totally new cultural experience. He built up a successful career, brought up his family and got involved in the community to help and guide those who were in need.
For many of us there was no family here other than these good-hearted souls. When some others moved themselves away from the Malayalee community once they achieved success, Dr & Mrs. Illickal remained as guiding-lights in promoting culture, language and providing charity.
Dr. Illickal was a happy person, mainly because he felt that he had full competence to master his environment. For instance, he enjoyed his life with his charming wife who is not only intelligent and witty but also has a big heart for the people from Kerala.
He built up his health, wisdom, and virtue by serving as a model of a Better Person enhancing his self-esteem by his own achievement and other's adoration. Dr. Illickal’s love for his motherland always lighted up his face during discussions. No wonder, he often talked about his desire to be buried alongside with his ancestors back in Kerala.
I recollect my early years as a member and then General Secretary of Kerala Samajam, the first Malayalee cultural organization in North America, always getting together with Illickals whether it was an organizational event or a private party. He was such a gentle person who did not ruffle the feathers of anyone. His open-minded wisdom, contented life, and cheerful philosophy enlightened all of us as we were growing up and making it our life here.
Once again we want to cherish those memories and celebrate the legacy of a pioneer who will continue to be an inspiration for all of us in the community for years to come.
Thank you Dr. Illickal for your kindness and love for all of us,
George Abraham, Secretary-General, INOC,USA
Chairman, Kerala IT Alliance (KITA)
I got this sad news when I was in Chicago on June 12th. Dr. Illickal was one of the pioneers of Malayalee immigrants in US and was very much involved in community activities all through.
He and his wife were always in the front of all humanitarian activities
and extended a helping hand to all new immigrants and Indian officials
coming to New York .
When the sad news came I was sitting with Ambassador TP Sreenivasan who was almost in tears. He recollected the great hospitality of Illickal family since the first day he landed in New York three decades back.
Let us pray to our Lord for giving Ms. Illickal and family the strength
to tide over these days of deep sorrow. Let our dear Dr. Illickal's soul
rest in eternal peace.
With heartfelt condolences
Alex Vilanilam Koshy & family