Saturday, February 8, 2014

So far away

Arathoon. The first I came across this name was a couple of years ago, at Royapuram, where there is a road named so. Because there were traders and merchants of different nationalities in the north Madras area during the 18th and 19th centuries, it didn't come across as being out of place. There are references to the family of John Arathoon, an Armenian merchant of the early 19th century; maybe he is the one who gave his name to the street? Of course, I have an alternate etymology that 'அறம் + தூண்', meaning 'Pillar of Goodness' will make Arathoon a very solid Tamizh name. Someone from the time of the Chozhas? 

And then I saw this memorial stone in the Luz Church. In the early 19th century, which is when this stone is dated, Royapuram and Luz were probably better connected than they are now; at least the commute would not have taken much longer than current standards. So it is conceivable that C. Arathoon Esq., whoever he may have been, lived in Mylapore and attended to business in Royapuram. Or maybe his widow, Hosanna Arathoon (who is remembered through this plaque), moved near the Luz Church after becoming the "Relict of the Late C. Arathoon Esq"?

The name has an enticingly familiar ring. But not having been able to find much about Arathoon - C, or otherwise, - I wonder if there was more to them than just an Armenian, or Royapuram, connection?

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