October 11, 2017
It was a rare and heart-touching feat when one of the persons, a descendant from a business family, sitting in the audience suddenly fell at the feet of an aged woman who has played a no small role in being part of setting up a testament of the past.
Kempi, which from Kannada translates to ‘Sigappu Pen’ in Tamil, is an 84-year-old woman from Kasthuri Palayam near Periyanaickenpalyam. She was married to one Rangasamy, a mill worker from Papanaickenpalyam, before the 50s.
According to B Meenakshi Sundharam, one of the authors of the book ‘Neerisaiyil Oorisai’, Kempi Ammal is the only person living among the four who constructed the Vimalnath Jain temple in Vysial Street.
It was the first Jain temple in the city built during early 50s by ‘Kurangu Chettu’, a Jain who got that name because he sold kerosene in Coimbatore under the brand name ‘monkey’.
During the release of the book where Kempi was present, Aravind, one of the descendants of Korangu Chettu family, got up from among the audience and fell at the feet of Kempi Ammal and sought her blessings. He also presented her with a shawl as a token of recognition for her efforts.
Kempi’s son Kavianban Babu, co-author of the book, mentions about his mother’s role in the construction of the first Jain temple.
He told The Covai Post that the temple was constructed by one mason three `sittals’ or women assistants which included his mother. She is the only living member among the four.
He said his mother went as a construction assistant to support the family. “I have never felt disgrace about that. I am proud of her,” he says.