My name is Jacob Vadakkanchery. Many mistake the last part of name to be a place name in Kerala – but it is the family name of my father Vadakkanchery Chacko Paulose. My home is located in Malipuram, Vypeen island which is one of the most densely populated areas in Kerala, Southern India. My childhood with my mother Smt. Annie Paulose and siblings Lilly, Mary Shine and Job was like any other child in Kerala. I was an average student who would get involved in all extra- curricular activities especially debates and elocution. This must have laid the foundation for my future life as a public speaker.
As a young boy, I was often troubled by the impact of liquor in the lives of women and families in my small village. This was what prompted me to associate with one of the visionary stalwarts of the Kerala Prohibition movement M.P.Manmathan who worked at grassroots level carrying the message of Gandhiji. The training and mentorship that this great leader gave prompted me to work along with the simple village women who came together to fight against alcoholism. Through innovative action programs that drew the attention of all including decision makers we were part of the mass movement that helped close down 40,000 country- made liquor shops in the State. This was in the 1980- 1990 period of my life.
My exposure to Gandhian philosophy inspired me to start the Swasraya Vypeen, a community level movement in my village based on the principles of self-reliance and self- sufficiency. From 1987, a whole host of eco-friendly or nature life products has been produced by the team of women and men creating a space for empowerment and employment generation including an income to sustain their life. These products are now being distributed through the network of self healing centers (Nature Life Hospitals) and Eco- shops spread all over the State.
Though the need for awards and accolades should hardly be the aim of a true Gandhian, I do cherish the Spirit of Assissi National Award that was given to me in 1995 for my contribution to social change. The message of peace, tolerance and compassion that St.Fransis of Assissi preached – his quote “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching “ has been the inspiring force for many of us.
My friendship and communication with eminent persons like Sri. Carl Kline and Dr.M.P.Mathai earned me the prestigious work of being the Indian Co-ordinator for Peace Brigades. I have been able to contribute my humble services as Joint Secretary for Gandhi Peace Foundation, Kochi. The most meaningful and socially powerful activity and questions that the Narmada Bachao Andolan has been raising under the leadership of Smt.Medha Patkar has also motivated me to be stronger and convinced about development and environment.
It is all of the above and many other personal searches that has enabled me to understand and focus on my niche in life. The various small and scattered programs that I have been doing for many years connected to human health and invasion of corporate medical companies and modern medical hospitals was put under a focus within a decade. The title Nature Life Hospitals took form as a movement in addressing holistic health habits and healing power of the human body about 2 decades back. The path set by naturopaths like Lakshmana Sharma and C.R.R. Varma has been the motivation for me.
The slogan COME A PATIENT, RETURN A DOCTOR has attracted many to the movement because it addresses the need for a person to understand his/her body and becomes it healer instead of giving the responsibility to an alien person/ situation. The strength of the human mind to direct the body to heal and lead a healthy life has been proven all over the world. My contacts and work in countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Singapore Australia and so on helped understand the all pervading and global nature and effectiveness of natural healing.
At this juncture it has to be mentioned that my essential nature as an activist and social reformer has been expressed here too. The exploitation and aggressive invasion of the modern medical system that makes a person a dependant, helpless victim of a disease and medicine has to be changed before one talks about total healing. This felt need has led to the creation of the Statewide Janarogya Prasthanam that has taken up the toxic impacts of modern medicines, the invasive treatment of the body done by allopaths, the use, misuse and overuse of medicines that maintains the disease and often creates more ill-health, the negative effects of pesticides and chemicals in food production and preparation besides awareness programs about true health. This movement has gained momentum as more and more people become aware of the negative effects of lifestyle changes and treatments.
After many years of living alone, I found my life time partner in Dr.Soumya who shares my life views on healing for social change – we have a 4 year old son – Jeevan who teaches us how to bring up a child in a healthy manner naturally.