Fr. Amos Rathnaswamy Rajamoney: A Man for Others
Father Amos Rathnaswamy Rajamoney was born on 25th June 1936 at Dohnavar, Tirunelveli District, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The son of Late Dr. Pakianathan Daniel Rajamoney and Late Mrs. Sellammal Rajamoney was the eighth child of his parents. He has seven brothers and four sisters.He studied at St. John’s High School-Malaysia and did his B.Ed. from Meston Training College Royapetttah, Chennai. After this, he went for higher study in Theology by doing Bachelor of Divinity (BD) from Bishop’s College,Kolkata. He was ordained in the Madras Diocese of the Church of South India (CSI) by Bishop Leslie Newbigin. He came to Delhi in the year 1967 and joined the Brotherhood of Ascended Christ-Delhi Brotherhood Society. . Almost at once, he was given the task of pastoral care of the Tamil congregation in the Delhi Cathedral Church of the Redemption, as also responsibility for the rehabilitation work and pastoral care of the Anand Gram Colony.
In the year 1967… father Amos Associated with the ST. FRANCIS CHAPEL (now Church)- ANAND GRAM through Delhi Brotherhood Society and regularly performed the Holy communion service every Sunday for the congregation. St. Francis Church was the first its kind of Chapel in the TransYamuna Patorate under Delhi Diocese Church of North India.
In the year 1972 with the support of the Cathedral Church of Redemption he started the Leprosy patient Children education fund (L.P.C.E.F) and changed the life of thousands of family through education and support.
Continuing with his service , in 1973 he started the social development work with a vision to create an environment in the community and society at large where every human being can live with peace, justice, unity and self-sufficiency without any discrimination. At that time Trans Yamuna area was ignored are by the Government and most of the people were belongs to resettlement colonies like Tahirpur, Seemapuri, Nand Nagri, Delhi and Shahid Nagar.. In these areas there were no basic facilities to lead a normal life.
The life and work of Late Rev Father Amos Rajamoney has been mainly in and around Delhi, where he is well-known for his effective development work among the people affected by leprosy and those living in the socio-economically deprived areas in east Delhi. The deep influence of the gospel on him since his days at Bishop's College, Kolkata, had a lasting effect on his ministry.
In 1977, he decided to share his life with the people of the deprived community and shifted from the Brotherhood House to live among them in Seemapuri. Here he found two local Christian men, Late Mr. A. George and Late Mr.Yesupatham, who offered him strong and faithful support. From here, with the participation of the people, he initiated community development programmes on a large scale, including outreach to the neglected elderly, children on the streets, and women in distress. Father Amos picked Mr. Anthony Thomas (Babu Bhaiya) from Cathedral Church of Redemption as his key finance Manager for all his projects till his migration to abroad. In the same year, when there were no education institution in the surrounding area, he initiated to opened Deenabandhu Primary School in Seema Puri and boys Hostel in Seema Puri J-Block, with the help of Late Mrs. Amuddammal George, in a tiny two room small plot, under the aegis of the Delhi Brotherhood Society.
Out of his experience of living with the people, he developed three principles for his work: first, that he did not have a solution to people's problems but was there to participate in their struggle for social development, and the agenda for development could only be set by the people themselves and not by some outside body; second, that the most effective worker and leaders must be identified from among the people themselves who know the local situation from within, that is, members of the local community rather than outsiders; and third, that the culture, religion, and customs of the people must be respected. Therefore, there should be no ulterior motives to ‘convert’ people from one religion to another, but to serve them for the sake of Christ alone.
On 2nd April, 1979 he helped to form “Anand Gram Kalyan Samiti” and took stand for self dependent and the people started hunger strike to oppose the Govt and Hind Kusht Nivaran Sang’s Policies. At this time Father stayed with the people and started working among them and made them self-reliant through various income generation activities like Poultry farm, Textiles Handloom etc. He also started working in harmony with the government for meeting the basic necessities such as electricity ,water, proper roads and rehabilitation schemes to be available in the inhabited communities.
In the year 2000, he established NGO and named it Ashadeep Foundation (‘Ashadeep’ means the light of hope). Since 2000 he has been deeply involved in setting up a model of a rural development ministry primarily in Hastinapur and Ghaziabad villages. The work is in its initial stages and has to be carried on by the Delhi Brotherhood Society.
His failing health at one point had affected his legs from which he had recovered to a large extent but not completely, but at the end his heart condition gave rise to other complications which he could not overcome
At the age 77, on March 18, 2013 Fr. Amos Rajamony took his last breath in St. Stephen’s Hospital. His death made us reflect on the missionary ideals. Fr. Amos wished to entered in Anand Gram cemetery, but the love of the people was such that they had his remains to rest beneath the foundation of St. Francis Church. Thousands of people from all religion, cast and creed were present during his last rituals, we have not seen such a big crowd.
We miss you father a lot, your work will always be remembered for ever. . You will continue to be a source of inspiration to the communities where he worked.
A sincere Tribute from St. Francis Family.