On April 10th, 2021, when COVID-19 snatched away Father Varghese Paul Chollamadam SJ, in Baroda, Gujarat, he joined the luminous galaxy of Jesuits who wielded the pen with a missionary zeal in another tongue. Gujarati language can never forget this man born on 31st May 1943, at Avoly village in Ernakulam district of Kerala, who has left behind more than fifty books in the mother tongue of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined the Jesuits of Gujarat on 8th June 1963, and after his long years of Jesuit training, intense intellectual formation, and theology at the Gregorian University, Rome, he was ordained a priest at the Gesu, Rome, on 21st June 1977.
With his studies in journalism at the London School of Journalism, and training in journalism in USA, when he returned to Gujarat, he found a vocation within his vocation to write in Gujarati. Fr. Varghese Paul in his writing mission spanning 60 years, proved his love for the language and the people who spoke it, through the 50 plus books in Gujarati. Even his 14 years of editorship of the 110 year old Gujarati monthly Doot was another proof. He single-handedly brought up the paid subscription to 5000 copies.
Besides the books, his numerous articles in the three top Gujarati newspapers – Sandesh, Gujarat Samachar, Divya Bhaskar – reflected the same ethos directly or indirectly. A passionate writer- missionary, he did not back out from his mission even when his health was very precarious, and the proof is his last article in English, on the encyclical Fratelli Tutti by Pope Francis for the International Journal on Multicultural Literature (IJML) which he wrote a month before his death and was published in the July issue of IJML. The same magazine published a tribute to him in its September 2021 issue. Fr. Varghese Paul SJ was indeed a soldier of the pen.