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Father K. J. Joseph, Pioneer of Salesian Tripura mission dies

By Father C.M. Paul
Father K.J. Joseph receiving National Film Award 2008 from Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Former President of India.
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Mumbai, Aug. 26. Shillong - A pioneer missionary of Salesian missions in north eastern state of Tripura died 25th August night of a massive heart attack at Salesian Provincial House at Mawlai in Shillong. Father K.J. Joseph (Kizhakkechennadu) was 68 years old.
Alumnus of Salesian College Sonada Father Joseph was the first Salesian parish priest of Shantir Rani Church, Mariamnagar in Tripura from 1991 to 1993. The 'Pro-Cathedral' Church of Agartala Diocese situated on the outskirts of the capital city, the mission cared for by the Holy Cross Fathers since 1930s.

Shillong Provincial Secretary Father Daniel Cajee informs, ''funeral will be held at Laitumkhrah Cathedral Cemetery on 27 August after 2.00 pm Funeral Mass at Savio Juniorate Mawlai.''

Award winning director of two Kokborok feature films (Mathia and Yarwng) Father Joseph's colleague Father P. J. Joseph (Pulinthanath) says about the circumstances of the death of the producer of his two award winning feature films saying, ''Yesterday (Sunday) evening after supper, he (Father Joseph) watched TV with the community for a little time, felt little uneasy (perhaps pain in the chest), so went to the room and after few minutes was found lying on the floor, lifeless. Heart attack perhaps. God rest his soul.''

Award winning camera man of the first Kokbork digital feature film Mathia (Bangles), Mr Sunil Lucas from Kolkata recalls Father Joseph as ''a laid back, easy going priest who was never fazed by adverse circumstances. Behind his ever cheerful demeanor was a highly intelligent, able administrator who got things done without ever breaking into a sweat.''

Assistant Professor and HoD Mass Communications at Tripura University Mr Sunil Kalai wrote on Facebook, ''You (Father Joseph) are someone who had always been dear, a mentor; whose footsteps I follow. A visionary man I know who stand by when the whole world goes astray. Like me there are million of hearts in whom you shall remain eternal. May You ''Rest in Peace.''

Both Father K.J. Joseph and P.J. Joseph were awarded for internationally acclaimed Kokborok feature film YARWNG (Roots) won the first National Film Award for Tripura state at 56th National Film Awards (2008) held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, 19 March, 2010. The President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil handed over the medal and certificate to both priests.

Father Pulinthanath dressed in white cassock and Father Kizhakechennadu in his preferred saffron lungi and half-sleeved white kurta were among 52 film award winners of 2008, including high-profile Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra and the doyen of Indian Cinematography V.K. Murthy who was awarded country's highest honor in cinema - the Dada Saheb Phalke Award.

Father K.J. Joseph, producer of both the films (Mathia and Yarwng) claimed cinematic traditions from his legendary relative John Abraham, a genius in Malayalam Cinema and founder of a people's cinema movement called Odessa.

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