In the said article, Mr. Hari Kumar repeats what has practically become the latest catechism that magically qualifies scribes to write about Christianity in India these days. I refer to this bland assertion of his:
"The Chaldean Syrian East is one of several denominations tracing its origins to St Thomas the Apostle who, according to tradition, came to India in 52 AD."
But alas, what may count as "tradition" among ignorant pen-pushers with Hindu names, may not stand the test of historical, or even truly traditional scrutiny. The Acts of Thomas, the source of the tradition mentions not Thomas the Apostle, but Thomas Didymos, i.e. Thomas the Twin (of Jesus). The Acts also indicates that Jesus sold him as a slave to a Phoenician merchant and that Thomas Didymos ended up in a "desert country." Of course, Mr. Hari Kumar is at liberty to claim that Kerala, usually the first recipient of the monsoons, is a "desert country," since our presswallahs are sainted figures too. The historical fly in this miraculous ointment is that a certain Thomas of Canaan (hence the confusion with the apostle) led a band of Christian refugees fleeing Persian persecution to seek refuge in Kerala in the 4th century A.D. The local Hindu king very kindly allowed them to settle and continue their rites and traditions without let or hindrance.
However, even Mr. Hari Kumar has the right to the occasional truth. For, after centuries of peaceful coexistence with their Hindu neighbours, the Syrian Christians made common cause with the Portuguese invaders as soon as they hove in sight.
"Following the Portuguese colonization of parts of Kerala, Christians in Malabar (the historical name for Kerala) allied themselves to the Roman Catholic Church."
More importantly, as the ilk of Mr. Hari Kumar continue to bandy around reports of an apostle in Kerala, rather like the sporadic reports of the Yeti in the Himalayas, it is instructive to reflect on the theological consequences of the said bandying. Tradition then informs us unequivocally that Thomas Didymos who went to the "Indies" was the twin of Jesus, who is venerated by Christians as the only son of god, and who also indulged in slave trade using his own twin as merchandise. No wonder observant Catholics have discreetly classified the Acts of Thomas as apocryphal.