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TORTURES SUFFERED BY THE SERVANT OF GOD

After describing different phases of persecution of Devasahayam Pillai, in this chapter we are prsenting the kind of tortures which were inflicted on the Servant of God. The tortures have been already in some way briefly mentioned even in the biography and in the last chapter on the phases of persecution. But hereunder first we describe them more, because the cruelty and duration of the tortures can put in clearer light both the hatred of faith of on the part of the persecutors and the strong will and sacrificial nature of the Servant of God and the clarity of his martyrdom. The tortures inflicted on Devasahayam Pillai by the persecutors can be divided into mental and physical.
  1. Mental Tortures

  2. Mental Tortures are those which are aimed at causing mental fatigue, mental strain and shame. When in the king’s court the Dalava and Singaram Annavi were deriding the Christians, calling them vile, dirty and imbecile people, it was also an affront on the self-respect of Devasahayam Pillai, because he himself was a Christian.99 The Servant of God was put to a lot of shame both in words and deeds. The manner in which he was seated on buffalo, garlanded with erukku flowers and was given just a small piece of cloth to tie around his waist was meant to bring shame on him before the large number of people who were accompanying the parade of shame. Secondly, because some Christians fled out of fear or some denied their faith, even though only out of fear, those who wanted to force Devasahayam Pillai to abjure his Christian faith laughed at Devasahayam Pillai on that account. One thing that hurt him most was that, during the tortures, his own wife abandoned faith for sometime though she repented and returned to faith soon.100 Thirdly, the journey on buffalo was a prolonged one, first for 16 days and then for several months. The ignominy of such a travel continued.

  3. Physical Tortures

  4. The following are the kinds of physical tortures inflicted on the Servant of God Devasahayam Pillai during the three years of his long wait to martyrdom.
    1. The Narrowness of the Prison

    2. When he was arrested, Devasahayam Pillai was put in a narrow prison, as small as an oven: just 5 palms high, 1 cubit broad and a little more than 1 cubit long.101 The prison’s door was just 2 palms high102 It would have been unimaginably hard to live in this cell to which he returned after he was first taken for execution, then after the 16-day first parade on buffalo and finally after the months-long parade throughout the Kingdom.
    3. Ants in the prison

    4. At one of the County headquarters, he was thrown into a prison which was full of biting ants called kadierumbu.103
    5. Monkeys in the prison

    6. At another place, Devasahayam Pillai was shut up in a monkey cage.104

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FOOT NOTE