Albert Pelach Paniker, grandson of Ramunni Paniker, one of the first Malayalees to establish himself in Spain more than a century ago, shared the story of his family at the session, The Panikers: A Malayali Catalan Family Saga. His grandfather had left India on a scholarship to the UK, with everyone’s permission but his mother’s and never returned. He was unaware of his first born, Madhavan Menon.
He had to leave the country in 1909 because an Indian student had shot a Lieutenant Colonel of the British army. He could not return to India because of his links with the freedom fighters and fled to Germany. He escaped to Barcelona, Spain during the time of war and met Karmen, a Christian catholic women. Ramunni founded the company Paniker, creating chemicals for leather industry. Their eldest child, Raymon decided to become a Roman Catholic priest while their second child Mercerus, decided to continue the family business. During the Spanish Civil War Ramunni and his family moved to Germany. Ramunni never came back to India and it was Karmen that visited after his death, with Raymon. Raymon was the first to meet his half-brother, Madhavan Menon. Mercerus reconnected with the rest of the family and founded the Ramunni Paniker Trust in 1998 to support talented students economically.
The session threw insights on the cross-cultural influence on the family.