A. G. Baker
|Those who have read Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things might remember the reference to ‘Kari Saipu’, the Englishman who followed the traditional customs of Kerala and History House “where dreams where re-dreamt”. As in the novel, Alfred George Baker, to whom goes the credit for creating and developing Kumarakom, was called ‘Kari Saipu’ by the natives. History House is Baker’s homestead on the banks of Lake Vembanad.
The Baker family hailed from Kirby le Colchester in the province of Essex, in east England. Alfred G. Baker, a member of the first generation of Bakers in Kumarakom, was the son of Henry Baker Sr., a missionary who came to India in the early 19th century. Alfred and his brother Henry Jr. were born in India. Both of them contributed greatly to the religious, educational and social sectors of their adopted home, Kerala. While Henry is remembered for the introduction of coffee plantation in Peerumedu, Alfred Baker is known for his enterprising efforts which converted part of the backwaters into the cultivable land of Kumarakom.