Isaac Miranda was a colourful personality of Manapad. Most of the time, he sported a thick green shirt, a white dhoty—- held in the hip by a two inch broad leather belt, and a pair of green goggles that rested on his nose.
He will be remembered as the actor who donned the role of Lucifer in all the Tamil plays enacted, and also the unforgettable Longinus, the Roman centurion, who pierced the side of our Lord on the cross in the Passion play .
No Tamil play in Manapad between 1920 and 1940 was staged without a couple of scenes of Lucifer and it was only to facilitate Isaac Miranda to do his role as Lucifer.
As Lucifer he appeared with sharp horns, ,long teeth, wide wings, and a long tail complete, painted jet black and once even in white, ——to ape an European Lucifer.
‘’Isaac —Lucifer” would invariably jump out of a rock from hiding, singing,
‘ Pathalam Vedhalam Pathalam Vedhalam; Aadhi Parabarana Devanai Edhirtha . vedhalam Pathalam, Vedhalam Pathalam’
The audience would sit up electrified by the acting of Isaac.
Satan in Milton’s in ‘Paradise Lost’ says ‘ It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven’. if only Satan had witnessed Isaac in Lucifer’s role surely he would have said, ‘’ it is better to be Isaac than to serve in heaven.’He imitated Longinus as if he was in the Mount Calvary. So Real and So true.
I have always admired the entrepreneurship of Isaac Miranda. He was ready to try out new schmes for augmenting the family kitty. Not for him the attractions of Ceylon and the easy money made there those days!
Young men who lament about the lack of opportunities may have to learn from him. He had two regular jobs. One, supplying fish to families and the other to supply Petromax lights to functions in churches like night devotions, novenas, benedictions, processions, marriages, and public functions like marriages. This ,in those days when one did not have electricity in the village. It was a difficult job.
I am reminded of a story, I heard sometime back . Isaac Miranda used to go to a particular housein Kings street, to light a petromax light. One day when he turned his back to pick up a can of spirit, a little boy named Mervyn tried his hand on the mantle and the whole thing disintegrated to a dust pinch. When Isaac Miranda spotted the mischief maker he gave one solid slap. Mervin shot back ‘’ Centurion Badava” for which he received further lashes from his grand father.
In addition to fish and petromax supply , he took up photography and sometime tried an Electric Laundry—-25 years before electricity came to Manapad.
He was very much In demand in all the marriages to sing the Portuguese “LEVATHO’
He understood the meaning of Joie de vivre and enjoyed it to the full. I have heard the stories of his stormy youth, but with advancing years he became quite subdued. Obviously his prayer was “ Give us this day our Daily Bread’’. He did not believe in accumulating wealth.
He was the perfect image of a self made and self reliant man.
By Very Rev. Fr. Anslem Miranda. S.j.