Jo Nambiar

Author Of:

1  Phansigar

2 Big Foot – A Tale Told Twice

3 Sankaran is again on the Coconut Tree


 Biography Joe Nambiar

Born in Cannanore, Kerala, Jo Nambiar (1976 Batch ICSE) was a middle and long distance runner in St. Edmunds school and college. An equestrian and a black-belt 4th Degree exponent of Kung Fu, awarded by the South East Asian Board of Examiners, Nambiar began his career as a Physical Educationist and Youth Program Coordinator at the International Youth Centre, New Delhi. His students of unarmed combat included members of the Delhi Police, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Assam Rifles and the President’s Body Guard. Apart from that he has conducted Kung-Fu classes for youth belonging to various educational intuitions in New Delhi in the 1980s

In the history of Eureka Forbes, Nambiar has the distinction of having held charge of the first office of the consumer durable giant way back in 1982-83, and having sold the first Aquaguard to an Indian household before it became the biggest direct-selling product and organization that sold to 1.25 million Indian homes.

At the end of his 12-year stint as a Tea Planter with The Assam Company he lent his expertise as a Plantation Consultant, a pioneer in organic farming techniques and a certified tea-taster in the South Indian and Sri Lankan plantations.

Nambiar has been with the media since the early Doordarshan era when he produced Kung Fu programs for Doordarshan’s “Youth Forum” program (1981-82). He has produced and acted in Shakespearean as well as contemporary theatre. A few notables are “Merchant of Venice”, “Julius Caesar”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, and “Parivartan”. He has also acted in a pilot project Malayalam film “Rajav” as the main protagonist.

As a numismatist, Nambiar has one of the largest collections of ancient coins and rare currencies in the country which has global recognition. It is an asset that even the Reserve Bank of India recognizes and borrows from for its annual “Coins and Currencies” exhibition. He has been interviewed and featured by the media on several occasions including History Channel, USA (Ancient Aliens, Season -3, Episode-12)

Nambiar has the distinction of being the Convener of the largest Children’s Carnival in the world, the “BALA MELA” for underprivileged children every year at Bangalore, attended by top dignitaries and central ministers for highlighting child related issues.

He is also a painter and a sculptor having exhibited his art work with well-known artists like Ganesh Payne.

Discarding all religions, Nambiar practices Shamanism. He has conducted several orientation programs for teachers and students throughout India and overseas (Tel Aviv University, Israel) and is presently the CEO of Butterfly Sneeze Media Pvt Ltd, based at Bangalore.


1.  Phansigar       Author: Jo Nambiar Publisher: Edifice Educational Trust Price: R250

Set in the early nineteenth century, this is the story of an orphaned and adventurous John Penmarric who leaves his home in Cornwall to seek a quick fortune. Following treachery and intrigue, he is compelled to flee the British Isles to meet his destiny in Hindustan among the most sinister mass murderers that ever walked the earth. In a land barely recovered from the turbulence of the Maratha war, and laid waste by the Pindari hoards, John finds himself embroiled in a campaign against the sinister ThugeePhansigar cover

phansigar-2-cover“PHANSIGAR” has been republished by Partridge India in 2016

Review of Phansigar

Thug on the Loose

Review by Sonali Shah – JetWings  – Inflight magazine of Jet Airways, November 2010 issue

Phansigar, Jo Nambiar’s debut novel, begins with a hair-raising folk song, which soon gives way to reveal an ancient cult of Goddess Kali worshippers. Nambiar explores a forgotten era of mass murderers of ‘Hindustan,’ called thugees or phansigars, in this novel set in the 1800s. With a powerful first chapter, Nambiar sets the mood of the novel – cruel and bewildering. It opens with a group of thugs making plans to practice the traditional art of strangulation using a sacred ruhmal (handkerchief), which requires great skill. The gang is known to waylay merchants at predetermined points on the highway, to murder travellers, and offer their bodies to Goddess Kali as sacrifice. Undiscovered for centuries, the macabre group speaks a secret language, Ramasee and has strange codes to hatch their plans for the next sacrifice. You are then transported to the British Isles to meet the chief protagonist, Englishman John Penmarric, who leaves Britain for India in search of a quick fortune. You soon realise the underlying theme of the novel; hunter turning hunted.

Horror unfolds as an unknown assailant spreads terror among the phansigars, killing them in hundreds. The remaining cult members struggle to discover the identity of this black-turbaned ‘Firengee,’ even as he continues to send them to the gallows by informing the police of their activities. Amid all the killing and gore, you meet Salmi, a meek little woman, who is about to bring a new life in this world. Often in the background of the story, it is Salmi who you want to watch out for. If not for Salmi, the cult wouldn’t have existed. Dabbling in historical fiction, Nambiar goes back and forth in time, mixing the characters’ past and present and makes use of aliases to keep you guessing. Are Englishman Hutchison and Firengee the thug the same person? Are they in different time zones? You don’t know. Not until Nambiar decides to tell you.

If you enjoy stories set in India, you’ve found your next must-read with Nambiar’s Phansigar.



In this story, in rhyme, I narrate as best as I can

Of a creature and a place unknown to any man.

Motives of people who are dear to your heart,

And of an odd adventure that almost came apart

Tragically; but let me not spoil the little surprise

That awaits your expedition into my enterprise.

When you have read this you’ll see what I meant.

I hope your time with this strange tale is well spent.




3.  Sankaran is again on the Coconut Tree



Standing on a rock by the sea in Maha Bali’s kingdom, Parashurama never realized what he was creating when he triggered a minor seismic episode to acquire a tract of land called Kerala. In the years to come, Rameses II, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, Julius Caesar and Kublai Khan felt the need to send their emissaries there, pronto. Even Jesus felt the need to send an apostle there, bidding him Godspeed. Marco Polo, Zheng He, Vasco Da Gama and Columbus had a visit to this place on their bucket list.  Spicy and anecdotic, Sankaran takes you atop his vantage point for a bird’s eye view of the land of the Malayalees

Other Links:

Jo Nambiar’s book has been translated into 20 languages, and the following YouTube video describes his book Phansigar