Friday, May 30, 2008

Free Spirit

I know I'm going to die a loser's death,

that won't change the stretch of my deeds

this may not create a wave of change

but it will surely make you free.

I and my friends are getting together

no storm can stir their feet

they are moving with their heads high

with a passion of greatness indeed.

They too are lost and wish to decide,

the world they are living in

whether its wrong or is it cursed

and make some changes in its front.

Our beginning stone is free Tibet

for we know its a hard task

it will take eon to fulfill.

But we'll wait with our hopes alight.

We need to wake up to a ugly face

sooner or later, no power was all just; will never be

this power is ruthless, it won't stagger a bit

in strangulating your aspirations, your dreams and freedom.

Let's march on with precious self and thoughts

to defeat this monstrous beast!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008




Kandathil Varghese Mappillai in Kottayam, a small town in the princely state of Travancore, founded Malayala Manorama in 1888. An accomplished writer and an intellectual, Varghese Mappillai started the newspaper with a mission to articulate the aspirations of the Pulayas – the untouchables then. The very first editorial in the Malayala Manorama was a passionate plea for the education and welfare of the Pulayas.

From a weekly, the Malayala Manorama grew into a bi-weekly in 1901, a tri-weekly in 1918 and a daily in 1928. After the death of Varghese Mappillai in 1904, his nephew Mammen Mappillai took over the reins and maintained the secular and literary traditions of the newspaper. Oppressive regimes attempted to crush the Malayala Manorama on various occasions. On September 10th 1938, during the Indian freedom struggle, the Government closed down the newspaper for reporting police firing on freedom fighters. After nine years, when India became free, the newspaper resumed publication with Mammen Mappillai’s son, 50-year-old former professor K.M.Cherian at the helm.

Since then, Malayala Manorama has steadily grown to become an integral part of a Malayalee’s life. One bright morning, more than a century ago, Malayala Manorama came into being. Founded by Kandathil Varghese Mappillai on March 14th 1888, Malayala Manorama has had a stimulating effect on the minds of the malayalees. It spurred social progress, defined cultural sensibilities. It has been an overwhelming presence while reflecting and exploring the life and times of Kerala. Manorama has had good times and hard times; it has known tyrant’s thunder and human tenderness. Encounters with extinction were part of its exciting evolution. It has been a saga of courage and endurance, of triumph and excellence, of dedication and commitment to the people and their aspirations. The years have not blunted our mission; we breathe the ideals of our illustrious founder and his visionary successors. The long list of best-selling products:


For more than a century Malayala Manorama has had a stimulating effect on the mind of the Malayali. It spurred social progress, defined cultural sensibilities, and even set political agenda. It has been an overwhelming presence while reflecting and exploring the life and times of Kerala. Manorama has had good times and hard times; it has known tyrant’s thunder and human tenderness. Encounters with extinction were part of its exciting evolution. It has been a saga of courage and endurance, of triumph and excellence, of dedication and commitment to the people and their aspirations. Long ago, our destiny became interlinked with theirs. This link is thicker than the printing ink. It transcends language. Banegaon, in earth-quaked Latur, was a heap of crushed sunflowers. Fifteen months later, we sang the story of its rebirth. We rebuilt the village and saw sunflower smiles on rustic faces. Hearts beat for us in Kerala. Hundreds of hearts for whom we ensured free surgery. For the good earth, we honour the unsung farmer with the 'Karshakashree' Award. Our field of vision has expanded, our horizons have widened. We have publications in five languages, and from print we have stepped into television and cyberspace. The years have not blunted our mission; we breathe the ideals of our illustrious founder and his visionary successors. The following pages tell the story of Malayala Manorama-and how it has gone beyond journalism.


One bright morning, more than a century ago, the first joint stock publishing company of IndiaLondon. The press was installed in a vacant building, which would later become a school chapel. A local craftsman, Konthi Achari, made the types for the imported press. It was a Herculean task. Being phonetic, the Malayalam script had a few hundred letters for the 53 vowels and consonants and their different combinations. The first issue of Malayala Manorama appeared on March 22, 1890, while Kottayam was hosting a highly popular cattle fair. It was a four-page weekly newspaper, published every Saturday. There were a few other newspapers around, mostly organs of Christian churches. But most people in Travancore did not have basic human rights. As Varghese Mappillai was a man of letters, there was a profusion of poetic outpourings and literary debates in Manorama. But its heart was with the underdogs. Its very first editorial was a fervent plea for education of Pulayas, untouchables who could not even walk on public roads. It was the voice of human dignity. Thus began Manorama's unflagging fight against injustice and iniquity, and people grew close to it. Manorama grew with them, too. From a weekly it grew into a bi-weekly in 1901, a tri-weekly in 1918 and a daily in 1928. Today, the daily is published from eight centres in Kerala: Kottayam, Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Kannur, Kollam and Thrissur. The new unit at Malappuram was inaugurated in February, 2001. Manorama Online, the Internet portal was inaugurated in 20 June, 2003. The march goes on, winning hearts every step of the way. came into being. It was founded by Kandathil Varghese Mappillai at Kottayam, a small town in the princely state of Travancore, on March 14, 1888. The great poet Kerala Varma named it Malayala Manorama. It turned out to be an enchanting, enduring name. The company started with one hundred shares of Rs.100 each. The investors paid in four equal instalments. The first instalment was good enough to buy a press. It was a small hand press, a Hopkinson & Cope, made in


Kandathil Varghese Mappillai was only 31 when he founded Malayala Manorama. Already, he was an accomplished writer. A high thinker. And very enterprising. He was a shroff like his father. But, unlike his father, he had no head for figures. His head was full of dreams and poems. He quit the job and become Editor of Kerala Mitram, a Malayalam newspaper run by a Gujarati businessman called Devji Bhimji, in Kochi. Later, he taught Malayalam at C.M.S. College, Kottayam, an early cradle of English education in India. He launched Malayala Manorama while he was a teacher. Even the Maharajah of Travancore, Sree Moolam Tirunal, held him in esteem. The Maharajah gave Manorama the Royal Coat of Arms. With a slight variation, it adorns the newspaper's logo. It was an honour from a ruler who established the first legislative council in India in 1888, the year Manorama was born. Varghese Mappillai campaigned, through editorials, for greater power for the legislature. He sparked many a political debate. And he spent reams on literature, throwing the pages of Manorama open to the finest poets and writers. He also nurtured new talent. Soon after its birth Manorama triggered a war over alliteration. It was the fiercest literary debate in the history of Malayalam. Literature was intoxicating stuff those days. In 1891 Varghese Mappillai formed a literary club, Bhashaposhini Sabha. It brought together the tallest poets and writers from Travancore and Cochin States and the British-ruled Malabar. Locking creative horns, they shed awkward angularities of dialects. The Sabha held keen literary contests. Once, the challenge was to churn out, within five hours, a verse drama of one hundred stanzas in four acts. Poet Kunhikuttan Thampuram did it in four hours. He simply dictated it. An offshoot of the Sabha was Bhashaposhini magazine, which Varghese Mappillai started in 1892. It remains the greatest literary journal in Malayalam. A poet himself, Varghese Mappillai was a social visionary. He inspired the building of several schools and libraries. Shortly before his untimely death at the age of 47 he did something unthinkable in hidebound Travancore: he established a residential girls’ high school at Thirumoolapuram in 1904. The whoosh of it can still be heard in the strides Malayali women have made.


The fifty years from 1904 were eventful for Malayala Manorama. Those were years of evolution, struggle, oblivion and glorious rebirth. After the death of Kandathil Varghese Mappillai in 1904, his nephew K.C Mammen Mappillai was the natural choice as Editor. The uncle had groomed the nephew, who too was a teacher. And he proved a worthy successor. Mammen Mappillai built into Manorama the kind of grit and determination Indian journalism had never witnessed before. He maintained the secular and literary tradition set by his uncle. And he infused it with a new vigour, setting a lively style, starting columns for women and children, and initiating debates on politics and industry. He made Manorama a powerful catalyst of social change. He straddled diverse fields. He was a teacher, writer, legislator, social reformer, banker, farmer, planter, industrialist, insurance baron..... He lived a full life many times over in 80 years. The National & Quilon Bank under his chairmanship was one of the most successful banks in India in the 1920s. The new Guardian of India Insurance Company, which he founded, had an enviable reputation. Popularising rubber cultivation, he gave Kerala's economy a new bounce. Rubber became the economic backbone of Kerala's midlands. The champion of rubber was a man of steel in the Sree Moolam Legislative Assembly and in the stormy conflicts in the Syrian Church. He played a pivotal role in the abstention movement and struggle for civil rights and responsible government. To break him, Travancore Diwan (prime minister) Sri C.P Ramaswamy Iyer broke his bank by engineering a run on it in 1938. Everywhere his voice throbbed with the spirit of freedom. Malayala Manorama was sealed and Mammen Mappillai jailed. All his property was confiscated. The immediate provocation: Manorama had published a news item of deaths in Neyyattinkara following a cruel Police firing by Sir.C.P's goons. He walked out of jail two years later. His brother K.C. Eapen, who was arrested with him, was carried home dead. Mammen Mappillai built Manorama all over again. It eventually became the best-read newspaper in India. Inaugurating Manorama's belated Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1951, Indian President Rajendra Parasad said: "I was much pleased to have an opportunity to participate in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Malayala Manorama. It was because I thought it was not a celebration of the paper only, but a Diamond Jubilee celebration of the services of its soul and life, Sri Mammen Mappillai." Mammen Mappillai breathed his last on the last day of 1953. The Chief Minister of the united Travancore-Cochin State, A.J. John, and his cabinet ministers led the funeral procession. And the people raised in his memory the K.C. Mammen Mappillai Hall in Kottayam. It was poetic justice that the Memorial hall came up where a park in the name of the Diwan had stood. Built in 1957, and rebuilt in 1997, this beautiful edifice stands in perpetual tribute to a man who built an empire in human hearts.


Five days after K.C. Mammen Mappillai's death, his son K.M. Cherian published his last dictum. "By God's grace, Manorama is in a position to create and garner a forceful public opinion. This may be used for the good or the bad. But, we should consider it as a public trust bestowed upon us for the selfless service of humanity." "You will have no qualms to use Manorama as a sacred public trust or an institution God has trustingly bestowed upon us to be used without fear or favour from anyone. You should always work with this in mind. God has placed in our hands a mighty weapon. To use it for our personal, vindictive and vitriolic ends will be an unpardonable and immoral act injurious to the faith bestowed on us by a large number of people. God does not want that. And hence our eternal vow should be to tirelessly work for the success of fairness, justice and morality." It remains a sacred, inviolable dictum for Malayala Manorama.


For nine long years Malayala Manorama lay in chains. By any estimate, it was the stiffest price paid for freedom of expression in Indian journalism. The 1930s were tempestuous years of India's struggle for freedom. Malayala Manorama was in the forefront of the struggle in Travancore. It was actively involved in the civil rights agitation, the formation of the Travancore State Congress and the historic campaign for responsible government. Mammen Mappillai's trenchant articles in Manorama invited the wrath of the all-powerful Diwan Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer. He believed that Manorama was bankrolling the State Congress. "I will crush them," he swore in wild rage. He did not wait too long. He banned Manorama for carrying a brutally frank report on firings and military atrocities at Neyyattinkara on September 1, 1938. On September 10, 1938, armed police confiscated the Manorama office in Kottayam and sealed its doors. Later, K.C. Mammen Mappillai was arrested. The vengeful Diwan was out to crush Manorama. This he did. And the civil liberties it championed. The day Manorama was banned was the saddest in the life of Mammen Mappillai. It was the champion of press freedom. Overnight, it lay inert with an iron hand clamped over its mouth. This he did. Words lay dead in the throat for nine years. India won freedom on August 15, 1947. In less than three weeks, the Diwan fled Travancore in ignominy. His stratagems to keep Travancore out of the Indian Union failed. And on November 29, 1947 there was jubilation: Malayala Manorama was back. It was a glorious rebirth.


As Malayala Manorama was struggling to break out of its nine-year-long banishment, a 50 Years-old former professor came forward to strengthen K.C. Mammen Mappillai's aged elbows. It was his eldest son, K.M. Cherian. He teamed up with his father as Managing Editor. It was Cherian who paved the way for Manorama's magnificent comeback. On Mammen Mappillai's death, Cherian took over as Chief Editor in 1954. His immediate goal was the emotional integration of the people of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar, which were uniting to form Kerala State. He won great acclaim for the excellent effort. Cherian kept his father's last dictum close to his heart. And he cherished lofty ideals. Under his inspiring leadership Manorama went from strength to strength and launched an edition from Kozhikode in 1966. Cherian also started a few other successful publications. The circulation of the newspaper soared from 30,000 to 300,000. And that of Manorama Weekly, which he had revived, rose to 329,000. Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, while visiting an allied concern, remarked: "I shall confess that part of the reason which made me agree (to the visit) was also the fine record of Mr. K.M. Cherian and his family in every business they have undertaken." Cherian was Chairman of Press Trust of India and President of the Indian & Eastern Newspaper Society (now Indian Newspaper Society). He won several national honours, including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. He died on March 14, 1973. If Kandathil Varghese Mappillai conceived Manorama and K.C. Mammen Mappillai moulded its character, K.M. Cherian gave it the Midas touch. And he won it national glory.


'Keep the family out and bring in the professionals!’ is one way. There's a better way. Keep the family in but make them professionals first. That's the way things are working out at Malayala Manorama today and nobody could wish for anything better. The man who thought up the better way, K.M. Mathew, joined Manorama as General Manager in 1954. As a true professional, Mathew proved his mettle before he became Managing Editor under his eldest brother, K.M. Cherian. When Cherian died in 1973, Mathew took over as Chief Editor. He nurtured the newspaper and made it branch out like a giant banyan tree. It has truly been a phenomenal growth. Mathew could find competent lieutenants within the family to run Manorama. Until 1981, his well-trained nephew Mammen Varghese assisted him. He helped K.M. Mathew launch M.M Publications, which brings out Balarama and Vanitha, the best-selling Indian magazines for children and women. Today, Vanitha has a Hindi edition. And Balarama has had several offshoots. Mammen Varghese continues to be Printer and Publisher of Malayala Manorama newspaper. Another nephew K.O. Kurian, holds that responsibility in Manorama Weekly. Mammen Mathew, eldest son of K.M Mathew, is Editor & Managing Director. Another son, Philip Mathew, is Managing Editor and the youngest, Jacob Mathew, is Executive Editor. George Jacob, Grandson of K.M. Cherian, is Director. All in the family, maybe, but each one has a track record of professionalism. Professionalism that K.M. Mathew infused in them in his quest for excellence. Yet, Mathew is best known for his caring, nurturing brand of journalism. While spurring Manorama into circulation conquest and spawning a dozen other best-selling publications he gave journalism a human face of compassion. Who else would have sent a team of reporters to war-torn Kuwait and asked them to concentrate, not on the war, but on helping frantic expatriates return to Kerala? His initiatives often went beyond the ken of conventional journalism. Once he built a hundred houses for the poor. Then he rebuilt an entire village in the distant Maharashtra. Later, he gave poor heart patients a new lease of life. Mathew liked to build and heal. He triggered a host of development projects in Kerala by initiating a series of seminars on industry and environment. In the 1980s he set an easy-to read writing style for the mass circulated Manorama Weekly. It sustained the reading habit of neo-literate adults. Down to earth, he honoured the farmer-with a biannual award and a monthly magazine. He has won several awards himself, including Padma Bhushan. Mathew regularly sharpened Manorama's managerial and technological edge. And he honed its news gathering skills. But has excelled himself in building emotional bonds with the readers, giving them information with the human touch.


A year after Malayala Manorama became a daily it gave birth to a children's organisation. It is called Akhila Kerala Balajana Sakhyam. Founded in 1929, the Sakhyam aims at the full flowering of children's talents. It unleashes creative energy and builds leadership qualities. It was K.C. Mammen Mappillai's baby. And he nourished it through the columns of Malayala Manorama. Over the years, it has grown into the largest democratic institution of its kind in Asia. Its motto: Service. It has a branch in almost every village in Kerala. The members, in the age group of 6-18, elect leaders to run the Sakhyam. In the process they breathe in the spirit of democratic discipline. It has become a great movement, unique in very respect. While developing physical, mental and aesthetic abilities, the Sakhyam initiates the children to community work. The whole approach is constructive. The Sakhyam has constructed a hundred houses for the poor, built roads, dug canals and distributed food during natural calamities. The children build and create. And care. The Sakhyam is helping children shape destinies- their own and the nations’.


Growth…multifaceted and on target. It sums up Manorama's progress over the years. Today, the Malayala Manorama daily is published from eight centres: Kottayam, Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Kannur, Kollam and Thrissur. With a combined circulation of more than 11, 00,000 copies a day. A unit at Malappuram was inaugurated in February 2001. That's growth, smooth and sustained. The Kozhikode edition got rolling in 1966 and the KochiIndia to have a facsimile edition, from Thiruvananthapuram, in 1987. The second edition from the Malabar region, after Kozhikode, was launched at Palakkad in 1992. The Kannur edition arrived in 1994 and Kollam the next year. The Thrissur edition was born in 1998. A new edition was commissioned in Malappuram. In 1982, Manorama launched The Week, a news features magazine in English. It is among the best-read English magazines in India. Manorama has grown into a highly successful publishing house with a slew of other immensely popular periodicals. Besides the daily newspaper, there is Manorama Weekly for the common man. It is the largest selling weekly in India. The weekly Balarama is the best-selling children's magazine in India. Children of school -going age have two other playmates from Manorama: Balarama Amarchitrakatha and Balarama Digest. For pre-schoolers, there is the delightful Kalikudukka.. Plus there is its cuddly English version, Magic Pot. For women, there is Vanitha, the largest circulated women's magazine in India. Vanitha's Hindi edition, launched in 1997, became an instant hit. School students have found a reliable study aid in Vijayaveedhi. And job seekers have a guide in Thozhilveedhi. Karshakashree- a bold experiment in farm journalism - has won over the farming fraternity. Bhashaposhini, the literary journal, is sought - after by the high-brow reader. For lovers of literature, there is also the Manorama Annual. For the scholar and the knowledge - seeker, choices come in five languages: Manorama Yearbook is published in Malayalam, English, Hindi, Tamil and Bengali. And in CD-ROM, too. It is called Manorama Knowledge Adventure. Publications for different age-groups, different tastes and needs. But all for the family. Besides, Manorama has a vibrant presence on the Electronic Media. Manorama Vision, its television software division was launched in 1993 producing quality television serials and news and current affairs programmes for Malayalam television channels. Its music division, Manorama Music, was started in 1995. On the Web, Manorama Online has a magnetic pull. And it has exciting plans in cyberspace. Watch this space! edition in 1979. Manorama became the first language daily in


Malayala Manorama has always relied on appropriate technology. From hand - composing of cold type and treadle presses, it moved to hot metal composing and rotary letter presses. And then to photo-typesetting and web offset presses. All at the right time. It has been a continual adaptation to change. Today all eight units of Manorama are connected on a high speed Wide Area Network using fibre-optic cable network, the first newspaper in India to be so lined. In 1986, the then ultramodern facsimile system connected Kottayam to the other units for transmission of the newspaper pages. Today a more modern, more flexible and faster editorial system links all the centres. There is a computer on almost every desk in the organisation. It's a wired world out there in Manorama. And the newspaper's home on the Web is just a small part of it.


Far away from Kerala, a village of golden sunflowers has taken a new name. It calls itself ' Malayala Manorama Banegaon.' No one there reads Malayala Manorama, India's largest selling language newspaper. They only love it. A love that bloomed after the heartbreak of September 30, 1993 when the earth shook in tectonic terror. The quake flattened more than forty Maharashtrian villages, killing thousands of people, their cattle and their fowl. Among them lay Banegaon in Latur, in grim ruins. In that hour of inconsolable grief, we set up relief fund with Rs.10 lakh and turned to our eight million readers. We appealed to them. "Let us reach out and touch the frozen face of Latur." Our readers had no bonds with Latur: most of them had never even heard of the place. Yet, within 45 days, the fund swelled to Rs. 2.39 crore. It was more than what any other newspaper in India could ever collect for relief work. We could have handed over the money to the relief agencies and sat back. But Banegaon had become an obsession. We were determined to rebuild it ourselves, keeping even the contractors out. Renowned architects spent a gruelling month in Banegaon, studying the milieu. They visualised a holistic village. Then a team from Manorama took over. An entire village came up in just 15 months. It is a complete village: 163 houses, roads, a library, hospital, a panchayat office, an open air theatre, a unique village parlour called chavady, a gymnasium, a big pond to collect rainwater, and even a Hanuman temple. The layout is aesthetic. Each house has a courtyard, two rooms and a bathroom and space to keep the cattle. For privacy, there is the compound wall: for togetherness, eight houses form a cluster, which suits the joint families.


When Manorama announced an award for the most innovative farmer in Kerala in 1992 there were ripples of amusement in the land of backwaters. Why honour a hick? Why not a technocrat, social reformer, artist or academic? People wondered. But then, the century - old newspaper had always stood by the underdogs and voiced their throttled aspirations. Fighting for their social and political rights, it remained close to the good earth. It encouraged the people, who had been relying mainly on paddy and coconut, to grow tea, coffee and rubber as well. Eventually, agro-industries and exports bloomed. Though Kerala is just 1.2 percent of India's total area, it produces more than 90 per cent of India's rubber and pepper, 60 per cent of tapioca, 45 per cent of coconut and almost the entire lemongrass oil. It is abundant in tea, coffee and spices, and is the largest producer of a number of other crops such as banana and ginger. The Malayali farmer has worked wonders cultivating more than a hundred crops on five million tiny holdings. People savoured his fruits, not his labours. They took him for granted, and even looked down upon him. College educated new generation would not hold a spade. Little was done to honour the farmer until Manorama instituted the biennial 'Karshakasree Award', the first of its kind in south - east Asia. It carried a citation, a gold medal and Rs.1 lakh in prize money. The prize money would later be raised to Rs.1.50 lakh. The search for the best farmer was systematic. Research organisations, government agencies, NGOs and Manorama news bureaus sent in resumes of several farmers. An expert team pruned the list and video-taped the work of select farmers. Then, a panel of judges, including World Food Prize winners Dr. M.S.Swamintathan and Dr. V. Kurian, chose Velayudhan for the 1992 award. Velayudhan had yoked modern technology to traditional wisdom and changed the rocky face of Mulayam hamlet in Thrissur District. It was sweet success for him: he had started off with just one beehive. It grew into a colony of coconut palms, rubber, pepper, plantains, herbs, fish, fowl and pigs. "I am very pleased to learn.' said Nobel - winning agriculture scientist Dr. Norman Borlaug, "that Malayala Manorama is sponsoring an award for excellence in agriculture.' Manorama went further. In 1995 it came out with a monthly magazine exclusively for farmers, aptly called Karshakasree. The award, given every two years, has invested the half-naked farmer with the dignity he deserved.


While an Internet-savvy world was grabbing eyeballs, Malayala Manorama went for the heart. It did a random survey of cardiac cases in Kerala in 1999 and realised that many patients were in misery because they could not afford surgery. Most poignant was the plight of children with congenital complications. All that their parents could do was bite down quivering lips, sigh and wait for death. It was cruel irony: they were dying young when Kerala boasted high literacy, high life expectancy, low birth and death rates, and a high concentration of hospitals. Their bleak lives were far removed from glowing statistics. The survey made good copy. It also opened valves of compassion in Manorama. The newspaper set apart Rs.25 lakh to bear the full cost of surgery for 30 patients. Heartened, Madras Medical Mission offered to do free surgery for 20 others. The endeavour was called 'Hridayapoorvan', meaning 'from one's heart'. As it announced five medical camps to pick 50 patients, Manorama faced an avalanche of 8,000 applications for admission. Manorama was in a predicament: it would be heartless to pick only 50 and forget the rest. It doubled its contribution and appealed to its readers for help. The readers responded soulfully. Some sent in cheques for lakhs of rupees. Some others handed over a hard day's earnings, salty with sweat. Children broke their piggy banks and dropped tinkling coins into the fund. So that hearts would keep ticking. Hope rose in many hearts as the medical camps opened in October 1999. Renowned cardiologist Dr. K. M. Cherian led a team of 11 doctors from Madras Medical Mission at the camps held at five 'K' towns - Kollam, Kannur, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Kochi . They examined 6201 patients. Before the year ended, the fund grew to Rs. 3 crore, just enough for 395 heart surgeries. Living up to its name, the Medical Mission made it 500, offering 105 free surgeries. Thirty more patients benefited thanks to assistance from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. All the operations were over by December 2000. Except a dozen all were successful. In their hen-scratched letters thanking Manorama, there was a refrain: "You have given us a new life." For the first time in the world a newspaper had offered the ultimate gift - the gift of life.


1888 Malayala Manorama Company founded by Kandathil Varghese Mappillai on March 14.

1890 The first issue of Malayala Manorama appears on March 22. It is a weekly newspaper.

1892 Publication of Bhashaposhini.

1901 Manorama becomes a bi-weekly on August 7.

1904 Kandathil Varghese Mappillai passes away on July 6. K. C. Mammen Mappillai becomes Editor.

1915 Manorama starts publishing daily World War supplements.

1918 Manorama becomes a tri-weekly on July 2.

1928 Manorama becomes a daily on January 16.

1929 Akhila Kerala Balajana Sakhyam formed on May 29.

1930 Manorama commences publication of Annual Numbers.

1937 Publication of Malayala Manorama Weekly on August 8.

1938 Manorama proscribed in Travancore on September 10. It makes a surprise appearance from Cochin State on September 14 but folds up after three months.

1939 Mammen Mappillai convicted and jailed.

1941 Mammen Mappillai released from jail.

1947 Manorama restarts on November 29.

1950 The first rotary press installed.

1951 President Dr. Rajendra Prasad inaugurates Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

1953 Mammen Mappillai passes away on December 31.

1954K. M. Cherian becomes Chief Editor on January 1. K. M. Mathew joins Manorama as General Manager. 1956 Manorama Weekly restarts.

1957 Mammen Mappillai Memoriall Hall at Kottayam opened.

1959 Publication of Manorama Yearbook in Malayalam.

1965 Publication of Manorama Yearbook in English. K.M.Cherian awarded 'Padma Shri.'

1966 President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan inaugurates Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Kozhikode Edition started on December 1.

1970 President V.V.Giri inaugurates Balajana Sakhyam state convention.

1971 K. M. Cherian awarded 'Padma Bhushan.'

1972 Balarama launched.

1973 K.M.Cherian passes away on March 14. K.M.Mathew becomes Chief Editor. Mammen Varghese becomes General Manager.

1975 Vanitha launched.

1979 Kochi Edition started on January 15.

1982 President N. Sanjeeva Reddy inaugurates Balajana Sakhyam Golden Jubilee celebrations on January 31. The Week magazine started on December 26.

1986 President Giani Zail Singh formally commssions the facsimile transmission system at Manorama, Kottayam, on August 30.

1987 Kerala Chief Minister K.Karunakaran inaugurates Thiruvananthapuram Edition on February 16.

1988 President R. Venkataraman inaugurates Centenary celebrations at Kottayam on March 23. Commemorative Postage released. Scheme launched to build 104 houses for the poor and the handicapped. Mammen Mathew takes charge as Editor & Managing Director on September 1.

1989 Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is chief guest at the Centenary celebrations valedictory in New Delhi on March 18. Manorama Yearbook in Hindi released. Tarzi Vitachi, columnist, delivers the First K.C. Mammen Mappillai Memorial Lecture on m March 19.

1990 Tamil Nadu Governor Dr. Bhishma Narain Singh releases Manorama Yearbook in Tamil on March 15.

1992 Chief Minister Karunakaran inaugurates Palakkad edition on April 22. Bhashaposhini celebrates its Centenary on April 25. Union Agriculture Minister Balram Jakhar presents the first Karshakasree Award to K. K. Velayudhan on August 1. Vice President K. R. Narayanan inaugurates the computerised digital photo transmission unit on September 27. President Dr. Shanker Dayal Sharrma dedicates Manorama's 104 houses for the poor on October 27. The President hands over the 525th house built under K. M. Cherian Memorial Housing Scheme for Manorama employees, on October 27. Kerala Governor B. Rachaiah is chief guest at the valedictory function of Diamond Jubilee celebration of Balajana Sakhyam on October 27.

1993 Manorama Vision, the electronic media division, formally launched on October 18. Manorama takes on the task of rebuilding Banegaon, a quake - hit village of Latur, Maharashtra, with 'Bhoomi Puja' by Chief Minister Sharad Pawar and Editor Mammen Mathew on October 24. Governor Dr. P. C. Alexander unveils a commemorative plaque. Bernard Levin, chief columnist of The Times, London, delivers the second K. C. Mammen Mappillai Memorial Lecture in New Delhi on November 10.

1994 Vijayaveedhi launched on January 5. Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil presents the second Karshakasree Award to A. J. Joseph on April 12. Chief Minister Karunakaran inaugurates Kannur Edition on December 17.

1995 'Manorama Music' launched on January 1. Columnist Nikhil Chakravarthy inaugurated Kollam Edition on March 27. Publication of Karshakasree magazine on September 2. Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao hands over 'Malayala Manorama Banegaon' to the villagers on December 8.

1996 Manorama Yearbook in Bengali released in Calcutta on April 18. Union Agriculture Minister Chaturanan Mishra presents the third Karshakasree Award to S.J. Rasalam on August 11.

1997 President K. R. Narayanan inaugurates the rebuilt K. C. Mammen Mappillai Hall on September 18. Prince Philip of the United Kingdom inaugurated the Internet Edition of Malayala Manorama, Kochi, on October 17. Publication of Vanitha, Hindi, on December 10. Gene Roberts, Managing Editor of The New York Times and Chairman of IPI, delivers the Third K.C. Mammen Mappillai Memorial Lecture in New Delhi on December 16.

1998 A.P. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu presents the Fourth Karshakasree Award to K. C. Kuriakose on November 20.

1999 Malayala Manorama knowledge Adventure CD-ROM released on March 4. Publication of Balarama Digest on November 13. Hridayapoorvam camps for heart patients during October - December.

2000 Publication of Magic Pot on March 1. Union Minister Suresh Prabhu presents the fifth Karshakasree Award to M.M.Subrahmanyan Nair on March 26. Malappuram Unit inaugurated.

2002 Manorama Online launched on June 20.


India, with a population of over one billion and a national literacy rate of 65%, offers one of the world’s biggest markets for the print media.

In spite of the 1990s’ revolution in cable & satellite television and the recent spurt of independent news channels, there has been a prolific growth in the number and readership of newspapers in India. Liberalisation of regulatory norms in the news and current affairs segment has given this market further fillip. The market has witnessed steady growth with new editions being launched and new players entering the field. As per the records of the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI), there were as many as 5,638 dailies in circulation in the country in 2002, published in 101 languages and dialects including English and eighteen other principal languages.

Kerala, a picturesque state on the Southwest coast of India, boasts of quite a few distinctions. It was the first state to achieve 100% literacy. It is the only state where the reach of the press is higher than that of television (Source: National Readership Survey – NRS 2002). With a literate population of over 30 million, Kerala is an intensely competitive and dynamic market for the print media. No wonder then, with 225 dailies (Source: RNI) in circulation, the Malayalam press in Kerala is India’s third largest, after Hindi and English, with 7,253,625 copies (Source: RNI). Malayala Manorama is the undisputed leader in this market.


Malayala Manorama enjoys a readership of over ten million on a circulation base of 1.29 million copies (Source: NRS 2002 and Audit Bureau of Circulation – ABC, July-Dec. 2003).

It is the only daily in Kerala, and one of the few in India, to have such an enormous following. In fact, it is the largest circulated regional language daily in India and reaches 63% of all newspaper readers and 39% of all adults in Kerala (Source: NRS).

From a modest beginning as the fifth newspaper in Kottayam, it has consistently occupied the number one position in Kerala since 1969. More important, it has played a catalytic role in stimulating economic change. In a state where coconut farming was the predominant agricultural occupation, the Malayala Manorama brought about a revolutionary change in the 1900s, by inspiring farmers to grow rubber.

As a result, Kerala now is India’s largest producer of natural rubber. Similarly, it identified and suggested to the Government in the 1930s the location of the Idukki hydel power project, the biggest hydel project in Kerala. The project was finally commissioned in 1976.


Over the years, Malayala Manorama has become a part of the daily lives of Malayalees, wherever they are. With twelve editions and 56 time editions, it delivers credible, latest and localised news at the doorsteps in every nook and corner of Kerala and to Malayalees elsewhere.

The newspaper has always relied on appropriate technology. From hand composing of cold type and treadle presses, it moved to hot metal composing and rotary letterpresses and then to photo typesetting and web offset presses, all at the right time.

It has been a continual adaptation to change. In 1986, the then ultramodern facsimile system connected its headquarters at Kottayam to the other units for transmission of the newspaper pages. Today, all twelve printing centres of the paper are connected to a high-speed Wide Area Network using fibre-optic cable network. A modern, flexible and fast editorial system links all the centres.

Malayala Manorama’s immense readership makes it the ideal medium for marketers to reach the most advanced society in India.


Malayala Manorama has produced a number of excellent journalists. Many of them are the stars in Malayalam journalism. They should thank the present Chief Editor K.M. Mathew for his commitment to bring professionalism in publishing industry. Mathew brought famous international journalists to Kerala and conducted workshops on better journalism. He sent his coworkers to many international news agencies to get in touch with modern changes in the field.

People who have worked with Manorama daily or other Manorama publications include Vaikkom Chandra Sekharan Nair, Babu Chengannoor, Thomas Jacob, K. Aboobaker, K, Ubaidulla, K.R. Chummar, Joy Sasthampadikkal, K.C. Narayanan, D. Vijaya Mohan, Moorkoth Kunjappa, K.M.Tharakan, C.Radhakrishnan etc.

Mrs. Mathew has authored over twenty books. Her subjects range from Cookery, Health and Beauty Care and hair styling to Flower Arrangement and Travel. She has published in popular magazines. She is a versatile columnist. She is the Chief Editor of Vanitha, the largest selling women's magazine in India.

Her father-in-law, Mammen Mappilai, encouraged her to write a column in the Malayala Manorama. Her first recipe appeared in June, 1953; the editors "sandwiched a recipe for mutton between two reports on Nehru and Churchill".

The Malayalam Manorama group of publication has a long list of best selling magazines and reference books, including the following:

1. The Week

2. Bhashaposhini

3. Karshakashree

4. Manorama Weekly

5. Manorama Annual

6. Vijayaveedhi

7. Vanitha

8. Vanitha (Hindi)

9. Kalikkudukka

10. Magic Pot

11. Balarama

12. Balarama Digest

13. Amarchitrakatha

14. Thozhilveedhi

15. Knowledge Adventure CDROM

16. Hindi Year Book

17. English Year Book

18. Tamil Year Book

19. Malayalam Year Book

20. Bengali Year Book

21. Malayala Manorama Newspaper


Malayala Manorama has explored newer distribution channels to reach the reader. A few years ago, it launched an online edition, Manoramaonline, in English as well as in Malayalam. Today, it has become the most popular news portal for the huge Malayalee diaspora that it caters to. Malayala Manorama has installed newspaper vending machines at major airports in India. It is also available at major international hotels, where machines vend the newspaper in tabloid form. And, online subscribers get a digital version of the paper as electronic mail every morning.


Malayala Manorama adopts a dual strategy for brand promotion. On the one hand, it aims to further increase circulation and sweep the entire market. The positioning statement, ‘Malayalathinte Suprabhatam’, which can be loosely translated as ‘the good morning of Malayalees’, is an assertion towards this objective. From the perspective of consumer base, its growth is a result of sustained editorial efforts towards credible news dissemination. Towards this end, the traditional medium of word-of-mouth has largely been responsible for continuously increasing circulation.

Apart from being an instrument imparting news, Malayala Manorama has been a voice that nurtures the glorious traditions of Kerala’s literature, collectivism and culture. Its investigative stories – in the 1960s on the plight of nurses from Kerala, the thriving of a kidney racket in the 1970s, travails of Malayalees in Kuwait when Iraq invaded the country – not only helped its image, but firmly established the paper in the hearts of Malayalees. Also, the active campaign launched in support of developmental projects – Cochin International Airport, Kayamkulam Thermal Power Plant – won it committed readers.

So did its efforts to spruce up facilities at Sabarimala – the famous pilgrim centre.

Malayala Manorama has sold Kerala as a consuming market. It has ‘owned’ seasons like Onam, when the entire state loosens its purse strings. It has also developed new seasons for advertising like Vishu and Christmas, the other big festivals when Malayalees indulge themselves in shopping. Malayala Manorama has endeared itself to the advertising fraternity with its innovative direct mailers that uniquely convey the message of Kerala’s potential as a market.

The daily has looked for novel ways to absorb the inflow of advertising. One such innovation is the twin issues – two newspapers with the same masthead and layout – brought out during festival time, when demand for premium positions is high. This gives the readers two newspapers for the price of one, the advertisers their preferred positions and the newspaper itself, optimum revenues during the peak season of the year.

In recognition of its media innovations, unique direct marketing activities and effective advertisement campaigns, Malayala Manorama was awarded the Best Media Marketer of the Year at the EMVIES, 2003.

Brand Values

A history of over a century has seen the Malayala Manorama define the cultural and political conscience of Malayalees. The core value of this brand goes far beyond journalism, embracing the role of an effective catalyst for social change. Its overwhelming presence has made it potent enough to shape and guide public opinion and use that to accelerate economic and social progress in Kerala.

The Facts

Things you didn't know about Malayala Manorama

Malayala Manorama is the first joint stock publishing company in India.

The name Malayala Manorama was given by the great poet Kerala Varma.

Malayala Manorama began in 1888 as a four-page weekly published every Saturday and became a daily 40 years later.

The logo of Malayala Manorama is actually a slight variation of the Royal Coat of Arms which was awarded by the Maharaja of Travancore..

In 1938, the Government closed down Malayala Manorama and jailed the editor for reporting police firing on freedom fighters. Publishing was resumed only after nine years when India became free.

Malayala Manorama was the first newspaper in India to have all the units connected on a high-speed Wide Area Network using fibre-optic cable.

Malayala Manorama’s children’s organisation, Akhila Kerala Balajana Sakhyam, is the largest democratic institution of its kind in Asia.


Malayala Manorama, a Malayalam newspaper, is India's largest circulated regional newspaper. It also owns the largest selling Indian year book Manorama yearbook. Malayala Manorama, which first appeared on 14th March 1890, as a weekly, currently has a readership of over ten million, with a circulation base of over 1.25 million copies.


Chief Editor of Malayala Manorama, K.M. Mathew, former sprint queen P.T. Usha and actor Mohanlal will be honoured with 'Lifetime achievement awards' at the Rotary 3200 district conference 'The Golden Harvest', to be held here on January 11 and 12.

Thiruvananthapuram: Yesudasan of 'Malayala Manorama' has won the state award for best cartoonist for the second consecutive year. The cartoon that appeared in 'Malayala Manorama' on April 23, 2002 about the forest encroachment at Mathikettan won him the award.

P.A. Kuriakose, Coordinating Editor of Malayala Manorama, Thrissur, has been chosen for the K.V. Daniel memorial Journalism award.

P.A. Kuriakose, Coordinating Editor of Malayala Manorama, Thrissur, was presented with the K.V. Daniel Memorail Award instituted by the Telegraph evening Daily.

Shaji Jacob (Deepika) and S. Harikrishnan (Malayala Manorama) has been unanimously elected as the president and secretary respectively of the Ernakulam district unit of the Kerala Union of working journalists and Ernakulam Press Club.

Senior reporter of ''Malayala Manorama'' Sujith Nair has been chosen for this year's ''K C Madhavakurup award'' for the best general reporting.

The award, instituted by the Calicut Press Club, in memory of the late scribe K C Madhavakurup, carries Rs.5001.

Minister of State for Defence O. Rajagopal has presented the 'Karshakashri' award of Malayala Manorama to C.J. Scariah Pillai of Nalleppilli for his achievements in mixed crops.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs.1.5 lakh, a gold medal and a citation.

Senior journalist of 'Malayala Manorama,' K.R. Meera, has been selected for the Ankanam literary award for her book 'Ormayuda Njarambu' (Nerve of Memory).

This year's 'Pamban Madhavan memorial award' for best journalism has gone to

Prakash Mathew of Malayala Manorama for his soul stirring feature on the plight of a woman.


Malayalam newspaper offices attacked

By Our Special Correspondent

KOZHIKODE, JULY 28. The Kozhikode offices of the Malayalam newspapers, Malayala Manorama and Chandrika, the latter aligned with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), were damaged in violent incidents today though ban orders under the Police Act to prevent unlawful assembly and carrying of arms were in force in the city.

The ban orders were in force from 4 a.m. today because the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) had decided to take out a march to the office of the Inspector-General of Police here protesting against alleged police excesses, in the context of protests against the State Government's education policy and specifically the circumstances that led to the suicide of an engineering college student in Thiruvananthapuram last week.

The attack on the Malayala Manorama office came shortly after the State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Pinarai Vijayan, had finished addressing the demonstrators near the English Church.

DYFI role denied

The CPI(M) district secretariat denied that any DYFI cadres were behind the attack and alleged that the attack on the Malayala Manorama office was organised to show DYFI cadres in poor light.

The CPI(M) district secretary, V.V. Dakshinamoorthy, blamed police passivity for the incidents. Attacks on newspapers were inexcusable, he said, and demanded action to nab the culprits.

The damage in stone-throwing was particularly heavy at the Malayala Manorama office. A glass door at the entrance broke into several pieces after it was pounded by flying stones. Flowerpots were smashed. Lights on the lawns were broken. A motorcycle parked in front of the office was damaged.

Witnesses said the attack was first directed against a small group of policemen on duty near the Malayala Manorama office. They were forced to retreat in the face of heavy stone-throwing. At the Chandrika office, windowpanes on the first floor of the building housing the weekly periodical section as well as of the generator room broke.

Our New Delhi Special Correspondent reports:

The Editors Guild of India condemned the "dastardly and macabre attack on the office of Malayala Manorama.'' In a statement here, the Guild said: "The intolerance shown by DYFI towards media organisations in Kerala, especially Malayala Manorama, is highly deplorable.'' It urged the CPI(M) to direct the DYFI to desist from violent methods.

The Guild also urged the Central and State Governments to take immediately action against the culprits responsible for this attempt to intimidate media organisations and ensure that such lawless actions were not repeated.

A tribute to a great film maker: Sydney Pollack, 1934-2008

Sydney Pollack:1934-2008

May 27, 2008, 11:47 AM | by Gary Susman

Sydney Pollack made movies for grownups. He didn't make movies about teenager-stalking slashers or CGI monsters or men in tights (well, except for Tootsie). The director, who died yesterday at 73, seems like the last of a breed, a filmmaker who specialized in old-fashioned, star-driven, sweeping romances and epics of the kind that used to win Oscars but that Hollywood has all but forgotten how to make. (About the only other director of recent years who still made such anachronistic spectacles was Pollack's producing partner, Anthony Minghella, who died just two months ago.) It's hard to imagine anyone trying nowadays to make a romance with the sprawl and scope of The Way We Were or Out of Africa, movies with artistic ambition, star-powered glamour, and faith that there are enough adult ticketbuyers to make them hits without pandering.

Pollack will be remembered mostly as a director of such glossy, Academy-approved fare (and for helping to make Robert Redford an enduring star by casting him in seven movies), but he dreaded directing, and I wonder if he wouldn't rather have been remembered as a producer. After all, he directed only about 20 movies over his 43 years making features, but he produced more than twice as many, including such gems as The Fabulous Baker Boys, Sense and Sensibility, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Iris.

The movies Pollack directed had a rare tendency to focus on ethics. They dealt with big moral and political issues, usually in a nuanced, mature fashion. (He was to have directed HBO's election docudrama Recount last fall, but he was too ill, and he settled for a producing credit on the movie, which premiered on Sunday, just before he died.) Some of his best movies were political and legal thrillers — Three Days of the Condor, The Firm, The Interpreter — films that were wary of the malign influence of corporate and political power, movies of a kind that were common in the '70s but have all but vanished today. Last year, he produced Tony Gilroy's Michael Clayton, an homage to precisely those kind of '70s movies, and Gilroy's casting of him in a cameo played like a hat tip to a more idealistic era of filmmaking. It's probably no coincidence that he was drawn to character roles (in other directors' movies as well as his own) that were usually heavies: corporate lawyers, weaselly CEOs, and other fixers who would often cynically urge their clients and colleagues to do the expedient thing rather than the right thing.

Pollack's ability to zero in on moral failings played out most shockingly in Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives, where he played a rationalizing philanderer who treated wife Judy Davis and mistress Lysette Anthony with equally explosive fury; he may well have been the best thing in the movie. But he could also be hilariously funny; recall his wry, brief turns in Entourage (as himself), Will & Grace (as Will's dad), Death Becomes Her (as a flabbergasted doctor), and most memorably Tootsie, as Dustin Hoffman's apoplectic agent. (Hoffman pleaded with Pollack to take the role in his own film, and the two squabbled throughout the production — lending Method authenticity to Pollack's on-screen irritation — but you can't argue with the results). Tootsie may be the best thing Pollack ever did, and it's probably going to be the most durable film on his résumé. So I prefer to remember him, not as the dour moralist of Random Hearts or the soggy romanticist of Havana, but as the guy generous enough in spirit to make this film (and to give himself one of the least flattering roles in it). Watch and enjoy.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

'Indian workforce unhealthy'

21 May 2008, 0116 hrs IST,Kounteya Sinha,TNN

NEW DELHI: All work and no play is making Indian professionals unhealthy. A study conducted by the World Health Organisation to gauge the health of India's workforce has made some startling revelations.

Almost 47% of the workforce in Indian industries, especially in urban areas, were found to be overweight while around 27% were suffering from hypertension. Around 10% of those surveyed were also found to be diabetic.

The survey, which looked at the health of 35,000 employees and their family members, aged 10-69 years in 10 different industries, and 20,000 randomly selected individuals, found workers at greater risk of developing chronic diseases like heart attack, stroke and cancer.

Most of those who were found to be diabetic and hypertensive were, however, from highly urbanised areas.

The report, 'Preventing Communicable Diseases in the Workplace through Diet and Physical Activity,' which has also predicted that India would incur an accumulated loss of $236.6 billion by 2015 due to unhealthy lifestyle and a faulty diet leading to chronic diseases, was launched at the World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday.

Predicting an income loss of $54 billion in 2015 for Indians due to their unhealthy lifestyle, the report asks workplaces to come to the fore in making employees aware of their health and recommends imparting health education for preventing CVDs. WHO says that as populations age in middle and low income countries over the next 25 years, the proportions of deaths due to non-communicable diseases will rise significantly.

According to WHO, the global burden of disease is already shifting from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases. In India, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, stroke and chronic lung diseases have already become major public health problems.

According to the health ministry’s estimates, about 10% of adults suffer from hypertension. The number of deaths due to Ischemic heart diseases in India is projected to increase from 1.2 million in 1990 to 1.6 million by 2000, and to 2 million by 2010.

More than six million people have coronary artery disease and about five million people have rheumatic heart disease. Around 2 lakh babies are born every year with some form of congenital cardiothoracic defect. With the aging population, degenerative diseases are also increasing.

India also has largest number of diabetics in the world — 25 to 30 million. India is projected to have more than 37 million diabetics in 2010 and more than 57 million in 2025.

The WHO study focused on changing unhealthy behaviour and addressed physical activity, blood pressure, intake of fruits and vegetables, diabetes, BMI and heart-healthy life, using cognitive theory and the health belief model.

Source: The Times of India