Kandathil Varghese Mappillai was the founder of the newspaper Malayala Manorama and the magazine Bhashaposhini.
In 1857 Varghese Mappillai was born as the fourth son of Karuthalil Eapen Mappillai. With the financial support of his father, Varghese Mappilai was fortunate to get access to English education and studied up to F.A. After studies Varghese Mappillai joined as Treasury Officer (Muthalpadikkaran). Later, he took up a job of ‘Munshi’ (Malayalam teacher) in CMS School for a short period. He was the editor of ‘Keralamithram’which was published in 1881 from Cochin. His journalistic mind and love for literature paved way for establishing Malayala Manorama Company. On 22 March 1890 (M.E 1065, Meenam 10th) the first issue of Malayala Manorama was published.
Kandathil Varghese Mappillai and literary contributions
Malayalam language and Journalism were the soul and spirit of Varghese Mappillai. Under his exuberant leadership and great vision Malayala Manorama progressed. He utilized the media to nourish and flourish Malayalam language and literature. O M Cherian, Kattakkayathil Cherian Mappillai, Kottarathil Shankunni, K C Keshava Pillai and C S Subramaniam Potti were his close associates. Varghese Mappillai became an established writer at his young age. The Malayalam Primer for Children written by Varghese Mappillai was not known to many.
‘Abrayakutty’, an independent drama, Malayalam translation of William Shaekspeare’s drama ‘Taming of the Shrew, ‘Keerthanamala were some of the contributions by him for Malayalam Literature. Varghese Mappillai pioneered in forming an association for Malayalam Writers, ‘Kavisamajam’. On the backdrop this he formed an association called ‘Bhashaposhini’and later on it turned into a magazine encouraging literature and language.
Varghese Mappillai also made noteworthy contributions in reforming Malayalam alphabets.