K.C MAMMEN MAPPILLAI – A profile
K C Mammen Mappillai was
born on 4th of May 1873 as the eldest son of Kandathil
Cherian Mappillai and Mariamma. He had 2 older sisters 5
younger brothers and 2 younger sisters.
Matriculation from Thiruvalla High School, Intermediate
(F A) from C M S College, Kottayam and B A from Madras
After passing B A., he wanted
to enter the Mysore Civil Service like some of his
But his uncle Varghese Mappillai, founder of Malayala
Manorama persuaded him to come back to Kerala and become a
He joined M D
Seminary High School and become its Headmaster. Varghese
Mappillai persuaded his nephew to help him in the working
of Malayala Manorama.
Varghese Mappillai passed
away in July 1904, And the mantle of publishing the
newspaper fell on the shoulders of Mammen Mappillai who
was just 31 years old.
He resigned his
Headmastership in 1908 and took over the publishing of
Manorama as full time job. He became its longest Editor.
During his time Manorama became a bi-weekly in 1918 and
Daily in 1928.
Along with publishing he went into a
number of business projects some of which never saw the
light of Day. Shipping, Road Transport, Retail Shop, Book
Publications etc. were some of them. However, he gave
Kerala's economy a new bounce. He used Malayala Manorama
to popularise cultivation, particularly rubber, the MONEY
TREE from Brazil. Rubber eventually became backbone of
Kerala midlands and continues to be so.
One of the
other institutions he had started was Travancore National
bank. It was later amalgamated with Quilon Bank started by
C P Mathen in 1936. The new name was Travancore National &
He took active part in the struggle
of the Malankara Church against the Antiochian hegemony.
He was a member of the Modern Legislative Assembly of
the Erstwhile State of Travancore. He played a key role in
the struggle for Civil Rights and responsible Government.
The various activities of K C Mammen Mappillai were
not appreciated by the then Dewan of Travancore Sir C P
Ramaswamy Iyer, particularly his political activities,
which had the support of his newspaper.
of Travancore went all out to break the political
activities of K C Mammen Mappillai. He made the Travancore
Government seal the newspaper office. Owing to the adverse
propaganda by Government the bank closed in 1938.
C Mammen Mappillai was arrested and put in jail for 2
In 1947 after India became independent he
came back to Kerala and restarted Malayala Manorama on
29th November 1947. He ran it with his eldest son K M
Cherian till his death at midnight on December 3, 1953.
His anchor all through the crests and troughs was
Mammy, his wife whom he married when he was just fifteen.
She inspired him, comforted him and bore him nine
children, all of whom made a mark in their chosen fields.
As a mark of respect to his departed soul, the Chief
Minister of the then Travancore- Cochin, Sri A J John and
his cabinet ministers led the funeral procession, which
was a signal honour considering what the previous Dewan-led
Government did to Malayala Manorama an K C Mammen
His legacy lives on-in Malayala
Manorama's undying love for freedom and in his indelible
imprint on Kerala's destiny.