Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi’s first copy was published on 18 March 1923 – as the publication’s website reminds us, the day before the first anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s arrest for the first time by the British police.
The daily was founded by freedom fighters. KP Kesava Menon was founding editor, while K Madhavan Nair donned the role of Managing Director at launch. Along with a few of their associates, they initially published Mathrubhumi as a weekly. It was intended as a vehicle to spread the message of the national movement. The very first edition carried a strong message of support for the national movement and a pledge to unify the unorganised Malayali population.
Well-known poets like Vallathol Narayana Menon often wrote columns for Mathrubhumi, voicing their patriotic feelings and thereby inspiring the freedom fighters and public. The daily has constantly played a vital role in social reformation movements in Kerala, like the Vaikom Satyagraha and the Guruvayur Satyagraha – to allow entry of erstwhile ‘untouchables’ into the respective temples.
The daily faced several obstacles during the national movement. The Madras Government ordered a Rs.2000 bail for an editorial piece that appeared on 7 September 1932 criticising British rule. For this reason, Mathrubhumi was forced to publish without the editorials until 11 January 1933. The daily was also forced to abandon the editorial columns in 1942 during the Quit India movement.
India has come a long way since independence and so has Mathrubhumi. A slate of publications including women’s title Grihalakshmi, Club FM, news channel Mathrubhumi News, entertainment channel Kappa TV, live event IPS and a strong online presence are some of the notable indicators of its scale today.
On 18 March 2022, the daily held its centennial celebrations inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his speech, Modi recalled the history of Mathrubhumi, highlighting efforts by the likes of KP Kesava Menon, MP Veerendra Kumar and others in making Mathrubhumi a part of Kerala’s history.
The group is currently led by MV Shreyams Kumar, who was bestowed with the MediaNews4u.com GameChangers Lifetime Achievement Award for 2021, for growing the media empire and its contribution to industry and society at large.
The group launched a campaign commemorating 100 years of Mathrubhumi. The spot takes us through the role played by the brand over the years in pre-independent India through to the present day, chronicling events and ushering in positive change.
The campaign reaffirms Mathrubhumi’s commitment to the shared journey; to partnering the people of Kerala on the path to progress.