Thalassery is a place that gave birth to several writers and eminent personalities. There are several reading rooms and cultural organisations functioning in and around Thalassery. The 'Sahitya Samiti' which worked under the famous literary critic, Late M.S. Menon should always be remembered. When we examine the history of literary activities in Thalassery, we will encounter several literary luminaries with vital links to the Malayalam Literature.
The history of literature in Thalassery starts from Sri. Punathoor Raman Gurukkal. There are not many details about Raman Gurukkal who worked for propagating Sanskrit education by establishing a school near Thrikkai Shiva Temple at Narangappuram, Thalassery. Even in the 'History of Kerala Literature' by Great Poet Ulloor, there is only a small mention on Sri Raman Gurukkal.
In North Malabar, the first 'Kathakali Yogam' was organised by Sri Kunchambu, son of Raman Gurukkal. The history of literature in Thalassery, in fact, starts from Raman Gurukkal and Swetharanya Guru.
Madavil Kunchiraman Vaidyar (1823-1889)
He was the grandfather of famous satirist Sanjayan. His writings included ‘Sreeramodantham’, ‘Govindacharitham’ and ‘Thadaka Parinayam’
Kakkuzhi Kunchi Bappu Gurukkal (1826-1878)
The Gurukkal was a Malayalam teacher at Brennen High School, Thalassery. He was a poet, musician and a great scholar. His main works include ‘Harischandracharitham’, ‘Bagavatgeetha’ and ‘Kilipattu’.
Madayi Mannan Gurukkal (1831-1864)
He was a Sanskrit scholar and a poet. He authored ‘nalacharitam’, ‘pathivrathadharmam’, ‘parvathiparinayam’ etc.
Midukkan Kunchikannan Gurukkal (1840-1895)
He is also known as Meloot Kunchikannan Gurukkal. He was a poet and had written several poems in Malayalam and Sanskrit.
Sahityakusalan M. Seshagiri Prabu (1855-1924)
Sheshagiri Prabhu who stayed in Thiruvangad was a scholar and essayist. He was the author of ‘Vyakarana mitram’, Balavyakaranam, Vyakaranadarsham, Vatsarajacharitram, sreeharshacharitram, vedavyasan etc.
Parambath Rairunair (1861-1930)
Rairu Nair was a Malayalam Teacher at Victoria College,Palakkad. He was a Sanskrit scholar and essayist and the Chief Editor of the Magazine ‘Sahitya Chandrika’. He had written commentaries on the books of Neelakanda Deekshithar and Vedantacharya. He had also written in English in news magazines like Mail, Hindu and Asiatic Journal.
Vengayil Kunchu Raman Nayanar (1961-1914)
One among the noted writers in Malayalam, Raman Nayanar had written using the pen name ‘Kesari’. He stayed in Kapparatti house near Erancholi.
He was the Headmaster of the BEMP High School. He had translated Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Lady of Lake’ as Sarobhamini Vilasam’ and Samuval Johnson’s Russelus as Rasaleshika.
M.K. Gurukkal (1869-1924)
He was a Malayalam Teacher in Brennen College. He was staying at Thiruvangad, Kooloth House. He was a Sanskrit scholar and opened a Sanskrit school named ‘Vidyarthi Chinthamani’ for the propagation of Sanskrit language. He was also the Chief Editor of the publication named ‘Gajakesari’. Sri Atmananda swamikal and Sri. Vagbadanda swamikal took education under him. His main works include ‘Kalavidyavavaranam’ and ‘Muktivivekam’.
K.C. Narayanan Nambiar (1873-1922)
K.C. Narayanan Nambiar stayed near O.Chandumenon’s house at Thiruvangad. He was a humour poet and had written a poem titled ‘vakeel bharatham’ about the advocates in the Thalassery Bar. He also wrote ‘Chakkeechangaram’ and ‘Ubayalankaram’.
Neelancheri Sankaran Nair (1876-1934)
He was the author of the plays like ‘Radhamadhavam’, ‘palazhi madanam’, and ‘subadraharanam’. He was also the editor of the magazine ‘sujanavinodi’. He also constituted a Drama Team at Mambaram.
Kappana Kannan Menon (1878-1968)
He was a social reformer and educationalist. He was born in Thiruvangad. He was a Teacher and was a close friend of Manoth Padmanabhan. He became the member of the Nair Service Society. He was the Chief Editor of the NSS- publication ‘Service’. His important works include ‘snehalahari’ and ‘sthreedharmam’.
She was born in Olavilam near Chokli. She was the editor of magazines like ‘Mahilaratnam’ and ‘Vanita’. Her major literary works include ‘Savithreekritham’, ‘Kousalyadevipuranachandrika’ and ‘prarthananjali’. Sri. K.M.K Nair, a famous advocate of Thalassery bar, was her son.
K.C.Kuttyappa Nambiar was a native of Peralassery. Maharaja of Thiruithamkoor honored him by granting ‘kavimani’ award for his work ‘Vignarajesharam attakkada’. He also worked as associate editor of the weeklies, ‘Madirashi patrika’, ‘Jayakeralam’ and ‘Lokavani’. Sahiteevilasam, Gadyakumarasambavam, Kalivaibhavam etc were his famous literary works. He shot into fame when Kerala Koumudi published his poems ‘vasudevasthavam’, ‘uddanante gokulayatra’, ‘mootharbarthukayaya mandodari’ etc.
Manayil Govindan Nambiar
He was born in manayil kara at Tellichery. He excelled in Logic, Vedanta as well as in literature. He was a Sanskrit scholar and worked as a teacher at Koothuparamba school.
Vagbadananda Guru (1885-1941)
He was born in Vayaleri family at Patyam near Thalassery. His original name was Kunchikkannan. He was proficient in Logic, Vedanta and Sanskrit. He established an organisation by name ‘Atmavidyasangam’. He was a good speaker and delivered speeches by travelling across Kerala. His major works include ‘Atmavidya’, ‘Atmavidyalekhamala’ and ‘Aadyatmayuddam’.
A patriot and a freedom fighter, Moyarath Sankaran, was brutally murdered by the destructive politics of Kannur District. He was jailed several times. He joined Communist Party of India after some disagreements with the Congress Party. He had also authored ‘History of the Congress’.
K.T. Chandu Nambiar (1889-1948)
K.T. Chandu Nambiar had a multi-faceted personality. He was an excellent speaker, writer, social worker, scholar and an advocate dealing with criminal cases. He excelled in the literary field long before he became a famous Advocate. It was in ‘keralapatrika’ where his writings on literary and social issues were published.His writings were also published in news publications like ‘Keralasanchari’, ‘Mitavadi’ run by Moorkoth Kumaran. He was also associated with news publications like ‘Janaranjini’ run by Kadathanad Udayavarma Thamburan and ‘Swabimani’ headed by M.K. Kunchikkannan Nambiar. The controversies raised by the Moorkoth Kumaran’s work ‘Kadorakadaram’ and Chandu Nambiar’s work ‘Ramabanam’ were a sumptuous treatment for the literary lovers on those days.
K.V. Manan Gurukkal (1890-1965)
He was born at Kathiroor near Thalassery. He was a Malayalam teacher in Government Brennen College. He authored ‘Sameeksha Soudham’, a collection of essays and ‘Divakara Chinta’, an anthology of poems.
V.K.K Gurukkal (1892-1982)
He was born in Patyam near Thalassery. He authored anthology of poems like ‘Pithru vilapam’, ‘Malarmala’, ‘Hemavalli’ etc. He translated Sree Sankara’s ‘Atmabodham’ and Sree Narayana’s ‘Darsanamala’ etc. to Malayalam. He also wrote in Sanskrit on ‘Vagbadananda’.
Valiya Veetil Kunnikannan Gurukkal, popularly known as VVK, was born at Kathiroor. He was a Malayalam Teacher at Kadiroor High School. He was a famous poet and his major works include ‘suvarna meghala’, ‘hridayagayakan’, and ‘nirvana mandalam’.
Mekkunnath Kunchikkannan Nair
He was a Malayalam Writer, Journalist and a Reporter of the Press Trust of India. He served as editor of ‘Lokasakthi, ‘Navabharatham’, ‘Udayam’ and ‘Kavyakanthi’ magzines. He was also at the helm of several cultural organisations.
O. Abusaheb (1916-1980)
He was born in Chettamkunnu, Thalassery. He researched on ‘Mapilapattu’ for some time. His major literary works include ‘Imamhasali’, ‘Chessum Chathurangavum’, ‘Futhful Gaib’ and ‘Arabi malayala Sahitya Charithram. He was the publisher of ‘Mujahid’, Arogyabandu and Vidyalayam magazines.
K.P.B. Patyam (1929-1969)
He is not a well-known person to the present generation. He had written articles for a premier weekly continuously during the period 1948-53 and his articles had attracted literary lovers a lot. He had worked as an associate editor for the publications like ‘Madirasi patrika’, ‘Jayakeralam’, ‘Lokavani’ etc. His work ‘Kanneerinte Katha’ was a article in protest against this cruel world. We can find a silent revolutionary poet in him who walked along with likes of Vayalar and P. Baskaran. He went behind scenes for more than 16 years and left this world after the 16-year-long reclusive life. His full name was Balakrishnan Nambiar. His poems were published as a collection titled ‘KPB patyam kavithakal’.
He was writer in mappila literature and a native of Thalassery. He was the author of the ‘Arabi-Malayalam-Ganakavya-pustakam’. He also authored philosophical poems ‘Kappapattu’ and Mappily poems ‘nool maduh’ or ‘nool mala’. Nool mala was printed from Thalassery.
He was a famous Architect (Tachu sastra vidagdan). He wrote several poems in Mathruboomi. There are several anthologies of poems and collection of essays in his name. His collection of poems include ‘Navyabharatham’, ‘sukrithaharam’, ‘mukulamala’, ‘deepashika’, ‘pushpasayya’, ‘chitrasalabham’, ‘adaranjali’. His short poems (kanda kavyam) include ‘santhigeetham’ and ‘kashmeerinte kannuneer’. His contributions to literary criticism include ‘Rajamargam’, ‘bamamandalam’, ‘ujwalasabdam’, ‘asante seetha’, ‘agnipareeshakku shesham’, ‘kavitha puthiya kazhchapadil’ etc. His works on linguistics and pedagogy include ‘Prayogashaili’, ‘Bashamanjari’. The works ‘soundarya lahari’, ‘adityasthuthi’ etc. were his translation works to Malayalam. He also authored books on Indian architecture titled ‘Indian Silpakala’, ‘Naveena bhoomi jathakam’ etc. He also wrote a series of articles under the heading Indian architecture in ‘Kerala Patrika’ headed by Sri Sanjayan. He was a Teacher in Brennen School, Thalassery.
K. Thayat, an Academician and Thinker who contributed significantly to the field of literature and culture, occupied a significant place among the academic intelligentsia of Thalassery. He contributed 15 works to the children’s literature apart from his 34 other books. He wrote commentaries on ‘History of Indian freedom movement’ for the children. ‘Nam Changala Potticha Katha’ is his major work.
Among the bygone literary giants of Thalassery, the work of Nettur P. Damodaran titled ‘Narmadayude Nattil’ and the work of Sri. Chirukandan Vakeel titled ‘nanum ente kannil kandathum’ were available. Other prominent writers of Thalassery include S.K. Balakrishnan, K.M. Kumaraswamy sanyasi, Krishnananda swamikal(Thiruvangad sri krishnakurup) and vidwan K.K. Sukumaran.
Famous literary critic and former editor of ‘Deshabimani’, Thayat Sankaran, Former State Secretary of the CPM, N.E. Balaram, former Associate Editor for Malayala Manorama, Sri. Moorkoth Kunchappa and Sri A.N.P. Ummerkutty, former Director, Kerala Bhasha Institute were native of Thalassery.
Former Secretary, Kerala Sahitya Academay, Sri. Pavanan, famous artist and essayist Sri. N.V.Devan (He is a native of Chokli and his work Devaspandanam got vayalar award), K.P. Vijayan, Mathruboomi (retired), author of the famous book ‘Keralathile Africa’, Sri. K. Panoor, K. Ubaidulla, Malayla Manorama (retired), K. M.Gopi, National Library(Retired), Moorkoth Ramunni, retired administrator of Nagaland, M.P. Balakrishan, retired Principal, DIET, Palayad, Vidwan K.K. Sukumaran, C.P. Achuthan who was writing in Deshabimani and Chinta etc are the pride of Thalassery.
M.P. Radhakrishnan, the founder of the premier educational establishment Mahatma College Thalassery, acquired a distinctive position for his literary works published in the prestigious weekly ‘Mathruboomi’. His study on the literary works of ‘Madavi Kutty’ was a noted work.
Famous artist and speaker K.K. Marar wrote several noted short stories and essays in his earlier days.
The former Chief Editor of Desabhimani Weekly, Sri. I.V. Das, APS Sadik, Ragavan iyyathukad are also native of Thalassery.
Sri. Sukumar Andaloor is a noted poet after VVK in the literary history of Thalassery. He writes in the prestigious Mathurboomi weekly and is also a well known photographer.
Sri. Patyam Ramakrishan, poet and disciple of Vagbhadananda, Rajan Palayad, Ramachandran Mokeri, Headmaster, Saint Joseph’s High School, Sethumadhavan Koyithatta, Kaviyoor Rajagopalan, Premachadran (son of Dr.Ramakrishnan and who expired at a young age) are also poets of Thalassery.
Sri Vengayil Kunchiraman Nair and Moorkoth Kumaran were among the first generation writers of short stories, a highly rich literary segment of the Malayalam Literature. The noted short story writer Sreedharan Chambad mainly depicted in his stories the struggles inside the Circus camps.
U.P. Jayaraj, K.Ponniyam K.K Rajesh, V.V. Rugmini, M.K. Manoharan, Padma Premanandan Chambad, M. Gokul Das etc. are also writers of Thalassery.
Though not a native of Thalassery, Sri. A N Prabhakaran, Teacher, Brennen College and Valsalan vathussery, Teacher, MG College, Mahe, both of them have adopted thalassry as their place of residence. Famous dramatist and critic N. Sasidharan and his daughter S.Sitara have also adopted Thalassery as their place of residence.
V.P.Kunchabdulla, Padmanabhan thalayi, Sreedharan Chambad, K. Ponnyam, V.V. Rugmini, are other noted novelists of Thalassery.
Famous writers of children’s literature, D.K.D Muzhappilangad, Chambadan Vijayan, noted translator and travel writer O. Krishnan, noted critic and Brennen college teacher A.T. Mohan Raj, noted film critic and writer O.P. Raj Mohan, Advocate Vayalam Harindranath, I.V. Babu, noted translator M.P. Kumaran, C.O.T. Ummer are also from Thalassery. Famous Music Director, K. Raghavan, famous artists Balan master, Soman, K.K. Marar, K.K. Sahadevan, Ponnyam Chandran, Sel Vel Melur are also from Thalassery. Famous Journalist, N.P. Rajendran who is working in Mathrubhoomi is also from Thalassery.