First of Malayalam Literature

First of Malayalam Literature

Malayalam is a comparatively young language in South India and its literature dates back to more than five centuries. In this post, we are going to learn the firsts in the history of Malayalam Literature.


First of Malayalam Literature

  • Father of Modern Malayalam Literature – Thunchath Ezhuthachan.
  • First Malayalam Prose Work – Bhashakautiliyam (a commentary on Kautilya’s Arthasastra, written in the 12th century).
  • First Malayalam Grammar/Literary Treatise – Lilathilakam (compiled in the 14th century, is considered the pinnacle of Manipravalam style).
  • First Classic – Krishna Gatha (Cherusseri, 1500 AD).
  • First Travelogue – Varthamanapusthakam (Ente Roma Yathra, 1786, by Paramekkal Thomakathanar).
  • First Epic / Mahakavyam in Malayalam – Ramachandra Vilasam (Azhakath Padmanabha Kurup, 1907).
  • First Poet – Cheeraman.
  • First Vanchippattu – Kuchelavritham (Ramapurathu Warrier).
  • First Thullal Poem – Kalyanasaugandhikam (Kunjan Nambiar).
  • First Champu Poem in Malayalam – Unniyachi Charitham.
  • First Elegy in Malayalam – Oru Vilapam (C.S. Subrahmanyan Potti).
  • First Collection of Malayalam Poems  Vellinakshtram (M.P. Appan).
  • First Short Story in Malayalam – Vasanavikruthi (Vengayil Kunhiraman Nayanar, 1891).
  • First History of Kerala – Vaikath Pachu Moothath (1860).
  • First Autobiography in Malayalam – Vaikath Pachu Moothath (1871).
  • First Autobiography in Malayalam written by a Woman – Oru Vyazhavatta Smaranakal (B. Kalyani Amma, 1916).
  • First Serialized Autobiography in Malayalam – Ente Kadha (Madhavikutty).
  • First Work on the History of Malayalam literature  Malayala Bhasha Charithram (P. Govinda Pillai).
  • First Malayalam Journal from Travancore – Gnana Nikshepam (1848).
  • First Malayalam Book on Journalism – Vrithantha Pathrapravarthanam (വൃത്താന്ത പത്രപ്രവർത്തനം, Swadeshabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai).
  • First monthly magazine that gave emphasis to Malayalam Literature – Vidyavilasini (1881).
  • First Work in ‘Pachamalayalam’ Movement – Nalla Bhasha (Kodungallur Kunjikkuttan Thampuran, 1891).

First Novels in Malayalam

  • First Malayalam Novel – Kundalatha (Appu Nedungadi, 1887).
  • First Novel printed & released in Malayalam – Fulmoni Ennum Koruna Ennum Peraya Randu Sthreekalude Katha (ഫുൽമോനി എന്നും കോരുണ എന്നും പേരായ രണ്ടു സ്ത്രീകളുടെ കഥ, Rev. Joseph Peet, 1858).
  • First Major/Social Novel in Malayalam – Indulekha (O. Chandu Menon, 1889)
  • First Historical Novel in Malayalam – Marthandavarma (C.V. Raman Pillai, 1891).
    • First Novel from Travancore – Marthandavarma (C.V. Raman Pillai).
    • First Malayalam Novel to be a part of a Trilogy – Marthandavarma (C.V. Raman Pillai).
    • First Malayalam Novel to have a Masculine Title– Marthandavarma (C.V. Raman Pillai).
    • First Historical Novel in any South Indian languages – Marthandavarma (C.V. Raman Pillai).
    • First Malayalam Novel to be adapted into film of same name (1933) – Marthandavarma (C.V. Raman Pillai).
  • First Detective Novel – Bhaskara Menon (Appan Thampuran, 1924).
  • First Satirical Novel – Premamrutam (C. V. Raman Pillai).
  • First Political Novel – Parappuram (K. Narayana Kurukkal; three parts; 1908).
  • First Cyber Novel – Nrittam (M. Mukundan).
  • First Malayalam Audio Novel – Ithanente Peru (Paul Zakariya).
  • First Realistic Novel in Malayalam –Dhoomakethuvinte Udayam (Sardar K.M. Panicker, 1929).
  • First Historical Novel translated into Malayalam – Akbar (Kerala Varma Valiya Koi Thampuran, 1894).
  • First Malayalam Novel to gain a readership outside Kerala – Chemmeen (Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, 1962).
  • First Malayalam Novel that dealt with the Socially Backward Classes (Pulaya) Saraswathi Vijayam (Potheri Kunjambu, 1892).
  • First Malayalam novel written in stream of consciousness narrative style  Swargadhoothan (Ponjikkara Rafi; 3 parts; 1958).
  • First Female Novelist in Malayalam – J. Parukkuttiyamma.

First Dramas in Malayalam

    • First Drama in Malayalam Manipravala Shakunthalam (translation of Kalidasa’s Abhijnana Shakuntalam by Kerala Varma Valiya Koi Thampuran, 1882).
    • First Historical Drama – Seethalakshmi (E.V. Krishna Pillai).
    • First Musical Drama – Sangeetha Naishadam (T.C. Achuthamenon).*
    • First Political Drama – Pattabakki (K. Damodaran).
    • First Social Drama Mariamma (Polachirackkal Kocheeppan Tharakan, 1878).
    • First Sanskrit Drama – Ascharyachoodamani (Sakthibhadran).
    • First Psychological Drama – Bhagnabhavanam (N. Krishna Pillai).
    • First Women's Drama – Ajnathavasam (Kuttikunju Thankachi, 1890).
    • First Solo Play (ഏകാങ്ക നാടകം) – Munnattu Veeran (മുന്നാട്ടുവീരൻ, Appan Thampuran, 1926)

    📝 SideNotes:

    • Muslim Kalidasa – Moyinkuti Vaidyar.
    • Kesari – Vengayil Kunhiraman Nayanar.
    • Kerala Ibsen – N. Krishna Pillai.
    • Niranam Poets – Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar & Rama Panikkar.
    • Kerala Panini – A. R. Raja Raja Varma.
    • Preface to Kerala Panineeyam of A.R. Rajaraja Varma was written by – Kerala Varma Valiyakoithampuran.
    • Preface to Ramachandra Vilasam was written by – A.R. Rajaraja Varma.
    • Kerala Scot – C. V. Raman Pillai (after writing the first historical novel in Malayalam, Marthandavarma).
    • First Mystic Poet in Kerala – G. Sankara Kurup.
    • First Malayalam Language Critic – Kerala Varma Valiya Koyi Thampuran.
    • First Woman Dramatist in Malayalam – Thottakkat Ikkavamma (Subhadrarjunam).
    • Most no. of travelogues in Malayalam were written by – S.K. Pottekkatt.
    *Some references says it's Sadarama by K. C. Kesava Pillai, however Sadarama is a Tamil musical play.

    Thanks for reading!!!

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