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Varghese Mappillai was born in 1857 as the fourth son of Karuthalil Eapen Mappillai. He studied up to F.A. with the financial support of his father.
He was the editor of ‘Kerala Mithram’ which was published in 1881 from Cochin. His journalistic mind and love for literature paved way for establishing the Malayala Manorama Company in 1888. On 22 March 1890, (M.E 1065, Meenam 10th) the first issue of Malayala Manorama was published.
The Malayalam language and journalism were the soul and spirit of Varghese Mappillai. Under his leadership and vision Malayala Manorama progressed. He utilized the media to nourish and flourish Malayalam language and literature. K. M. Cherian, Kattakayam Cherian Mappillai, Kottarathil Sankunni, K. C. Kesava 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, however, not known to many.
The drama Abrayakutty, an independent Malayalam translation of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, and Keerthanamala were some of the contributions by him to Malayalam literature. Varghese Mappillai formed an association for Malayalam writers called Kavisamajam. He also formed an association called Bhashaposhini which later on became a magazine encouraging literature and language.
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