Malayalam literature has completely transformed itself into a truly independent literature that can encompass all classes and communities.
Malayalam -- malayalaM.A palindrome. Celebrating the fecundity of the Indian experience in his Midnight's Children, the novelist Salman Rushdie couldn't pass up a chance to joke about the palidromic name of our language.Often misguessed as the language of Malayasia, this language of the southwestern state of Kerala (population 28 million) is a member of the Indo-Dravidian family. Kerala itself is a new political entitity as it was formed only in 1956, incorporating the Malayalam speaking kingdoms of Travancore, Cochin, and Malabar which was ruled directly by the British.
Throughout its three hegemonic phases--Dravidian, Aryan and European--Malayalam language assimilated new genres and styles, and gradually built up a rich regional literary tradition, an integral part of Indian Literature. However, it is only in the twentieth century, with the advent of social modernity, that Malayalam literature has completely transformed itself into a truly independent literature that can encompass all classes and communities. Now, as Malayalam literature responds to the cultural trends of other prominent literatures in the East and the West, it is also able to contribute exemplary works of poetry and fiction in return to the larger world beyond the geographical boundaries of Kerala.
Back to Home page
Last Updated: December 11, 1998