The dawn of April 15, 1887 witnessed a rare moment in the history of publishing in Kerala when Deepika, (Nazrani Deepika- as it was initially named) India's first Malayalam Newspaper was first published. A marvel at that time, it was the realization and fulfillment of a long-cherished dream of many, which its Founder Editor Fr. Emmanuel Nidhiry (Nidhirikal Mani Kathanar), a renowned priest and perceptive, creative thinker of those times, initiated and shaped.
The newspaper was initially printed on a crude, hand-made wooden press built by the legendary and far-sighted visionary Carmelite monk, Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara (now Saint Chavara) at Mannanam; a remote hamlet near the town of Kottayam in Central Kerala over a quarter century before then. This event further marked the epoch-making but humble dawn of organized, elite, free press journalism in Kerala. The Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) congregation managed the newspaper till 1989, when it was converted into a Limited Company with public participation named Rashtra Deepika Ltd.; with a view to giving it fresh impetus, added professionalism and new ethos.
The newspaper's founders had high and noble ambitions for this unique project that served as a major milestone in the evolution and advancement of literacy in Kerala. Under the dynamic leadership of Fr. Emmanuel Nidhiri, (a versatile genius and renowned philosopher of those times) and his team of thinkers, Nazrani Deepika marched unflinchingly over the years into the 20th Century, growing in stature and spreading its wings further. The printing frequency gradually increased from weekly to twice a week and later thrice a week. Correspondents and contributors were from virtually all segments of society.
On January 3, 1927, Nazrani Deepika was converted into a Daily, the first ever of the State, re-emphasizing the noble goals that its founding fathers had put forward in its very first issue, namely :
- To represent the needs of the common man to the rulers.
- To protect and safeguard the inalienable rights of the people.
- To fight for Truth, Justice and Freedom and to unite the separated brethren of Kerala.
On August 1, 1939, the newspaper shifted to Kottayam, which has since become a nerve center for printing and publishing in the state. To give it a more secular outlook, its name was also then changed to Deepika. Over the years, Deepika has continued to make a strong impact on the masses, becoming the voice of the voiceless, staunchly standing out for truth, justice, freedom and equality for all. It is today a credible, authentic, secular and dignified newspaper committed to genuine social, cultural and ethical values. It is a mouthpiece of the oppressed, a source of inspiration for many and has carved out a distinctive personality for itself in the world of newspapers in Kerala; bravely and boldly leading by example from the front.
In 1986, Deepika's year-long centenary celebrations were inaugurated by Pope John Paul II and the newspaper commemorated its 100th year of publication in April 1987. Well over the past 130 years, Deepika has grown in strength and stature, standing out boldly for the people, fearing and favoring none. It has relentlessly fought for the well being of farmers, the weaker sections and the rights of the minorities, irrespective of caste or creed. It has also maintained a neutral political stand, earning the appreciation of politicians and leaders, both national and regional, which has helped it earn added credibility and respect.
In August 1989, Deepika was converted into a Public Limited Company, Rashtra Deepika Ltd. This was to facilitate the organization to gain corporate dimensions, stimulation and new ethos so as to enable it to meet the myriad challenges of the ever growing and highly competitive world. The event has been the turning point in the history of the organization, which has grown leaps and bounds,ever since.
Class of Readers...
Rashtra Deepika publications have the distinction of being widely read by the affluent, educated and influential class of Kerala society, mostly middle and upper middle class Christian families, who form the bulk of its readership. Many of our readers have distinguished and established themselves at the summit of diverse fields of economic, political and social activities. Top engineers, doctors, bankers, jewelers, share brokers, industrialists, businessmen, agriculturists, etc. are regular readers.
Our readers are also receptive as well as widely considered market creators and market movers.