Conceived as the mouthpiece of India's freedom movement, Mathrubhumi is one of the front-runners among the Malayalam newspapers. The first copy of Mathrubhumi was published on 18th of March 1923 -- the day before the first anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's arrest for the first time by the British police.
Led by K.P.Kesava Menon, the prominent freedom fighter, as Editor and K. MadhavanNair as Managing Director, Mathrubhumi was envisaged for spreading the message of the great National Movement. In the beginning, the paper was published a week and had just one edition from Kozhikode (Calicut). A newspaper born out of relentless passion of freedom fighters, Mathrubhumi went on to become an inalienable part of Kerala's social fabric.
Now with sixteen editions- ten in Kerala , ones in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangaluru, Chennai, Dubai and Doha- it has an impressive circulation of over 1.5 million copies.
The history of Mathrubhumi is synonymous with the history of the state's freedom movement, and that of Indian National Congress. Before Mathrubhumi came into being, there were four Malayalam News Papers ('Kerala Patrika', 'Kozhikodan Manorama' , 'Kerala Sanchari ' and 'Mithavadi ') and three English News Papers ('Champion', 'West Coast Reformer 'and 'Spectator'), which were being published from Kozhikode. But none of these papers favoured the freedom movement spearheaded by the Congress. Instead, they supported the British Rule.
K.P Kesava Menon, who was then Secretary of Kerala State Congress Committee, realized the urgent need for a pro-freedom movement publication from the Malabar region. And he, along with his confidants like K.Madhavan Nair, Kuroor Neelakandan Nampoothirippad, K. Kesavan Nair and P. Achuthan, resolved to register The Mathrubhumi Printing and Publishing Company Limited with an authorized capital of Rs.1, 00,000/- in 20,000 shares of Rs.5/- each. However, the Company was able to collect an amount of Rs.15, 000/- only. And the registration took place on 15th of February 1922.
K. Madhavan Nair became the first Managing Director of the Company. But, months later, he resigned from the position due to reasons very personal, replaced by K.P Kesava Menon. On 13th of November 1922, the Company acquired the Empress Victoria Press owned by Kuruppathu Kesava Menon.
The first edition of the paper carried a strong message of support for the National Movement and a pledge to unify the un-organized Malayalees. The editorial had an intense patriotic tone; stressing on the need for real freedom from disparity, divisions and distortions. Moreover, it expressed a willingness to stand with the commoners during their trials and tribulations in life. Built on strong journalistic ethics and high aesthetic outlook, Mathrubhumi soon excelled all other newspapers of that time; and in the process rewriting the history of Malayalam newspapers.
Great Poets like Vallathol Narayana Menon often expressed their patriotic feelings through the columns of the Mathrubhumi, inspiring the freedom fighters. Many patriotic songs, stories and features were popularised among the commoners as well as the news and facts about the freedom movement.
Since then the Mathrubhumi has not looked back. All along the line, it has consistently played crucial roles in social reformation movements such as the 'Vaikom Satyagraha' and the 'Guruvayur Satyagraha'. The day the Vaikom Satyagraha began (April 1, 1924), the Mathrubhumi came out with a harsh and sharp criticism against the social discrimination practiced in Kerala. Moreover, while actively participating in the Satyagraha, K.P Keasava Menon was arrested and sent to the Pujappura Central Jail at Thriuvananthapuram. Eminent personalities like P. Ramunni Menon, K. Kelappan, P. Narayanan Nair, C.H. Kunjappa, V.M Nair, K. A Damodara Menon and so forth served as Editors of the paper.
On a number of occasions Mathrubhumi had run into trouble for supporting the National movement. The Madras Government ordered to endow a bail of Rs.2000/- for an editorial piece that appeared on 7th September 1932, which reprobated the British rule. As a result the paper was forced to publish without the editorials until January 11, 1933. Similarly, during the Quit India movement in 1942 the Mathrubhumi had to abandon the editorial column. And for publishing a feature on the European soldiers' misbehaviour with women in Kochi, the Government had the Mathrubhumi banned. But strong protests against the decision made the Government cancel the order. Similarly, the newspaper was banned in the Travancore region for nine years for a series of articles it wrote against the dictatorship of Diwan Sir. C.P Ramaswami Iyer.
In 1932, with the launch of 'Mathrubhumi Illustrated Weekly', the company entered a new era that nurtured the careers of most titans of Malayalam literature, like Jnanpith laureates G.Sankara Kurup, S.K.Pottakkad, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai and M.T Vasudevan Nair. And it still is the premier literary magazine in Malayalam, publishing some of the most exciting voices in the poetry and fiction.
In 1940, the Mathrubhumi launched a humorous magazine, Viswaroopam, with Sanjayan (M.R.Nair) as the Editor.Yugaprabhat, a bi-monthly in Hindi, was also published with N.V Krishna Warrier as Editor. These two publications are no longer in print.
Presently Mathrubhumi daily is printed from 14 locations inside Kerala and outside Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi). Our fist overseas edition started printing from Dubai on March 2013. The Newspaper is printed using state of the art printing machineries including the modern Printing Machinery like the TKS Colour offset machine imported from Japan and Ferag Mail room facilities from Switzerland.
In 1979 the Company launched Grihalakshmi, a magazine exclusively for the women of Kerala which was later converted to a Fortnightly. Chitrabhumi in 1982, a magazine catering the interests of the Malayalam movie buffs, followed it. The weekly for job prospects Thozhilvartha was launched in 1992. After two years, it was the turn of Mathrubhumi Sports Masika, a monthly exclusively for the sports lovers. Balabhumi for children came out in 1996 and in 1997 the health magazine in Malayalam, Mathrubhumi ArogyaMasika happened. In the year 2008 Mathrubhumi started publishing a Travel Magazine "Mathrubhumi Yathra" for the travel loving Malayalees. "Mathrubhumi Minnaminni" a weekly kids publication started publishing from 2010. "Cartoon Plus", a fortnightly started publishing in 2010 which was later replaced with a monthly "Mathrubhumi Chithrakatha". Our Annual "Mathrubhumi Year Book " is published both in Malayalam and English. We have started printing a Celebrity lifestyle Magazine "Mathrubhumi Star & Style" from the year 2013 replacing our film weekly Chithrabhumi.
Apart from these publications, Mathrubhumi prints and publishes numerous supplements on various occasions .
Mathrubhumi Books, the publishing house, has already made a mark of its own in Malayalam Publishing industry. The house has published both the fictions and non-fictions of almost all the well known writers in Malayalam.
Mathrubhumi has opened bookstalls in almost every major city in Kerala and also conducts exhibions and fairs for the book lovers. The renowed book stall Opposite the Corporation Stadium at Kozhikode provides a new shopping experience for the book lovers. The new air-conditioned K P Kesvamenon Hall opened near the bookstall provides a suitable venue for the public to meet and interact with writers and also a venue for various cultural and social activities.
On 5th September, 1997 the Company launched the online edition www.mathrubhumi.com for the global Malayalees. And in the month of June, 2005 the internet edition was upgraded as a portal with many channels.
Today, the Mathrubhumi Group is not only a fast growing publishing house of repute but also a corporate entity in the mass communication industry, and has struck deep roots in the hearts of Malayalees wherever they are. It has also put an indelible stamp on the art and cultural horizons of Kerala with annual mega events such as 'Mathrubhumi Kalotsavam' and 'The Mathrubhumi Film Award Functions'.
The company entered the world of television and telecasting with a significant production house, MBTV (Mathrubhumi Television), which has been producing Serials and Telefilms of the highest quality.
Taking a step into the world of broadcasting Company started FM Radio stations under the Name "CLUB FM" in the year 2007. The first FM Station started from Thrissur and Kannur and Trivandrum stations started broadcasting during January 2008 and fourth FM Station from Kochi during May 2008. CLUB FM 94.3 (CLUB FM 104.8 in Thrissur) is today the most popular FM brand in Kerala. It has bagged several awards for the quality programs . The stations guarantee great music and greater fun -- an effective blend of soul-stirring melody and fast numbers for the youth. Round the clock it enchants you with scintillating music, peppered with tips of fitness, fashion, beauty, quiz and lot more.
Mathrubhumi Music, which is a meaningful step into the world of enchanting music is also a very promising business hand.
On January 2013 Mathrubhumi launched its first Television Channel, "Mathrubhumi News" , a 24x7 Malayalam News Channel. "Kappa TV" a speciality entertainment channel launched on February 2013 which has received world-wide recognition in that segment.