Deepika is the oldest Malayalam language newspaper
now in circulation and is also counted amongst the most popular newspapers in Malayalam. The word "Deepika" in Malayalam means "lamp" and the newspaper was first published on 15th April, 1887. The principal objectives of Deepika during its inception were to represent the needs of the common people to the rulers and to protect and safeguard the inalienable rights of the people. Another objective of Deepika was to fight for Truth, Justice and Freedom and to unite the separated brethren of Kerala. The newspaper has got significant success in achieving its primary objectives and is fighting for establishing truth, justice and freedom in independent India as well.
Deepika has a rich and glorious history. The newspaper was first published by a Syrian Christian priest, Nidhirikkal Manikkathanar or Father Emmanuel Nidhiri. He was also known as Nidhiry Mani Kathanar and he started the newspaper under the masthead Nazrani Deepika. The first issue of Deepika was published during the festival of Lord Vishu, (the spring equinox festival according to Kerala tradition). Printing was done on a crude handmade wooden press in the initial period. Deepika started its journey as a paper of the Syro Malabar Nasranis or Catholics of Kerala
`s Syrian tradition. It was run by a religious order within the Roman Catholic Church, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) for many years. However, a public limited company named the Rashtra Deepika Ltd. bought Deepika and its sister publications in August 1989. Rashtra Deepika Ltd. is publishing the newspaper till date.
Deepika published its first print edition at Kottayam. However, the newspaper has grown in strength over the years and it now publishes its editions from Kottayam, Kochi
, Kannur, Thrissur
. Besides being the first ever Malayalam language newspaper, Deepika has also introduced many new concepts in Malayalam journalism. It was the first newspaper in Malayalam to be published on a daily basis. Deepika became a daily newspaper in January, 1927. It is also among the first Malayalam newspapers to go online. It has three online editions like Deepika.com, Deepika Global and Deepika Global Radio and it is considered the largest Indian vernacular online newspaper. It also has the credit of assigning a full page for sports and agriculture news for the first time in Malayalam journalism as well.
Deepika draws its readership mainly from the Syro Malabar Catholic laity. Its readership comprises the greatest part of the affluent strata and the higher educated class of the Kerala society. The newspaper has also witnessed the rise of many renowned journalists in Malayalam, who worked with it at some point of their career. Writers, contributors and correspondents from all segments of the Kerala
population enhanced the quality of Deepika over the years and it has also earned credibility and respect in Kerala.
With the increasing popularity of Deepika, the number and variety of its publications also increased significantly. Apart from the daily newspaper, the Rashtra Deepika group also publishes an evening daily named The Rashtra Deepika; an agricultural monthly named Karshakan; women`s monthly named Sthreedhanam; a film magazine named Rashtra Deepika Cinema; a children`s fortnightly named Kuttikalude Deepika; a children`s monthly in English named Children`s Digest; an online newspaper and also an online English newspaper. The Rashtra Deepika group has more than 15 million readers all over the world. Mr. Sunil Joseph Koozhampala is the current Managing Director of Deepika and its Chief Editor is Fr. Alexander Paikada.
Serving the society for more than 120 years now, Deepika has already established itself as one of the most powerful vernacular newspapers in India. It has always tried to live up to its primary aims and objectives and has maintained the principles of fair play in its news publishing efforts.