Malayalam as a woman, as a land, as a language, as an identity. Observing narrative paths across literary genres and decades, the correlation between land, language and woman, is striking.


A dancer, an embodiment of beauty, is likened to the finest verse (Changampuzha, 1946). The land is likened to a mother (ONV, 1984), so is the language (Kunjunni Master, 1970). All that is beautiful, graceful and good is feminine: it is also Malayalam itself.  At worst, the woman is mysterious (Malayattoor, 1967), escapist (MT Vasudevan Nair, 1984) or famously heartless (Changampuzha, 1936).

These are perceptions that possibly seeped into social consciousness over time – language creating culture, even as popular culture redefined and re-aligned language over the years.

Not surprisingly, works by women writers explore the darker marginal spaces. Sugathakumari treads lightly on hysteria using rain as a metaphor; Lalithambika antharjanam navigates the choppy waters of a woman’s intellectual need; Madhavikutty speaks of good old tomboyishness. It is the press that documents women achievers – in sports, politics and literature.

Spanning time, male-female perspectives and prose-poetry borders, this compilation is a thought-provoking glimpse of a land, its language and ethos.

From the printed scripts and weathered walls, Malayalam Project hereby officially goes to the online platform. To soak in all the Malayalam with the old charm,

visit our venue at

MALAYALAM PROJECT, Lilly Street Fortkochi

only 18 days more!

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