UNESCO recognized Kozhikode as the First Indian City of Literature

By: 600014 On: Nov 7, 2023, 1:49 AM

Kozhikode has been declared as the first Indian city of literature by UNESCO. In 2014 Edinburg in Scotland was proclaimed as the first City of literature in the world. Later, Prague City of Czech Secured this honorable position. Now, there are 350 cities situated in this unique category. It was the Kerala Institute of Local Administration that put forward this novel idea to apply for this title. Hence, Kozhikode Corporation started its preliminary work in 2022. The National Institute of Technology (NIT), Kozhikode, prepared the project work report.

Arts, Culture & literature are an inseparable part of this ancient City of Kozhikode. The City is a Vibrant center of literature, drama, music, and paintings. Etc. Once you walk through S.M. Street, a heritage street in Kozhikode, you can really experience the flavor and taste of this unique culture and tradition. There are more than 500 libraries and about 70 publishing houses in the City. Around the year, there are book publishings and exhibitions, debates on literary work, programs of prominent literary figures, and literature festivals going on in this city.

Kozhikode is the hometown of Mathrubhoomi, the most prestigious Malayalam daily in Kerala. Daily and weekly have been promoting quality literature through articles and Various programs, especially among Students.

Two writers from Kozhikode received the most incredible literary honor of India's ‘Jnhana Peedam’ award. They are S.K. Pottakad & M.T. Vasudevan Nair. Some of the notable writers who selected Kozhikode as their hometown for literary work are Vaikkam Muhammed Basheer, Thikkodiyan, Uroob, Kuttikrishna Maarar, N.V. Krishna Warrier, Pattathuvila Karunakaran, N.N Kakkad, Artist Namboothiri, U.A. Qadar, P. Valsala, P.A. Muhammed Koya ete. The list is too long. Dramatists like K.T. Muhammed, Nilambur Balan, Vasu Pradeep, and Madhu Master selected this city to stage their dramas. A film named "Amma Ariyan" directed by renowned filmmaker John Abraham was made in Kozhikode through crowdfunding.

Kozhikode is also the hometown of Baburaj, a great musician. O.V. Vijayan, once a teaching staff in the Malayalam Department of Malabar Christian College, Kozhikode, used to ride on his bicycle through the streets of Kozhikode. I am proud and privileged that I was a teaching staff of Malabar Christian College, Kozhikode, for 25 years.

The landmarks of Kozhikode are Kappad Beach, S.M. Street, Mananchira, Town Hall, etc. It was Kappad Beach where Vascodi Gama landed first. The main attractions of Kozhikode are its beautiful beaches. Beypore is a beach where traditional shipbuilding was practiced for many years. Even now, royal families in the Gulf countries order and buy wooden luxury ships from Beypore. Great travelers like Marco Polo and Ibn Bathutha have written about it in travellogues.

The Zamorins, the ancient Kings of Kozhikode ruled the city for many years. They welcome people from all countries and promote communal harmony among different religions. It is praiseworthy to mention that the Zamorine encouraged and respected the faith and belief of other religions by providing shelters and places of worship. Kozhikode is termed in history as the ‘city of truth’. Music is the heartbeat of Kozhikode and literature is its emotion.

The new title enables Kozhikode to develop creativity through Kozhikode public-private partnerships. It provides the city an opportunity to developed hubs of creativity and innovation. The member cities in this network will get opportunities to share experiences, knowledge, and best practices at the international level. There will be a professional and artistic exchange program also. In addition to that, annual conferences of Mayors and other stakeholders of the network cities will be conducted. This will be an excellent opportunity to strengthen ties with creative cities worldwide.

Prof. Varughese Mathew

Principal St. Xavier’s College,Kozhikode