Niranam is a small village in Southern part of Kerala in India – the eastern part of Upper Kuttanad. This beautiful village has a rich tradition of literature, cultural exchange and religious harmony. According to historians and geologists, Niranam was a sea port hundreds of years ago, having trade relations with the Roman Empire and the Middle East. This fact was confirmed by the discovery of ancient Roman coins from Niranam and nearby areas by archeologists. Niranam is also mentioned in the writings of Pliny and Cosmos Indico Pleustes as a trade centre. Geologists suggest that sea was retracted from this area due to some major geographical changes. Even today the soil of near by areas of Niranam is sandy and resemble beaches, though presently these places are not in proximity of sea. The village next to Niranam is Kadapra, and this name is a derivative of the Malayalam word ‘Kadappuram’ which means ‘beach’.

May be this importance of Niranam paved for the arrival of St Thomas here in his missionary visit and then lead to the establishment of a church here. The Christian community in Niranam is one of the oldest, anywhere in the world. Now almost all Christian Churches and denominations as well as other religions have a presence in Niranam. All are living in harmony and take part in festivals of other religions.

Niranam Poets

In 14 th century Niranam gave birth to a group of 3 poets who became well-known as Niranam Poets. They were Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar and Rama Panikkar of the Kannassa family. The first two were the uncles of Rama Panikkar. The lived between AD 1350 and 1450. Before their period the poetry of Kerala was a mix of Malayalam and Sanskrit, known as ‘manipravala’. Niranam poets were instrumental in successfully freeing the literature from the influence of this mix. The appearance of modern Malayalam language starts with the works of Niranam Poets. Their success led to the gradual replacement of the manipravala cult of worldliness and sensual revelry by an indigenous poetics of high seriousness. Their works are collectively known as Niranam Works. Madhava Panikkar wrote a condensed Malayalam translation of Bhagavad Gita , perhaps the first ever translation of that classic into any modern Indian language. Sankara Panikkar’s main work is Bharatamala , a masterly condensation of Mahabharatam , is also the first major work of its kind in Malayalam. The greatest of the three is of course Rama Panikkar, the author of Ramayanam, Bhartam, Bhagavatam and Sivarathri Mahatmyam. Kannassa Ramayanam and Kannassa Bharatam are the most important of Niranam works. Ulloor, the great literary historian of Kerala has opined that Rama Panikkar holds the same position in Malayalam literature that Spenser does in English literature.

Other Important Personalities

Late. H. G. Alexios Mar Thevodhosios Metropolitan :
(Mattackal Family)
Ordained as Bishop on April 7, 1938 (Diocese of Quilon and the Outside Kerala).
Formed the Indian Orthodox Mission at Madras (1957).
Member of Central Committee of WCC, till 1953.
Passed away on 6 August 1965. Burried at Bethany Ashram, Perunad
Late. Shri. K. C. Mammen Mappilai: Former Chief Editor of Malayala Manorama daily.
Late. Shri. E. John Philipose : Minister-Public Works, Communications and Agriculture (1949-51.
Late. Shri. E. John Jacob: Founder member of Kerala Congress.
Minister- Food & Civil Supplies (1977-78).
Late. Shri. N. S. Krishnapillai : Former MLA.
H. G. Zacharias Mar Theophilos : Saphragan Metropolitan and Metropolitan of Madras Diocese of Mar Thoma Church