Namboothiri Websites, Calicut, Kerala
(A Voluntary and Non-profit-oriented forum for documenting Namboothiri traditions in web)

Namboothiris in the Mainstream of Science Popularisation

Namboothiris belonged to the upper strata in the social hierarchy of Kerala. This pre-eminent position enjoyed by them may be traced to the "Chaathurvarnya" system prevalent in ancient India since early times. They had no manual duties to perform. They were engrossed in Vedic studies and religious rituals. Naturally, therefore, they were conformists, not innovators. However, there were notable exceptions. Sanskrit scholarship led some along the path of intellectual pursuits.

In those days, Astronomy, essential for the preparation of the calendar, was the pet subject. The calendar was indispensable for the proper observance of rituals. There were many Namboothiris who became outstanding scholars and writers in the subjects of Jyothissaasthram and Jyothisham, and contributed substantially to the fund of knowledge in those fields. There is mention in the literature that some instruments were used by them for observation of the skies [Click here for Astronomy and Mathematics].

Another area where the mathematically inclined Namboothiri could outshine others was architecture - temple architecture and the famous "Naalukettu" concept for homes. Many made significant contributions in this field and their works stand out even to this day as architectural marvels [Click here for "Vaasthuvidya"].

Aayurvedic system of medicine and treatment is yet another field where Namboothiris have a tradition of their own, as exemplified by the Ashtavaidyans [Click here for "Aayurvedam" and "Ashtavaidyanmaar"].

However all these branches of science remained tradition-bound, innovation taking a back-seat.

Now we can turn to the modern science. Sadly, in spite of their intellectual superiority, Namboothiris in general have yet to contribute to its growth in any substantial measure. But they have played a significant role in its propagation. The founding of the "Sasthra Sahithya Samithi" and the "Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad" are important milestones.

The Sasthra Sahithya Samithi held its inaugural session at Ottapalam in 1957. Next year, it brought out the magazine, "Modern Science" in Malayalam, modelled on the Penguin Science News. The idea was to publish one issue every month. Unfortunately, the magazine project and the Samithi itself did not survive for long. The foremost among the members of this Samithi were O P Nambudiripad, M C Nambudiripad, and Kurumappilli Kesavan Namboodiri along with P T Bhaskara Panicker and others.

In contrast, Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad was a healthy child. Born in 1962, it is now 40 yours young. The inaugural session of the Parishad was held on September 10,1962 at the Devagiri College, Kozhikode. A seminar and science exhibition were held as part of the conference. The founders were again Bhaskara Panicker and Dr K G Adiyodi. The Parishad has the unique distinction of publishing three magazines continuously for several years. The publishing wing of the Parishad is very strong and has brought out several books of exceptional quality, all in the regional language, Malayalam. The publication of the Malayalam edition of the four-volume science classic, "Science in History" by J D Bernal is an outstanding performance. In addition to O P and M C, Prof: V M N Nambudiripad and Dr M P Parameswaran were in the forefront in the Parishad.

In general, Namboothiris have been very active in both Samithi and the Parishad. Their contributions have been impressive in the organisational as well as in the publishing fields. Namboothiri scientific workers have been presidents, secretaries, editors, writers and ordinary members in these organisations. As part of this survey, curriculum vitae of several of them is given below.


Son of Ottoor Manakkal Narayanan Nambudiripad and Arya Antharjanam, Parameswaran Nambudiripad was born at Mayannur in Thrissur Dist. on the banks of River Nila, on April 4, 1925.

He had his school education in Thiruvilwamala, intermediate in Victoria College, Palakkad; and graduated in Zoology from the Maharaja's College, Ernakulam. After teachers' training (B T ), he became a science teacher in the High School at Ottapalam in 1947. In 1965, he took charge as the Headmaster of High School, Parli, where he continued till his retirement in 1980.

OP, as he is popularly known, had taken the initiative along with P T Bhaskara Panicker in 1957, to organise the first session of the Sasthra Sahithya Samithi at Ottapalam, and he was its secretary.

He has written several popular science articles and books for children. "Children's Natural Science", "Children's Science", and "Aeroplane" are some of his books, which number 7. "Aeroplane" received awards for children's literature from STEPS (Scientific, Technical and Educational Publishing Society), as well as from the Central Government.

More than his contributions to the children's popular science literature, which was indeed significant, OP will be remembered as a pioneer in organising a forum of science writers, the Sasthra Sahithya Samithi.

He expired in July 2000, leaving behind his wife, Indira and children, Meera and Krishnan.


Born on February 2, 1919, in his ancestral home, Moothiringote Mana in Mannangode near Pattambi (Palakkad Dt.), M C Nambudiripad is one of the pioneering science writers in Malayalam. His father, Subrahmanian Nambudiripad was a great Sanskrit and Saama Vedam scholar. His mother, Savithri Antharjanam hailed from Olappamanna Mana, the home of Kerala Arts like Kathhakali. His eldest brother, Bhavathrathan Nambudiripad was a great social reformer, novelist and short-story writer.

Moothiringote Chithrabhanu had his education in High School, Ottapalam, Zamorin's (now, Zamorin's Guruvayurappan) College, Kozhikode, St. Joseph's College, Thiruchirappally, and Public Health Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram. He is a medical laboratory technologist by profession, and is now the Managing Director of the Polyclinic Private Limited, Thrissur, a well-known institution in diagnostic medicine. He is also the president of the Nambudiri Yogakshema Vidyaabhyaasa Trust, which manages the Nambudiri Vidyalayam, Thrissur.

Nambudiripad was one of the founding members of the Sasthra Sahithya Samithi (1957) and the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (1962). He was the editor of "Sasthragathi" and "Eureka", science magazines published by the Sasthra Sahithya Parishad. He was in the executive committee of the above organisations for varying periods.

He has written several books (11 in number) in Malayalam with a view to the popularisation of science. Two books, "Sayansinte Vikaasam" and "Saasthra-Drishtiyiloote" received awards from the then Government of Madras. Two other books, "Bhoomiyute Aatmakathha" and "Chovva Manushyan" had the distinction of being awarded prizes by the Government of India. The former one ran into several editions at a time when readership for books on science was very limited and when publishers who dared to touch them had their fingers burnt. His latest book is the translation of the four-volume science classic, "Science in History" by J D Bernal. Nambudiripad received the Thrissur Rotary Literary Award in 2002 in recognition of his overall contribution to science literature in Malayalam, especially the translation of Bernal's monumental work.

MC, as he is popularly known, has presented several papers on science writing in Malayalam in various forums and has also published a number of articles on science in several publications like "Mangalodayam" magazine, "Mathrubhoomi" weekly, "Parishad Dwaivaarikam", "Jayakeralam", etc. Prof: Joseph Mundassery and N V Krishna Warrior may be said to be the mentors.

In his younger days, Nambudiripad had participated in the social movement of Namboothiris, spear-headed by the Namboothiri Yogakshema Mahaa Sabha. He was closely associated with the publishing wing of the Sabha and had edited the "Yogakshemam" weekly and "Unni Nambudiri" monthly.

He is happily married, has four children and lives in Thrissur. Even in his advanced age, he continues to be actively involved in his profession. He still reads and writes extensively.


Born in 1938, Narayanan Nambudiripad of Vemancheri Mana, Kadambur (Palakkad Dt.) traces his ancestry to Mezhathol Agnihothri (Click here), who spread the Yajna culture in Kerala. V M N's father was Brahmadathan alias Anujan Nambudiripad and mother, Gowri Antharjanam (Polpakkara Mana).

After taking his post-graduate degree in Zoology with Fishery Biology as special subject (1960), he joined the Malabar Christian College, Kozhikode, and rose to become the Professor and Head of the Post-graduate Department of Zoology and acting Principal for a short period. After retirement in 1993, he went to Botswana, Africa, on a teaching assignment. He has undergone a course in computer programming also.

Science had great attraction for him. The writings of Induchoodan, Dr K G Adiyodi, K K P Menon, Prof: Mathew Thamarakkad, Prof: C P Menon, and a host of others inspired him to write about scientific topics; and his first article (on wild-life protection) was published in Mathrubhoomi weekly in 1963. Thus began his association with the emerging branch of science literature.

In 1965, he joined the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) and almost immediately became the secretary of its Kozhikode unit. He held various positions in the organisation. He was the State Secretary for a term of one year. He was in the editorial board of the science journals, "Sasthragathi", Sasthrakeralam" and "Eureka". The famous encyclopaediac work, "Sasthrakouthukam" contains several articles written by him. He had associated himself with its compilation and publication in various other ways also. He was the Secretary of the Parishad's Science Centre in Kozhikode.

VMN has written a book on aquarium keeping entitled "Veetil Oru Aquarium". He is the joint author / translator / editor of several books published by the State Institute of Languages, Kerala. He has contributed articles to the two encyclopaedias in Malayalam, "Viswa Vijnaana Kosham" and "Sarva Vijnaana Kosham". He has to his credit several popular science articles and book reviews published in various Malayalam periodicals. Talks by him on science topics in the All India Radio number more than 35.

Prof: Nambudiripad was, above all, an educationist and a science activist. He was member of various academic bodies of the University of Calicut. He has participated in surveys and awareness programmes connected with wild-life conservation and environmental protection. He has organised summer institutes, conducted quiz programmes and general knowledge competitions.

He is now busy with the Namboothiri Website, and is its subject co-ordinator. His other hobbies are aquarium keeping and numismatics.


Dr: Madangarli Parameswaran, son of M Parameswaran Namboodiri (Aayurvedic physician) was born on January 18, 1935 at their residence at Kottappuram, Thrissur. He had his early education in the Nambudiri Vidyalayam, C M S High School and at St. Thomas College, all in Thrissur. Later he took his B Sc Engg. Degree in electrical engineering (1956) and Ph D in nuclear engineering from the Moscow Power Institute, Moscow (1965).

On his return to India, he worked as scientist in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Trombay for about six years. He then quit the job to join Chintha Publications, Thiruvananthapuram where he worked as Manager for 12 years. Thereafter, he took charge of the Integrated Rural Technology Centre, Palakkad, as its "Fellow".

He has a lot of organisational experience. He has held membership of several committees and responsible positions in various organisations. He was member, Executive Committee of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad for a continuous period of 25 years, during which period he worked as its secretary also. Popularising science through Indian languages was his life project. Writing became a profession than a hobby. He helped to transform the KSSP into a peoples science movement and took active part in spreading the concept all over India. His areas of interest include environment, education, rural development, energy, publication, etc. He :

  1. helped to build up the All India Peoples Science Network, was its Secretary and later the President;
  2. helped to build the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, which was responsible for the massive literacy campaign initiated in India. He was its Secretary and later the Vice-president;
  3. was the Secretary, Federation of Indian Languages Science Movement.
MP was a prolific writer. He has written 29 popular science books in Malayalam and two in English. His books give a panoramic view of science. Radio-activity, atomic science, Astronomy, Mathematics, political science, social science, ecology - these are some of the varied subjects he has dealt with in his books. A vision of "A New World - A New India" guides his thoughts and actions. He received three awards for his books, two National and one State. He was the recipient of two more national awards, one for science popularisation and another for literacy. Articles written by him in various periodicals run to more than 300.

He has various R and D projects to his credit. All of them deal with problems faced by rural Kerala. Panchayat level planning with people's participation forms the thrust of his approach. A pilot project on integrated development of cottage industries for rural employment generation was taken up under the auspices of the KSSP.

Parameswaran has travelled extensively, both in India and abroad. Married to Bhavani, they have two sons, Arun and Vipin, who are settled in USA.


Perumudissery Chennamangalath (Perindiri Chennas) Krishnan Nambudiripad was born on June 1, 1942.His Illam is situated in the southern end of Malappuram Dist., in the place called Vanneri.

His father was Sankaranarayanan Nambudiripad and mother Sreedevi, daughter of Vishnu Namboodiri of Manthitta Mana. He had his education at Vanneri High School, Punnayurkkulam, St. Thomas College, Thrissur, Guruvayurappan College, Kozhikode and Sardar Patel University, Anand, from where he took his M Sc. Degree in Solid State Physics.

He was in the faculty of Physics in the Guruvayurappan College, Kozhikode, S D College, Alappuzha, Malabar Christian College, Kozhikode and Sree Krishna College, Guruvayur. He retired from service in the year 1997.

He was a member of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) while he was in the Guruvayurappan College, Kozhikode. During this period, he had published some articles on popular science in the magazine, "Sasthragathi". Later when he joined the Malabar Christian College, he got closer to the movement, was in the editorial board of "Sasthragathi" and was the secretary of the Calicut City Unit of the KSSP. He received a consolation prize for the book, "Kaalam - Sankalpavum Maapanavum" (Time - Concept and its Measurement). PCK served in the editorial board of the souvenir published in connection with the 10th Anniversary of the Parishad. He contributed several articles to "Sasthrakeralam". He also participated in the celebrations held in Kozhikode to mark the 300 years of Newton's "Principia", presented a paper on the subject in a symposium and published a booklet on "300 Years of Principia" under the auspices of KSSP. Besides, he has published a large number of articles on popular science in the Mathrubhumi Week-end edition.

At present, he is engaged in giving tuition and specialised coaching for the entrance examinations and in discharging his hereditary Thaanthric duties.


Dr A N Namboodiri was born on 13th July 1930 at Azhoor Chandramana, Pathanamthitta. His father was Narayanan Namboodiri and mother Devaki Antharjanam.

In 1952, he took his M Sc degree in Botany from the University College, Thiruvananthapuram and joined the same college as teacher. In 1961, he went to Michigan University, USA, to do research. The cell division in Neurospora (a genus of moulds) which is used for genetic research was his topic. He did his research under eminent scientists including Nobel laureates, and received an award for the best research work.

After working as a teacher in Michigan for two years, Dr Namboodiri returned to India and joined the Department of Botany of the University of Kerala. He was promoted as Professor in 1975. His field of interest was the sterility of plants.

Dr Namboodiri has published more than 60 research papers in both national and international journals. He has also chaired many international seminars.

In 1983, he became the Director of the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute. The collection of many different species of plants in this garden was a great attraction to scientists from India and abroad. Dr Namboodiri, a scientist of international fame retired from service in 1990.

He was the editor of the Journal of the Kerala Academy of Biology, which happens to be the first science journal in Malayalam. He has written nearly 150 popular science articles. His book, "Kottiyute Kaalum Kurangante Vaalum" was adjudged as the best children's book for the award of the prize instituted by the Science and Technology Department. Some of his other works are : "Kallum Pullum Kaduvayum", "Professor Abraham", "Barbara Maclintok", "Darwin, Freud, Mendel", "Jeevan - Udbhavavum Vikaasavum".

Dr Namboodiri, now living in Thiruvananthapuram has a distinguised family. His wife, Mankutty is the retired Professor of Mathematics, his son, Suresh is an engineer in FACT, and daughter, Dr Sujatha is a lecturer in the Medical College service.


Dr Thrivikraman was born on May 6, 1943 at Thekkedath Mana, Arangottukara, Thrissur Dist. And now resides at Edappalli, Kochi, with his wife Nirmala Devi and son, Dinesh.

He is an eminent academician in Mathematics. He took his M Sc degree from the University of Kerala in 1964, M Phil in 1969 and Ph D in 1976, both from the University of Madurai. He was a teacher in Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam for 13 years. Later, he joined the Faculty of Mathematics in the University of Cochin, where he has been the Head of the Department for several years and guide to research scholars.

He won recognition as :

He is a life-member of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad, and had organised a unit of the Parishad at Kothamangalam, as also a "Graama Saasthra Samithi" there. He has published many popular science articles in Mathematics in various journals, nearly 20 articles in the Malayalam encyclopaedia, "Viswa Vijnana Kosham" by NBS, 8 articles in the Children's encyclopaedia by STEPS, two books on popular science and Mathematics as also a book of poems.

In short, we have here a versatile genius who is equally at ease in the fields of abstract Mathematics, popular science and even poetry!


Sankaran was born in Thenezhi Mana in Palakkad Dist. on May 10, 1945. He is now settled in Edappally, Kochi.

Prof: T M Sankaran is a post-graduate in Statistics and has held teaching, research and extension positions in the Department of Marine Science of University of Cochin, and College of Fisheries, Kerala Agricultural University. He is now the Associate Professor in Fisheries Statistics. He is a member of several professional and official bodies.

He has served the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad in various capacities. He was unit, zonal and district committee secretary and president of the KSSP. He was also a member of the Publications Committee, Baalssaasthram editorial committee, State environmental sub-committee, etc. At present (2002) he is the president of Edappally South Unit of KSSP.

He has authored / co-authored about 30 research papers published in national and international science journals. As member of the editorial committee of the KSSP, he was instrumental to the publication of more than 15 popular science books on various subjects. Moreover, he has written more than 35 articles in different Malayalam magazines such as "Eureka", "Sasthrakeralam", "Vijnana Kairali", etc. The latest editions of "Ganitha Kouthukam" and "Saasthra Kouthukam" include Sankaran's contributions.


Moothiringote Chitrabhanu Subrahmanian was born on October 9, 1942 at Moothiringote Mana at Mannagode, near Pattambi in Palakkad Dist.

He graduated in Pharmaceutical Sciences (B Pharm) from the Banaras Hindu University in 1968. He underwent practical training in the Hindustan Antibiotics Limited, Pimpri (Poona) and Nath Laboratories, Hyderabad. He joined the Medical Education Service of the Government of Kerala and was teacher in the Medical Colleges of Kozhikode and Kottayam. He retired as the Assistant Professor of Pharmacy.

He is a life-member of : (1) The Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India; (2) Indian Pharmaceutical Association; and (3) Kerala Pharmacy Graduates' Association. He was a member of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad. He has contributed several articles to the science journals of the Parishad. Manufacture of tablets, injections, Penicillin, Analgesics and cosmetics; Pharmaceutical formulations; and Sterilization are some of the subjects he had dealt with in his articles. A poem, "Sasthra Bharatham" was also published.

| Article No:23.3 | Last update of this article:19th November 2002 |
Article by : M C Nambudiripad, Moothiringote Mana, Bennet Road, Thrissur - 680 020, Phone : 0487-428947

Home | What is New.. | Members | Welcome, Sponsors ! | Search For.. | Your Feedback

Copyright © 2000 Namboothiri Websites Calicut. All rights reserved.