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Herman Gundert


Hermann Gundert  was born in Stuttgart in  Germany on 4 February 1814. He became a missionary, scholar, and linguist. His name found a place in the history of Malayalam journalism as the one who started the first Malayalam newspaper, Rajyasamacharam in 1847 from Illikkunnu in Thalassery.

Gundert had left Germany at the age of 22 for missionary work in India. He reached Madras in 1836. Joining Basel Mission he reached Mangalore. Travelling to various places in southern India he found a good place to settle down in Illikkunnu near Thalassery. He lived there for twenty years  and during that period made remarkable


contributions to Malayalam journalism and language.  Besides Rajyasamacharam he launched another newspaper Pashchimodayam as an easy way to spread Gospel and for missionary works. His helper Frederick Muller was the editor of the newspaper.

Gundert compiled a Malayalam grammar book, Malayalabhaasha Vyakaranam (1859),  and contributed to work on Bible translations into Malayalam.  Gundert also contributed to the fields of history, geography and astronomy. He published around thirteen books in Malayalam including a translation of the Bible, Old Testament from Hebrew and New Testament from Greek. The archives of information he collected from Tellicherry are kept in the Tuniberg University, Germany and were collected and compiled by the scholar Dr Skaria Zacharia as Thalassery Rekhakal.

He returned to Germany  in 1859. There he took ten more years to complete the Malayalam-English dictionery

Though Gundert came to Kerala as a missionary, he is remembered today mainly for his contributions the language Malayalam. In Thalassery, known earlier as Tellicherry, he has been honored with a statue.He lived in Calw, Germany where he passed away on April 25, 1893.

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