Media mogul K.M. Mathew dies, thousands pay respects


Kottayam: Chief editor of Malayala Manorama K.M. Mathew died early Sunday at his residence here in Kerala. He was 93.

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Mathew is survived by three sons and a daughter. His wife passed away in 2003.

Thousands came to pay their last respects to Mathew, who was known as Mathukuttychayan to all.

The body was lying in state at his home at Kanjikuzhy, close by the Malayala Manorama office.

The funeral is slated for 4 p.m Monday at Puthenpally near here.

Condolences poured in from President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, union cabinet ministers, governors, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and state ministers.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi also paid his last respects, while Defence Minister A.K. Antony and a few union cabinet ministers are expected to arrive Monday.

In 1954, Mathew became the managing editor of Malayala Manorma and its chief editor after his brother passed away in 1973.

Despite his advanced age, he kept working in office till the very last week, actively taking part in meetings and airing his opinions on news.

During his glittering journalistic career, Mathew was the chairman of Press Trust of India, president of the Indian Newspaper Society and the chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulation besides holding numerous other positions.

The first issue of Malayala Manorama appeared March 22, 1890. It started as a four-page weekly newspaper published every Saturday and since then has not looked back. Today, it is a media group that has 48 publications with Manorama having a circulation of more than 1.8 million copies.

It was under Mathew’s stewardship that the Manorama group of companies adapted to the changing times in the media industry and did not have to think twice before entering into the arena of the electronic media. He also launched the online medium of Malayala Manorama.

The highly acclaimed English news magazine – The Week – was his brainchild. But, if there was one thing Mathew failed to achieve was an English daily from the Manorama group.

Mathew’s position as a colossus in the media industry could be gauged from the fact that he always had the first audience with any political leader passing through Kottayam, which included even Pope John Paul II on his Kerala visit in 1986.

Mathew was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third highest civilian honour, in 1998. He was one of the founding members of the Baselious College, Kottayam in 1964.