Kayamkulam has made substantial contribution to the sheers of arts, literature and other cultural forms of Kerala. The first musical drama “Hariscahndra Charitham” is known to be written by Chakrapani Warrior of Eruva. The first printing press of Thiruvithamkoor, the ‘Suvarnarathna Prabha’ and the first known Malayalam magazine, “Sumangali”, both sprouted from Kayamkulam. The immortal play writer Thoppil Bhasi and the actor genius Kampisseril Karunakaran are its pride chief among the founders and the guides of Progressive Theatre group. Kerala Peoples Arts Group (K.P.A.C.) they championed, the evolution of the progressive theatre movement of Kerala.
The first among the known literatures belonging to Kayamkulam was ‘Kummanpallil Ramanpillai Ashan’ (1845-1911). He has been the guide and teacher of many a guides and teachers of his times. Prominent among his disciples includes the great reformer saint Sree Narayana Guru and Udayan Kuzhi Kochu Raman Vaidyan, who himself was teacher to the great poet Kumaranashan. ‘Kummanpallil Ramanpillai Ashan’ known as ‘Thattupurackal Shan’ was a great scholar. As a poet he wrote under the pet name ‘Ramadasan and has to his credit widely known words like ‘Varkala Sthala Mahathmyam’, ‘Prabodha Mrigam’, ‘Kadambari Sara Sangraham’ and ‘Pattathu Pillayar Pattu’.
Brahma vidya bhushan ‘Puthupally P.K.Panicker’ was the best known among Ramanpillai Ashan’s disciplines. A scholary person both in Sanskrit and Malayalam, puthuppally P.K. Panicker was a creative genius and poet in his own write. Prgoressive minded in many respects, he founded a Sanskrit school ‘Vijnana Sandayini’ and took great interest in the upliftment of the down trodden. Through means like adopting students from down trodden communities and arranging a Social Feast (samooha sadya). His chief works include ‘Priya Viyog’, ‘Thapathi Samvaranam’ (Transalation), ‘Sahithya Manjusha’ and ‘Vritha Rathnakaranam’. M.K. Hemachandran, ex minister of Kerala is Puthupally P.K.Panickers son who inherits to a great extend his fathers cretive talents. Hemachandrans autobiographical works ‘Ente Kazhinja Kalam (My past days) has won wide critical attention
Though not a literature in script sense, Ponvanibham Philipose Ramban is a name work mentioning in the context of the writers of Kayamkulam. It would be a serious literary lapse to ignore his contribution as the first Keralite translator of the holy Bible into Malayalam. He undertook the translation work of the Bible under the prompting of English missionary Claudius Buchanan.
Swamy Brahma Vradhan deserves a very special mention among the writers and cultural actives of Kayamkulam. His best known contribution is the production of the dramatized version of Karuna, the famous work of Mahakavi Kumaranashan. Production and presentation of Karuna is viewed as nothing less than a historical event in the evolution of Malayalam plays. He was a powerful writer and his literary contribution includes poetry, plays, novel, history, biography, essays and translations.
The name Keettupurathu Kuttappan deserves attention as a rather silent writer continuing with his efforts as a creative writer and translator. He has to his credit novels like Deepasikha, Theliyunna Chakravalam, Vanaja and work of translating biographies and stories. Sree. Muttanisseril Koyakutti is a muslim scholar and powerful orator on spiritual topics, a translator of main Muslim sculptures, his translation of holy Koran is a widely commended work.
Muthukulam Parvathy amma is another literary star of the yester years. A poet who has the rare distinction of having won appreciation from Mahakavi Kumaranashan, she has to her credits over a dozen works that include apart from poems, translations, biographies and essays. Among the contemporary poets Muthukulam Gangadharan Pillai’s name is not worthy. While his best known works are ‘Nishamugham’, ‘Employment Exchange’, ‘Aranazhika’, ‘Kazcha Bungalow’ and ‘Ishwari Chechi’, his writings cover several categories.
Dr. P.K. Janardana Kurup, a resident of Koipalli Karazhma, a village on the north, is a short story writer, critic, lyrists and a TV serial script writer. ‘Agnisakshi’, the TV serial he produced and wrote scripts for, won 2005 Kerala state award. His chief works includes ‘Pavam Manushyan’ (Stories) and contemporary Indian poetry in English (Criticism). He has translated the Marathi Play ‘Thank You! Mr. Glad’ for Peoples Theaters, Kayamkulam, under the title ‘Mani Muzhangunnatharkku Vendi’.
Nevertheless, the darling son of Kayamkulam is none other than P. Pathmarajan, who is the pioneer of a new literacy and artistic sensibility. An endeavoring novelist, powerful short story writer and cine director with a magic wand, Pathmarajan’s creative genius still remains unsurpassed and the void created by his early demise (January 24, 1991 at the age of 1946) may never be filled up. Last but not least are of the greatest prides of Kayamkulam is of having been the foreground of 2 evergreen genius Cartoonist Sankar and renowned literary critic Prof. Gupthan Nair. Illikulatu Sankara Pillai, better known as Cartoonist Sankar, was a famous Indian cartoonist. He is considered as the father of political cartooning in India