Mahatma Gandhi, a journalist himself, once said that a newspaper should arouse 'desirable sentiments in people'. Madhyamam came into being in response to such a felt need. A paper which shunned sensationalism and vulgarity. A paper which gave truth, however bitter. A paper which fought for the rights of the downtrodden, the weak, them inorities, the deprived. A paper fearless in defence of the people. A voice for the voiceless.
The seed for Madhyamam was sown at a meeting of some youths at Silver Hills, Calicut, Kerala in 1980. The need for a paper was well understood. What was not clear was the means of achieving it. The seed therefore lay dormant.
The idea, however, refused to be buried. It came up again a year later at a meeting presided over by Moulavi K.C. Abdulla Husain, a well known Islamic scholar, teacher and author of Kerala. A core committee was set up to get the idea off the ground. The committee came up with a proposal to form a Company and raise capital by selling shares as an initiative for the great venture.
In order to push the proposal forward, a private limited company was constituted by the well wishers of Madhyamam. The proposal to set up a sheet-fed offset press under the banner of Roshni Publishers Pvt. Ltd. was brought into reality in 1984. But it was realised later from the experience that such a press was inadequate for a daily newspaper. Prof. K.A. Siddique Hassan was then entrusted with organising a market and feasibility study, which brought to sharp relief the enormity of the task. It projected a cost of Rs. 1 crore and losses for three to five years. It was enough to deter any chicken-hearted persons, but the forerunners of Madhyamam encouraged the key players. That was how the idea of forming a company and raising a share capital was abandoned and efforts were made to form a charitable Trust.
The Ideal Publications Trust was registered in September 1985, with V.K. Hamzah Abbas as Chairman of the Board and Prof. K.A. Siddique Hassan as Secretary. K.C. Abdulla Husain took Hamzah Abbas along in his fund-raising drive. That campaign, in which countless people donated liberally-from a day's wages to two months' salary, went on for two years and culminated in the registration of the paper on March 3, 1987, with V K Hamzah Abbas as Editor, printer and publisher and Prof. K.A Sidheeque Hassan as the secretary of the board. Three months later, on June 1, 1987, the paper was out to begin its tryst with destiny.
The board was reconstituted later with Prof. Sidhheeque Hassan as chairman and P K Rahim as the secretary. Currently T. Arifali is the chairman of the board and P.A Hakeem is the secretary and the publisher of the news paper.
The noted Malayalam writer and social critic and journalist P K Balakrishnan was the first Chief Editor as suggested by late renowned Malayalam novelist Vaikom Muhammed Basheer. Mr. Balakrishanan led the newspaper from 1987 till his death on April 3, 1991. His turbulent journalistic career and critical observation helped Madhyamam to make a breakthrough in the realm of Malayalam journalism.
Mr. O. Abdu Rahman, columnist and Islamic scholar, was the Editor-in-charge of the daily from the beginning. After a long break, Mr. C. Radhakrishnan, an accomplished novelist and writer in Malayalam, joined Madhyamam as Chief Editor on August 16, 1999. He continued till September 1, 2001. Being a prolific writer and columnist, his contributions were immense to bring this newspaper into the forefront of regional media.
When Hamza Abbas left to the Arabian Gulf to start the Gulf Madhyamam in 1993, Mr. A. Muhammed Ali was appointed as Editor and publisher of the daily.
Later, Mr. O. Abdu Rahman took over as Editor; he continues the position now. The growth of Madhyamam was so rapid that it could start its second edition from the commercial capital of Kerala, Kochi on July 6, 1993. Within a short span of time, Madhyamam brought out Kudumba Madhyamam on January 6, 1996, a special edition for the family. In the same year, on April 28, Madhyamam Thiruvananthapuram Edition was launched.
Madhyamam Weekly, aiming a serious and in-depth reading, started publication on Feb 19, 1998, as Mr. K. P Ramanunni, the famous novelist as the editor. It is now a leading magazine in Malayalam and one of the most discussed periodicals.
Gulf Madhyamam, the sister concern of Madhyamam opened up new vistas of development. With this, Madhyamam has become the first international Indian newspaper. Gulf Madhyamam is the most popular and circulated Indian newspaper in the Gulf Countries, and publishes from nine centres of six countries. Thanks to the millions of its readers.
The first overseas edition was from Bahrain, started on April16, 1999 followed by Dubai edition on July 16, 2002, Qatar edition on March 16, 2003, Kuwait edition on February 1, 2006, Jeddah edition on January 16, 2006, Riyadh edition on December 10, 2007, Dammam edition on May 24, 2008 and finally in Abaha on January 1, 2011.
Meanwhile, Madhyamam expanded the domestic edition into more parts of the State and to the neighbouring states. The Kannur edition was launched on December 3, 2002. It was followed by Malappuram edition on March 30, 2002. The launch of Bangalore edition on November 2, 2002 was yet another milestone, the first edition outside the State of Kerala. The next was Mangalore edition, opened on April 25, 2003; and Mumbai edition on April 21, 2011. Within the State, again, editions were started in Kottayam on May 21, 2005 and Trissur on August 18, 2009.
Madhyamam started its online edition in 2003. The digital version of the paper has become one of the most interactive sites in Malayalam.
Madhyamam could win the hearts of the Keralites with its un compromising stance towards the values and ethics. No wonder Madhyamam has been honoured by more than 300 hundred awards so far. The relentless journey is still on. Because, Madhyamam believes it has miles to before the sleep.