Kottayam -The Land of Letters Well known as the land of letters and fore runner in rubber cultivation, Kottayam lies Locked between western-ghats on the east and the vast vembanad lake at the west. Kottayam is a beautiful place full of ascends and descends. Lush green forests ubiquitous rubber estates, tea and coffee plantations, educated and illustrious people all these features give Kottayam, its characteristic uniqueness. It is here English education started in south India for the first time at 1813. The first printing press started here- CMS Press in 1821. The maiden English-Malayalam-Malayalam-English dictionary was published from this place. These are not mere coincidences. Those who know the people of this place will admit without any hesitation that residents of this town are innovative, and early birds in every field.
It is the people of Kottayam who recognized the value of education for the first time in India, figuratively speaking-Kottayam was awake when rest of India was fast asleep! The advent of Christianity was the clarion call for kerala’s modern education. The smart and educated ladies hailing from this place migrated not only to the rest of India but also to every nook and cranny of the whole world and gained good jobs as doctors, nurses, teachers and almost all sorts of careers where women from other places feared to tread.
. In the population of Kottyam, expatriate-families form sizable number. And the remittances they send, contributes much to the kitty of the families living here. The recent “gulf boom” was also well capitalized by the people of this place, and they are there doing decent jobs, earning well and living in luxury. The economy of Kottayam is heavily dependent on this remittance- money and perhaps the remittances out weigh the earnings from rubber which easily claimed as the juvenile of Kottayam’s financial set-up.
When people of Kerala wholly depended on traditional agriculture like paddy and tapioca the residents of Kottayam turned to rubber and cocoa, and capitalized on the high returns on their investments. At a time when traditional farmers find living out of farming income a losing proposition and commit suicide as re-payment of bank- loans become imminent- their timely shift to rubber proved to be a fore-sight that fetched them virtually a gold-mine. Then came the vanilla cultivation as a great opportunity, Kottayam was the first to grab it there are farmers who fetched thousands of rupees for a kilogram of vanilla bean!
Institutions for giving special skill educations for students who have an eye to grab the early bird advantage in anything are dime a dozen at Kottayam, spoken –English,fluenzy-course, laboratory-technician course medical entrance examination coaching etc. are booming business here. Printing and publishing is the business which actually earned the title “the land of letters” to this town. The largest selling news-paper “The Malayala Manorama” started publication from here and numerous books, periodicals, teaching aids etc. are being published from here. Kottayam can be called as land of letters in its true littoral sense also as it was this town which attained the status of 100% literacy in Kerala.for the first time.Kottayam is well connected with road and rail with rest of India. It is the gate way to the tourists who visit Peermedu and Munnar which are tourist attractions. Pilgrims of the famous temple at Sabarimala also alight here and prepare for the journey.
All said and done Kottayam has the nose to smell money whether education agriculture industry (mainly based on rubber-wood) or whatever it be Kottayam can make money out of it. Kottayam will spend the money judiciously live a life of luxury. Any doubt?...just pay visit to this town and feel the difference.