K. P. Kesava Menon
Menon in 1937
Born(1886-09-01)1 September 1886
Died9 November 1978(1978-11-09) (aged 92)
SpouseLaxmi Nethyaramma
RelativesK. P. Udayabhanu (nephew)

Kizhakke Potta Kesava Menon (1 September 1886 – 9 November 1978) was a patriot, idealist and Indian independence activist.[1][2] Menon was the founder of Mathrubhumi, a popular daily newspaper which earned the second place in circulation in Kerala. In 1924, he led the Vaikom Satyagraha in Travancore. He was awarded the third highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan, by the Government of India in 1966.[3] He was conferred with an honorary doctorate (D.Litt) posthumously by University of Calicut in 1987.[4]

Early life

He was born in Tharoor village of Palghat as the son of Naduviledathil Bheemanachan and Meenakshi Amma. He graduated in Arts from Madras University and Bar-at-law from Middle Temple.[citation needed]


After his education, he became the secretary of Malabar Home rule League. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1915 and served as the secretary of the Malabar branch of the Home Rule League after setting up practice in Calicut. He was a member of the Home Rule League under Annie Besant which proceeded to London to present a memorandum to the Secretary of State in 1917. He also wrote a dozen of books and collections of essays. In 1919, in Madras he organised sweepers and rikshaw drivers. He was among the earliest in Kerala to argue for abolition of 'untouchability'[5][6]


Kesava Menon established Mathrubhumi in 1923. He was its Chief Editor from the beginning till his death, except for a brief interregnum he moved out of Kerala and went to practice law in Malaysia and Singapore. There also he was actively involved in nationalist movements. His autobiography has been published by Mathrubhumi Books.

Personal life

Kesava Menon married Akathethara Manikyamelidam Laxmi Nethyaramma.[6] Palakkatsseri Valiyaraja Manikyamelidam Shekhari Varma (the former Maharajah of Palghat) was the second of his five children (Since the first and second Rajas are residing outside India, it was the third Raja, KK Itti Pangi Achan who performed the religious duties on their behalf). The other four children are: Chellamma, Thankam, Padmini and Leela.[6] The noted Malayalam film playback singer K. P. Udayabhanu was his nephew, being the son of his sister Ammu Nethyaramma.


  1. ^ Who is who of Freedom Fighters in Kerala — K. Karunakaran Nair -Regional Records Survey Committee, Kerala State, 1975 - Kerala – page 212
  2. ^ "K.P.Kesava Menon | Kerala Media Academy". keralamediaacademy.org. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  4. ^ "University of Calicut Former Honorary Degree Recipients" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  5. ^ Social History of India – SN Sadasivan – Page 511
  6. ^ a b c "Kerala News - പാലക്കാട് വലിയരാജാവിന് സിംഗപ്പുരില് നൂറാംപിറന്നാള് - India, World News — Mathrubhumi Newspaper Edition". Mathrubhumi.com. 9 January 2011. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.