Our Malayalam collections include manuscripts, early and modern printed books, periodicals, newspapers, and audiovisual materials.
About the collection
We have particularly important holdings of 19th to mid-20th century publications. The Library's holdings overall are an important resource for the study of South Asia.
Among the most important manuscript in Malayalam, there are the gold and silver manuscripts grants issued by the Zamorins of Calicut to the Dutch East India Company dated 1691 and 1710, and presented to the India Office Library in 1840.
Early and modern printed books and periodicals
The Library continues to acquire, books and journals in the humanities and social sciences in Malayalam. Books are acquired mainly by purchase from India and elsewhere, and through donations.
The collection is rich in early publications not available elsewhere, including lithographs in Arabi-Malayalam characters published by the Mappila community of Kerala.
What is available online?
Current and post-1982 Malayalam books and periodical publications can be found in Explore the British Library.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
Earlier publications not yet in Explore the British Library are listed in the following printed catalogues, available in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room.
- India Office Library and Records Catalogue of Malayalam Books to 1950
- Catalogue of Malayalam books in the British Museum with an appendix listing the books in Brahui, Gondi, Kui, Malto, Oranoan, Toda and Tulu edited by Albertine Gaur, 1971
There are also catalogues in microfiche and microfilms to 1973 for Malayalam collections of the India Office Library and the Oriental Collections
Proscribed publicationsThese are publications banned by the pre-1947 Indian government. 2 Malayalam publications can be found in:
- Publications proscribed by the Government of India: A catalogue of the collections in the India Office Library and Records and the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books by Graham Shaw and Mary Lloyd (London: British Library Reference Division, 1985)
PeriodicalsJournals and other periodical publications are listed in:
- Bibliography of South Asian periodicals: a union-list of periodicals in South Asian languages. Shaw, G.W. and Quraishi, S. Brighton, 1982.
- Catalogue of the Malayalam manuscripts in the India Office Library by Chelnat Achyuta Menon, 1954.
Manuscripts and older books may be consulted in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. More recent books may be viewed in any St Pancras Reading Room, and books in Malayalam published since 1945 are available for loan to libraries and other institutions through our Document Supply Services.