Literary Ventures: Missionaries and Malayalam literature
Literature became closer to common man and compositions in regional languages were written, since the arrival of European missionaries. The missionaries in the early days were involved in the spiritual service of the Portuguese army. Libraries with religious books were there at the Vypin Fort Seminary established in 1583, and at the Sambaloor Seminary at Ambazhakadu founded in 1662. There are documents in the library attached to the Kodungalloor College also. Most of the works are on palm leaves, or Thaliyola. The Dutch, who overpowered the Portuguese, destroyed the libraries at Kodungalloor and Vypin fort. The library at Sambaloor Seminary was destroyed during the invasion of Tippu Sultan. Bishop Menezes destroyed the libraries at Angamaly and Cheppad as per the decision of the Synod of Diamper. The system of using paper for writing became popular with the arrival of missionaries. It was John Gonsalves, a member of the Society of Jesus, who first introduced printing in India. Later, he made alphabets in regional languages and started printing at the first press at Vypin fort. Though Malayalam had evolved as a special language in the 16thcentury itself, Tamil was the language of trade and commerce. Hence, lots of Tamil books were published during the period. The canons the Synod of Diamper were prepared in Malayalam.