A name synonymous with books and publishing, a name known for the love of books, a name that revolutionized the Malayalam publishing industry , DC Kizhakemuri, is a name that stands several notches above others when it comes to books and publishing. His innovative schemes such as abolition of sales tax on books were so successful that they were implemented on a national level. A man of the masses, DC Kizhakemuri was the first columnist in Malayalam. DC’s sparkling wit and sheer brilliance went beyond his skills as a writer.
Dominic Chacko Kizhakemuri, the visionary, publisher and guiding force of DC Group was born on 12 January 1914 in Kanjirapally in Kottayam district of Kerala. He started his career as a teacher; a teacher who motivated and inspired numerous students. Being a man of principles and high integrity DC Kizhakemuri or DC as he was more affectionately known was naturally drawn to India’s freedom struggle.
Dawn of a new era
DC’s destiny was however, inextricably linked with books. He along with his friends Ponkunnam Varkey, P T Chacko and K J Thomas opened a bookstore called National Book Stall in Kottayam. Soon after that, DC Kizhakemuri started Sahitya Pravarthaka Co-operative Society (SPCS) along with M P Paul and Karur Neelakantapillai. The society was the first of its kind in Asia. SPCS published the best of works in Malayalam and worked for the welfare of the writers.
In 1949 NBS and SPCS joined forces. Under the dynamic stewardship of DC, this merger heralded a new age in Malayalam publishing and production which was, till then in a very dismal state. The NBS network covered all the districts in Kerala and SPCS emerged as the biggest publisher
Transforming the publishing scene
DC passionately believed in quality publishing, innovative promotion schemes and realistic pricing. His pivotal role in abolishing sales tax on books in the erstwhile state of Travancore impacted all of India. In fact, it prompted Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to abolish sales tax on books across India.