Initially there was 'Kerala.com' guestbook run by Thomas Vellaringattu, for Malayalees world over to come together and discuss. Tony Thomas, who pioneered writing in Malayalam characters, used 'Kerala' font by clicking on Malayalam letters in ‘Charmap’ application. The year was 1996.

In the meantime, Binu Thomas Meledom, Binu Anand P.S., Konda Reddy, and Soji Joseph coded an application called 'Lathi', which used Achayan transliteration scheme. The transliteration engine was written by Sreedhar Shenoy.

Parallelly, Cibu C.J developed a Unix command line application called ‘Varamozhi’, which transliterated from any transliteration scheme to any given Malayalam font. The name of the package, ‘Varamozhi’ was suggested by Vinod and the Logo was designed by Rajesh. The default transliteration scheme in that was Mozhi, which was adapted from ITRANS by Cibu for Malayalee usages.

Soon, Binu Thomas Meledom, Binu Anand P.S. and Konda Reddy created another application, 'Madhuri' using Cibu's Varamozhi transliteration engine. 'Madhuri' became very popular among the Kerala diaspora.

Cibu C.J. created Varamozhi Editor application in June 2002, with Unicode and multi-font capabilities. Most of the 'Madhuri' users who also happened to be members of Varamozhi yahoogroup slowly changed over to the new Varamozhi Editor.

Sometime in 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP with Malayalam Unicode support and this paved way for the development of Malayalam Unicode fonts.

Varamozhi gradually made inroads into Malayalam Internet communities. In 2004 November, it achieved a greater pace when a fellow active participant 'Viswam' suggested using Mozhi, Varamozhi combination as the base of communication in Aksharaslokam group, a yahoo group led by Umesh Nair. The extreme requirement of accurate spellings in the group also turned out to be a critical test-bed for the robustness and accuracy of varamozhi editor and the built-in dictionary.

Later, 'Malayalam Wikipedia' and the blogger community followed the same path in their inspired movement of adapting to Unicode Malayalam text. Most of the members and participants in the forums of chinta, the first independent Unicode malayalam site, were also participated in this silent revolution. Malayalavedhi.com was another forum where varamozhi was being introduced by and among its members.

In June 2005, Raj Nair created 'Mozhi Keyman' using Tavultesoft Keyman with inputs from Sunny Varghese who had earlier created a similar application, 'Vamozhi', with Tavultesoft Keyman. Mozhi Keyman became part of Varamozhi installation package in July 2005.

Rachana font suit came about in 1999-2001 using 6-7 ascii hacked fonts. Kevin who was a great admirer of ‘Rachana’ application and its philosophy created ‘Anjali’, a Malayalam Unicode Font, out of 6 independent GPL’d font files from Rachana. Later, when the Rachana team decided to create their own Malayalam Unicode Font, they asked Kevin to discontinue creating Anjali using Rachana files. That prompted Kevin to create AnjaliOldLipi from scratch and it became part of the Varamozhi installation package in September of 2005. In 2004 Rachana was released as a Unicode font from Rachana team.

In 2007, Cibu removed most stacking, U-sign and UU-sign, RA-sign conjuncts from AnjaliOldLipi and created AnjaliNewLipi to aid easier reading in small font sizes. Released under SIL OFL 1.1.

Since then, many Malayalam domains have provided interfaces for mozhi compatible user input on their sites like in Malayalam Wikipedia.

In 2006, Antony Deign, another malayalam blogger, created an online interactive lite version of the program. This was primarily aimed at those who can not install the core programs locally on their systems.

Later in 2007 Aug-Sept, Raj Nair (Peringodan) developed a more refined javascript version which could be used both on-line and off-line. Shortly, the same script was incorporated into Malayalam Wikipedia input pages. In 2011, Junaid P V transformed this tool as a pan-Indic transliteration tool named Naaraayam extension supporting Mozhi for Malayalam along with many other languages. Currently it is evolved as ULS in Wikipedia.

As of late 2007, the major chunk of fresh Malayalam Unicode text on and off the net, (predominantly by the blogger and wikipedia community) is being produced using either Varamozhi Editor or Mozhi keyman or a combination of Varamozhi tools. It is also popularly used for applications such as electronic mailing and internet messaging. Those who are familiar with the scheme also makes use of the manglish input method - malayalam contend in English letters) for easy and unambiguous text for mobile SMS and PDA-like non-malayalam environments.

After some years, Mozhi Keyman became unmaintained. Then a Keymagic module for Malayalam Mozhi following Mozhi scheme was written by Junaid P V in 2011 March. (Google Code, Naaraayam exe).

In 2012 Feb and Apr, Jeesmon Jacob compiled the Varamozhi source code for Android and iOS to create Varamozhi apps in both the platforms.

In 2015 Benjamin Varghese created a Mozhi module for InKey application. He is maintaining this along with currently open sourced Keyman module for Mozhi(Malayalam). Binila Sanki, an expert in Keyman application, is supporting him in these efforts.

Efforts by other unnamed, most of them non-Malayalayees, working in various multinational corporations were also significant in bringing Malayalam to its current stage. Examples:

  • The Noto Sans Malayalam font which is ubiquitous in Android has been developed by the Dutch designer Bosma Jelle through Monotype Inc, in association with Cibu C. J., commissioned by Google Inc.

  • Aksara OCR system was the work of Dmitriy Genzel, Ashok Popat et al., from Google Inc.

  • People like Henry Rowley and Thomas Deselaers developed now popular Gboard input by handwriting from Google Inc. Paper.

  • The Gboard input by transliteration (Manglish) have been developed by Brian Roark and others from Google Inc.

  • The intelligent voice recognition developed for Google Inc by Daan Van Esch and others.

  • Similarly the Google's Malayalam TTS system was developed by Alexander Gutkin, Martin Jansche, Cibu C. J. and others.

  • The default Malayalam font Kartika in MS Windows was developed by R K Joshi.

Most of the excellent fonts designed used by Manorama in its print and TV are from designer Hashim.

Fonts from SMC are very popular these days with multiple print houses adopting their traditional script fonts. The main font developers in SMC are Santhosh Thottingal, Binoy Dominic, etc.

Similarly, fonts like Rachana, Meera, Uroob etc. form RIT are also well liked traditional script fonts. Its maintainers are K H Hussain and Rajeesh K V.

For the new Malayalam script reform in 2022, Cibu C J created the conforming fonts Rahna, Manjula, and Miya from their parent fonts Rachana, Manjari and Meera respectively.

History of Anjali

രചന പഴയലിപി അക്ഷരരൂപങ്ങൾ യുണീക്കോഡല്ലാത്ത 6 ഫോണ്ടുകളിലായി ഉണ്ടാക്കുന്നു. ഇത് 2002നു മുമ്പ് തന്നെ അത് ലഭ്യമായിരുന്നു.

2004 ഓഗസ്റ്റ് 25: മൈക്രോസോഫ്റ്റ് XP SP 2 നോടുകൂടെ കാർത്തിക മലയാളം യുണീക്കോഡ് ഫോണ്ട് ഇറക്കുന്നു.

2004 സെപ്റ്റംബർ 5: കെവിൻ രചനയുടെ ഫോണ്ടുകളിൽ നിന്നുള്ള ഗ്ലിഫുകൾ എല്ലാം ഒരുമിച്ചു കൂട്ടി യുണിക്കോഡ് ഫോണ്ടുണ്ടാക്കുന്നു. ഇതിനുമുമ്പേ MSKartika യും Thoolika യും ലഭ്യമായിരുന്നു. കാലഘട്ടം കൃത്യമായി അറിയില്ല. 2002-ൽ തൂലിക മലയാളം യുണീക്കോഡിനെ പറ്റി ഒരു ലേഖനം വായിച്ചിരുന്നു; ഉപയോഗിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. കാർത്തികയ്ക്ക് മുമ്പുള്ള മലയാളം ഫോണ്ടുകൾ ശരിക്ക് വർക്ക് ചെയ്യാൻ ഒരു സാധ്യതയുമില്ല.

2005 ജനുവരി 12: കെവിനോട് രചനയിലെ രാജീവ് സെബാസ്റ്റ്യൻ ഈ ഫോർക്ക് രചനയ്ക്ക് ഇഷ്ടമല്ല പിന്മാറണം എന്ന് നിർബന്ധിക്കുന്നു.

2005 ഫെബ്രുവരി 8: കെവിൻ സ്വന്തമായി വരച്ച് അഞ്ജലി ഓൾഡ്‌ലിപി ഉണ്ടാക്കുന്നു.

2005 ജൂൺ 6: രചന സ്വന്തം യുണീക്കോഡ് ഫോണ്ട് പുറത്തിറക്കുന്നു.

വരമൊഴിയുടെ കൂടെ പാക്കേജ് ചെയ്തതിനാലാവണം തുടർന്നുള്ള കുറച്ച് വർഷങ്ങൾ അഞ്ജലിഓൾഡ്‌ലിപിയുടെ കാലമായിരുന്നു. കാരണമെന്തായിരുന്നാലും മലയാളം യുണിക്കോഡ് അതിന്റെ ആദ്യകാലങ്ങളിൽ ഏറ്റവും കൂടുതൽ കണ്ട ഫോണ്ട് അഞ്ജലി ആണെന്നുള്ളതിൽ ഒരു തർക്കവും ഉണ്ടാവാനിടയില്ല.

Unicode proposal history

2019 Apr: Encoding Model for Chillu Conjuncts: Cibu C J, Liang Hai

2017 Dec: VEDIC ANUSVARA: Srinidhi A, Sridatta A

2015 Jun: Syriac Letters for Garshuni Malayalam: Anshuman Pandey, Shiju Alex, Cibu C J

2015 Jan: VERTICAL BAR VIRAMA: Cibu C J, Shiju Alex, Sunil V S

2015 Jan: CIRCULAR VIRAMA: Cibu C J, Shiju Alex, Sunil V S

2014 Dec: CHILLU Y: Cibu C J

2014 Jan: CHILLU LLL

2014 Jan: CHILLU M: Cibu C J

2014 Jan: PARA SIGN: Cibu C J

2013 Dec: SIGN COMBINING ANUSVARA ABOVE: Shriramana Sharma, Cibu C J

2013 Nov: Mechanism for selecting from multiple C2-forms: Cibu C J, Roozbeh Pournader

2013 May: LDML Keyboard Specification: Raymond Wainman, Cibu C J, Mark Davis

2013 Apr: CHILLU LLL: Cibu C J

2013 Apr: Minor Fractions: Shriramana Sharma, Cibu C J (attestations)

2012 May: Archaic II: Shriramana Sharma

2010 Oct: SIGN CANDRABINDU: Shriramana Sharma

2009 May: DOT REPH: Cibu C J

2009 Jan: Collation trailoring: Cibu C J

2007 Aug: NNNA, TTTA: Michael Everson, Cibu C J, Naga Ganesan

2006 May: Chillaksharams: Eric Muller, Cibu C J, K G Sulochana

Fonts in Android

Noto Sans Malayalam: Jelle Bosma (Monotype), Cibu C J

Noto Serif Malayalam: Monotype, Cibu C J


Press reports about Varamozhi in various media.