Deepika, a Malayalam language newspaper, is one of the oldest newspapers published in India. Started in 1887, it is the oldest Malayalam newspaper now in circulation. Deepika publishes editions from Kottayam, Kochi, Kannur, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. It was controlled by the Syro Malabar Church of Kerala from its inception till 1989. In August 1989, the Deepika and its sister publications came under the ownership of Rashtra Deepika Ltd., a public limited company. The readership of the newspaper is drawn mainly from the Syro Malabar Catholic laity. Msgr.Mathew M.Chalil is the Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) and Fr. Boby Alex Mannamplackal is the Chief Editor of the newspaper.
Deepika has an illustrious history of over 125 years. It was first published by a Syrian Catholic priest, Nidhirikkal Manikkathanar, or Father Emmanuel Nidhiri, or Nidhiry Mani Kathanar, under the title Nasrani Deepika. (Nasrani in Malayalam means a Syrian Christian). The first issue came out on 1887 April 15, which coincided with Vishu (the spring equinox festival according to Kerala tradition). The word "Deepika" in Malayalam means "lamp." Printing was on a crude handmade wooden press.
As its first name denotes, Deepika began as a paper of Syro Malabar Nasranis or Catholics of Kerala's Syrian tradition. From its very inception it was run by Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), a religious order within the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. In 1989 its control was transferred to a Public Limited Company, "Rashtra Deepika Ltd".
Deepika has a long tradition of going for bold innovations. It introduced many changes in Malayalam journalism. The following is but a sample of its impressive achievements:-
- First newspaper in Malayalam to be published on a daily basis.
- First among Malayalam newspapers to go online. It is still the largest Indian vernacular online newspaper.
- First Malayalam newspaper to devote a full page for sports and agriculture news.
- Rashtra Deepika, its sister-eveninger, is the largest circulated of its kind in India according to ABC.
- Online edition-Deepika.com, Deepika global,Rashtradeepika.com are also popular among Malayalees the world over.
- Altogether, Rashtra Deepika group has more than 15 million readers all over the world.
Kuttikalude Deepika, Business Deepika, Children's Digest, Rashtra Deepika Cinema, Streedhanam and Karshakan are other publications of the Rashtra Deepika Ltd.
125th Anniversary Celebrations
The Deepika completed its 125 years of service in 2012. Earmarking this golden lettered milestone, Deepika started various kinds of celebrations. One of the major attractions was the special Cartoon exhibition  by Raju Nair was held at Thiruvananthapuram in February. Renowned artist Kanhayi Kunhiraman inaugurated the exhibition. People from all walks of life visited the exhibition hall. Bishop of Neyyattinkara, Rt. Rev. Dr. Vincent Samuel was among many others who visited the exhibition.
Rashtra Deepika Publications
Rashtra Deepika Ltd publishes the following:
- The Deepika - daily newspaper (morning)
- The Rashtra Deepika - daily newspaper (evening)
- Business Deepika - Complete Business Fortnightly
- Karshakan - Agricultural monthly
- Sthree Dhanam - Women's monthly
- Rashtra Deepika Cinema - Film Magazine
- Kuttikalude Deepika - Children's Fortnightly
- Children's Digest - Children's Monthly (English)
- Chocolate - Educational Supplement
- www.deepika.com - Deepika morning daily web edition
- www.rashtradeepika.com - Rashtra Deepika evening daily web edition
- www.deepikaglobal.com - Deepika morning daily web edition in English
- www.visitorkerala.com - a complete health and tourism portal
- www.deepikamatrimonial.com - matrimonial portal
- www.deepikaclassifieds.com - Classifieds portal
- www.careerdeepika.com - Career online portal
The current major shareholders include Deepthi Media Trust (Kakkanadu), Chavara Media Trust (Kakkanad), Deepika Printers Society, Srothas India Trust (Syro-Malankara Major Archeparchy of Trivandrum), St. Joseph's Trust (Thalassery), Syro-Malabar Archepharchial Trust (Changanachery), Mr. Joseph Kunju (Syrian Catholic NRI), Dr. Francis Cleetus (Syrian Catholic NRI), George Jacob Mannamplackal (Syrian Catholic NRI), C P Paul Chungath (Syrian Catholic Jeweller), Johny Kuruvila Padickamyalil (Syrian Catholic NRI) and several other Syro-Malabar dioceses and archdioceses.