Herman Gundert was born in Germany on February 4, 1814. Having left Germany at the age of 22 for missionary work, he reached India and traveled to many places in SouthIndia and finally settled in Illikunnu near Thalassery. He expanded his mission and dedicated himself for a systematic study of Malayalam language and culture. His efforts led to the publication of the first Malayalam-English Dictionary in 1872 which is considered a text rich in references and information related to the words.
Gundert help fix the language by introducing punctuation marks and breaking the lines with a full stop. Apart from the first Malayalam Dictionary, his other major works would include Keralapazhama, Keralolpathi, and Malayala Bhasha Vyakaranam. Gundert also is credited with starting the first Malayalam newspaper, Rajyasamacharam.
Remembered for his commitment to learning and teaching the language and culture of this region, Hermann Gundert passed away on 25 April 1893.