It is believed to be the first in-depth study of the presence of a NRI Malayalee community outside of Kerala. Malayalam is derived from old Tamil and Sanskrit in the 6th century.For cultural purposes Malayalam and Sanskrit formed a language known as Manipravalam, where both languages were used in an alternating style. Vilanilam, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kerala; Sunny Luke, medical scientist and former professor of Medical Biotechnology at Adelphi University, New York; and Antony Palackal, professor of Sociology at the Loyola College of Social Sciences in Thiruvananthapuram, have edited the book, besides making other contributions to it.
Large numbers of Malayalis have settled in Bangalore, Delhi, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Mumbai (Bombay), Ahmedabad, Pune, and Chennai (Madras).
Malayali minorities are also found in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu, and also in other metropolitan areas of India.
Over the course of the later half of the 20th century, significant Malayali communities have emerged in Persian Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, and to a lesser extent, other developed nations with a primarily immigrant background such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.
A large number of Malayalis have also emigrated to the Middle East, the United States, and Europe. The 2001 Canadian census reported 7,070 people who listed Malayalam as their mother tongue, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
In 2010, the Census of Population of Singapore reported that there were 26,348 Malayalees in Singapore.