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Saturday, April 11, 2009


“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops.”
A Tribute to my father, Sri M.V.Karunakaran
“Teaching is the noblest and the sorriest of all professions”- M.V.KarunakaranPROFILE
Date of Birth: 10.09.1935
Father: Sri Kadinjiyil Krishnan Nair (1881-Oct.4th 1963)
Mother: Smt. Manakkat Veetil Lakshmi Amma (1900-17th March 1977)
Joined as a teacher on 03.06.1957
Marriage: 26.05.1970
Retired from service on 30.04.1991

Kerala State Aaward for Best Teacher in 1989
Ref: The Mathrubhumi dated 05.09.1988, Monday for detailed news

Received the award from the then Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala Sri. E.K. Nayanar on 05.09.1989.

Positions Held
School Complex Secretary
Wynad district Academic Council Executive Member
Secretary, Science Exhibition, cultural activities and sports
District Science Association Member
Vaithiri subdistrict Academic Council Member, Secretary, Treasurer and President
Founder of scouts and guides at the school
President, Vaithiri Subdistrict K.P.T.U. & K.P.T.U.Wynad district committee member
President, School Co-op. Society
Kalpetta Saksharatha Academic Executive Member

The Odyssey of Struggle and Success
Sri. M.V. Karunakaran was born as the fifth of the six sons of his parents Sri Kadinjiyil Krishnan Nair and Smt. Lakshmi Amma on 10th Sept 1935. It was a middle class Nair family at Manakkad, Karivellur 10 kms from Payyanur in Kannur District. Karivellur has been a cradle of revolution, a name synonymous with peasant revolts. The lush greenery of paddy fields adorns this beautiful village and weaving shuttles and folklore welcome you with the true hospitality of Kannur district.

Manakkad Veed (Manakkad House) was a majestic structure on the roadside to Cheemeni and Puthur, a wayside tavern like relief to many passersby magnanimously offering them buttermilk garnished with curry leaves, green chilli and ginger. As a child, Sri. Karunakaran used to be inspired by all this which later became a salient feature of his character true to his name Karunakaran, “the merciful one”.

His primary education was at Palakkunnu School(now North A.U.P.) and at Manyaguru U.P. school. "Manyaguru" was Sri. Kelu Nair, the eldest brother of his father. All the brothers of his father were teachers.

1946. The Karivellur revolt under the leadership of Comrade A.V.Kunhambu and Krishnan Master and the firing resulting in the martyrdom of Sri Thidil Kannan and Sri Keeneri Kunhambu. Dec.20th is commemorated as the Martyrs' Day in Karivellur.
"I remember how MSP and the police unleashed brutal physical torture"

He recollects a day at Manyaguru U.P. School:
"I was not able to pay fees and was not allowed to write the exam. I came home crying. But like a divine intervention Sri Kana Kunhiraman Master from Elambachi, who was my teacher at Manyaguru paid my fees and i was allowed to write the exam. I can't forget that day."
He failed the ESLC exam and was very disappointed and disillusioned. But his father motivated him to write the entrance test at Nileswar Rajas High School and it worked. He was admitted in III form. It was in 1950.

“When going gets tough, the tough gets going”. High school education was not at his beck and call but demanded extreme struggle and strain from him to reach the 15 kms far Rajas High School at Nileswar on foot and crossing the Karyankode river often with a hand of assistance from other pedestrians.

But he was known among teachers and students for obedience, punctuality and discipline. There was a sigh of relief when the then Headmaster of the school, Sri Ramakrishna Rao helped him with the fees and arranged for his accommodation at the hostel.

“He was very close to my father and I can’t say how life would have turned out to be had he not been kind to me. He was English grammar and Algebra incarnate.I am very much indebted to Rao sir, a hard task master who inspired me deeply both as a teacher and as a human being”.

High school education was again into stress and strain as his father fell ill and the family fell into severe financial stringency.

He adds,
“My father, of course, has been the guiding force at every point in my life. I can’t forget him offering me ten rupees from under the pillow when he was bedridden due to typhoid. I can’t put in words how valuable that ten rupees is even now”.

After passing S.S.L.C. successfully, the family pressures forced him to join a private school at Kuttikol in Kasaragod in 1954 as an untrained teacher by the advice of Sri Paliyeri Narayanan Master. It was his cousin brother Sri M.V.Narayanan Master, a renowned social activist, who took him to Kuttikol.Malabar was in those days a part of Madras State. He stayed at Melath Krishnan Nair's House, an influential social figure in the area and was paid Rs. 36/- as the salary. This stint at Kuttikol was to be quite brief as he got admission for Teacher Training Course at Kannur Govt. Training School in 1955.

He recollects:
"Sri Charadan Nair, the chairman of the school paid me a cumulative salary of Rs.360/- while I was leaving for Kannur. At Kannur I used to get Rs. 18/- as stipend".

It proved to be a turning point as he passed the course successfully in 1957 and left for Kalpetta in Wynad district to join his brothers, the place which occupied the major share of his service in life. Kalpetta in Wynad district was an exotic hill station with coffee and tea plantations, fresh brooks and wild animals, a dense jungle mainly inhabited by tribals viz. paniyas, kurichiyas, kurumas, kaatunaykan etc.

Since 1939 his father was at Kootamunda Estate in Wynad to teach English to Sri Dharmapalan, son of the estate owner, Padmayya Gowder. But he had to leave Wynad in 1946 as a land feud cropped up at Karivellur, the land where the whole family was residing in. By that time his brothers, Sri Kunhikrishnan Nair, Sri Kunhikannan Nair and Sri Narayanan Nair were at Wynad working in various estates.

There came a vacancy at H.I.M.U.P. School at Kalpetta as Sri Mangada Krishnan Master went on leave and thus Karunakaran Master was appointed temporarily on this leave vacancy on 03.06.1957. The thick stroke of divine grace was in favour and on 28.06.1957 when the leave vacancy period expired, like a bolt from the blue a permanent vacancy came up from the next day on the 29th of June since a new division was introduced in the school. He was the tenth subject teacher at the school. As per the Madras Education Rule, if there are ten teachers in a school, an additional teacher can be appointed as the eleventh one.

He joined his long and outstanding career on 29.06.1957 when he was just 22 years old. The then School Manager, Kallangodan Kunhahammad Haji was very impressed by his dedication to the school and his sincerity in what ever he did.

"Sri Kallangodan was a rare kind of school manager, one who had great common sense and discretion and one who never made unwanted interference into academics of the school. His estate quarters at Goodalai was used by my brother Sri Kunhikannan Nair. I stayed there with him and later with my third brother Sri Narayanan Nair till my retirement from service."

Sri.C.K. Moideen was the Headmaster of the school in those days. Karunakaran master used to teach English, Malayalam, and Social studies etc. It is quite natural that the son of a renowed English teacher at Karivellur would prove to be a successful English teacher. With his loud and sharp voice, patient and regular drilling to students in reading and writing, he soon became popular among students and higher authorities. They advised others to make him their ideal to be successful teachers.

1957. The Communist Govt. headed by Sri E.M.S. made teachers dignified in the society introducing a new pay scale.

"There was hill allowance for teachers at Wynad which was half of the basic pay. Pension was calculated by adding this. Who can forget Sri Mundassery master's landmark Education bill passed in 1958, the Magna Carta of Teachers."

He also adds with great indignation how VIMOCHANA SAMARAM (Liberation Struggle) dismissed a very promising government. H.I.M.U.P. school was the centre point and abusive slogans were typical of the movement. Sri Kallangodan Haji dealt with the situation very carefully and commendably without closing down the school.

Sri M.V.Karunakaran Master became the headmaster at the same school in 1985.

He was the Secretary of the School Complex for long making outstanding contributions in enhancing the quality of education. The School Complex, a number of primary schools centered round a High school, was one of the recommendations of Kothari Commission for the improvement of the standard of Primary education.

There was no field he had not laid his hands on, and none that he did not reform. He was very active in organizing school science fair, literacy campaign, arts and sports festivals etc. Many generations at Kalpetta are indebted to him for making them literate. He was an active member and later president of K.P.T.U. All these exposure brought out the efficient administrator in him. His working hours from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. earned him an impeccable and spotless reputation as a teacher par excellence. He was always known for simplicity and magnanimity. He won many hearts by his innocence and warmth. He would never hesitate to pick a litter in the school compound and drop it in the bin thus setting an example for others.

His better half, Smt. K. Soudamini, (d/o Sri Pallyath Kunhambu Nair and Smt. Kana Madhavi Amma) , Physical Education Teacher at S.A.B.T.M.H.S.S. near Payyanur has been an invariable source of strength for him. She too has been a popular teacher, one who got involved in solving the problems of people around rather than confining herself to the four walls of school and home. She retired from service on 30.04.1998 and is actively involved in Kudumbashree programme at Karivellur-Peralam Panchayat, a govt. move for strengthening family finance.

                               Sri M.V.Karunakaran & Smt. K. Soudamini (my parents)
He has two sons: Dr. Rajesh Kumar Kana, Assistant Professor in the US and Mr. Santhosh Kumar Kana, PGT-English in Kendriya Vidyalaya.

His colleagues and friends ask him,

“What’s the secret of your youthfulness?”

Quick comes his reply with an unassuming smile,

“Nothing great. An early morning bath in cold water, regular evening walk, vegetarian food, strict routine and good thoughts”

When he retired from his service on 30.04.1991, the school staff and all his well wishers at Kalpetta were very disappointed to lose an exemplary teacher and administrator, an embodiment of goodness. But they were happy and thankful to the Almighty for giving him the deserving honor- the Best Teacher State Award in 1989. The unavailed 600 days leave is only one of the many clear testimonies to this honour.

"I am very thankful to all the people of Kalpetta and Wynad, my colleagues and friends for their unconditional love and co-operation in making my service and life peaceful and successful".

Anybody in his place would have thought of buying a land with the cheap land rates in those days or decentralizing income into other sources . But he had only one obsession, “my school”. He has no regrets:

“A land would’ve gone into others’ hands but his achievements are only his own, time and men can’t take them away” , says a colleague.

The saplings planted by him in the school compound virtually would provide a welcome relief to many pedestrians on the road to knowledge and academic success.

"I am thankful to all my brothers for their love and constant guidance"


Nikitha Thampy said...

truly honoured to read this beautiful and heart touching tribute to your father

santhosh kumar kana said...

thanks a lot Nikitha