Award description and guidelines

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Vakkom Moulavi Road,Thekkummoodu

Thiruvananthapuram -695035

Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust’s Professor N.A. Karim Award for Outstanding Public Service-2015

  1. Introduction

The Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust (VMFT) instituted the “Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust’s Professor N.A. Karim Award for Outstanding Public Service” in 2012 in honour of a leading and highly respected Kerala academician, a former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University and a long-standing advocate of strengthening educational standards as a means to further social progress.

The Award, which comprises a cash grant of Rs. one lakh, citation and a memento, is financed through an Endowment Fund, the corpus of which has been established through donations by the members of the Board of Trustees of VMFT. Contributions to the Endowment Fund from the members of the public are welcome. The Award will be given on a biennial basis. If a suitable candidate is not found in any particular year, the Award will be made the following year. The first Award was be given in February 2013.

  1. Objectives

The objective of the ‘Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust’s Professor N.A. Karim Award’ is to recognize and encourage public service for furthering the development and well-being of the people of Kerala upholding the rights of the people, in opposing sectarianism, in promoting social cohesion, and in upholding the principles of probity and accountability in public and social service.

Although a cash prize is given, the value of the award is not its money alone. In keeping with VMFT’s ideals, the Award’s intention is to convey society’s recognition of people who contribute to its development with the spirit of ‘Service before Self’. Its purpose is to promote worthy role models to help build a more educated, progressive and compassionate society.

  1. Who is eligible?

Any person residing in Kerala or residing in other parts of India or abroad, who has worked on issues of significance to Kerala society that fall within the purview of VMFT’s goals is eligible for the Award, irrespective of religion, caste, state, socio-economic background or political affiliation.. The award is given to individuals who may be working in the government, public or private sector organizations, NGOs, universities and research institutions.

In order to promote and encourage the younger generation to engage more actively in service to society, the Award will normally be restricted to people under the age of 50 years. The Selection Committee may, however, consider exceptions to this rule on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Who can nominate?

Any member of the public can nominate one or more candidates. Self-nominations are not acceptable. A call for nominations will be issued via the news media and on the VMFT website. The VMFT will also solicit nominations from institutions, organizations and individuals through letters.

Nominations for the "Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust’s Professor N. A. Karim Award for Outstanding Public Service-2015" are to be sent to the Chairman, VMFT, Vakkom Moulavi Road, Thekkummoodu Junction, Thiruvananthapuram – 695035, Kerala, India.

(Phone: 0471-2304051, 9400238094 email:, web:

Areas of Contribution for selection

Eligible individuals should have demonstrated the highest standards of professional ethics and conduct in their own area of work in an inspiring manner. He or she should have a sustained track record of public or community service in one or more of the following areas.

  • Demonstrated leadership and innovation which have enhanced efficiency, transparency and effectiveness in the Government/Public/Private sector

  • Encouraged marginalized or deprived sections of society to participate in and benefit from the development process

  • Integrated the communities of Kerala by actively promoting dialogue and understanding between different communities.

  • Inspired and influenced public servants and members of the society in preventing corruption and promoting honesty, integrity, and accountability in public service.

  1. Evaluation Criteria

Nominators are requested to fill an attached form in which they are asked to explain the nominee’s contributions and why he is suitable for the Award. The form asks a set of questions to guide the nominators to explain the achievements of their nominees. The nominators are requested to provide tangible measures of the achievements of their nominees, for the judges to make a decision. After short listing, a panel of 5 judges will make the final selection.

  1. Administration of the Award

The VMFT will administer the Award on its own or may partner with another organization to administer the Award, including the conduct of the nomination and selection processes.

The VMFT will announce the Award through its website and the news media in Kerala and honour the Awardee in a public function organized by the VMFT.

  1. Timeline

Last date for receipt of nominations May 31, 2015

Announcement of Award June 25, 2015

Presentation of award Will be notified


The Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust was established by the late Shri. K. M. Bashir, a distinguished statistician by profession, who belonged to the Indian Statistical Service and occupied responsible positions in the Government of India and later as the Chief of Bureau of Statistics, International Labour Organization (Geneva). The foundation was named after Vakkom Abdul Khader Moulavi, to commemorate his contribution to Kerala’s renaissance at the turn of the 20th century.

The foundation was conceived by Shri. K. M. Bashir as a centre of excellence for learning and research, as a forum to address the social, economic, intellectual, cultural, educational, spiritual and philosophical problems of the people, as a vehicle for disseminating and using advances in science and technology for the benefit of society, as a training centre and as an instrument for promoting, social justice and communal harmony among people.

The Foundation during the last 25 years of its working has organized a number of memorial lectures by eminent scholars, seminars and meetings on contemporary issues, training programmes for youth, women and academic communities, research projects on social and scientific topics and professional development of teachers.

The Foundation has recently assembled a permanent exhibition to cover the time period and life of Vakkom Moulavi and a photo exhibition of the Foundation’s works from its inception.

Professor N. A. Karim

Academician, Social Activist and Educational Administrator

Professor N. A. Karim was born on 15th February, 1926 at Edavanakad, a village on the Vypeen Island in the erstwhile princely state of Cochin (in the present Ernakulum District) of Kerala.

Early Days:

Professor Karim completed school education in his native village and the neighbouring village after which he went to Ernakulum for college education in the year 1942. Caught in the political unrest and agitation of the last years of colonial rule, he was expelled from the Ernakulum Maharaja’s College. The Maharaja’s College phase of his academic life and the incidents connected with it turned out to be a defining period of his later life and work. After a spell of full time political and journalistic work, he joined a newly started Degree College in Malabar and took his first degree while simultaneously working in the same college for three years. Later, he joined the Aligarh Muslim University and took a Masters degree in English language and literature. After a short period of teaching in various colleges including the Jamia Millia of Delhi, he joined the ‘Institute of English’ of the University of Kerala during which time he also obtained his Ph.D . While teaching at the ‘Institute of English’, he undertook a certificate course in the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad, and a course in American Literature from the American Studies Research Centre, also in Hyderabad. A Bachelor’s degree in Education of the Madras University had also been acquired earlier.

Politics before Profession

Nationalist sentiments were strong in him right from his school days. When he was given an essay-writing assignment on the ‘Benefits of British Rule in India’, a stock topic in those days, to the shock of the teacher and the Headmaster, he chose to write about the negative effects of foreign rule in highly forceful and critical terms. This writing was shown to the Inspector of Schools when he came for the annual inspection, and he chastised the bold student for what he perceived as lack of respect. This strong patriotic sentiment, however, has continued to guide Prof. Karim throughout his political career and later public life.

Professional Career, Public Life & Social Activities

After a long period of teaching in various colleges and universities, Prof. Karim began to work in educational administration, first as the Dean of Students of the University of Calicut, then as the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Kerala for two terms covering a span of eight years. Being nominated for a second term by the Chancellor is a rare distinction in the University.

Politics was his first love, a passion that began in the early years of High School and College education in Ernakulum. He contested a by-election to the State Legislative Assembly on a Left Platform against Mr. A. K. Antony, the then Chief Minister, but was unsuccessful. His literary interests that developed along with his political activism made him a writer of both Malayalam and English with a unique style of his own. Prof. Karim’s numerous essays on literature; society and culture were the output of this period. Later in life he developed interest in educational thought and practice, which led to him becoming a powerful advocate for education. During his professional career, Prof. Karim campaigned for eradication of illiteracy in the State, while after retirement, he joined the State Resource Centre of Kerala for Adult and Continuing education. Prof. Karim was also instrumental in starting a fully-fledged Department for Adult and Continuing Education in the University of Kerala during his tenure as Pro-Vice Chancellor. When the state government started the ‘Akshara Keralam Project’ for total eradication illiteracy in the state, he was appointed its Director. The project successfully completed its work in the course of one and a half years.

Professor Karim was also Chairman of several committees appointed by the State Government and a member of the Task Force for Higher Education of the State Planning Board. The Government appointed him as the Chairman of Kumaran Asan National Institute of Culture and continued in that position for 12 years in two terms.

Professor Karim is a prolific writer on educational, social, political and cultural issues both in English and Malayalam. He has also been interviewed, and given talks on many contemporary problems, on radio, television and numerous public platforms. An eclectic interest in so many different spheres of life has made him a much sought after writer and speaker particularly on educational problems. He has been on several committees, both governmental and non-governmental, and on the editorial boards of several periodicals and publications. Even after retirement, he continues to be on the academic bodies of the Universities of Kerala and outside. He continues to be the research guide of the Universities of Calicut and Kerala, and five scholars have taken their doctorate degrees working under his guidance.

Publications, Seminars & Conferences

Four books of Professor Karim (two in Malayalam and two in English) and innumerable articles both in English and Malayalam are currently undergoing publication. Kerala State Language Institute recently released a book, ‘Kalaghattathinte Kalpadavukal’, in his honour.

Professor Karim has spoken at and chaired innumerable seminars on academic subjects in India and abroad as well as participated in conferences on a range of political issues.

Awards & Prizes

  • Ramasramam Award for significant social work

  • Shri.T.A. Majeed Memorial Award for political writings of high intellectual level

  • Shri. P. N. Panikkar Memorial Award for a life time contribution to education at all levels

  • Chancellor Gold Medal for the best English speaker on the Aligarh University 1953-58

  • Several prizes and certificates of Merit at the school and college levels for essay writing, elocution on other literary and knowledge contests.

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