Janab A. Thangal Kunju Musaliar (1897-1966)
“When the mind begins to experience the sensation of physical comfort, joy or satisfied desires; the intelligence has to act as judge with consciousness as mediator”- Janab Thangal Kunju Musaliar.
Janab Thangal Kunju Musaliar, is a magnanimous name that rings loud in the educational, economic and socio-cultural development of the city of Kollam..An ace entrepreneur and a great visionary, he set his own life as an example of sheer determination, hardwork, courage and leadership.
Born on 12th January 1897, in a middle class family that traces its ancestry to Malik ibn Deenar, a legendary Islamic missionary who came to India in the 8th century and in a later generation to Sheikh Ali Hassan Musaliar, entombed in the Sheikh Masjid at Karunagapally, He belongs to the 12th generation after him.
The cashew industry of Kerala was at its threshold in the 1940s and 50s, when Thangal Kunju Musaliar donned the cashew trade and was quite popular as the ‘Cashew King’ in national and international markets. He was a pioneer in this field to build a vast empire through impeccable planning and systematic implementation and played a pivotal role in contributing the much needed foreign exchange to the state. In 1940, a U.S. magazine, ‘Fortune’ described him as the world’s largest employer.
The newspaper ‘Prabhatham’ started under Janab Musaliar’s editorial supervision was a landmark in the history of Travancore, and it exerted tremendous influence on the socio-political scenario of the state. At a time when signs of disintegration and communalism appeared all over India, ‘Prabhatham’ shed the light of fraternity and democracy on the people of Travancore.
Janab Musaliar was a versatile genius. With little formal education, he proved himself a rare genius. He published two books of philosophic nature, ‘Practical Advaita – the law of Nature’ and ‘Communism, Capitalism and Socialism in the Present Context’.
In 1950, while at the peak of his business career, Janab Musaliar foresaw the tremendous importance of education in the years to come. This thought paved way for the formation of T K M educational trust in 1956. The trust has the heritage of holding up firmly the values of the late Musaliar. The trust established institutions such as T K M College of Engineering, T K M Institute of Technology, T K M College of Arts and Sciences, T K M Institute of Management, T K M School of Communication and Information Technology, T K M Centenary Public School, T K M High School, T K M Higher Secondary School, and more recently the T K M Centre for Advanced Learning and T K M School of Architecture. Today we can see the success of a visionary statesman and multi-faceted personality, the late Janab A Thangal Kunju Musaliar, who fulfilled his dream of uplifting the society primarily through education.
The year 1997 was significant in the history of TKM Educational Institutions, for it was celebrated as the birth centenary year of Janab Musaliar. It was celebrated in the most befitting manner. The Postal Department of the Government of India honoured him by releasing a postal stamp. Memorial lectures were conducted by many distinguished persons. A Philately Museum was set up at TKM College of Engineering in commemoration of the birth centenary of the great founder. An All India Exhibition on Science and Technology organized on the occasion was an added attraction.