N A Karim Award

Professor N. A. Karim Award for Outstanding Public Service

Current invitation is closed . Apply when the new call is announced through this website, news papers and leading journals

Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust in its Silver Jubilee Year 2012 established Professor N. A. Karim Award for Outstanding Public Service’, consisting of Rupees One Lakh cash, a citation and a memento to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to public service. The award is named after Professor N. A. Karim, former President of the VMFT, a distinguished academician, educational administrator and social activist of impeccable class and integrity in recognition of his multi-faceted services to the Kerala society.


  • The objective of the award is to recognize and encourage public service to further the development and well-being of the people of Kerala, uphold the rights of the people, oppose sectarianism and promote social cohesion, and to uphold the principles of probity and accountability in public and social service.
  • Although a cash prize is given, the primary intention of the Award is to convey society’s recognition of people who contribute to its development in the spirit of ‘Service before Self’. The aim is to promote worthy role models to help build a more cohesive, progressive and compassionate society, in keeping with VMFT’s ideals.

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.

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″ are to be sent to the
VMFT, Vakkom Moulavi Road,
Thekkummoodu Junction,
Thiruvananthapuram – 695035,
Kerala, India.

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.

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.

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 honor the Awardee in a public function organized by the VMFT.


  • The first award was given to Shri P. V Rajagopal, eminent Gandhian Social Worker. The Award was presented by Hon’ble Vice President of India Shri Hamid Ansari on 16th February 2013 at Kanakakunnu Palace Thiruvananthapuram.

  • The second award was given to Professor Dr. Achuth Sankar S.Nair by Padma Vibhushan Dr. M.S.Valiathan on October 30, 2015.

  • The third award was given to Sri Faizal Khan MS, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Noorul Islam University and Managing Director of Noorul Islam Institute of Medical Science and Research Foundation (NIMS Medicity) on November 30, 2017.

Prof. N A Karim’s Profile

Professor N. A. Karim was born on 15th February, 1926 at Edavanakad, a village on the Vypin island in the erstwhile princely state of Cochin (in the present Ernakulum district) of Kerala. He 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 that he taught at the Jamia Millia University of Delhi. Later,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.

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. 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 was a prolific writer on educational, social, political and cultural issues both in English and Malayalam.