THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: NK Manoharan, 36, from a poor SC/ST family living near Mundakayam in Kottayam, has managed to obtain his PhD in economics from the University of Kerala. The path to become a research scholar was anything but easy for him as he toiled as a labourer. During the breaks in the research period on the Karyavattom campus, he had worked as an autorickshaw driver too.
For Manoharan, earn while you learn has been a motto right from his school days. He preferred to go for laying concrete, which would help him to earn more wages as well as get sumptuous food. Manoharan says that if he goes for masonry work, he will not be able to go for it regularly. But, whenever shuttling between Karyavattom campus and Pulikunnu in his hometown, Manoharan ensured that he got a job as a building concrete labourer.
Son of Kunjerukkan and Ammini, Manoharan also shouldered the responsibility of the marriage of his elder sister Manju. Her in-laws belong to a place at Kidangoor in Kottayam. When TNIE caught up with Manoharan over the phone, he was busy in the role of the labourer in his home town. Manoharan recalled that it was difficult to meet both ends with the research fellowship alone granted by the SC development department.
“My research topic was on various state and Central schemes for higher education among the Scheduled Caste children. S P Kumar, associate professor and principal, Sree Narayana Guru College, Cheranalloor, Kozhikode, was my guide. There was a six-year gap in my academic career after my M Phil due to financial difficulties. Now, my focus is to get the job of a college teacher", said Manoharan, who is a member of CITU Pulikunnu Concrete Labour Association.
He had pursued his BA in Economics at Changanassery NSS College and from there he reached the Karyavattom campus to do his postgraduation and M Phil.
Manoharan recalled that when his friends managed to pursue their research without many hiccups, he had to toil hard. But Manoharan has let bygones be bygones and is now keen on joining a government college as an assistant professor in economics.