THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A headload worker pursuing a PhD in Sanskrit is unthinkable to many.
Meet K K Ajayakumar of Kadamannil House, Mylapra, Pathanamthitta, a headload worker who was recently awarded the Doctor of Philosophy in Sanskrit Nyaya. He was an ace student activist with the Students Federation of India during his stint in the capital campus of Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University in 1999-2000. After completing his master’s, he started his research on the same campus, only to leave studies halfway. His political affinity towards the CPM found him active in the trade union sector as a full-time worker. A CPM local committee member and Pathanamthitta area joint secretary of the Headload and General Workers Union (CITU), he had very little time to pursue research work.
As the tribulations and financial difficulties unsettled him, he could not continue his studies. His second son’s illness and struggles to eke out a living forced him to work as headload worker at a timber depot in Mylapra. Though more than 15 years had passed since he left studies, he had a passion for learning and completing the research.
His activities as the district convener of the Sanskrit Sangham also helped him revive studies when his living conditions improved. Asked about the prospect of securing a suitable job after getting PhD at the age of 48, he said there won’t be much prospects for a permanent job.
Ajayakumar is happy he was honoured by the Chief Minister and Labour Minister at a function organised under the aegis of the Kerala Institute of Labour and Employment the other day. “It was Ramakrishnan sir who introduced me to the CM. I was seated near the CM who congratulated me for the success. It was a proud moment in my life,” he says. Referring to Sanskrit studies, he says while Kerala students give emphasis to studying Nyaya, in other parts of the country, the focus is on Navya Nyaya.
He also says that Sanskrit scholars, as of now, have prospect only in the teaching profession and there is no scope for getting a permanent income. G Ramamurthy, Ajayakumar’s guide in research activities, says certain tribulations in life had scuttled Ajayakumar’s education earlier. “But his passion for learning helped him complete the research. He could be placed as a guest faculty in universities. And he could take up UGC projects and continue to be in the academic sector,” he says.