Not many founders of educational institutions are honoured by the Union Government with postal stamps and first day covers. Janab Thangal Kunju Musaliar, founder of TKM College of Arts and Science, has been so honoured. The explanation is that Janab Musaliar was much more than the founder of an educational institution. He was the pioneer of the cashew industry in Kerala. He founded social and philanthropic organisations. He wrote books. He started a newspaper. He conducted experiments in hydro-electricity. During the Second World War, when food became scarce, he used his personal resources to carry out large-scale agriculture. In 1956, he founded the TKM College Trust. The first institution of the Trust was the very first engineering college in the private sector in Kerala. The other important institutions in the group include TKM Institute of Management, TKM Institute of Technology, TKM School of Communication and Information Technology, TKM Higher Secondary School and TKM Centenary Public School, and of course, TKM College of Arts and Science.
Less than a decade after founding the engineering college, feeling the need for an arts and science college, Janab Musaliar oversaw the establishment of TKM College of Arts and Science, one year before his unexpected demise. Though robbed of the Founder’s personal guidance and patronage, the institution under the able stewardship of his eldest son, Sri Shahal Hassan Musaliar, soon grew into an enviable sibling of the already-famous college of engineering.
The Arts and Science College, which started functioning as a junior college, was formally declared open by Prof Samuel Mathai, the then Vice- Chancellor, University of Kerala, on 24 June 1965. The foundation stone for the main building was also laid by Prof Mathai. The student strength was hardly 500, with a faculty of 15 supported by 10 non-teaching staff. In the year 1977, the college was upgraded, with the introduction of the degree course in Botany. Degree courses in Chemistry and Commerce were introduced in 1978 and 1979 respectively. In 1980, Mathematics, Physics and Islamic History departments were added. In the following year, the institution became a post-graduate college with the introduction of the M.Com. course. The degree course in Zoology was also sanctioned in the same year.
The college has been included under the UGC scheme since 1986. In 1998, as a result of pre-degree delinking, the college became exclusively a centre for higher education. Semesterisation was introduced for PG courses in 2001 and UG in 2010. By the time the institution came round to celebrating her Silver Jubilee, in 1990-91, the student strength had shot up to more than 4000 and the institution had become a force to reckon with.
The degree course in English was introduced in 1992 and Biochemistry in 2001. A landmark in the history of the institution was the visit of the NAAC Peer Team in 2004. As a result of the suggestions made by the NAAC Peer Team, a series of dramatic improvements were effected in the infrastructure, academic dynamics and the co-curricular and extra-curricular spheres. The Internal Quality Assurance Cell was formed with Sri Shahal Hassan Musaliar, President, TKM College Trust, as Patron.
Among its many recent feats, the institution was re-accredited by the NAAC with A Grade (CGPA – 3.13) in 2013 and with the highest grade of A++ (CGPA – 3.67) in the 3rd cycle of accreditation in 2022. The many thousands who pass through its hallowed portals into positions of authority in society and life testify to the niche the college has carved out for itself in the field of education. This is a fitting accolade to an institution bearing the name of Shri Musaliar, a man who had settled for nothing less than excellence.
While consolidating the achievements of the past, we are gearing up to meet the challenges of the future.