“Mathru devo bhava, pithru devo bhava” – treat the parents as gods, thus prescribe the Upanishad.
T.K.Nair (T. Krishnan Nair) was born in 1936. After his Master’s degree in statistics from Kerala University at Thiruvananthapuram and some work experience, he preferred social work as the future career. He joined the Madras School of Social Work in 1961 for the post graduate programme in Social work. T K Nair joined the Karnataka University at Dharwad in March 1964 as Research Officer of the sponsored research programme in the Department of Social Anthroplogy and Social Work. In 1967, he joined the Madras School of Social Work as a member of the teaching faculty. He was Professor handling Research Methodology and Human Resources. He was also awarded the Ph.D in Social Work by Andhra University. His doctoral thesis was adjudged best in Humanities and Social Sciences and awarded gold medal by the University.
Prof T K Nair, as Dr. T. Krishnan Nair was often referred to, taught social research methodology, community organization, and human resource development for more than25 years and guided many doctoral students. He was a former Principal of the Madras School of Social Work. He retired from MSSW in 1994 after more than 25 years of mentoring, teaching and research guidance of MA students, whom he preferred to call as young co-learners.
Prof Nair has directed many research studiessponsored both by international and national agencies and foundations, the major research studies were on ageing in urban and rural settings, integrated urban services for children and youth, Social welfare manpower ,human resource development practices, rural development, peasant organisations, bonded labour, pavement dwellers, families in slums and field instructions in social work education. Prof Nair participated in international programmes in different countries at the invitation of the US Government, UNESCO, and FAO among other agencies.
He was the General Secretary of the Association of Schools of Social Work during 1977-81.As General Secretary of the Association of Schools of Social work in India, he took the initiative in organizing many curriculum development and faculty development programmes focused on poverty eradication and social development. Curriculum development has been Prof. Nair’s passion. During this golden period, which many would vouch for, a strong foundation was laid for the future development of ASSWI.
Prof Nair has also participated in many international workshops and seminars. He was associated with the Boards of studies and Examiners of many Universities in India and some in the United States. In the field of aging, he has conducted three major studies: two in Chennai city and one in 200 villages of Tamilnadu state
Prof. Nair founded the first community-based programmefor and by the elderly with their participation through Elders’ Associations (Centre for the Welfare of the Aged, CEWA) in India. He pioneered community based elder care services and he always believed that the best place for the well-being of the elderly is the family. He is also the founder trustee of Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation in Chennai
Prof. Nair has a number of publications to his credit such as Old Age in an Indifferent Society, Ageing in an Indian City, Social Welfare Manpower, and Social Work Education and Practice in India. Some of his publications are as below:
Ageing in an India City (2011) - A well researched book which discusses the concepts of ageing and old age, demographic dimensions, state policy and programmes, and caring for the elderly among other issues.
Ageing and Welfare of the Elderly in India (1989), Edited with K.V.Ramana - A national plan of action for the welfare of the older persons in India long before the National Policy of the government of India is a major highlight.
Social Welfare Manpower (1983)- This book outlines a well formulated social welfare manpower utilization strategy
Social Work Education and Social Work Practice in India (1981) , Associate of Schools of Social Work in India - This book reviews four decades of Social Work education and practices with a collection of excellent papers by eminent specialists. It is an outstanding reference volume according to educators and practitioners.
Older People in Rural Tamilnadu (1980)- A state wide survey of older persons, the first major research effort in India to study the situation of rural elderly.
Employee Participation in Share Capital (1977) ,Co-author - The book describes the structures of employee participation in share capital.
Social Work Education and Development of Weaker Sections (1975), Madras School of Social Work - A collection of papers on different aspects of the development of scheduled castes and tribes, and curricular guidelines for social work education.
Old People in Madras City (1972) - One of the earliest major urban studies on the situation of older people.
Prof. Nair was a charismatic person with a natural sense of humor. His students enjoyed his classes as he brought a lot of fun and story-telling in the way he imparted knowledge.He was frank and fearless in expressing what he felt. A person with strong values and simplicity, he strived for ethics in social work and the profession.As a teacher, he was always proud of the amazing contributions of his students in alleviating human misery and suffering, and in enriching human resources. He felt that many of them have indeed changed the landscape of social work practice.
As a professor and principal subsequently, MSSW was an institution that he held so dearly to his heart through the last days of his life. According to him, it was an institution of learning where the first lessons of social work were taught. The saga of MSSW will be incomplete without recognizing the contributions of Prof.Nair.
Prof. Nair is a brilliant scholar and well read. His passion was to write books and articles related to elder care and social work. The number of publications to his credit is one of the many ways he chose to share information and knowledge for a larger purpose. He ensured that he dedicated time and energy through his career and life for counseling, elder care, academic work of research guidance and related activities.
Prof Nair passed away in November last year, too early for a doyen to pass. He was the epitome of humility and simplicity during his life. He lived an enriching life both professionally and personally.However it is far more important to be satisfied that many have truly benefitted from his work, guidance, support, encouragement, love, mentorship and gone on to lead lives more meaningful and successful.
With more than 50 years of social work service and mentoring, Prof Nair was a true champion of social work profession.
He was a wonderful human being, a great parent and a role modelfor us. He will be cherished and truly missed, his teachings and contributions to the profession and society will linger through the times and generations.
Father, May your soul rest in peace.
This note is a tribute to my father and the guiding force to what I am today. I will always be indebted to him in eternity
K N Ajith
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