Noted economist M Kunhaman was found dead at his residence at Sreekaryam in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Today was also his 74th birthday.
The police said a suicide note was found at his residence. Kunhaman had written that he was exiting the world and that no one was responsible for his demise. Malayala Manorama daily reported that the suicide note was dated as December 2, 2023.
He had told his friends to visit him on Sunday. But when they tried to reach him over the phone, there was no response. Later, they found him lying motionless inside the house. Kunhaman was alone at the house, his wife was in Malappuram for a treatment.
Kunhaman's autobiography 'Ethiru' which detailed the struggles of a Dalit boy, who braved various levels of discrimination to excel in life, was critically acclaimed. It won him the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, which he refused to accept.
Kunhaman was born at Vadanamkurussi in Palakkad district on December 3, 1949. His parents were Ayyappan and Chorona.
In 1974 he secured the first rank in MA Economics from Calicut University. Former President of India, K R Narayanan, was the only other Dalit student to be a rank-holder from the University before Kunhaman.
He researched on 'comparative study on Adivasi lives in southern and northern districts of Kerala' at the Centre for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram. Kunhaman received his PhD from CUSAT before beginning his career as a teacher at Kerala University. He also served as a member of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
He had retired from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences at Tuljapur. Before that he taught Economics at Kerala University for 27 years.