Passing away of ISS alumn T.K.N. Unnithan

Professor Unnithan
Professor Unnithan

It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing away in July of one of our oldest alumni, T.K.N. Unnithan who studied at ISS at its very conception in 1952.

Professor T.K.N.Unnithan, alumnus 1952-54, passed away on 2 July 2017 in Jaipur, India at the age of 90.

His widow, Gerda Unnithan, sent us the following memories of her husband's time at ISS.

Professor Unnithan was a student in the second batch at ISS. He had fond memories of his distinguished professors like Dr. Jan Tinbergen and Dr. Bart Landheer, with whom he maintained lifelong contact.

He often remembered his student days at Paleis Noordeinde, where the ISS was initially housed. Unnithan, as he was affectionately known, was named the ‘court jester’ by his fellow students for the poems and stories he recited about daily happenings at the Palace.

The palace porter was 'knighted' by Unnithan for rescuing one of the women students from unpleasant attentions by a fellow student; this act of kindness gave Unnithan occasionally nightly access to the refrigerator in the kitchen. Something Mrs. Smith, the warden, did not approve of.

After attaining the MS.Sc. degree at the Institute, Unnithan obtained his D.Lit&Ph at the State University of Utrecht in non-western sociology with a thesis later published under the title 'Gandhi and Free India'.

After a few years teaching at the Delhi School of Economics and the School of Planning and Architecture, he became founder head, Department of Sociology and later senior professor at the University of Rajasthan (1961-1987).

His main academic interests remained in Gandhian theory, non-violence and peace, value education and human ecology. He occupied the chair of Vice-Chancellor thrice during the 80s and 90s.  He was a visiting professor in universities around the globe.  

Unnithan married Gerda in 1957; they have two children Maya and Vikram and four grandchildren.

Our thoughts are with Gerda, Maya, Vikram and their family and friends.