Kerala, [India]: There are many notions of capital cities around the world. New Delhi being the national capital, Mumbai is the financial capital and Kolkata is the cultural capital of India. In the state of Kerala, Trivandrum is the state capital, Kochi being the financial capital and Thrissur being the cultural capital.
Dr MK Muneer, a doctor by profession and in social service by passion inspires the idea of ‘ethical capital’. He envisions his city of Kozhikode being the ethical capital of Kerala.
An award-winning author, he points out the importance of the vision of ‘ethical capital’ or the need for values in the public domain. Due to this, the simple and effective idea of “Good Kozhikode” caught the imagination of people across the state and also won laurels from national media.
His efforts got immense recognition from the present central government too, when he was awarded the ‘best minister for panchayat and social justice’ thrice. The deep work in implementing the projects to benefit the poor and uplift the downtrodden has been applauded by people across the political spectrum and from state and central governments.
Dr Muneer’s initiatives for women empowerment earned him an award from various national media and under his stewardship, India’s 1st ‘Policy of Transgenders’ was implemented in Kerala. The State Policy for Transgenders in Kerala’ created waves across India with activist groups raising a similar template on other states inspired by a Kerala Model Policy. Reaching out and ensuring jobs and transgender justice were some of his epoch-making endeavours.
Dr Muneer is one of the most sought out guests of honour for various faiths and community organisations due to his pluralistic credentials and is an ambassador of harmony between all communities. Representing Kerala’s Indian Union Muslim League, his speeches in Temples, churches and inter-community gatherings were deeply appreciated by various community leaders.
The ‘consensus builder’ approach of the leader in the development domain was also crucial in the mega infrastructure push of pledging billions of rupees to the city of Kozhikode.
Dr Muneer points out the importance of balancing growth and care for all sections of society. The schemes pioneered by him include the direct benefit scheme (DBT) of sending money to the widows, orphans, people without family, the elderly and farmers.
Other major humanitarian aspects of policy he undertook were focusing on ‘human infrastructure’, mental health, women empowerment, protection of child rights, and assistance to the mentally challenged. He made ‘psychosocial counselling’ for the adolescent and teenagers in schools very accessible and affordable.
Dr Munner has initiated projects like ‘Snehapoorvam, Snehasparsham, Samashwasam, Ashwasakiranam, renovation of the public library, up-gradation of Kozhikode beach to global standards, Melody for educational and cultural rejuvenation’.
Bringing his experience from the world of medicine, his resourcefulness was channelised by large scale organising of medical camps for the needy, evolution of public health centres into model health centres and raising the quality of Kottaparambathu Government hospital into global standards.
Acknowledging the geriatric issues in the state, the project of ‘SaphalameVardhakyam’ for the happiness of the elderly won him accolades from across the nation. He has also initiated a project to make Kozhikode into a ‘fully wifi’ equipped city.
From IUML an organisation led by the Panakkad Thangal family who is well accepted across all communities of Kerala and are a strong resistance against sectarian tendencies. Dr Muneer also carries forward the legacy of his iconic father, late Sri CH Mohammed Koya, who was the Chief Minister of Kerala still cherished for his efforts in building interfaith harmony in the state and across India.
Dr Muneer is a cultural icon, a singer, an artist and an author who has won many awards. He won SK Pottekkatt literary award for his work ‘Sree Narayana Guru MoonnuVicharangal’ and C Achuta Menon Award for literature. He has won Indo British award for best minister too. This innovative vision of making ‘Kozhikode the ethical capital of Kerala’ has ignited tremendous interest from public policy experts in India.