Interview Of The Week: Munshi: The Pioneer Of Vegetarian Movement In Kerala
AVK Moosad who appears as the wise Munshi speaks about the principles he follows in real life | By Anjana George
On Apr 23, 2012


Munshi who speaks for the common man in a much popular five-minute television satire is a man of wisdom and principles in real life too.



77 year old Achuthath Vasudevan Krishnan Moosad who appears as the wise Munshi in the longest running series, ‘Munshi’ on Asianet is known for his persistent and non-relenting struggle for the cause of Ahimsa, compassion to all living beings and Anti-Alcohol campaigns.

“I used to tour throughout India conducting campaigns against atrocity to animals and non-vegetarian food habits. My wife and daughter are happy now that I stay at home as I do not want to miss the shooting of ‘Munshi’. I feel happy to be a part of a team which tries to express the common man’s view in an impartial way,” smiled Munshi.  



Moosad’s father Achuthathu Vasudevan Moosad, a Sanskrit pandit and journalist, used to encourage him to read a lot of books since childhood. After clearing the matriculation exams from his native Kadavaloor in Trissur, Moosad started helping his father in the field of journalism.

“My father introduced me to the world of books. He found that I had a flair for writing and encouraged me to write. I also got chance to meet many of his friends and interact with them. This might be the reason why I became socially concerned and a rebel."

In 1973 Moosad and his wife shifted to Trivandrum. Initially he worked as a sales representative and then joined ‘Kerala Times’ as bureau-chief and worked there till 1990.

“It was nice to be a journalist. But wherever I went for a press meet we were welcomed with non-vegetarian food. This made me initiate a movement against the increased non- vegetarian habits of Malayalees.”

Munshi helped organise the ‘Sasyahara Pracharana Vedi’, a forum for the propagation of vegetarianism in 1989. Later this organisation merged with ‘The National Vegetarian Congress’ in Chennai.

“After organising the ‘Sasyahara Pracharana Vedi’, my friends and I organised many events promoting the idea of vegetarianism among Malayalees. In 1990 I found that there was a similar organisation in Chennai with R Venkataraman, former President of India, as the chief patron. We started working more enthusiastically with their support.”

His Highness Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the then Maharaja of Travancore inaugurated the Kerala Unit of the Indian Vegetarian Congress at Trivandrum in 1994. Moosad was the lone figure behind all these activities bringing around people and promoting the cause of Ahimsa, welfare of animals, vegetarianism and elimination of alcoholism and tobacco in Kerala.

“95 per cent of Keralites are non-vegetarians. If we closely observe most of the criminals, patients and arrogant people they all consume non-vegetarian food. This habit is killing Keralites. Kerala, Bengal and Tripura are the three states in India that lack an insight into vegetarian food culture.”


This pioneer of vegetarian movement in Kerala has prepared and presented several papers on ‘green India’ in conferences like the Asian Vegetarian Congress held in Goa, the Rachanatmak Sathyagraha Sammelan in New Delhi and the International Seminar on Health & Environment in Calcutta.

“We conduct intensive annual campaigns every year to enlighten the people on the significance and benefits of turning vegetarian. It is the only natural route to a healthy life. It also leads to harmony in society, and its environment, by nurturing an attitude of tolerance, kindness and respect to all living beings. We have conducted talks and discussions all over Kerala. We walk through the streets and propagate the message of compassion and evils of alcohol, tobacco and ill health caused by non-vegetarian diet.”

To spread vegetarian culture more intensively, Moosad contested as an independent candidate representing the vegetarians of Kerala in five Kerala State Assembly elections and three Parliament elections.

“The sole objective was an appeal to elect a representative who would fight for compassion to speechless creatures; who would speak on their behalf, against the atrocities and slaughter in Kerala. I approached the High Court on issues like slaughter of animals and the exhibition of dripping carcasses in the state, and also against the animal sacrifices prevalent in some of the temples in India.”

Besides being a propagator of Ahimsa this enthusiastic naturist is also passionate about temple arts. “I was in the team which presented ‘Panchavadyam’ during the Republic day parade at New Delhi. We even attended a dinner hosted by President Venkataraman. My ‘Panchvadyam’ team has also participated in the Tourism week of the Department of Tourism in Kerala, cultural exchange programmes arranged by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and so on.”



Moosad has been doing the role of Munshi in ‘Munshi’, a short satirical show based on current events directed by Anil Banerji for the past one and a half years.

“I had no plans to act as I was involved in the vegetarian movement. One day the director Anil met me on the road and asked me whether I can do the role of Munshi. I used to watch this programme and was a fan of Anil. The programme has earned a place in the minds of Malayalees for its quirky wisdom and social concern. We have an enthusiastic team of six people. We meet every day at Valiyavila. Our director will be ready with the script and shooting will begin by 11 o’ clock. I am happy to do the role of the wise Munshi who has the last word on every episode,” chuckled Moosad. 

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Good to know about the real Munshi. Good work yentha..
Rajeev, on Apr 26, 2012 01:09:12 PM
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