He spent part of 1979 and 1980-1981 in India when he worked on a D.Litt. Thesis, The Role of the Mass Media in National Developmentand obtained his doctoral degree in 1981 from the Faculty of History, Bhagalpur University under the guidance of the eminent historian, Professor Panchanan Mishra. From November 8, 1982, Dr. Vil’anilam headed the Department of Journalism at the University of Kerala. In 1985, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), London, awarded him a Travel Fellowship which enabled him to visit universities in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Canada, and lecture in their departments of communication and journalism, during 1985–1986. While in Kerala, he directed about l20 master’s theses and three Ph.D. dissertations. He participated actively in national and international seminars and community development work, besides taking part in radio and television programmes. He also took keen interest in higher education in Kerala and India. His book, Parasyam (Advertising) was the first book on that subject in Malayaal’am and it had won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (Kerala Literary Academy Award) in 1984. In September 1987, Dr. Vil’anilam participated in an international seminar on mass communication held at Llubljana (part of Yugoslavia at that time) where he presented a paper “Advertising and the Indian Poor” which was later on published in the Media, Culture and Society (London). Vil’anilam’s frequent public speeches on the need for restructuring higher education in India and his research publications impressed educators and leaders in Kerala.