How class 7 dropout became Padma Shri honored polyglot as well as an engineer

This story starts in the year of 1981 when our legendary actress Nargis Dutt with her last . Infosys was established in Pune. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th President of the United State.

Now place your geographical my a little down Ali Manikfan was patiently awaiting a Irish voyager named Tim severin in Minicoy, which is the South most Island in Lakshadweep. He was reared up to travel to Oman with his two pairs of white Arab there and nothing more.

Then the most interesting part began for Manikfan . Tim proposed and hire him to build the sohar ship which is a replica of the ship that Sinbad the sailor once voyaged in.actually minicoy is known for its semen and more importantly for supplying the ropes that were used to build Arab ships in the mediaeval era.

Dr. Santhappan Jones a Marine biology at the Central Marine fisheries research institute researched and get the result that that do spent the next few days of collecting coir, which hand-enrolled from the best quality coconut husks. \

“He is a man in a million, announced the letter, and he can speak 14 languages, and will follow up any subject that interests him. ‘Man in a Million’, as I tended to think of him from the moment onward, lived up to his recommendation,” writes Tim in his book, The Sindbad Voyage. He goes on to talk highly of Manikfan’s “well-honed sense of dignity and abilities”.

Manikfan and his fellow friend started to built an 8 foot long and 20 foot white sheep from traditional materials . Manikfan quoted “We worked round the clock for a year. We hand-sawed the planks. In place of metal, we used timber. It was named Sohar, after a town in Oman. Tim sailed for about 9,600 km from Oman to China on it,” But this genius lives a private and simple life in Olavanna, a town in Kerala’s Kozhikode district. His age is 82 years now .
It’s astonishing that  he is self-reliant, and grows his own food, tends to coconut trees , and generates electricity by solar power .

But surprisingly when he arrived it fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri in the category of “grassroot innovation” ,neighbours are astonished. As he narrates this incident, he senses my confusion and quickly clears the air, “Don’t misconstrue me, I am honoured to receive the award. But I dislike the recognition. I prefer to be like a flower in a desert, which blooms and fades away.”

Underneath Manikfan’s humility and soft spoken nature lies a myriad of accomplishments in different fields, such as shipbuilding, marine and marine research, geography, astronomy, fisheries, agriculture and sustainability. He may have only studied till Class VII, but that didn’t stop him from acquiring the label of a polyglot. He can speak 14 languages, including English, Hindi and Malayalam, Arabic, Latin, French, Russian, German, Sinhalese, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu.

This is why he asked ” I discontinue school, not learning ”

At CM FIR it was known that he  accustomed with massive knowledge and information about fishing. Many officers of the centre were impressed to see how easily he was able to recognise 400 different types of fish.
able to recognise 400 different types of fish. “My grandfather taught me how to identify fishes based on their colour, fins, and the thorns in their fins. Dr Jones spotted my talent and took me under his wings. I have caught various rare species and as a token of appreciation, the department named a fish after me — Abudefduf Manikfani,” he says.

In the last six decades, Manikfan has travelled extensively and lived in different regions. This, he says, has been his school. The biggest testimony to his belief system are his four children, who never received formal education, Although I quit school, I never stopped learning. Nature teaches you to be self-sufficient, and people are, in a way, teachers too. If you listen closely, every conversation can be enlightening,” he says.

In the world where we all crowded with false knowledge someone had been correct his name in the history.


Aditya Santra
" Came to inundate this world of dichotomy with words of adherence where limitation knows no deterrent "

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