“A teacher ignites the fire that fuels the students thirst for knowledge, curiosity and wisdom for he teaches from the heart, not from the book”. This saying goes with all the noble and devoted teachers who take teaching as a passion than profession. Such inspiring teachers are hard to find and words fall short to describe one such soul, A. T. Abdul Malik.
“Teaching is a noble profession. The best part of being a teacher is receiving love and affection from your beloved students. I feel rewarded when my students tell me that they aspire to become another ‘Malik Master’ in their future.”
Abdul Malik hails from a village called Mallapuram in Kerala. Abdul Malik born in 1974 was brought up with seven other siblings and had lost his Father at a very young age. His uncle helped Abdul with his studies and helped him pursue his 10th grade in school.
Right after his 10th grade, he took up the teaching course which was funded by his brother who worked in the Middle-East. Abdul Malik was offered with vacancies in the Middle-East too however, Abdul chose to stick to his passion.
Becoming a teacher was no cake walk for Abdul. To get selected for the vacant post at a Muslim Lower Primary school required him to pay Rs. 50,000 as a donation. Abdul paid the same and began to teach Mathematics to students since 1992.
Abdul had a major concern like many of us face in today’s world – commuting to work! Abdul had to travel for more than two hours changing two buses for twelve kilometers. His fellow colleague who was the Arabic teacher suggested him with the idea of swimming to commute to school.
The distance between his home and school was no more than 1 kilometer through water ways. To swim in the filthy river possessing strong currents with the company of snakes during rainy season is but a risky affair, however, Abdul was strong-willed and determined.
Abdul began to swim through the unruly Kadalundipuzha river every day to reach school and has been reaching on time ever since. He has been a very consistent teacher who has never missed a single day at school.
He commutes with one plastic bag to carry his dry set of clothes, footwear, lunch box and umbrella; he has a tube to help him float which lets him use one hand for swimming. He was fondly called the ‘Tube Master’ by his children.
First few days of Abdul’s swimming adventures were the talk of the town and people admired his dedication. With time, it became but another inspiring view for villagers and people began offering him with help like providing him new tubes.
His punctuality was taken to a whole new level of time prediction by villagers. Abdul’s students find him as their favorite teacher for he not only teaches Mathematics but also encourages extra-curricular activities. ‘The tube Master’ plants seeds of being an environmentalist and nature lover, into his student’s minds; educating students on saving natural resources without polluting it and providing them with free swimming lessons.
In the last 19 years, Abdul Malik has swum for more than 700 kilometers, a unique record of his own in the entire nation. His good deeds and dedication made him a popular figure after which he was appreciated by the Late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms. Jayalalithaa on Teacher’s day.
He was also recognized by BBC and was provided the title of ‘The Swimming Mathematics Teacher’. Abdul was also recognized for his hard work by an Indian Doctor from the U.K who gifted him a fiberglass boat to ensure his safety and passion. He is now known as the ‘Swimming enthusiast and Stalwart Environmentalist’.