Finally, scholar Ali Manikfan is at home in Kodiyathur

Ali manikfan
Manikfan is well known among Indian researchers as well as scholars in Islamic countries as an astronomer, marine researcher, ecologist, automobile engineer and shipbuilder. Photo: Rehna KC

Kozhikode: Ali Manikfan, Minicoy island's gift to the world of science, can peacefully be at his own newly built home now.

After a six-year-long recurrent shifting from one rented house to the other, Manikfan is to move Sunday morning into 'New Moon' at Kodiyathur, 28 km away from Kozhikode city. 

Engineer V K Abdulla, an NRI industrialist from Kodiyathur, built the beautiful modern house for the polyglot.

Manikfan is well known among Indian researchers as well as scholars in Islamic countries as an astronomer, marine researcher, ecologist, automobile engineer and shipbuilder. For his contributions to the world of scientific research, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2021. 

Manikfan, hails from Minicoy in Lakshadweep islands. He received formal education till the seventh standard. His house in Minicoy was swept away in the tsunami; later in 2017, he shifted to Kozhikode. His 12-acre farmland in Velliyour, Tamil Nadu, meantime was distributed amongst the farmers there. Only a small portion and a house were left behind for his daughter when he was returning to Minicoy. 

Manikfan shifted to Kozhikode from Minicoy while writer and Islamic scholar Musthafa Moulavi's work on Quranic translation 'Akam Porul' was going on, to support him to define the astronomic versions in the holy book. In Kozhikode, he and his wife Zubaida were moving from one rented house to another; a total of seven houses they had to live in within six years. 

It was Moulavi that brought this into Abdulla's notice. So, Abdulla bought four more cents of land adjacent to his plot of four cents near the village office, barely 300 m away from Kodiyathur town.

 'He is in his later years. He must be in a safe, peaceful atmosphere at least during his last segment of life. We can't ignore his contributions to the world of science and knowledge. He is an ideal model for human life," V K Abdulla told Onmanorama. 

All kinds of facilities are arranged for Manikfan in the new home, including two bedrooms, a dining hall, a living room, a kitchen and washrooms. Abdulla's son architect Ashique Abdulla designed the home. 

"Kodiyathur is well known for varied beliefs and traditions. Surely Kodiyathur is ready to welcome this renowned scholar," added Abdulla.

There are thousands of people who follow the International Lunar Calendar, which was created by late Saudi-based astronomer Dr Fadil upon Manikfan's request and guidance. Every year they follow this calendar to observe Eid, Ramzan and other occasions based on the lunar year. As per Manikfan's request, Turkish and Malaysian governments organised conferences to discuss the subject; he was an invitee for both conferences.

His actual name is Muradu Ganduvar Ali Defduf Manikfan. A fish species, 'Abudefduf manikfani' is named after him. While working with marine biologist Dr Santhappan Jones at CMFRI in Lakshadweep, Manikfan discovered the new species. There he helped to classify 400 varieties of fish.

Manikfan recreated a ship upon request from British marine explorer Tim Severin, described in the story 'Zindbad's ship'. The ship that ran a cruise from Muscat to China and back, is still kept in Oman National Museum. 

Manikfan lives a life close to nature. In his farmland in Velliyour, in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli, he practicalised the idea of 'do nothing' farming. That means he did farming and forestry without harming nature. There he generated electricity for domestic use, made electrical equipment and a motorbike.

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