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Meet Abdul Ali, the Kerala teacher who turned his house into museum

Abdul Ali with his collection of gramophone records at his museum in Malappuram, Kerala. Image Credit: Special Arrangement

Passion for antiques made a 45-year-old school teacher of Malappuram in Kerala to turn his house into a museum showcasing rare collection of over 10,000 artefacts, antiques and coins.

What more, he allows free entry for visitors into his museum at Thrippanachi and students from over 544 schools have already visited his museum. Abdul Ali M C, a social science teacher at AUPS, Thrippanachi in Malappuram, now claims to be in possession of over 10,000 artefacts that include gramophone discs of speeches of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru which he holds as the most valuable treasure.

For the last 35 years, Abdul Ali has been collecting antiques and now he owns rare manuscripts. “I started with a coin collection. When I was in the fourth-grade, my father gave me a one-rupee coin that had a picture of a leopard on one side. I didn’t buy ice candy with that coin. I kept it as a collection. Today I have around two lakh coins collected from different parts of India and other countries,” Abdul Ali told “OpenDigest”.

Apart from the coins, he has gramophone discs of over 27 speeches delivered by Mahatma Gandhi. “I also have a collection of gramophone discs of Nehru’s speeches, old documents from British India, copies of old newspapers and different old models of radios,” he said.

Abdul Ali has an amazing collection of rare palm leaf manuscripts of the texts from Quran, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavatham and also books that are over 200 years old.

He has set up the museum on the top floor of his house and does the maintenance of the antiques all by himself. He has reserved a major portion of his salary to collect new antiques and artefacts. ” Earlier, I used to raise money to collect antiques by refereeing football matches and performing magic shows. Now a large part of the salary from teaching job is spent on antique collections,” he said. Abdul Ali gets tremendous support from his wife Jaseela, who is also a school teacher. He has three children.

He also thanks the advent of several online platforms which have made collection of antiques easy. “Earlier, we had to travel a lot just to get a glimpse of an antique before deciding whether to buy it or not. Nowadays, the online platforms have made things quite easy as we can see the product online and do a preliminary analysis of it,” he said.

His efforts in collecting antiques got recognition when he made it to India Book of Records and Asia Book of Records as the first school teacher to establish a home museum in Kerala. In 2019, he received an Honorary Doctorate from London-based World Record University on “Archaeology Collection and Preservation”. 

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