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Published in the 16-31 Dec 2003 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Building airplane from junk
Finally, Muzakkir's passion for success gets wings

These days Door No 25, Marappa Block, J C Nagar, Munireddypalya, Bangalore 6, Karnataka, has become one of the most celebrated addresses in the country. The proud occupant is 20-year-old Mohammed Muzakkir Sharieff — an upcoming aerospace scientist, innovator and builder of the cheapest airplane in recent memories in the country.

Coming from a middle class not-so-much-well-to-do-family, Muzakkir's determination, relentless effort and a passion for success has found wings now. From making missiles out of jotter pens at quite a young age of 10 to building a 100 kg aircraft just 10 years later is in itself a grand testimony of Muzakkir's genius, grit and hard labour.

Muzakkir with his dream plane

Just armed with a 12th standard pass certificate from Bangalore-based Al Ameen College, Muzakkir harbours a vision and dreams of "becoming a scientist like our President A P J Abdul Kalam" but unfortunately being poor is unable to fund for his further studies, which he obviously desperately wants to.

Sitting in his room, which resembles not less than that of an aerospace scientist — scattered with tools and aircraft drawings all around, the innocent looking Muzakkir says that he began to build airplane of his dreams when his brother gave him Rs 1,100. Till now, Rs 10,000 has been invested in building the plane, which has been made out of spare parts bought from local junkyards and powered by his father's Bajaj scooter engine. Besides, the legs of two chairs were also cut and used for supporting the wings of his airplane.

Describing how and who all supported his "Mission Success", Muzakkir became emotional and said, "I owe a lot to my parents and siblings. My mother has been the prime moving force behind my endeavours. I also thank my father for being supportive enough. My mother Sayeeda Banu, a retired Urdu teacher, funded my entire project out of the little pension that she gets. I used to lock myself in the room for several days at a stretch for making the propeller, and my mother used to give me company during late nights when intensive efforts were on to make the propeller work. Shivajinagar junkyard traders were highly cooperative and fully supported my mission. They supplied me with the required spare parts whenever I needed them."

Passion for Success (PFS-1) is the name which Muzakkir has given to his dream machine — the cute looking little airplane. "I want to fly my Passion. I want to become a scientist like our President A P J Abdul Kalam. I want to study further," says Muzakkir with a sense of nostalgia, little unease and high hopes.

Mohammed Sameeullah, Muzakkir's father, who is also a retired Urdu teacher, says with a sense of pride and somewhat regret, "I have given everything for his plane, even my scooter engine. I am helpless to send him for higher studies. The telephone department even cut the connection for not paying last month's bill of Rs 1,288."

But from where did Mohammed Muzakkir Sharieff find the motivation to build the airplane? The scientist in Muzakkir immediately retorts: "I first made missiles out of jotter pens, which flew a few metres. This was at the age of 10. I was greatly enthused at this and I made up my mind to learn more about speed. I am a crazy sort of person and great aficionado of technology. My father got a bit nervous when he used to see me working for days on particularly during late nights. But I was not to be deterred as my mother was extremely supportive and regularly gave me company. Later, my father decided to divert my attention from Passion [PFS-1] and sent me to the Makhija-Rotary Vocational Training Institute on Old Madras Road. This, however, proved to be a blessing in disguise for me. Here I got the chance of learning the motor-winding skills."

"Now that when my airplane is ready, scores of school children pour in regularly at my residence, and I feel immensely overjoyed when it comes to explaining them how I managed to build an airplane at such a low cost, though it is indeed a big sum for me given my poor family background," says a passionate Muzakkir.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chairman NR Mohanty has decided to give Mohammed Muzakkir Sharieff a job and adopt him for pursuing his future education, upon learning about his neighbourhood genius.

Mohanty promptly visited Muzakkir's residence along with Sanjeev Sahi, director (personnel) HAL, to have a look at his airplane. "I wanted to know what Muzakkir's ideas are. After seeing his work, knowledge of aeronautics, passion for higher studies and need for a job, I knew I was meeting someone who would prove to be an asset for our nation in the future. I didn't want to lose him and as a special case, decided to offer an appropriate position in HAL. This is our organisation’s Eid gift to Muzakkir," Mohanty said.
Completely taken aback after getting the HAL offer, Muzakkir reacted: "I simply can't believe this that the offer has come my way and I am accepting it. Hopefully, I will now be able to build another plane with even good spares. I am quite happy. I have got a benefactor and can study now. At this stage my parents need all the help that I can provide to them. I thank everyone for standing by me through thick and thin."

Today, youths like Muzakkir have become heroes and an example of how one can achieve success in his/her life. Poverty worried him but never deterred him from achieving his goals which he set up for himself and honestly and sincerely worked towards it. Passion, forbearance, fortitude, parental support and hard labour — all proved to be his greatest assets. 

In fact, every journey of success begins with setting up of goals and pursuing it diligently with an unflinching zeal and determination. This must be equally tempered with a rational and well thought out plan. Every person's goal can be as great as he/she can desire. However, to realise them positive action, concentration on excellence, confidence in him/herself, honesty, reason, integrity, fortitude and a particular time limit are must. Undoubtedly, youths like Mohammed Muzakkir Sharieff are worth emulation.

¯ Danish A Khan

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