Published: 14th October 2020
How this PT teacher from Hyderabad is cycling around South India with #FitIndia as his mission
The fact that this PT teacher bikes around to spread awareness is not new, but what's forever new is his spirit to do more. We strike up a conversation with him to understand his drive and passion
Matam Mallikarjun and his trusty bike have hit the road more than once and for many noble causes. In July this year, the Physical Education teacher set off on his bike across 11 districts in Telangana to spread awareness about COVID-19, a journey that came to a halt just last month. The 54-year-old made pitstops at several hotspots for public gatherings, like bus stops, vegetable markets and so on to talk about the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and the other aspects of the 'new normal' that we are living right now. And as a fitness enthusiast, he also propagated the merits of eating right and doing yoga. He started in Medchal district and is happy with the impact he has been able to make. "I come from a family of teachers. Hence, service is in my blood," he says emotionally.
His modified bike. Yes! It's in there | (Pic: Matam Mallikarjun)
It was three years ago that this teacher modified his two-wheeler into a three-wheeler on which he hoists a flex regarding the cause he is rallying behind. Currently, he has basketball hoops. Can you guess the cause? It's Fit India! "A machine will collapse if you overwork it, but when physical and mental health go hand-in-hand for humans, they can get through the toughest of storms," says the teacher who trains Physical Education teachers at Government College of Physical Education, Domalguda. Mallikarjun has done this before. He would take his bike to government schools in Hyderabad where he would park the bike in the middle of the ground, play the music they like and make them play. Via his bike, students can play as many as five games including archery, shooting and cricket. So he is going to resume his journey to make India fitter. It all depends on the students — they can pick the game and the duration they want to play it for. And of course, that comes with tips, both diet and exercise, that the teacher dispenses.
In 2010, he toured on his bike to spread awareness about suicide prevention and gathered about 50 lakh signatures for it
But why is Mallikarjun committed to this particular cause? "Swami Vivekananda famously said, 'My countrymen should have nerves of steel, muscles of iron and minds like a thunderbolt'. But the youngsters today have paper muscles and noodle nerves," he laments. But where does he find the time to keep his muscles and nerves well-oiled and keep going at the pace he is going? "You see, unless I work for 15 hours a day, I am unable to sleep properly at night," says the father of three daughters who he ensured to admit in government schools. He envisions a fitter future for the youth of India and he is willing to work hard for it. "I am but a drop in the ocean," he says humbly and concludes.
Mallikarjun | (Pic: Matam Mallikarjun)
During his COVID awareness journey
- He also spoke about Haritha Haram, Telangana's tree planting programme
- He spoke about the importance of meditation
- He spoke about how yoga can help people
- He carried sanitiser and shared it with others