Palakkad: A farewell drenched in love. That was what exactly the people of Palakkad could give for the Mission India entourage led by gifted magician Gopinath Muthukad, before the latter cross the State border at Walayar today. At 9am in the morning, a fitting function to salute the magical voyage team was organized by the District Tourism Promotion Council. In fact the programme was held to gesture the State’s admiration for the noble mission undertaken by the popular magician and team.
The Minister for Power, A.K. Balan flagged off the voyage at Kottamaidan as the entire crew assembled on the dais in perfect white uniforms – one thing that reflected well peace, the cause for which they march – carrying vibrant tricolours close to their hearts. “May be this is for the first time that magic is proved to be a medium for spreading such a pertinent message against terrorism and violence all over the country”, the Minister said in his speech. Member of Parliament, M.B. Rajesh; M.L.A., K.K. Divakaran; District Collector, K.V. Mohankumar, Superintendant of Police, E. Divakaran; veteran journalists, Joy Sasthampadikkal and P.M. Vasudevan also spoke in praise of Mr. Muthukad and his endeavour.
Flag off: Minister for power, A.K. Balan flags off the national leg of the Mission India voyage at Kottamaidan in Palakkad. Gopinath Muthukad, the leader of the voyage is seen waving hands from the bus. Dignitaries including the District Collector, K.V. Mohankumar (third from right) are also seen.
The entourage comprising of 6 girls and 19 men will now travel straight to Lucknow where the national leg of the magical mission would be inaugurated at the Army station. Thereafter, carrying regional translations of the presentation, the Mission India will be staged all over the country, especially the North East States. The patriotic voyage with free magic shows will then mark formal culmination at the Army station in Chennai on 30th of November.
The Mission India is supported by the Indian Army, LIC, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Federal Bank and HLL LIfecare Ltd. The Army provides food and accommodation along its stations whereas the IOC provides fuel for the three vehicles of the mission including a bus and two pickup vans.
The voyage began during sunrise from Gandhi Smriti, Kanyakumari on the 2nd of October when the District Collector, Rajendra Ratnoo flagged off the tour. Later on the day, the Chief Minister of Kerala, V.S. Achuthanandan entrusted the National Flag to Mr. Muthukad for carrying as a source of motivation during the trials and tribulations of the voyage. Mr. Muthukad and team have already accomplished a Kerala leg of their tour under the aegis of the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board. All along the districts the programme received overwhelming response from the media and the public.
From Heart to heart: Magician Gopinath Muthukad being affectionately hugged by the Minister for power, A.K. Balan prior to the flag off ceremony for the national leg of the Mission India voyage as District Collector, K.V. Mohankumar; Superintendent of Police, E. Divakaran and M.L.A., K.K. Divakaran look on.
The Kerala leg of the mission also had ‘Shade of love’ (Snehathanal) another praiseworthy performance for school children organized under the auspices of the Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department. It was a magic show performed with the help of school children. Green saplings produced on the magic stage was handed over to children by scholarly personalities. Wherever Snehathanal was staged, a tree was thus planted to get a deep rooted love in the tender hearts for trees and environment. The State-level inauguration of the Shade of Love project was inaugurated by the Minister of forest, Binoy Viswam at a function presided over by the Opposition Leader, Oommen Chandy.The Mission India has already crossed a couple of memorable episodes. One was the curtain raiser staged on the terrace of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai on 24th of September. Second, the formal declaration of the mission by the Governor of Maharashtra, K. Sankaranarayanan in Mumbai.