Kannan Gopinathan, the present district collector of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, volunteered at various relief camps and collection centres in post-flood Kerala for eight days without revealing who he was. However, on the ninth day, when people recognised him, he simply left, as quietly as when he first arrived and helped, believing it would be a big disservice to “the officers living in the midst of the affected since the flood hit the state,” as reported by the Hindustan Times.
Reportedly, the 2012 batch IAS officer who hails from Puthupally, Kerala was also actively involved in collecting Rs 1 crore from Dadra and Nagar Haveli for the Kerala CM’s relief fund, which he personally handed over to CM Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram as part of an official visit to the state on August 26.
Volunteering at the relief camps
Right after completing his official duty, the 32-year-old officer reportedly applied for a personal leave and travelled almost 100 km by a state-run KSRTC bus to Chengannur, one of the state’s worst affected areas. As soon as he arrived at a local collection centre, he immediately set to work, helping the displaced people who lost their homes in the floods.
According to Kannan’s Twitter, he covered 5 districts during his visits to the relief camps, including those in Alappuzha and Ernakulam strictly using public transport for travelling. He called the experience to be enriching and not at all difficult.
Thanks to that stern advice, used nothing but bus for transport for one full week in Kerala.
Not only that it wasn’t difficult, it was rather enriching as well.
Covered 5 districts.
And ‘when is the last bus from here’ became my first question at any place. https://t.co/CZH9uxzx6x
— Kannan (@naukarshah) September 4, 2018
According to a Twitter thread posted by a Manorama Daily journalist, Kannan did everything from loading and unloading relief supplies to serving as a translator for doctors from the MSF (Doctors Without Borders). He worked the entire day until sundown, just like any other volunteer. He would claim to be working for an NGO whenever anyone would inquire about his background.
#Thread Here's an incredible story about a young man who was busy with loading and unloading in #KeralaFloods relief centres. Only days later people came to know that he was none other than, Kannan Gopinathan, the Collector of Dadra & Nagar Haveli! (1/n) pic.twitter.com/PICbgoHn70
— Jikku Varghese Jacob (@Jikkuvarghese) September 5, 2018
However, on his ninth day in Kerala, while volunteering at a collection centre at the Kerala Books and Publications Society (KBPS Press) office in Ernakulam, he was recognised by the local district collector Mohammed Y Safirulla, Kannan’s senior who is currently posted in Kerala.
“I didn’t do anything great.”
Feeling embarrassed at the sudden onslaught of selfie requests after his identity had been revealed, Kannan, a true model of humility and altruism, has been reluctant in talking about his efforts. “I was just a visitor…I don’t want it to be a story. It is unfair if you glorify me. Real heroes are there on the ground,” Kannan said, as reported by the Hindustan Times.
The 32-year-old IAS officer is also known for his educational work in Aizawl during his posting in Mizoram. He was also involved in developing a mobile app to alert people about natural disasters and know the status of power supply in his district.
After returning to work in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Kannan discovered that the administration had marked the time he had spent helping the rehabilitating efforts in Kerala as an official tour instead of a personal leave.
The Logical Indian take
Struck by the worst floods in a century, Kerala has suffered over 400 deaths with more than 13 lakh people living in relief camps after losing their homes. The Logical Indian applauds Kannan Gopinathan’s selfless service to Kerala. People like the young IAS officer who have been working tirelessly, contributing in any way they can and going above and beyond, without seeking fame or any acknowledgement in return are a true inspiration to us all.