Kerala: IAS officer discreetly worked as relief worker for days
For eight days, without any pomp or show, Kannan Gopinathan toiled at relief camps in the flood-ravaged state of Kerala, carrying large packages on his head, offloading relief material from trucks, and helping distressed people out. Of course, no one knew he was an IAS officer. Gopinathan is yet another among the thousands of people who have selflessly rushed to Kerala's aid. Here's more.
Gopinathan, who hails from Kerala, is a 2012 batch IAS officer who is the district collector of the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. On August 26, Gopinathan arrived in Kerala on an official visit to hand over a cheque of Rs. 1cr for the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF). However, Gopinathan's visit didn't end with this formality.
Having fulfilled his official duties at Thiruvananthapuram, the IAS officer took a bus to one of the worst affected areas in the state - Chengannur. Once there, Gopinathan hopped from camp to camp, doing physical relief work as a volunteer for eight days. On the ninth day, he was identified as an IAS officer by a senior official at one of the camps.
Once Gopinathan was identified, people clamoured to click selfies with him, but the 32-year-old IAS officer was having none of it. Describing the situation as "embarrassing", Gopinathan left as discreetly as he had arrived. Overwhelmed by the work of volunteers from all parts of India, Gopinathan was particularly against any glorification of his work, and was even reluctant to talk to the media.
"I didn't do anything great...I don't want it to be story. It is unfair if you glorify me. Real heroes are there on the ground. If we keep the spirit like this I am sure Kerala will overcome the tragedy soon," said Gopinathan.
The Kerala floods, which saw over 400 people dead, and lakhs of people homeless, saw thousands of heroes emerge, some named, some unnamed. While thousands of volunteers are toiling in relief camps, several officers, like Gopinathan, have braved bad weather and infectious diseases to help. Kerala's food safety commissioner Rajamanikyam, Thrissur collector TV Anupama, and Thiruvananthapuram collector Dr. K Vasuki were some such officers.