THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 22-year-old from Neyyattinkara leaves for Santiniketan to learn Chinese philosophy. There he meets Gandhiji and gets to share a few words with him. It was enough for the young Gopinathan to decide on the path his life would take.
P Gopinathan Nair, the senior Gandhian, has ever since remained the epitome of Gandhian values. On Thursday, the man would turn 90 after having campaigned and fought for Gandhian ideologies for the last seven decades.
Gopinathan Nair was born in Neyyattinkara in 1922 as the son of M Padmanabha Pillai and K P Janaki Amma. After completing his graduation in Science from the University College, he left for Santiniketan. He took lessons in Chinese culture and Gandhian philosophy there. Once back in Thiruvananthapuram, he organised the Trivandrum Student Settlement with the aim of making more youngsters participate in the Construction Movement.
One of the few Gandhian leaders living who participated in the Quit India Movement, he was the brain behind starting the ‘camp movement’ by giving a new life to the Construction Movement inspired by Gandhiji. There, in the camp, the inmates were trained in the life and message of Gandhiji. He was also one of the early ‘Bhoodan’ workers of Kerala, heeding the call of Vinobaji.
Another of his major activity has remained the Shanti Sena, which was meant to promote peace and harmony. If there is one role he was always interested in playing, it is that of a mediator. Gopinathan Nair has been to several tension-torn areas, including Thalassery, Ayodhya and Marad. He was called in as mediator by the Antony government to reach a consensus amidst the communal discords in Marad.
Ever since the Kerala Gandhi Smarak Nidhi started functioning in Thiruvananthapuram in 1951, Gopinathan Nair has remained at its helm of matters. As the man reaches 90, the Gandhi Bhavan has decided to felicitate him in the most deserving manner. Various Gandhian organisations will get together to honour him at a function to be held at Gandhi Bhavan on Thursday at 3 pm.