For a period of 20 months between 2002-2010, Gopinath Muthukad had the privilege to travel across the length and breadth of India and perform shows highlighting national integration, along with my team of 25 people. With support of the Indian Army, his team travelled from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, villages to towns, hills to valleys, villages to historic monuments, even in tough terrains, borders, and military bases. During all these performances, the team upheld the message of our national heritage, integrity, our fight against terrorism, communalism, and separatism.
A dedicated voyage across the nation with a spellbound love
Gopinath Muthukad, with his team of artists, covered the length and breadth of India in four long expeditions in almost 20 months.
1. Vismaya Bharat Yatra (2002)
2. Gandhi Mantra (2005)
3. Vismaya Swaraj Yatra (2007)
4. Mission India (2010)
Motive behind: The primary motives of these expeditions were to foster the sense of national integration, to spread the messages of Gandhian values, communal harmony and awareness on countering violence and terrorism.
The expedition: With support of Nehru Youth Center and the Indian Army, his team explored the nooks and corners of India – travelled from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, villages to towns, hills to valleys, villages to historic monuments, even in tough terrains, borders and military bases. It was the value and the wide acceptance of the events they performed made them get into places like Nathulapass, Srinagar, Nagaland, Wagah Border and even terrorist camps in Nagaland – all places where entry is otherwise tough. They held an awareness event on countering terrorism at none other than the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, where terror attacks took place in 2008.
The journeys covered many of India’s historic monuments, memorial tombs, art galleries, and historic places involved in freedom struggles. Magic was performed in army cantonments in Delhi, Bareilly, Varanasi, Dhanbad, Silguri, Gangtok, Guwahati and Kohima. The 25-member art troupe, including 7 girls, successfully completed their tour of India after traversing through harsh topographies and extreme weather conditions.
Leadership support: The Bharat yatra began with receiving the National Flag from then Chief Minister of Kerala A.K. Antony. The expedition ended by a ceremonious hand-over the flag to then Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Dignitaries who greeted the trip at various places include Late APJ Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh, Late Sushma Swaraj, Late PM Syed, O Rajagopal, ex-Chief Ministers of Kerala VS Achuthanandan and Oommen Chandy.
Notability: This is the first time an art group has traveled throughout India by road four times. It’s uniqueness in several ways paved way for Gopinath’s expedition into the Limca Book of Records.