To call Father Prashanth Palakkappilly a friend of nature is an understatement. Throughout his career as principal of Sacred Heart College, Thevara, since 2010, he has been known to use a bicycle to travel short distances, trying to inculcate a sense of ecological responsibility among his students and the general public. In fact, he has been known as the “padiri” (local expression for a priest) who rides his bicycle among people in Thevara.
He has also been part of green activities, promoting organic agriculture, gardening and creating concern for nature in young generation.
Fr. Prashanth, 56, retired from his academic career earlier this year. He is a Catholic priest under the order of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) and will now undertake a tour of India on his favourite motorbike. He said he was not using a car since it consumed too much fuel. “Using a motorbike is better, because it was lighter on the environment,” he said on Monday as he prepared to set out on the Trust-Green-Peace journey from Tuesday.
Father Prashanth was instrumental in acquiring about four acres of paddy fields in Arayankavu, near Kochi, under the aegis of the Sacred Heart College, as a centre for biodiversity where students could be introduced to the basics of nature.
He said he was a “sanyasi”, a dedicated man of God, who would be available for any duty to be performed on the orders of his community of the religious.
The solo bike ride will be flagged off from Thevara on Tuesday and will reach Kottayam on Tuesday and will cover Kashmir and Kolkata, Kutch and Konkan as the journey progresses over a period of two months. Father Prashanth is set to interact with students in Kuriakose Elias College in Mannanam, SB College and NSS Colleges in Changanassery, Loyola and Mar Ivanios collleges in Thiruvananthapuram on the first day of his journey. He said he would meet with all like-minded people and wanted to spread the message of peace and a sense of concern for the environment.