15 August 2016
Crossing the WWII Myanmar -India corridor of Tamu – Imphal –Dimapur in a Land Rover
Four Malaysians in two Land Rover Defenders will strike off to India via the old World
War II road through Imphal, Myanmar on August 15.
off the team on the 46-day event from India House in Lorong Duta in Kuala Lumpur.
There will be another ceremony in Penang on the afternoon of 15 August where
academic staff of the Penang International Dental College (PIDC) will be giving
another enthusiastic hurray to Dr Sharavanan, the founder of the PIDC.
For the team leader, Rate De Silva, it will be the culmination of one of his dreams –
to drive a Land Rover to India.
“In fact, that was the reason for the formation of the Land Rover Owners Club of
Malaysia (LROM) when six founding members met in the garage of our member’s
house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail 30 years ago,” said de Silva, LROM president.
“That night, we ratified our commitment to start the Land Rover Owners Club of
Malaysia with a view of organizing a trip to India via the WWII Myanmar -India
corridor of Tamu – Imphal – Dimapur. In those days, Myanmar’s borders were closed
to third country land transport and the overland passage seemed a distant dream.
“But not anymore. The land borders have started opening and it’s time to start what
we said we would do 30 years ago,” De Silva aka Atek said.
Atek will drive a recently acquired Defender 2.4 stationwagon and his co-pilot is
LROM Hon Secretary, Alyna Tai.
The second Land Rover is commanded by Datuk Seri Dr S. Sharavanan, the
Managing Director of Penang International Dental College (PIDC) and the Pro-
Chancellor of Vinayaka Missions International University College (VMIUC), Malaysia.
He will drive his 2012 Defender 2.4 stationwagon, nicknamed 'Bheema', on this
upcoming event, the "Vinayaka Missions ROAD TO INDIA".
Datuk Seri Dr S Sharavanan, a Bangalore University trained radiologist, is a resident
Malaysian by choice. His birthplace is Salem, near Chennai, South India where the
family founded the Vinayaka Missions University, amongst the largest private
educational organisations in India that owns and operates four medical colleges.
“I had many Malaysian friends when we were studying in Manipal and I visited
Malaysia often since 1989. I love the diversity and natural environment of Malaysia
and the genuine warmth of all races in Malaysia and decided to put my roots here. In
2003 I migrated to Malaysia with a business plan,” said Sharavanan.
“I set up the Penang International Dental College. While busy stabilising the
business operations I saw a picture of a Land Rover Defender in a motor magazine
one day. It suddenly struck a chord in me and stirred the adventurous side in me".
“I checked it out in the showroom and was surprised to note that this Defender cost a
lot more than modern 4X4s like Toyota Hilux and the Isuzu D’Max. That's when I
learnt about the pedigree and class of the Land Rover and I bought my first Defender
in 2011, a 110 Twin-Cab.
“I took part in some local 4x4 events and in 2012, I bought another 110 Defender,
this time the Stationwagon.
“For the past two years, I’ve been talking with Atek about the LROM’s dream trip to
India,” said Sharavanan.
“I said to myself, here is a gentleman who has the same dream of overlanding to
India, my motherland; let's put in a bit of money, sponsor the event, and let’s
roll. That’s why this event is called the Vinayaka Missions ROAD TO INDIA".
"I had come from Salem with a young family in tow to Kuala Lumpur to venture out
on my own. It is emotionally and sentimentally significant for me personally as I'm
making a return trip in style from Kuala Lumpur to Salem by an overlanding
"Vinayaka Missions is the name of the education group that my father Dr A
Shanmugasundaram founded in Salem in 1982. The word 'Missions' is because my
father believed that education is a social service, and medical education is a noble
service to humanity - he made that particular goal as our Mission", said Sharavanan.
With the plan intact of having a common set of Land Rover Defenders and engines
so as to minimise the load of spare parts, Atek will pack a windscreen, alternator,
starter motor, brake vacuum pump, one fan belt, bulbs, fuses and miscellaneous
Each Defender has a roof tent for the estimated 20 nights of camping and two spare
tyres (Maxxis 265x85 x16 for Atek’s standard suspension and taller/slimmer Maxxis
255 x 85 x 16 for 'Bheema's Old Man Emu lifted suspension).
Land Rover and overland travel enthusiasts can also check out the "Vinayaka
Missions ROAD TO INDIA" on www.xmen4x4.com, Sharavanan's Twitter
@SALEMSHARAVANAN and www.motorme.my.