President Ram Nath Kovind yesterday paid glowing tributes to the manner in which different faiths and religious communities live peacefully in Kerala.
“It is remarkable to note the mutual accommodation and understanding of different faiths and religious communities in Kerala’s history. This is a state where one community has willingly given space to another,” Kovind said on his first visit to Kerala after becoming president.
“This is a history that we cannot forget and must learn from. And this is an accommodation and understanding that is at the essence of spiritualism,” he said at the 64th birthday celebrations of Mata Amritanandamayi at Kollam, about 85km from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
Kovind arrived in Thiruvananthapuram from Delhi in the morning, flew to a place near Alappuzha on a helicopter, and then drove to the Mutt at Kollam.
He said Kerala has done so much to defend “our ethos and our culture”.
“I refer to Kerala’s role as one of the leading spiritual homes of our country and of our composite society. The bravery of our soldiers and the compassion and wisdom of our spiritual leaders are twin pillars on which we rest our hopes.
“These keep our civilisation secure. The flame of spiritualism shines brightly in Kerala and has done so for thousands of years.
“I refer to such revered people as Adi Shankaracharya, Sri Narayana Guru and Ayyankali. They did so much to unite our country with a common sense of spiritualism, as well as to push for much needed social reform,” he said.
The president also launched the Rs1bn clean water initiative for rural India and also distributed certificates for ‘open defecation free’ status achieved by 10 villages adopted by the Mutt.
Kovind returned to Delhi via Thiruvananthapuram after the function.
Earlier Kovind took the salute at the guard of honour given to him at the Thiruvanantham airport amid pouring rain, and preferred to stand without any umbrella.
He was received by Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan besides others.
As it was raining heavily, the security officials were seen providing a cover to the president, who, however, refused and stood on the dais to take the salute.
He then inspected the guard of honour with all other dignitaries present watching him from under the cover of a ‘shamiana.’
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