Updated: August 16, 2021 9:41:06 am
Gandhian ideals are the “greatest weapon” to give direction to the country which is facing challenges related to caste, religion and creed and this should be instilled in the minds of the youth, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said on Sunday.
In his address after unfurling the Indian tricolour at Fort St George, seat of the government in Chennai on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day, the first as chief minister, he also recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s “deep relationship” with Tamil Nadu and how the state made him give up his “high quality” outfit for a more simple one.
“Let’s take a vow to instil in the youths’ mind that Gandhian ideals are the greatest weapon to lead India which is facing challenges related to caste, religion and creed,” he said.
Mahatma Gandhi had a “deep relationship” with Tamil Nadu and it was during one such visit to the state that he decided to opt for simpler outfit.
It was during his visit to the southern city of Madurai and seeing the poor people there that Gandhi decided to switch over to a more simpler, the trademark outfit, the Chief Minister said.
“Mahatma Gandhi had visited Tamil Nadu 20 times in his lifetime. When he came to Madurai 100 years ago, Tamil Nadu gave him a farewell where he returned as a Mahatma who gave up any dress covering his upper body,” he said.
To remember this, Stalin announced the Mahatma Gandhi museum in Madurai, which has rare antiques, will be renovated at a cost of Rs six crore to attract people and the younger generation.
Further, Tamils were at the forefront in all the struggles led by Gandhi in South Africa and he called them, “who bore the brunt of racism,” as his brothers.
“Tamils loved Mahatma Gandhi from their heart. Mahatma Gandhi had great love not just for Tamils but also the Tamil language and said it was to India much like Italian was to Europe. He insisted on it being included in as an elective in London University. He also wanted people from other prts of India to learn Tamil,” Stalin said.
Stalin later inaugurated a pillar erected in Chennai to commemorate India’s 75 years of independence.
#IndiaIndependenceDay-வில் தலைமைச்செயலகக் கோட்டைக் கொத்தளத்தில் தேசிய கொடியை ஏற்றிவைத்து, பல்வேறு விருதுகளைப் பெற்றவர்களுக்குப் பதக்கங்களையும் சான்றிதழ்களையும் வழங்கினேன்.
விடுதலைக்குப் பாடுபட்டோர் காணவிழைந்த மேன்மைமிகு தமிழ்நாட்டை உருவாக்குவோம்.
வாழ்க தமிழ்நாடு! வாழ்க இந்தியா! pic.twitter.com/QAnmJwJ4gi
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) August 15, 2021
The pillar was constructed not just using brick and mortar “but with the blood, bones and flesh of our freedom fighters.”
Hailing the role of freedom fighters from Tamil Nadu, he said efforts will be made to document the contribution of the state in the country’s independence struggle.
Further, he announced increasing the pension for freedom fighters from Rs 17,000 to Rs 18,000 and the family pension from Rs 8,500 to Rs 9,000.
While India was celebrating its 75th year of independence, the movement had gained ground in the state 150 years ago, he said and paid rich tributes to freedom fighters like Poolithevan, Velu Nachiyar, Veerpandia Kattabomman, VO Chidambaram Pillai, Subramania Bharathy, Thanthai Periyar EV Ramasamy, K Kamaraj and CN Rajagoplachary among others.
Plans were afoot for grand celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Pillai, who had operated a Swadeshi shipping company against the then British rulers, he said.
Recalling his party DMK’s contributions in the past, Stalin said its founder and former chief minister, the late CN Annadurai had collected funds during the Indo-China war in 1962.
Later, his father and late M Karunanidhi, as CM, collected Rs six crore during the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and also piloted an Assembly resolution against the neighbour’s aggression. The total contribution received from the country then was Rs 25 crore, he said.
Later, during the Kargil war in 1999, the then DMK government led by Karunanidhi gave Rs 50 crore to the Centre in three instalments, he added.
Further, it was his father, a “free thinker,” who ensured the Chief Ministers of the day unfurled the tricolour on August 15 after taking up the matter with the then Prime Minister, the late Indira Gandhi, Stalin recalled.
In his first Independence Day address as chief minister, Stalin, also at the helm in for the first time, expressed joy he had been accepted by the people after 50 years of public work.
While 2021 had many special occasions, he was personally happy the DMK has come to power and recalled its work in the areas of Covid management and other public welfare initiatives, including appointing members of all castes as temple priests, besides providing Rs 4,000 pandemic assistance.
“The Covid pandemic has taught us many lessons. It has led to medical, mental and economic crises among others and the government is taking various steps to rescue people from these,” he said and credited frontline workers including medical professionals for their dedication during these times.
He gave away various awards, including the one named after the late Kalpana Chawla and given for daring acts and another after former President, the late APJ Abdul Kalam.
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