Kerala displays India at its harmonious best: President

Kovind says doctors, nurses from State among most visible COVID warriors globally

President Ramnath Kovind said Kerala embodied India’s cultural and harmonious best.

Speaking after unveiling the statue of library movement founder P.N. Panicker, Mr. Kovind said the ‘Sakshara Keralam’ movement became popular and effective due to the foundations laid down by Panicker.

Kerala became the first State to have hundred per cent literacy. The high literacy and education levels in the State had a multiplier effect. The State leads others on several indices of human development, including aspects of sustainable development. Successive governments have kept the sustained focus on the agenda of growth and development. Therefore, the State has maintained its leadership position on several markers of excellence.

The President paid rich tribute to Kerala doctors and nurses who were at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic at the global level. “When the pandemic affected the entire world, nurses and doctors from Kerala were among the most visible warriors in India, the Middle East and so many other regions on the globe. The people of Kerala enhance the pride of India,” he said.

The President said eradicating illiteracy had paved the way for Kerala’s development. Panicker spearheaded the reformation via his library movement. “An area of illiteracy can remain an area of darkness. The light of literacy can brighten the path to individual and collective progress,” he said.

What started as a small reading room in Kuttanad became the vehicle of progress in the State. "Shri Panicker spread a very simple and most potent message – "Vayichu Valaruka", which means read and grow,” he said.

The credit for libraries having a central place in the culture of Kerala goes to Panicker, who connected common people to libraries. Through this large network of libraries, the common people could get to know the thoughts and ideas of Sree Narayana Guru, Ayyankali, V.T. Bhattathiripad and other great masters. The cosmopolitan outlook of an average person from Kerala can be traced to the library and literacy movement of Panicker. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the foundation to reach 30 crore underprivileged people in the country through the National Reading Mission by 2022.

Mr. Kovind said Kerala would benefit immensely from the leadership of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Governor Arif Muhammad Khan. “Both are among the most experienced and sagacious personalities in the area of public service,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan said that reading should empower people to stymie efforts by revanchist forces to bring back medieval superstitions, social evils and unlawful practices. Panicker had proved that reading could liberate individuals and empower them socially. The importance of reading and knowledge acquisition had spurred the storied renaissance movement in Kerala. Earlier, Mr. Vijayan and Mr. Khan received the President at the airport.

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