The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu said there is a dire need to inculcate the spirit of service from a young age in the youth and urged schools to make community service compulsory for students once normalcy returns.
Speaking at an event organised to mark the 150th anniversary of Saint Chavara at Mannanam in Kottayam today, the Vice President said that once this pandemic is behind us, the government schools as well as those in the private sector must make community service of at least two to three weeks compulsory for students. “It would help them to develop an attitude of sharing and caring in their interaction with others”, he added.
Shri Naidu emphasised that the philosophy of share-and-care is at the core of India’s age-old culture and must be widely propagated. “For us, the whole world is one family as encapsulated in our timeless ideal, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. It is with this spirit that we should move forward together”, he said.
While pointing out that every person has the right to practice and preach his or her faith in the country, the Vice President said “Practice your religion but don’t abuse and indulge in hate speech and writings”. He expressed his disapproval of attempts to ridicule other religions and create dissensions in the society.
Observing that hate speech and writings are against culture, heritage, traditions, constitutional rights and ethos, Shri Naidu said that secularism is in the blood of every India and the country is respected world over for its culture and heritage. In this context, the Vice President called for strengthening the Indian value system.
Urging youngsters to imbibe, protect and promote Indian cultural values, he highlighted the importance of India’s philosophy of sharing and caring for others. He said that living for others will not only give a person a lot of satisfaction but will also make the people remember that person for a long time for his or her good deeds.
Shri Naidu also advised youngsters to remain physically fit by doing yoga or any other form of physical exercise and “to love and live with nature”. He asked them to protect nature and preserve culture for a better future.
Paying tributes to Saint Chavara, he said “this iconic spiritual and social leader of Kerala, whom people considered as a saint during his lifetime, was a true visionary in every sense of the term”. He said that Saint Chavara engaged himself as a spiritual, educational, social, and cultural reformer of Kerala society in the 19th century and contributed richly to the social reawakening of the people.
Stating that Saint Chavara contributed immensely to achieving communal harmony and tolerance in society, Shri Naidu said that he always showed a deep concern for the wellbeing of all and taught us that peaceful human relationships are sacred and more important than anything else. “Today, we need a Chavara in every community—a towering individual with a vision to unite all sections of society socially and culturally, and take the country forward”, he stressed.
Urging all states to take a cue from Kerala in the fields of education, social justice and women’s empowerment, the Vice President said that every state can be transformed into an engine of growth and progress which can be achieved through the social and educational empowerment of women and youth belonging to poorer sections of society.
He also emphasised that the benefits of development must percolate down to the last man in the most backward and impoverished segments of our socio-economic order as spelt out in the philosophy of Antyodaya articulated by the visionary thinker, activist and reformer, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.
Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V Muraleedharan, Minister for Cooperation and Registration, Government of Kerala, Shri V N Vasavan, former Chief Minister of Kerala and Member of Legislative Assembly, Shri Oommen Chandy, Member of Parliament, Shri Thomas Chazhikadan, Prior General, Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, Shri Rev. Fr. Thomas Chathamparampil and others were present on the occasion.