President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday hailed the contributions of the Madras Legislature in introducing the country to the concept of a welfare state through governance and landmark reforms.
“The concept of welfare state has taken deep roots in this legislature, irrespective of who rules here,” Kovind said while speaking at the centenary celebrations of the state legislative assembly at Chennai’s Fort St George.
The President is on a five-day visit to Tamil Nadu from August 2 to 6. He is also scheduled to visit the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington on August 4, to the address the Student Officers of the 77th staff course, as part of his visit.
Kovind called the state legislature a fountainhead of several progressive laws and reforms – abolition of Devdasi system, widow remarriage, mid-day meals in schools and distribution of farm land to the landless – that were drafted to “empower weaker sections of society and strengthen democracy” and later emulated by many other states.
“Politics and governance in the region evolved around positive and rational content that targeted the welfare of those living on the margins,” The Hindu quoted him as saying.
He also unveiled a portrait of former chief minister and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi on the occasion.
In his note on Karunanidhi, Kovind said the DMK leader holds a very important place in history and that, in his last moments, he must have been satisfied to see how his state and its people have made great success on all fronts.
“He must have been satisfied too as he spent every waking hour of his long and productive life in the service of the people of the state and also of the nation,” Kovind said.
Speaking about how passionate the DMK leader was about Tamil language, Kovind said it was him who ensured that the language was given classical recognition.
“For him, his mother tongue was the object of worship. Tamil of course is one of the greatest and the oldest languages of humankind. The whole world takes pride in its rich heritage. But it was Karunanidhi who ensured that it was granted official recognition as a classical language. Kalaignar was a leader in a class of his own. He was among the last links we had with the stalwarts of our national movement,” Kovind said.