Gwalior, Feb 11 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday urged people of higher castes to provide “special opportunity” to people of weaker sections.
The President made the remarks while delivering the fourth Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Lecture here.
“People from higher castes should promote people from lower castes. The effort should be to bring a smile on the face of the person standing last in the line of our society. This would be a true tribute to Dr Lohia,” said Kovind.
Addressing the gathering, the President said Dr Lohia dedicated his life for the welfare of the people, mainly the deprived sections that included Dalits, tribals, women and backward castes.
Lohia had said if it were a choice between “equal opportunity” and “special opportunity”, then “special opportunity” should be chosen, said the President, adding there can be talk of “equal opportunity” only when everyone has equal access to education, employment and livelihood.
Lohia could be called Sant Kabir of Indian politics due to his endless striving, ceaseless political journey, courage to abandon everything and ability to speak the truth, added Kovind.
The President said that Mahatma Gandhi, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Dr Lohia and Deendayal Upadhyaya dedicated their lives to the welfare of the last person in society.
“All of them emphasised a holistic and grounded agenda, rather than alien solutions to India’s problems. Though their methods had some differences, their goal was the same — to give equal rights to all the people of India, with a special emphasis on traditionally deprived sections,” Kovind noted.
Earlier, the President declared Gwalior as a “Divyang friendly district” and distributed artificial limbs at a function. He praised the Madhya Pradesh government and NGOs for their efforts to make life better for the physically disabled.
He also addressed the convocation of Jiwaji University. The President emphasised that education needs to cope with the challenges as well as opportunities thrown up by technology and the era of artificial intelligence.