President Ram Nath Kovind hailed Kerala for its pluralistic tradition and spiritual consciousness, even as the state is witnessing a serious debate over religious conversions.
The BJP has been alleging ‘jihad-red terror’ links in the state in its Janaraksha yatra.
“Kerala is a state where one community has given space to another. It has a rich cultural heritage and this historical tradition reflects mutual understanding among people,” Kovind said, while inaugurating a Rs 100 cr drinking water project at Mata Amritanandamayi math here on Sunday.
The President, on his first visit to Kerala after assuming the office, drew parallels between his Leh and Kerala visits
“My first visit outside Delhi was to Leh, Ladakh. I had gone there to be with our soldiers defending our country in extremely difficult conditions. My second visit is to a state that has done so much to defend the ethos and culture of this country .The bravery of soldiers at one end and compassion of spiritual leaders at the other end are the twin pillars on which we rest our hopes,” he said.
Kovind also touched upon historical facets to highlight how Kerala had accommodated various religions. “Flames of spiritualism shine brightly in this state and great spiritual leaders like Adi Sankara, Ayyankali and Sree Narayana Gu ru had pushed for social reforms,” he said.
Praising the initiatives of Mata Amritanandamayi, the President said she represented the enlightened spiritual tradition of Kerala. “The charity and sanitation initiatives being launched by Mata Amritanandamayi math promote wellbeing and help build a better society,” he said. The drinking water project, titled “Jivamritham”, was launched as part of 64th birthday celebrations of Mata Amritanandamayi. It is envisaged to provide filtration systems for clean water to 5,000 villages across India. Each system, designed by faculty and students of Amrita University , can cater to 400 families.
The President also distributed certificates to five individuals representing 1,940 patients who have availed free surgeries at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.He also presented open defecation-free certificates to leaders of three of 12 villages adopted under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.